Feeds

The IBM PC is 30

On 12 August 1981, the world changed

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Send in the clones

For many users, MS-DOS was sufficient, and the operating system became the standard, helped by Microsoft's entrepreneurial willingness to license MS-DOS to other hardware manufacturers. They, noting the stamp of authority the IBM brand had now placed on personal computing, were quick to emulate its offering, an approach made easier by the Chess team's use of third-party components.

The PC's Bios belonged to IBM, but clever coders worked to produce their own Bios implementations that, to the host OS and applications, would be indistinguishable from Big Blue's own.

Columbia Data Products

Columbia Data Products' 384
Source: MyNewOffice

Third-party Bioses, IBM's open hardware architecture and Microsoft's willingess to license MS-DOS made cloning an easier route to market than developing a machine from scratch. This serendipitous circumstance shifted the market IBM-ward and would quickly define personal computing's first de facto standard.

Columbia Data Products, introduced the first IBM-compatible computer in June 1982. The following November, Compaq announced the Compaq Portable, the first carry-around IBM clone, though the machine wouldn't ship until March 1983.

By which time, IBM was pushing its machine forward. That month, it introduced the XT - aka the 5160 - a 5150 with a built-in hard drive. Variants of the 5160 followed in October and, a month later, IBM introduced the ill-fated PCjr. It flopped, but February 1984's IBM PC Portable and the August-announced PC AT - aka the 5170, with a faster, 6MHz CPU - increased the PC's customer base even further.

Compaq Portable

The Compaq Portable
Source: OldComputers.net

The 6MHz IBM PC XT 286 debuted in 1986 - a year before the original 5150 was finally discontinued - and the series would go on to adopt each new generation of Intel processor, newer versions of MS-DOS and Windows. By now, though, IBM was just one manufacturer among many and its standing had been supplanted by Microsoft and Intel.

'PC' was now a generic term for machines using a Microsoft OS and an Intel processor.

IBM would go on to create the hugely popular ThinkPad line of notebook computers, launching the first in October 1992. The near total commoditisation of desktop and laptop personal computers persuaded IBM to exit this now low-margin business, and in 2005 it sold the whole lot to China's Lenovo. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
Intel's LAME DUCK mobile chips gobbled by CASH COW
Chipzilla won't have money-losing mobe unit to kick about anymore
First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you
Black Screen of Death plagues early Google-mobe batch
Ford's B-Max: Fiesta-based runaround that goes THUNK
... when you close the slidey doors, that is ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?