1944 - 1971
1972 - 1981
1981 - 1990
1990 - 1998
Intel introduces its 200-KHz 8008 chip, the first 8-bit microprocessor. It accesses 16KB of memory. The processor was originally developed for Computer Terminal Corporation (later called Datapoint). It uses 3500 transistors, based on 10-micron technology. Speed is 60,000 instructions per second.
Bill Gates and Paul Allen form the Traf-O-Data company. They had developed an 8008-based computer hardware/software system for recording automobile traffic flow on a highway.
5.25 inch diskettes first appear.
The first prototype Alto workstation computer is turned on at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center. Its first screen display is a image of the Sesame Street character Cookie Monster.
Design work is completed on the Micral, the first non-kit computer based on a microprocessor (the Intel 8008). Built in France, the Micral is advertised in the U.S., but is not successful there.
The term "microcomputer" first appears in print, in reference to the Micral.
Scelbi Computer Consulting Company offers the first computer kit in the U.S. using a microprocessor, the Intel 8008-based Scelbi-8H, for US$565, with 1KB programmable memory. An additional 15KB is available for US$2760.
Bob Metcalfe invents the Ethernet connectivity system.
Intel releases its 2-MHz 8080 chip, an 8-bit microprocessor. It can access 64KB of memory. It uses 6000 transistors, base on 6-micron technology. Speed is 0.64 MIPS (Million of Instructions Per Second).
Bravo is developed for the Xerox Alto computer. It is the first WYSIWYG ("What You See Is What You Get") program for a personal computer.
Popular Electronics publishes an article by MITS announcing the Altair 8800 computer for US$439 in kit form. It uses the Intel 8080 processor. The Altair pictured on the cover of the magazine is actually a mock-up, as an actual computer was not available.
Motorola introduces its 6800 chip, an early 8-bit microprocessor used in microcomputers and industrial and automotive control devices.
Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie develop the C programming language.
RCA releases the 1802 processor, running at a speedy 6.4 MHz. It is one of the first RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Chip). It is used on a variety of devices, from video games to NASA space probes.
Bill Gates and Paul Allen license their newly written BASIC to MITS, their first customer. This is the first computer language program written for a personal computer.
Gates and Allens Traf-O-Data company is renamed Micro-Soft (the hyphen is later dropped).
Intel introduces the 5-MHz 8085 microprocessor. Speed is 0.37 MIPS. It uses 6500 transistors, based on 3-micron technology. It supports an 8-bit bus. Operates on a single 5-volt power supply.
The Apple I computer board is sold in kit form, and delivered to stores by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Price: US$666.66.
Zilog releases the 2.5-MHz Z80, an 8-bit microprocessor whose instruction set is a superset of the Intel 8080.
The tradename "Microsoft" is registered.
Advanced Micro Devices and Intel sign a patent cross-license agreement, giving Advanced Micro Devices the right to copy Intel's microcode.
Apple Computer moves from Jobs' garage to an office in Cupertino.
Microsoft ships "Microsoft FORTRAN" for CP/M-based computers.
Intel introduces the 4.77-MHz 8086 microprocessor which was created by two engineers in just three weeks. It uses 16-bit registers, a 16-bit data bus, and 29,000 transistors, using 3-micron technology. Price is US$360. It can access 1 MB of memory. Speed is 0.33 MIPS. Later speeds included 8-MHz (0.66 MIPS) and 10-MHz (0.75 MIPS).
Atari announces the Atari 400 and 800 personal computers, using the 6502 microprocessor.
Dennis Hayes forms Hayes Microcomputer Products.
Microsoft begins developing BASIC for the Intel 8086 processor.
Taito develops and releases the Space Invaders arcade game in Japan and arcade centers.
Apple Computer releases DOS 3.2.
Zilog ships the 16-bit Z8000 processor.
Software Arts demonstrates VisiCalc at the 4th West Coast Computer Fair. Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston wrote it during 1978-79, under the company name Software Arts, under contract to Personal Software.
Intel introduces the 4.77-MHz 8088 microprocessor. It was created as a stepping stone from the 8086, as it operates on 16 bits internally, but supports an 8-bit data bus, to use existing 8-bit device-controlling chips. It contains 29,000 transistors, using 3-micron technology, and can address 1MB of memory. Speed is 0.33 MIPS. A later version operates at 8-MHz, for a speed of 0.75 MIPS.
Clive Sinclair creates Sinclair Research.
Motorola's 68000 16-bit microprocessor appears. It uses 68,000 transistors, giving it its name.
Personal Software releases VisiCalc for the Apple II, for US$100.
Atari founder Nolan Bushnell leaves the company, to manage Pizza Time Theatre.
IBM introduces the IBM 3800 laser printer, capable of printing 20,000 lines per minute.
Morrow Designs advertises the 26 MB DISCUS M26 hard drive system for US$5000
Satellite Software International ships WordPerfect 1.0 for Data General minicomputers.
Seattle Computer Products decides to make their own disk operating system (DOS), due to delays by Digital Research in releasing a CP/M-86 operating system.
Universal Data Systems announces the 202LP 1200 bps modem, connecting directly into the phone line, requiring no additional power.
Seagate Technologies announces the first Winchester 5.25-inch hard disk drive.
Steve Ballmer joins Microsoft.
IBM meets with Microsoft again, and shows plans for Project Chess, a personal computer. Bill Gates argues that IBM should use the 16-bit 8086, rather than the 8-bit 8080 processor.
QDOS 0.10 (Quick and Dirty Operating System) is shipped by Seattle Computer Products. Even though it had been created in only two man-months, the DOS worked surprisingly well. A week later, the EDLIN line editor was created. EDLIN was supposed to last only six months, before being replaced.
Microsoft announces the Microsoft XENIX OS, a portable and commercial version of the Unix operating system for the Intel 8086, Zilog Z8000, Motorola M68000, and Digital Equipment PDP-11.
Microsoft's Paul Allen contacts Seattle Computer Products' Tim Patterson, asking for the rights to sell SCP's DOS to an unnamed client (IBM). Microsoft pays less than US$100,000 for the rights.
Apple Computer becomes a publicly held company, selling 4.6 million shares at US$22 per share. More than 40 Apple employees and investors become instant millionaires.
Seattle Computer Products renames QDOS to 86-DOS, releasing it as version 0.3. Microsoft then buys non-exclusive rights to market 86-DOS.
Philips and Sony create the CD-Audio standard for optical disk storage of digital audio.
CompuServe merges with H&R Block, and renames MicroNET to CompuServe Information Service.
Sony Electronics introduces the 3.5 inch floppy disk and drive, double-sided, double-density, holding up to 875KB unformatted.
Panasonic and Quasar unveil hand-held computers, made by Matsushita. The units use a 1-MHz 6502 CPU, and weighs just 14 ounces (397 grams).
Microsoft reorganizes into Microsoft Incorporated, with Bill Gates as President and Chairman, and Paul Allen as Executive Vice President. Later in the year it is renamed Microsoft Corporation.
Microsoft buys all rights to DOS from Seattle Computer Products, and the name MS-DOS is adopted.
Novell Data Systems ships the Novell Data Management Computer, with the ability to share its hard drive space with other computers through software comtrol and network cards.
Hayes Microcomputer Products advertises the Smartmodem 300, which becomes the industry standard.
College professor James Clark found Silicon Graphics
Intel and Advanced Micro Devices agree to collaborate on the design and production of new products.
Apple Computer prohibits mail-order sales of Apple computers, claiming there is no provision for customer education or services.