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Switch from CP/M to DOS
By:  William H. Gates III

Some interesting things include: the way we had decided that the schedule was so tight that we would refer IBM to go down to talk to Digital Research about CP/M. Well, they didn't want to sign the non-disclosure and they really didn't jump on it. So, the project was at risk. It kept having to go through IBM reviews. And if they didn't have all of the software signed up they clearly weren't going to make the schedule.

So, we said to IBM that we could do that. And as an increment on top of what we had committed to do, it was about ten percent extra work. So, we went out and bought from Seattle Computer Products the work that they had done on an operating system they called the SCP-DOS or 8- DOS at the time. But, more importantly, we got Tim Paterson to come across and work for us. He was the primary creator of MS-DOS. Bob O'Rear was one of our people who worked very closely with him and put that together.

I was very involved in the creation of the BASIC. Actually, Paul Allen got involved in that, and a number of other people. But, when it came right down to it, everybody pitched in, Neil Konzen, myself, Paul. There was a very tricky design. For example, proving to them that we could do some great stuff in the graphics area so that it was worth doing this CGA card. Proving to them that we could use the palette.

We were able to take a lot of innovative work we'd been doing on machines in Japan, OKI F-800, Hitachi BASIC Master Level III, NEC PC8800 and take that and put it all together here because this was a 16-bit machine. And so it came out very, very well. They didn't invite us to the introduction. That was kind of a unique IBM thing. But we had a great relationship. They were down in Boca Raton.

So, we were taking lots of all night flights down there. They kept the machine locked away in this hot room, which was a real problem in terms of working with it. Whenever there seem to be security leaks, they'd come and ask us. Actually, Kazuhiko Nishi did some of the design. He made sure they put speakers in. We had a primitive sound capability that was Kazuhiko's idea.

So, they were worried -- were the leaks in Japan due to him? Very intense project.

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