I’m no fan of April Fools, but this one is pretty good: Microsoft today released MS-DOS Mobile, a new Windows Phone app “built from the ground up” to bring back the C:\ prompt. Sadly, my DOS skills long ago atrophied, but this app actually includes a fully-working copy of Microsoft’s pre-Windows OS.
“The MS-DOS Mobile preview is an essential download,” Microsoft’s Luke Peters writes in the Lumia Conversations blog. “Whether you’re going back to BASIC, or simply booting into DOS for the first time, MS-DOS Mobile marks the next step in Microsoft’s reinvention of productivity.”
Plus you gotta love the name, which lampoons Microsoft’s decision to reuse the Windows Mobile brand in lieu of Windows Phone.
Also classic is the companion video for the release, which skewers a number of Microsoft conventions—the app is referred to as a “technical preview,” but I just wish they had figured out a way to slip “partition stitching” in there somewhere—and also Apple: There’s a pukey designer type who explains that his job was to “strip everything right back and focus on the essence of the OS.” Somewhere, Jony Ives is taking notes.
What’s most interesting about MS-DOS Mobile is that it actually works. It’s got the full MS-DOS command set, and Microsoft expects users to find some secrets hidden in there too, all using the command line. A couple of cool secrets: Go to C:\GAMES\RPS\RPS.EXE to find the Rock Paper Scissors game or type WIN to launch Windows 3.1.
You can even use it to launch apps on your phone. Here are they are: