WordPerfect programmers refusing to use anything but assembler

Posted by Totophil on Stack Overflow See other posts from Stack Overflow or by Totophil
Published on 2009-04-08T12:53:10Z Indexed on 2010/06/15 23:42 UTC
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There is a version (popularised by Joel Spolsky) attributing the demise of WordPerfect to a refusal of its programmers to use anything but assembler that led to delay of the first WPwin release and as result eventually to losing the all important battle with Microsoft.

There are a few references to programming work being done using assembler in the autobiographical book "Almost Perfect" by W. E. Pete Peterson who used to have a major influence at running the corporation. But these references go back to early 80's when WordPerfect was trying to gain a significant market share by defeating WordStar and not early nineties when the battle with MS took place.

I am looking for a second independent source to confirm the assumption.

Maybe someone who worked for WordPerfect Corporation at a time, who was close to the company, or had a chance to see the source could clarify the issue.

Your help is much appreciated, thanks!

Please note that this question is not about any other theories or reasons behind WordPerfect demise. I really just need to clarify whether they used assembler as a primary language for WPwin and (as a bonus really) whether there were discussions held within the corporation about assembler being the right choice.

Concisely:

  • Did WPCorp use assembler as a primary language for WPwin?
  • Were discussions held at a time amongst WP Corp staff about assembler being the right choice (was it management or programmers decision)?

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