Friday, August 12, 2011

The IBM PC turns 30

Thirty years ago today, IBM introduced the Personal Computer (also known as by its model name, the 5150.) Whatever machine you're using Right Now to read this, I hope you'll pause for a moment and consider the fundamental role IBM's baby played in shaping today's technological landscape - and the companies that built it and continue to drive its evolution.

Some now-classic IBM miscues resulted in the company exiting the hardware business entirely with the 2004 sale of its PC division to Lenovo, a Chinese vendor. IBM's decisions also helped fuel Microsoft's meteoric rise into the software giant of its generation - and sealed IBM's inability to fully profit from the market it created.

Be that as it may, it's as close to fundamental history as it gets in the typically nostalgia-free tech biz, and I'd be remiss if I let today slip by without so much as a mention.

Your turn: Your first PC was a...?

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9 comments:

rashbre said...

My first proper laptop PC was a then state of the art Olivetti S20. It was surprisingly similar in form factor to many more recent devices but only had a mono 640x480 screen and a power supply about the same size as a house brick. It could run Windows 3.0.

I can remember the first time I used it on a plane (not at all common in those days). I (irrationally) checked that the plane didn't lurch when I switched it on.

I also used an IBM PS/2 P70 - more powerful - it was more like a small suitcase and weighed about 20 lbs and needed mains voltage to operate.

Keith said...

A Commodore 64...oh how I loved the peeks and pokes...

Max said...

My first real desktop computer was an Apple IIe I got in the early 80's to do payroll for the pizza place I was working for. It was top of the line with two, count 'em 2, 5¼ floppy drives. I had to do my own programming to keep track of employees earnings and after a couple of years I upgraded to a 20MB external hard drive, which was about the size of your average desktop computer these days. I remember thinking that there was no way I'd ever use the full 20MB, it was an incredible amount of storage. Now, that would hold only 2 or 3 of the pictures my Nikon takes.

Kavi said...

My first PC was what we call an 'assembled' PC. Where different parts were bought and assembled !

:)

Kavi said...

My first PC was what we call an 'assembled' PC. Where different parts were bought and assembled !

:)

Little Nell said...

As a teacher in UK I used Acorn BBC computers, which were great for teaching the kids the basics. At home we got a ZX Spectrum so that our own two children would have fun learning. Some of the clunky old games we played on there, like Manic Miner, were great. Now my three year old grandchildren use iPads - good grief!

Alexia said...

Mine was a Commodore - when I look at what I'm writing this on, I marvel :)

Barb said...

Wow, talk about a trip down memory lane. My first PC was the IBM PC-XT with 2 floppy drives (the real floppies), one for the software and one for the data. The software was the Smart System, pre-windows spreadsheet, word processor, and data. I think it predated Lotus 1-2-3 or came out at the same time. The printer was an Epson dot matrix. OMG! I was the only one in my Greyhound Lines division to have one and it was to replace three data clerks. I knew nothing about PCs but when the three boxes were delivered to my office I managed to get it all set up and working all by myself. 25 years later my husband calls me GG -- short for Gadget Gal -- because my love-affair with electronic gizmos continues to this day! Interesting side note, from 1995-1999 I managed a customer service team at American Express and our two main clients were IBM and ATT. I remember when buying a home PC we had to look for the IBM compatible softwares. How times have changed!

Catherine said...

I'm pretty sure there was an Apple computer in our house somewhere around 31 or 32 years ago - predating the IBM PC .
We had to load the programs from cassette tapes, it took about ten minutes or so.