A Brief Chronology of the PC Revolution

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May 1966:  Steven Gray founded the Amateur Computer Society, and began publishing the ACS Newsletter.  Some consider this to be the birth date of personal computing.
1969:  Bill Gates and Paul Allen, calling themselves the "Lakeside Programming Group" sign an agreement with Computer Center Corporation to report bugs in PDP-10 software, in exchange for computer time.
1969:  Unix is developed at AT&T's Bell Laboratories.
December 1970:  Gilbert Hyatt filed a patent application entitled "Single Chip Integrated Circuit Computer Architecture," the first basic patent on the microprocessor.
December 1970:  Information Sciences Corporation contacted Bill Gates and Paul Allen, offering them PDP-10 computer time in exchange for their programming expertise.
November 1971:  Intel introduced its 4-bit bus, 108-KHz 4004 chip--the first microprocessor.  Initial price was US$200, and speed was 60,000 operations per second.  It used 2300 transistors, based on 10-micron technology (The die for the chip measured 3x4 mm.).  It could address 640 bytes.  Documentation manuals were written by Adam Osborne.
November 1971:  Intel announced the first microcomputer, the MCS-4 system, which used the 4004 microprocessor, 4001 ROM chip, 4002 RAM chip and 4003 shift register chip.
Summer 1971:  Steve Wozniak and Bill Fernandez built a computer with lights and switches, from parts rejected by local companies.  They called it the Cream Soda Computer.
1971:  The National Radio Institute introduced the first computer kit for US$503.
1971:  The Kenback Corporation introduced the Kenback-1 computer, for US$750.  It used a 1KB MOS memory made by Intel.
April 1972:  Intel introduced its 200-KHz 8008 chip, the first 8-bit microprocessor, which accessed 16KB of memory.  The processor was originally developed for Computer Terminal Corporation (later called Datapoint) and used 3500 transistors, based on 10-micron technology.  Speed was 60,000 instructions per second.
1972:   Gates and Allen formed the Traf-O-Data Company.  They had developed an 8008-based computer hardware/software system for recording automobile traffic flow on a highway.
1973:  Gary Kildall wrote a simple operating system in PL/M language and called it CP/M (Control Program/Monitor).
April 1974:  Intel released its 2-MHz 8080 chip, an 8-bit microprocessor that could access 64KB of memory.  It used 6000 transistors, based on 6-micron technology.  Speed was 0.64 MIPS.
1974:  Despite being US$300,000 in debt, Ed Roberts was able to borrow an additional US$65,000 from the bank to complete work on what would become the Altair.
February 1975:  Allen met with Roberts to demonstrate the newly written BASIC interpreter for the Altair.  Despite never having touched an Altair before, the BASIC worked flawlessly.
February 1975:  Gates and Allen licensed their newly written BASIC to MITS, their first customer.  This was the first computer language program written for a personal computer.
April 1975:  Gates and Allen founded Micro-Soft (the hyphen was later dropped).
February 1976:  Gates wrote software routines for BASIC on the Altair to use diskettes for storage.
February 1976:  David Bunnell published an open letter from Gates to the microcomputer hobbyists, complaining of software piracy.
March 1976:  Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs finished work on a computer circuit board, that they called the Apple I computer.
April1976:  Gates wrote a second open letter to computer hobbyists, condemning software piracy.
April1976:  Jobs and Wozniak formed the Apple Computer Company, on April Fool's Day.
November 1976:  The tradename "Microsoft" was registered.
1976:  Chuck Peddle designed the Commodore PET.
January 1977:  The Apple Computer Company was incorporated.
February 1977:  Gates and Allen signed a partnership agreement to officially create the Microsoft company.
August 1977:  Radio Shack (a division of Tandy Corp.) announced the TRS-80 microcomputer, with Z80 CPU, 4KB RAM, 4KB ROM, keyboard, black-and-white video display, and tape cassette for US$600.
June 1978:   Intel introduced the 4.77-MHz 8086 microprocessor, using 16-bit registers, a16-bit data bus and 29,000 transistors, based on 3-micron technology.  Price was US$360.  The computer could access 1 MB of memory at a speed of 0.33 MIPS.
May 1979:  Tandy/Radio Shack announced the TRS-80 Model II.
July 1979:  CompuServe begans a service to computer hobbyists called MicroNET, offering bulletin boards, databases, and games.
July 1979:   Clive Sinclair created Sinclair Research.
October 1979:  Atari began shipping the Atari 400 and Atari 800 personal computers.   The 400 cames with 8KB and sold for US$550, while the 800 solld for US$1000.
Late 1979:  Radio Shack began shipping the TRS-80 Model II to users.
December 1979:  Sears began selling Atari home computers.
January 1980:  The first issue of Computer Shopper was published.
March 1980:  Satellite Software International shipped WordPerfect 1.0 for Data General minicomputers.
April 1980:  Commodore's Jack Tramiel announced at a strategy meeting in London, England, with the intention to build and market a US$300 home computer in the USA.
July 1980:  Radio Shack introduced the TRS-80 Model III with a Zilog Z80 CPU, priced from US$700 to US$2500.
August 1980:  Radio Shack introduced the TRS-80 Color Computer that used the Motorola 6809E CPU with 4KB RAM, and selling for US$400.
August 1980:  Radio Shack introduced the TRS-80 Pocket Computer which featured a 24 character display with 1.9KB of programmable memory.  Price was US$230.
August 1980:  IBM asked Gates to write the operating system for their upcoming PC.
October 1980:  Gates, Allen and Steve Ballmer met with IBM in Boca Raton, Florida, to deliver a report to IBM in which they proposed that Microsoft be put in charge of the entire software development process for IBM's new microcomputer, including converting Seattle Computer Products' SCP-DOS to run on the computer.
1980:  Sinclair Research shipped the ZX80 in North America, for US$200.
1980:  CompuServe merged with H&R Block and renamed MicroNET to CompuServe Information Service.
Commodore Japan introduced the VIC-1001 (later called the VIC-20 in the USA) at the Seibu Department Store in Tokyo with 5 KB RAM,and a 22-column color video output capability.
January 1981:  Commodore announced the VIC-20, with full-size 61-key plus four function key keyboard, 5KB RAM expandable to 32KB, 6502A CPU, 22 character by 23 line text display, and color graphics, for US$300.  During its life, production peaked at 9,000 units per day.
June 1981:  Microsoft reorganized into Microsoft Incorporated, with Gates as President and Chairman, and Allen as Executive Vice President.
August 1981:  IBM announced the IBM 5150 PC Personal Computer, in New York.   The PC featured a 4.77-MHz Intel 8088 CPU, 64KB RAM, 40KB ROM, one 5.25-inch floppy drive (160KB capacity), and PC-DOS 1.0 (Microsoft's MS-DOS), for about US$3000.  A fully loaded version with color graphics cost US$6000.
October 1981:  The ZX81 was introduced to the American market, as the Timex TS1000, for US$150.
November 1981:  Microsoft, Incorporated became Microsoft Corporation.
January 1982: Commodore announced the Commodore 64 microcomputer, showing a prototype at the Winter CES, featuring a 6510 processor, 64KB RAM, 20KB ROM with Microsoft BASIC, custom sound, color graphics, for US$600.  During 1983, the price dropped to US$200, and it became the best selling computer of all time, with estimated sales of 17-22 million units.  It was the first personal computer with an integrated sound synthesizer chip.
January 1982: Radio Shack introduced the TRS-80 Model 16, using a 16-bit Motorola MC68000 microprocessor, a Z-80 microprocessor, 8-inch floppy drives, and optional 8-MB hard drive.
September 1982:  Commodore Business Machines began shipping the Commodore 64.  Suggested retail price was US$595.
December 1982:  Apple Computer became the first personal computer company to reach US$1 billion in annual sales.
January 1983:  Commodore Business Machines began selling the Commodore 64 through mass merchants, which dropped the retail price to US$400.
January 1983:  Apple Computer officially unveiled the Lisa (Lisa" stands for Local Integrated Software Architecture) computer that featured a 5-MHz 68000 microprocessor, 1MB RAM, 2MB ROM, a 12-inch B/W monitor, 720x364 graphics, dual 5.25-inch 860KB floppy drives, and a 5MB Profile hard drive.  It was slow, but innovative at an initial price of US$10,000.   The Lisa cost Apple Computer US$50 million to develop, but it was the first personal computer with a graphical user interface (GUI).  The software for the computer cost Apple Computer US$100 million to develop."  During its lifetime, 100,000 units were produced.
January 1983:  Commodore's sales of VIC-20s reached 1,000,000.
January 1983:  Commodore introduced the SX-64, the first color portable computer.  Weight was 10.5 kg, and it incorporated a 5-inch color monitor and one or two 5.25 inch floppy drive at a price of US$1600.
March 1983:  IBM announced the IBM PC XT which added a 10 MB hard drive, three more expansion slots, and a serial interface with 128KB RAM and a 360KB floppy drive at a cost of US$5000.
Microsoft announced MS-DOS 2.0 for PCs, supporting 10 MB hard drives, a tree-structured file system and 360 KB floppy disks.
May 1983:  Microsoft introduced its first mouse, "The Microsoft Mouse", including card and software, for US$200.
November 1983:  Microsoft officially released Microsoft Word 1.0, for US$375, or US$475 with the Microsoft Mouse.
January 1984:  Apple Computer ran its "1984" commercial during the NFL SuperBowl, introducing the Macintosh computer.  Apple Computer ran the ad only once, but dozens of news and talk shows replayed it, making it one of the most memorable ads in TV history.  The ad cost US$1.5 million.
Commodore announced that during 1983, Commodore sold US$1 billion worth of computers, the first personal computer company to do so.
July 1984:  Six months after its introduction, 100,000 Macintosh computers have been sold.
February 1987:  Commodore announced the Amiga 500 that featured a 68000 processor, 512KB RAM, floppy disk drive, and custom chips for animation, video, and audio.
April 1987:  IBM introduced the IBM Personal System/2 (PS/2) line, with IBM's first 386 PC, and 3.5-inch floppy drives as standard.  The PS/2 Model 30 used a 8-MHz 8086, the Model 50 and 60 used the 10-MHz 80286, and the Model 80 used a 20-MHz 80386.
April 1987:  Microsoft announced Microsoft Windows 2.0.
January 1989:  Intel introduced the 20-MHz 80386SX microprocessor with speed at 2.5 MIPS.
April 1989:  Intel announced the 25-MHz 486 microprocessor at Spring Comdex in Chicago, Illinois.  The chip integrated the 386, 387 math coprocessor, and added an 8KB primary cache, while using 1.2 million transistors, employing 1-micron technology.  Initial price was US$900; speed was 20 MIPS.
May 1990:  Microsoft introduced and shipped Microsoft Windows 3.0,having spent $US 3 million for opening-day marketing, as part of a US$10 million promotional campaign.
November 1990:  IBM introduced the PS/2 Model P75 portable computer, featuring 33-MHz 486, XGA, SCSI, 8 MB RAM, 10-inch gas-plasma VGA screen, 160MB SCSI hard drive, 1.44 MB floppy drive, mouse port.  Weight was 22 pounds, and price was US$15,990.  This was the first 486 portable personal computer with FCC Class B approval.
July 1991:  Microsoft changed the name of OS/2 v3.0 to Windows NT.
April 1992:  Microsoft shipped Windows 3.1 with 1 million copies of the new and upgrade versions sold through retail channels within the first 50 days.
March 1993:  Intel introduced the Pentium processor, using 32-bit registers, with a 64-bit data bus, giving it an address space of 4 GB.  It incorporated 3.1 million transistors, using 0.8-micron BiCMOS technology, with speeds of 60-MHz (100 MIPS) and 66-MHz (112 MIPS).  Prices were US$878 (60-MHz) and US$964 (66-MHZ).
July 1993:  Microsoft began shipping Windows NT Workstation 3.1 and Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1.
October 1993:  Microsoft shipped Windows for Workgroups 3.11.
February 1994:  Microsoft released Microsoft Windows 3.11, which included minor driver updates, but more importantly it gave Microsoft the opportunity to include a "certificate of authenticity" hologram sticker on the packaging, making illegal copying more difficult.
June 1994:  Microsoft was granted a trademark to the name "Windows" for software products.
1994:  American Online claimed its one-millionth subscriber.
March 1995:  Microsoft shipped Bob for Windows.
May 1995:  Power Computing, the first company to license Apple Computer's PowerMac technology, began shipping its first PowerMac clones.
August 1995:  Microsoft released Windows 95 with more than 20,000 retail stores offering copies for sale (1 million copies of the new and upgrade versions were sold through retail channels within the first 4 days.).
January 1996:  Corel purchased WordPerfect, Quattro Pro and the PerfectOffice application suite from Novell for US$180 million in cash, stock and future licensing royalties.
August 1996:  Microsoft released Windows NT 4.0.
April 1997:  Microsoft bought WebTV for US$425 million.
May 1998:  The US Department of Justice filed an antitrust complaint against Microsoft, regarding its marketing of Internet Explorer.
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