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Applesoft BASIC cassette from Microsoft

Applesoft BASIC was Microsoft's first project with Apple Computer.

Applesoft BASIC, also known as FP BASIC, is a dialect of BASIC based on Microsoft BASIC with floating-point support that was adapted for backwards compatibility with Integer BASIC.


Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak originally developed the Apple BASIC interpreter (also known as Integer BASIC), which was provided on cassette tape for Apple I users. Because the standard configuration of the Apple I only contained 4KB of RAM, Wozniak did not have enough room to implement floating-point instructions,[1] which he said saved a few weeks' worth of development time.[2] Apple BASIC was also included directly in the ROM of the first Apple II computer, released in 1977. Because scientific users requested floating-point support,[1] Wozniak included routines that could be called from the ROMs, but did not have time to integrate them into Apple BASIC.[2]

Applesoft I[]

Apple Computer then turned to Microsoft to license their version of BASIC,[1] which Bill Gates had based on Digital Equipment Corporation's BASIC-PLUS with floating-point support.[2] Randy Wigginton adapted it to work on the Apple II.[3] It was released in 1978 on cassette tape.[4]

Applesoft II[]

In June 1979, a revised version of Applesoft BASIC was included in the ROMs of the Apple II plus, with support for its high-resolution graphics modes.[4]

MacBASIC and license extension[]

In 1984, Apple began beta testing its own MacBASIC for Macintosh, which was benchmarked to be two to three times as fast as Microsoft's BASIC.[5] However, as Apple's license to Microsoft BASIC was approaching expiration, Microsoft pressured Apple CEO John Sculley into selling them a perpetual license to the Macintosh user interface and MacBASIC for $1 in November 1985, in exchange for an extension of the license to allow Apple to continue selling Applesoft BASIC for Apple II series computers. Microsoft then shelved MacBASIC to eliminate potential competition.[6][7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Restoring Woz's Original Apple BASIC by James Grahame, Retro Thing. 2008-07-16.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 How Steve Wozniak Wrote BASIC for the Original Apple From Scratch by Steve Wozniak, Gizmodo. 2014-05-01.
  3. The First 10 Apple Employees: Where Are They Now? by Jay Yarow, Business Insider. 2011-05-24.
  4. 4.0 4.1 6-The Apple II Plus by Steven Weyhrich, Apple II History. 2008-12-03.
  5. Apple, Publishers at Odds by Tom Maremaa, InfoWorld p.23. 1985-08-19.
  6. MacBasic by Andy Hertzfeld, Folklore. 1985-06.
  7. Did Apple Conspire to Kill Macbasic? by John C. Dvorak, InfoWorld p.58. 1985-11-11.

External links[]

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