Sorting through piles and piles and piles of old stuff as we packed, I found a poignantly evocative photocopy I thought had been lost to the mists of time. It went back to 1992 or so, when, as you may know, I was developer on the WordPerfect 6.0 for DOS team. You may not realize this, children, but the word-processor market used to be rather more hotly contended than it is today, and the leading product out there was WordPerfect. The rivalry between us WordPerfect developers and our opposite numbers at Microsoft was fierce, and as we sat in our comfy offices that looked out on the Wasatch mountain range and pounded out code, or even as we sat enjoying a subsidized lunch at our campus eatery, the Hard Disk Cafe, we could feel the hot breath of those Word developers on the backs of our necks.
We were right to feel the pressure. Not only was Microsoft poised to soon crush us in the marketplaceaided and abetted by our own failure to get a decent Windows product out in timely fashionbut those Redmondites were nasty pieces of work. It was with delighted horror one day that out of our fax machine scrolled a fourth-or-more generation photocopy, transmitted from an anonymous source. Soon a copy of the WordPerfect Fanatic Point-and-Shoot Program ad, with its chiaroscuroed Cary Grant still, was tacked up in every office in our building.
So, this memento of a time when Microsoft might actually have been a little frightened of a wretch like me. Sometimes it does a body proud to be a marked man.