Did Bill Gates sucker Gary Kildall? Or did Kildall just blow it? Version 102a
Wherever techies gather to reminisce, one of the most rehashed myths of the history of the PC industry is whether Microsoft’s MS-DOS was a rip-off of Gary Kildall’s CP/M operating system. The story is told for the first time from Kildall’s perspective in Harry Evans’s coffee-table history book, They Made America — just out from Little, Brown — so stand by for more arguments. In the meantime, Business Week has a really excellent exegesis of the saga.
My own guess is that (a) Kildall blew it, (b) Gates did shaft him and (c) QDOS (the precursor of MS-DOS) did infringe Kildall’s copyright. But, as Business Week shrewdly observes, Kildall would not have been the guy to build an industry. He lacked Gates’s killer instinct.