C:\happy-birthday.exe! MS-DOS, the cornerstone of Microsoft's software empire, is 30 years old today -- so let's boot into the command line for a celebration of the OS with the mostest.
On this day in 1981, Microsoft bought what was to become MS-DOS from Seattle Computer Products. SCP had developed the system under the name QDOS. Everybody knows MS-DOS stands for Microsoft Disk Operating System, but that's actually a neat bit of corporate whitewashing from Bill Gates and co -- QDOS originally stood for Quick and Dirty Operating System.
Yes, the foundation of the computing empire that would make Bill Gates the richest man in the world was a temporary fix. SCP had released in 1979 a processor intended to run Digital Research's CP/M-86 operating system, but the chip was ready months ahead of Digital Research's software. So in 1980 SCP's Tim Paterson came up with a basic OS that would act as a stopgap.
Microsoft then bought the OS for $75,000. But what Microsoft didn't tell SCP was that it was to supply the software to IBM -- in place of the Digital Research OS that had inspired the creation of QDOS in the first place.
Paterson joined Microsoft in time for the first release of the now-renamed MS-DOS in 1982. Microsoft went on to conquer the world of personal computing and finally took complete ownership of the software in 1986 in a $925,000 legal settlement with the original boss of SCP.
MS-DOS provided the foundation for Windows, Microsoft's all-conquering operating system, which turned 25 last year. And everyone who's in knows / MS-DOS is the best to run with Windows...
What are your favourite MS-DOS memories? Tell us in the comments section or on our Facebook page, or just check out the worst Microsoft videos of all time. MS-DOS is, coincidentally, the exact same age as CNET UK chief sub-editor Nick, but he goes blue and dies far less often.