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Video: This is what Windows looked like two months before the Macintosh debuted

Published Jan 27th, 2014 7:15PM EST
Early Microsoft Windows video
Image: YouTube

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Two months before Steve Jobs introduced the Macintosh to the world in 1984, Microsoft demoed an early version of Windows at COMDEX 1983. Much like the soon-to-be-announced Mac, it featured a graphical user interace with the desktop metaphor, including windows and icons. Users could open multiple windows and use Microsoft Word to edit and format a text document.

Over 30 years later, Time uncovered video of this demo taken by Dan Bricklin, the co-creator of the first spreadsheet program. He carried his video camera and tape deck around the convention, and uploaded the video to YouTube two years ago. The video, beginning at 6:53, shows Microsoft Word, a clock, and an image editor all on screen at the same time. Instead of overlapping windows, the three programs snap into place to take up as much of the screen as possible.

While Windows was announced before the Macintosh, it ended up not being released until November 1985. And it was not a complete operating system, acting instead as a front-end to MS-DOS. Windows 1.0 was also not as user-friendly and polished as the Macintosh, with clunky window-resizing and a confusing icon dock.