MSX-Print from K. Ikeda, June 22 2000

Last updated on: July 1 2000

Hello, everybody over there in Europe! It's me, Ikeda. I went to the MSX&PC fair in Tilburg and I would like to thank everybody for their support.

Recently, I received the two questions below from ASCII via mr. Yokoi of Frontline.

Since I think that most of the non-Japanese MSX users don't know the meaning of this abbreviation, I would like to explain it to you.

Quite some time ago, when Kazuhiko Nishi was still the vice-president of the Microsoft- company, he provided miscellaneous personal computers with the Microsoft BASIC- language. It was then, that Nishi started thinking: "Why should it be necessary to provide every personal computer with BASIC? It's bothersome, really.". There, Nishi came up with something. "That's it! If the hardware of all the personal computers would be the same, the necessity of providing every single computer with BASIC will disappear!", he thought.

Then, he discussed the subject with mr. Matsushita from the Matsushita Electronics company, and they started the research in order to develop a new personal computer. The personal computer developed by the Taiwanese company Spectravideo caught their attention, but since the basic abilities were low, they improved the Spectravideo-computer and developed a new system. They gave this system the name "MNX". M stood for the M of Matsushita, N stood for the N of Nishi and the X was standing for the unlimited power.

However, since the name of MNX was already registered by then, the name couldn't be used. Since the company that was going to handle the sales of the new computer was Sony, the name was changed into "MSX", of which the S stood for Sony. The M still stood for Matsushita Electronics.

Nishi negotiated with miscellaneous companies in order to start the sale of the MSX. During the negotiations with Yamaha, they said:"M is the M of Matsushita Electronics, S is the S of Sony and X is the sign for Yamaha, the third participating company!". Successively, during the negotiations with Sanyo, the same kind of thing was said:"M is the M of Matsushita Electronics, S is the S of Sony and X stands for Sanyo!". Nishi continued succeeding in his negotiations in this way. The result was, that during the press conference after the presentation of the MSX-system, the names associated with the development of MSX had become a total of thirteen companies.

Afterwards, Nishi said to Bill Gates: "MSX stands for the company of Microsoft.". That's why in foreign countries people started thinking that MSX was the abbreviation for "MicroSoft eXchanging1".

The above is what Nishi said in a lecture he gave at the MSX Den-Yu land fair that was opened in August, 1999. The same story is also written in the book below:

The article "The samurai of electronic thinking" ("Dennou no samuraitachi") published in "Business Japan, April 1997" issued by the Business Japan company.

Kazuhiko Nishi, I'm sorry I forgot the detailed information about the publisher etc.

Written by Kuniji Ikeda
Translated by Rieks Warendorp Torringa
Footnote by Alex Wulms

Kuniji Ikeda (Jaka BUSH)
Miri Software MSX Computer System Giappone

1Actually, outside Japan, the MSX community has always believed that the X in MSX stood for Extended (from Microsoft Extended BASIC: MSX BASIC). Microsoft eXchange did not exist back in '83 when the MSX system was designed...