IBM Personal Computer


As with other large computer companies, its new products typically required about four to five years for development, and a well publicized quote from an industry analyst was, "IBM bringing out a personal computer would be like teaching an elephant to tap dance." IBM had previously produced microcomputers, such as 1975's IBM 5100, but targeted them towards businesses; the 5100 had a price tag as high as $20,000.


The microcomputer market was large enough for IBM's attention, with $15000 million in sales by 1979 and projected annual growth of more than 40% during the early 1980s.


The specifications of the IBM PC became one of the most popular computer design standards in the world, and the only significant competition it faced from a non-compatible platform throughout the 1980s was from the Apple Macintosh product line.

The majority of modern personal computers are distant descendants of the IBM PC. == History == Prior to the 1980s, IBM had largely been known as a provider of business computer systems.

As the 1980s opened, their market share in the growing minicomputer market failed to keep up with competitors, while other manufacturers were beginning to see impressive profits in the microcomputer space.

The microcomputer market was large enough for IBM's attention, with $15000 million in sales by 1979 and projected annual growth of more than 40% during the early 1980s.

Other large technology companies had entered it, such as Hewlett-Packard, Texas Instruments and Data General, and some large IBM customers were buying Apples. As early as 1980 there were rumors of IBM developing a personal computer, possibly a miniaturized version of the IBM System/370, and Matsushita acknowledged publicly that it had discussed with IBM the possibility of manufacturing a personal computer in partnership, although this project was abandoned.

Their entry into the home computer market needed to be competitively priced. In 1980, IBM president John Opel, recognizing the value of entering this growing market, assigned William C.

The team received permission to expand to 150 people by the end of 1980, and one day more than 500 IBM employees called in asking to join. === Design process === The design process was kept under a policy of strict secrecy, with none of the other IBM divisions knowing what was going on. Several CPUs were considered, including the Texas Instruments TMS9900, Motorola 68000 and Intel 8088.

PC DOS rapidly established itself as the standard OS for the PC and remained the standard for over a decade, with a variant being sold by Microsoft themselves as MS-DOS. The PC included BASIC in ROM, a common feature of 1980s home computers.


Released on August 12, 1981, it was created by a team of engineers and designers directed by Don Estridge in Boca Raton, Florida. The machine was based on open architecture and a substantial market of third-party peripherals, expansion cards and software grew up rapidly to support it. The PC had a substantial influence on the personal computer market.

The 62-pin expansion bus slots were also designed to be similar to the Datamaster slots, and its keyboard design and layout would become the Model F keyboard shipped with the PC, but otherwise the PC design differed in many ways. The 8088 motherboard was designed in 40 days, with a working prototype created in four months, demonstrated in January 1981.

The design was essentially complete by April 1981, when it was handed off to the manufacturing team.


In 1983 they sold more than 750,000 machines, while DEC, a competitor whose success among others had spurred them to enter the market, had sold only 69,000 machines in that period. Software support from the industry grew instantly, with the IBM nearly instantly becoming the primary target for most microcomputer software development.

A 1983 study of corporate customers found that two thirds of large customers standardizing on one computer chose the PC, compared to 9% for Apple.

IBM also sold the 5153 color monitor for this purpose, but it was not available at release and would not be released until March 1983. MDA scanned at a higher frequency and required a proprietary monitor, the IBM 5151.

Support for the slightly larger nine sector per track 180 kB and 360 kB formats was added in March 1983. Third-party software support grew extremely quickly, and within a year the PC platform was supplied with a vast array of titles for any conceivable purpose. ==Reception== Reception of the IBM PC was extremely positive.


Hardware support also grew rapidly, with 30-40 companies competing to sell memory expansion cards within a year. By 1984, IBM's revenue from the PC market was $4 billion, more than twice that of Apple.


The IBM floppy controller card provides an external 37-pin D-sub connector for attachment of an external disk drive, although IBM did not offer one for purchase until 1986. As was common for home computers of the era, the IBM PC offered a port for connecting a cassette data recorder.


For instance, as of June 2006 (23–25 years after release) IBM PC and XT models were still in use at the majority of U.S.

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