35 Years Since the Introduction of Personal Computers With Word Processing and Spreadsheet Apps

Peter Lobner

It’s hard to remember how we did our jobs before the introduction of the personal computer and several “killer apps” in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It’s now 35 years since the introduction of personal computers with word processing and spreadsheet functionality; and that was just the beginning.

In June 1979, MicroPro International began selling its CP/M word processing product, WordStar. Its competitors at the time were proprietary word processing systems from IBM, Xerox and Wang Laboratories. WordStar was the first microcomputer word processor to offer WYSIWYG functionality.


On 17 Oct 1979, VisiCalc was released for the Apple II, marking the birth of the spreadsheet for personal computers. In the past 35 years, the spreadsheet has become the now-ubiquitous tool used to compile everything from grocery lists to Fortune 500 company accounts. VisiCalc is often considered the application that turned the microcomputer from a hobby for computer enthusiasts into a serious business tool, and is considered the Apple II’s killer app.


Other “killer apps” that changed our lives since personal computers became an indispensible office fixture are briefly described on the website: “Peter Coffees 25 Killer Apps of All Time”. Check it out at the following link:


How does your “top 25” list compare?