GW-BASIC was first seen with Compac DOS 1.13, released with the Compaq Portable in 1983, and it is analogous to IBM BASICA 1.10. It uses the CP/M-derived file control blocks for disk access and does not support subdirectories. The limited capacity of floppy disks did not hold that many programs in the fist place. IBM BASICA and GW-BASIC are largely ports of original MBASIC version 5.x, but with added features specifically for the IBM PC hardware. 

GW-BASIC is a true software implementation of BASIC that is identical to PC DOS for the IBM-PC. This allows competitive machines to provide a BASIC interpreter that do not rely on the IBM BIOS ROMs. Microsoft said that GW-BASIC is 100% compatible.

BASIC has been seen on several earlier computers and it seems that it will continue with the rise of the PC and its rivals. BASIC is powerful enough to build fairly complex program if desired. The 8088 processor however is troublesome with its segmented memory architecture which does limit the program size.