MP/M was a fairly advanced operating system for its era, at least on microcomputers. It included a priority-scheduled multitaskingkernel (before such a name was used, the kernel was referred to as the nucleus) with memory protection, concurrent input/output (XIOS) and support for spooling and queueing. It also allowed for each user to run multiple programs, and switch between them.
The system required a minimum of 32 kB of RAM to run, but this left little memory for user applications. In order to support reasonable setups, MP/M allowed for memory to be switched in and out of the machine's "real memory" area. So for instance a program might be loaded into a "bank" of RAM that was not addressable by the CPU, and when it was time for the program to run that bank of RAM would be "switched" to appear in low memory (typically the lower 32 or 48 kB) and thus become visible to the OS. This technique, known as bank switching was subsequently added to the single user version of CP/M with version 3.0.
One of the primary uses of MP/M, perhaps to the surprise of DRI, was as a "power user" version of CP/M for a single user. The ability to run several programs at the same time and address large amounts of memory made the system worth the extra price.
Like CP/M before it, MP/M was eventually ported to the Intel 8086, and appeared as MP/M-86.
MP/M-86 (BDOS 2.x) absorbed some of the technology of CP/M-86 to become Concurrent CP/M-86 (BDOS 3.0). In December 1983, a DOS emulator named PC-MODE became available as an optional module for Concurrent CP/M-86 3.1 (BDOS 3.1), shipping on 21 February 1984, and the system was further developed into the MS-DOS compatible Concurrent DOS (BDOS 3.1 and higher). This in turn continued to evolve into FlexOS and Multiuser DOS and as such is still in use in some industrial applications.
^Digital Research (1981): MP/M-86 Operating System - System Guide. Digital Research, Pacific Groove, September 1981 with October 1981 corrections ().
^Digital Research (1984): PC-Mode bridges CP/M and PC DOS. Digital Dialogue - Employee Newsletter of Digital Research Inc., Volume 3, Number 1, p. 3 ().
^Digital Research (1984): Concurrent CP/M ships early in response to team effort. Digital Dialogue - Employee Newsletter of Digital Research Inc., Volume 3, Number 1, p. 1 ().
^Digital Research. Concurrent™ DOS bridges PC DOS, CP/M. Digital Research News - For Digital Research Users Everywhere, Volume 4, No. 2, p. 3, May 1984: '"Concurrent DOS Release 3.1 is rapidly gaining momentum and support from a wide range of microcomputer manufacturers," Wandryk said. "Some 60 hardware companies have licensed the product since it was released in early March."'