OS/2 finally bites the dust

About three years after anyone would have noticed, International Business Machines has finally delivered the death blow to the desktop version of OS/2, its largely unrespected operating system. The execution came quietly, as IBM moved most remaining OS/2 managers and developers into a newly created network computing division. Ironically, IBM once touted OS/2 as a "Windows killer" with its "better Windows than Windows" advertising campaign; the network computers IBM is building are likewise designed to unseat Windows, which has grown into the dominant player in the PC market.

OS/2 began life as the successor to MS-DOS/PC-DOS, and early versions were co-developed with Microsoft. An infamous corporate split over the future of OS/2 severed the relationship, however, and Microsoft decided to run with the then-inferior Windows product. OS/2 never made money for IBM and sold poorly in the consumer market though it is still used widely in some corporate and banking facilities.

While the OS/2 we all know and love will cease to exist, IBM is hard at work on an OS/2-based network operating system similar to Microsoft's "Hydra" (now known as "Windows-based Terminal Server") called Workspace On Demand (WOD). WOD uses OS/2 Warp Server with NC clients running an OS/2-like desktop. Likewise, IBM will continue to support and occasionally enhance OS/2 Lan Server and OS/2 Warp (the current desktop client).

"\[The Personal Software Products division\] (the unit responsible for OS/2) no longer exists," said an IBM spokesperson. "The people who were part of PSP are now part of something bigger. We're now a piece of IBM's software strategy in the Java space."

A moment of silence, please

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