What was the first third-party commercial application for MS-DOS intended for IBM PC-compatible computers?


1 Answer 1


There were several first third-party commercial applications for MS-DOS (well, PC DOS really), since a number were launched on the same day as the original IBM PC:

There was also a game available on launch day, Microsoft Adventure, but it didn’t target DOS.

The Microsoft programs probably don’t count as third-party, but that still leaves VisiCalc, EasyWriter, and Peachtree, at least. (I think the communications package was written by IBM.)

Some of these were ported from other platforms, so arguably they’re older — VisiCalc was released in June 1979 on the Apple II, EasyWriter was also released in 1979 on the Apple II, and Peachtree’s lineage starts on the Altair in 1977.

  • I suspect we're about to have a debate about what counts as third party re: the Microsoft software. But whatever. Any idea whether any of those are plain recompiles of CP/M software? It's a digression, feel free to ignore me.
    – Tommy
    Commented Jun 17, 2019 at 13:51
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    @Tommy yes, you’re right, I’ve updated the answer to try to limit the debate. VisiCalc and EasyWriter weren’t CP/M recompiles; I don’t know about Peachtree. Microsoft Pascal was initially developed for DOS, and Adventure was initially developed for the PC, so they’re not CP/M recompiles either. Commented Jun 17, 2019 at 13:59
  • @StephenKitt Microsoft Adventure was on the Apple II & TRS-80 in 1979 according to wikipedia, so I suspect it was a port rather than a new build.
    – PeterI
    Commented Jun 17, 2019 at 17:37
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    @PeterI so it was, I missed that; according to Moby Games, the first release was on the TRS-80. Commented Jun 17, 2019 at 17:53
  • Microsoft Pascal actually predates the IBM PC; I remember using it - not under Microsoft badging - on Convergent Technologies workstations prior to the release of the PC. Commented Jun 18, 2019 at 11:22

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