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Initially developed for Xenix systems, Microsoft word was not always what it is today. Microsoft Word was originally named "Multi-Tool Word," though it was simplified to "Microsoft Word" before release. Being one of the first programs to be designed for use with a mouse, it was unpopular on release, due to the learning curve. Despite initial troubles, Microsoft stuck with it, steadily improving it over six years. After porting Word to Mac and MS-DOS, the Mac sales were above the MS-DOS sales for over four years. In 1987, Microsoft attempted to synchonize the Mac and MS-DOS version numbers with Word 3.0. 3.0 also introduced the still-used RTF format, but had many errors; these errors were fixed with word 3.01. After the mid 1990s, the Mac version of word never had any major competitors. In 1989, Word was released on Windows for the first time. In 1990, when Windows 3.0 released, sales increased, making Microsoft the market leader for IBM PC-compatible word processors. After releasing Word 5.5 for DOS, which had an interface similar to the Windows version, Microsoft was made aware of the Y2K bug, causing them to release Word 5.5 for DOS for free. In 1991, Microsoft attempted to merge the code for Windows and Mac editions by rewriting the entire program. They later determined that this would take too long, and formed Microsoft Word 6.0 from the Windows 2.0 version of Word in 1993; Word 6.0 attempted to synchonize all OS versions of Word again, with mixed results.
Bad reviews plagued the first versions of Microsoft Word. In 1984, BYTE called the documentation for Word 1.1 and 2.0 for DOS "a complete farce." Claiming the software was "clever, put together well, and perform(ed) some extraordinary feats," but surmised "especially when operated with the mouse, (it) has many more limitations than benefits ... extremely frusterating to learn and operate efficently." PC Magazine's review had a similar opinion to state, saying "I've run into weird word processors before, but this is the first time one's nearly knocked me down for the count." They however, acknowledged that Word's innovations were the first to make the reviwer even consider switching from WordStar. Despite the review citing an amazing WYSIWYG display, sophisticated print formatting, windows, and footnoting as qualities, it seemed to more dislike the many small flaws, including very slow performance, "documentation apparently produced by Madam Sadie's Pain Palace," and more. Word was "two releases away from potential greatness," the review concluded. In 1987, Compute!'s Apple Applications stated that "despite a certain awkwardness," Word 3.01 "will likely become the major Macintosh word processor" including "far too many features to list here." Despite the missing true WYSIWYG, the reviewer finished with "Word is marvelous. It's like a Mozart or Edison, whose occasional gaucherie we excuse because of his great gifts." In 1989, Compute! updated their standing on Word by stating "Word 5.0's integration of text and graphics made it 'a solid engine for basic desktop publishing.'" Microsoft Word accounted for 80% of the worldwide word processing market in the first quarter of 1996.