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    The first IBM PC was released 35 years ago yesterday - How it changed computers forever

    This is a discussion on The first IBM PC was released 35 years ago yesterday - How it changed computers forever within the General Computing and Internet forums, part of the Community channel category; *** This article was actually posted yesterday on the anniversary *** The first IBM PC was released 35 years ago ...

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      The first IBM PC was released 35 years ago yesterday - How it changed computers forever

      *** This article was actually posted yesterday on the anniversary ***

      The first IBM PC was released 35 years ago today - How it changed computers forever
      On this day 35 years ago the first modern computer was released to the public. It was the IBM 5150 and the pioneer of personal home computing, thanks to its innovative design, specifications and price tag. Costing a hefty $1,565, which is the equivalent of $4,150 today (3,200), the IBM 5150 wasn't necessarily affordable. But its small size and IBM's ability to produce a a high volume of them made it the first accessible computer on the market.

      "This is the computer for just about everyone who has ever wanted a personal system at the office, on the university campus or at home," said C. B. Rogers, then-IBM vice president, at the 5150's launch. "We believe its performance, reliability and ease of use make it the most advanced, affordable personal computer in the marketplace."

      Within two years of its release tens of thousands of homes and businesses were fitted with an IBM PC and rival companies such as Dell and HP started to developing the machines that would become the computers of today.

      How it was born

      Before the 5150, IBM computers were significantly more expensive to run, cumbersome and energy intensive, according to the company's history.

      Not long before the 5150 debuted, IBM computers had cost as much as $9 million to run and needed a staff of 60 people and an air-conditioned room that took up a quarter of an acre. The company's entry-level computer, the IBM System/38 minicomputer cost $90,000.

      But when the idea of a home computer was first floated at IBM it was met with a cold response: "Why would anyone want to take a computer home with them?"

      Facing competition from the likes of Apple, Commodore and Atari, then-chief executive Frank Cary decided IBM needed to buy one of those smaller computers or design its own microcomputer that would cost a seemingly impossible $1,500.

      "Come back with a prototype in a month," he told William Lowe, who was a systems manager.

      For the first time in the company's history it used external products inside the computer, including Microsoft's operating system QDOS and Intel's 4.77MHz 8088 processor.

      The computer was unveiled on August 12 1981 at a press conference at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. It had 16KB of RAM and came with a few pre-installed applications, including a spreadsheet called VisiCalc and a word processor called EasyWriter. It didn't have a hard drive, but was available in a larger 256KB size.

      When it went on sale, the IBM 5150 came with a keyboard, anti-glare screen, printer, floppy disk drive and built-in speakers.

      On its 25th birthday, IBM described the 5150 as "a very small machine that could not only process information faster than those ponderous mainframes of the 1960s but also hook up to the home TV set, process text and store more words than a huge cookbook."



      A few months later, the company released the above advert for the PC, which was inspired by Charlie Chaplin and at odds with IBM's traditionally corporate image. "We were dealing with a whole new audience that never thought of IBM as part of their lives," Charles Pankenier, the director of communications at the time, told Time Magazine.

      It took two years for the IBM PC to become a household name, but by 1983 people were buying them in the tens of thousands and Time Magazine replaced its "Man of the Year" with the personal computer as the "Machine of the Year".

      Dell, Compaq and HP soon emerged with "IBM compatible" machines, which gave way to laptops, tablets and smartphones over the next three decades.


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      Re: The first IBM PC was released 35 years ago yesterday - How it changed computers forever

      Quote Originally Posted by Scubbie View Post
      *** This article was actually posted yesterday on the anniversary ***

      The first IBM PC was released 35 years ago today - How it changed computers forever
      Whilst not entirely relevant, I would recommend people watch the AMC series Halt and Catch Fire which is based (inititally) around the early development of the IBM-compatible PC.
      Not sure if it's on anywhere in UK but definitely worth a download (or subscription - if available otherwise!).
      Please note the views and recommendations in my posts are my own and in no way reflect the views of Sky

     

     

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