That time the Word team sent presents to the children of WordPerfect’s executive vice president

Raymond Chen

In the mid-to-late 1980’s, WordPerfect was the leading word processor for PCs, but it began to face a challenge from a graphical word processor called Microsoft Word.

Jeff Raikes was in charge of Word, and he was also on good terms with his counterpart at WordPerfect, W. E. “Pete” Peterson. Pete gave Jeff the names and birthdays of his children, and Jeff sent each of Pete’s kids a teasing Microsoft-related present on their birthday. He sent one of the kids a Windows programming book because WordPerfect stuck with MS-DOS instead of porting to Windows. He sent another a Microsoft Australia-branded koala bear doll because PC Word was the leading word processor in Australia.

There was no animosity here. This was all done with permission, and Pete and Jeff both got a kick out of it. Pete put up with it because he was also recruiting Jeff to leave Microsoft and join WPCorp. (Said attempts were evidently unsuccessful.)

Bonus reading: Pete Peterson wrote a book about his twelve years at WPCorp, titled Almost Perfect. It is out of print, but the entire text is available for free on his Web site.

3 comments

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  • Simon Geard 1

    Much like some of the stories involving the Internet Explorer team and their friendly rivalry with the folks as Netscape/Mozilla.

    • Henke37 2

      I miss the existence of Internet Explorer. For all of its many faults, it did have a positive effect on the ecosystem of the web in being an independent implementation.

  • Marcus Rahilly 0

    Which Windows programming book was given as a present Raymond?

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