How compatible were "MS-DOS Compatible" machines?

Eric J Korpela korpela at
Wed Jan 30 16:22:42 CST 2008

On Jan 30, 2008 12:55 PM, Fred Cisin <cisin at> wrote:

> MS-DOS was NEVER sold retail until 5.00.

> Any copies that you bought before that were either developer support,
> through a computer OEM, or gray market.  (grey market outside of USA)

I think you meant to say "NEVER sold retail under the Microsoft brand
name".  You could certainly find "branded" MS-DOS on store shelves
well before MS-DOS 5.  I've got a copy of "Phoenix MS-DOS 3.31" in
retail packaging, complete with way to hang it from a pegboard hook.
I don't know if Phoenix (the BIOS makers) were violating an agreement
in packaging it this way, or if the store I bought it from was doing
something shady.  No computer purchase was necessary to buy a copy.
Just grab it and bring it to the register.  I think that counts as


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