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A Quick History Of The Personal Computer

The question often arises - "Just what is a PC"?

Many individuals would instantly respond that the term "PC" stands for "Personal Computer". And in simpler terms, they would be correct. However, many people, particularly Apple Macintosh users, would argue that a personal computer is any compact computer system acquired and used by a person.

Calling something a PC implies that is something much more specialized than simply a desktop computer, electronic gadget or calculator. The term PC had its origins in the very first IBM (International Business Machines) PC that was introduced to the computer market in 1981.

The computer market leader for many years, the company IBM did literally invented the PC and set the standards and formats which are still with us even today. It is generally accepted that the direct historical origins of the PC started with the MITS Altair, initially introduced in 1975 - 11 years previously.

The significance of the IBM project was that the computer market leader, the marketing behemoth of the time IBM, both set the standards for the little Personal Computer and offered it to the marketplace. Previously IBM's emphasis was on big mainframe computer systems. This is where IBMs focus and most importantly its profit lay. Some would even say the real function of the IBM PC advancement project was not to develop a Personal Computer product and set requirements for the PC to come, but rather to prove that this rigid, hierarchical management company could devise a product in less than a year and a half.

Formerly all IBM items were developed exclusively in house by IBM, with just IBM developing and making the items with large revenue margins. In order to complete the job of building the first PC, the IBM team went outside of IBM. This process would be called sub-contracting in today's terms. Off the rack products, which met the IBMs PC standards and specifications were used. This process would be expanding in later years to build powerful systems like CAD workstations.

Formerly the small business and computer software market was fragmented into numerous small different pieces. There may have been a market for software application however for which computer type - Commodore, Apple, Sinclair etc etc. Since of the stamp of approval given by I.B.M. to desktop computer and the resulting standardization and volumes of IBM PCs software application designers might now compose and sell item to a large recognizable market.

The truth is that IBM clearly designed and created the very first PC in 1981 and controlled the development and advancement of the PC standard for numerous years later on that IBM lost control of the PC requirements by 1987 when they introduced their PS/2 line computer system systems. The IBM PS/2 line was an attempt by IBM head workplace to reign in the computer market back to IBM with a rather exclusive IBM hardware computer rather than more open requirements.


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