The development of Digital Research's fully-compatible MS-DOS competitor, DR DOS, was encouraged when, according to https://retrotechnology.com/dri/dri_wein.html

After DOS Plus for Philips we did a version for Amstrad, but soon it became apparent that we needed a more native implementation of the DOS API to be more compatible, and the opportunity arose when Kay Nishi of ASCII Corporation in Japan put up a million dollars for a contract to develop it after he fell out with Microsoft (he had been instrumental in opening the Japanese OEM market for Microsoft).

The falling out happened March 14, 1986, according to this paywalled article: https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703806304576232724103241208

The tensions finally came to a head in March, the day after Microsoft completed a very successful public offering.

When did Nishi offer, and subsequently award, the million dollar contract for the DOS competitor?

  • 1
    Interesting, but shouldn't be the first question if he did at all? Proving would be foundation to find a data and what followed, wouldn't it?
    – Raffzahn
    Feb 28 at 16:26
  • 3
    @Raffzahn Right, the ideal answer would have references to the specifics of what happened – or, if it turns out there is evidence that this never happened at all, that would also be very interesting!
    – rwallace
    Feb 28 at 16:32
  • You’re writing like there was some sort of contest, but the quote mentions a contract. Contracts have requirements and penalties, etc.
    – RonJohn
    Feb 28 at 23:17

1 Answer 1


A contract between two companies is private. There may not be any additional public info on it. Of course if someone wants to dig into archives of press releases from 35 years ago, there just might be something there.

You've already got it down to a fairly narrow window of time.

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