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Apple Wiki

WriteNow was an early word processor application program released for the Macintosh in 1985. It was one of the first applications to be offered for sale for Macintosh and NeXT computers. Prior to that, most if not all Macintosh applications, such as MacWrite and MacPaint, came free with the operating system.


WriteNow rectified several limitations of MacWrite, being able to handle large documents, to check spelling, and to include footnotes. It was lean and fast, being written in assembly language; it could fit with an operating system on a 400 KB floppy disk. WriteNow went through several versions, culminating around 1988 with version 4.0.2, which remained lean and fast. Version 4 included features such as definable styles and tables.


WriteNow began life in a building on the Apple campus away from the building in which the Macintosh and MacWrite were being developed. Apparently Steve Jobs was concerned that those programming MacWrite were not going to be ready for the 1984 release date of the Macintosh, so he commissioned the WriteNow team. Members of the WriteNow team knew about MacWrite, but members of the MacWrite team did not know about WriteNow. As it happened, MacWrite was ready, so WriteNow was later made available as a commercial product.

WriteNow represents an ideal Macintosh application, hence it was a commercial failure. It has a simple, intuitive graphical user interface, eliminating the need for a manual. It has no copy protection, and it works in pretty much every version of the classic Mac OS, including the Classic environment under Mac OS X, though extension conflicts are known to occur in Mac OS 8.5 and later. Around 1989, WriteNow was purchased by WordStar. Shortly after that WordStar was purchased by The Learning Company, and WriteNow was quietly buried.


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