Michal Necasek (via Hacker News):
Microsoft wanted to use forward-looking style separator, but IBM nixed the idea because it would have created an incompatibility with DOS 1.x, which already used forward as a breaker character, separating command options.[…]
Changing slash semantics had a clear potential for destroying data, especially when running batch files written for DOS 1.1. Something like "COPY FOO + BAR / A" has quite different semantics when / A is a switch vs when / A is a file or directory in the disk root directory.[…]
It has Microsoft's own word that the progress did not come from CP / M, not from IBM, but from December, and there is a clear mention of TOPS-10.
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