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Windows 2.0

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

Windows 2.0 was the 2nd version of Microsoft’s GUI-based operating system, released in 1987.

Windows 2.0 was faster and more stable than Windows 1.0. This Windows version also had more in common still with both the LISA and future versions of Windows.

Apple was struck by similarities between Windows 2 and LISA -- as they had been with Windows 1.0 -- and again pressed with legal action. The similarities in Windows 2.0 may have arisen because an agreement struck by Apple and Microsoft about disputed technologies in Windows 1.0 omitted the mention of their use in future versions.

Microsoft argued that both they and Apple had derived the disputed technologies from a mutual inspiration in Xerox’s GUI-based Alto OS. The judges agreed with Microsoft, and with their ruling Apple lost decisively in regard to use of the disputed technologies for not only Windows 2.0 but also any future versions.

The system introduced the control panel and ran the first versions of Excel and Word. Extended memory was supported and updated for the release of Intel’s 80386 processor. It was during this time that Microsoft became the largest software vendor in the world, just as computers themselves were becoming more commonplace. The fact that Windows systems were user-friendly and relatively affordable was undoubtedly a contributing factor to the growing PC market.

See a demonstration of Windows 2.0:

This was last updated in February 2014

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