It's the software everyone loves to hate: MS-DOS, the curmudgeon of PC operating systems. But someday soon, it may bring back nostalgic memories.
Since Windows, Microsoft Corp.'s easy-to-use graphical interface, began taking off in the early 1990s, sales of word-processors, spreadsheets, and other programs written exclusively for DOS have been dropping. In the past six months, they've gone into free fall. The Software Publishers Assn., an industry group that tracks such sales, reports that sales of MS-DOS programs in the second quarter plummeted 47% from a year ago, to $235 million. For the same period, Windows programs generated revenues of about a billion dollars--a 55% increase. But the biggest blow to DOS may come next year, when Microsoft begins shipping its Windows95 upgrade. That program will do away with the need for MS-DOS altogether.