Re: That was oh, more than 30 years ago.
Early days of computing? But this is about MS Word on Mac OS X. Mac OS X came out in 2002, superseding "classic" MacOS which came out in 1984. Neither date counts as "the early days of computing". ASCII's first version was 1963, nearly 40 years before MacOS X.
ASCII (7 bit) doesn't have accented characters, but Macs did from the start: they started out using an 8 bit character set.
The article states MacOS X provided OS support for right to left script from late 2002 (AFAICT). Lots of Mac apps have allowed right to left script starting way back then. The problem is that it's taken until now for MS to get with it.