Watcom International Corporation was founded in 1981 by three former employees of the Computer Systems Group (Fred Crigger, Ian McPhee, and Jack Schueler) at the University of Waterloo, in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Watcom produced a variety of tools, including the well-known Watcom C compiler introduced in 1988.
Waterloo BASIC programming language was one of the earliest Watcom products and predates the existence of the company. During 1978 to 1979 Waterloo BASIC was developed targeting the IBM Series/1. In 1979 the system was ported to VM/CMS running on the IBM 370, 3030, and 4300 computers and an agreement was reached with IBM to market the compiler. Between 1980 and 1983 updated versions were released including ports to the MVS/TSO and VM/CMS. In addition to Waterloo BASIC some of the other early products included WATCOM APL, WATCOM GKS, WATCOM COBOL, WATCOM FORTRAN (WATFIV and WATFOR-77), WATCOM Pascal and the Waterloo 6809 Assembler. These were the basis and provided with the Commodore SuperPET.
In 1988, Watcom released their first C compiler for the IBM PC platform (and compatibles). It was released with a version number of 6 at a time when the latest version numbers of Borland's and Microsofts C Compilers was version 5. These version numbers signified nothing and were used for marketing purposes. The compiler could create tighter and faster code than its competition.
In 1992, Watcom began a move into the client-server arena with the introduction of Watcom SQL, a SQL database server product. Being a very small company (about 8 developers) they managed to produce high quality software, famous among software developers. Watcom SQL is still in production, now under the name Sybase SQL Anywhere.
In 1993, the VX-REXX system was released.
Watcom was acquired by Powersoft in 1994, and Powersoft merged with Sybase in 1995. In May 2000, Sybase spun off their mobile and embedded computing division into its own company, Sybase iAnywhere (formerly iAnywhere Solutions Inc.). Sybase tried to re-target the Watcom compiler into a visual RAD tool, Optima++, but in 2003, because the product competed directly with the Sybase offering PowerBuilder, the product was discontinued. Its sister product, Optima-J was continued. In 2003, the Watcom C/C++ and Fortran compilers were released as an open source project under a new name, Open Watcom.
See also 
Graham, J. W., J. W. Welch, K. I. McPhee 1983. Waterloo BASIC Primer and Reference Manual. WATCOM Publications.
- "Information for Watcom products and services has moved!". watcom.com. 1996. Archived from the original on 1997-10-14.
- History - Open Watcom. OpenWatcom.com wiki.
- Cave, W. Dale (1 March 1995). Developing C++ NLMs. Novell.com Support.