Once DOS became the de facto PC desktop standard in the 1980s, Microsoft perfected a technique called “embrace and extend” and sometimes “embrace, extend, and extinguish.” The idea was to adopt outside technologies, extend DOS to include them, then eliminate as a competitor  the original developer of the technology. This was before Microsoft figured out that it actually needed third-party developers.

Lots of utilities became part of DOS and later Windows this way (remember Stac electronics?). They were initially provided for free to Redmond by their authors with the idea that users would upgrade to a paid version, only users mainly didn’t upgrade because good enough was, well, good enough. So the originating companies then tended to […]