25 Years of Mac

Macintosh History

1985: Word, Excel, PageMaker, and the LaserWriter

Dan Knight - updated 2008.01.13 - Tip Jar

Apple Lisa 2In January 1985, Apple announced the Macintosh XL, which was nothing more than a new name for the wildly unsuccessful Lisa 2. In April, Apple discontinued the model. Sun Remarketing purchased about 5,000 in 1987, which they upgraded and bundled with MacWorks, and in 1989 the remaining Apple inventory (about 2,700) was buried in a landfill in Utah for the tax write-off.

Apple innovations in 1985 included the New Folder command in System 2.0 and the first LaserWriter, which brought high quality output and PostScript to the Macintosh. It's no coincidence this is also the year Aldus released PageMaker, launching the desktop publishing industry.

In a related development, this was the year that the Macintosh Office launched, combining the Macintosh, the LaserWriter, and AppleTalk networking to link the LaserWriter to one or more Macs. A fourth component, a dedicated Unix-based file server code named BigMac, never reached the market. It was eventually replaced by AppleShare, Apple's file and print server software, which was eventually replaced by Mac OS X Server.

This was also the year Microsoft began its presence on the Mac. Word 1.0 for Macintosh shipped in January, and it quickly became a serious competitor for MacWrite. Excel 1.0 for Macintosh also shipped in 1985, and it has been unrivaled as the Mac's top spreadsheet program ever since. (Excel didn't come to Windows until late 1987.)

MacCharlie sales brochure

For those who wanted or needed PC compatibility, Dayna introduced MacCharlie, which had a 5.25" floppy drive, 8088 CPU, its own RAM, and a wraparound for the Mac's keyboard with the PC's extra keys. MacCharlie only supported text on the PC, not graphics.

Good-bye, Steves

This was also the year Apple lost both Steves.

Steve Wozniak left in February, returning to college. Today he's a teacher.

Steve Jobs was ousted in September, went on to create NeXT, which was purchased by Apple in December 1996, leading to Jobs's current tenure as CEO for life - or as long as he wants it.

On the Wintel side of the industry, Microsoft shipped Windows 1.01 in November 1985, and Intel introduced the 80386 processor, which would appear in computers in 1986. Two 68000-based competitors to the Mac were introduced in 1985: The Atari ST and the Amiga.

The most significant Mac-related products of 1985 were Microsoft Word and Excel, the LaserWriter printer, and Aldus PageMaker.

Next - 1986: Mac Plus, 512Ke, HFS Disks, and the LaserWriter Plus

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