Feeds

The IBM PC is 30

On 12 August 1981, the world changed

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Xperia Z3: Crikey, Sony – ANOTHER flagship phondleslab?
The Fourth Amendment... and it IS better
Microsoft to enter the STRUGGLE of the HUMAN WRIST
It's not just a thumb war, it's total digit war
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.