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The IBM Personal PC Went Down Kicking And Screaming

Title:

The IBM Personal PC Went Down Kicking And Screaming

Word Count:

604

Summary:

The public history of the PC began in August 1981, when IBM first announced “The IBM Personal Computer.” . This was The original PC. The time period for the development of this landmark, legacy product was approximately a year. It must be remembered that IBM was a centralized committee paper top down organization at the time. Everything went by snail mail and paper, communication was slow and lines of communication as well as the necessary and essential corporate approval u...

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PC,IBM.Computer,Computing,computers,vintage,apple,dos,microsoft,gates,jbs,mcrosoft,,\

Article Body:

The public history of the PC began in August 1981, when IBM first announced “The IBM Personal Computer.” . This was The original PC. The time period for the development of this landmark, legacy product was approximately a year. It must be remembered that IBM was a centralized committee paper top down organization at the time. Everything went by snail mail and paper, communication was slow and lines of communication as well as the necessary and essential corporate approval up the command chain was to say the least primitively slow by today’s standards. Hence this short one year time frame for the development of the PC is rather remarkable – even the more so because without realizing it we are left with the basics and the standards to this day of the original IBM PC.

At the time that the PC was being planned, all personal computers belonged to a now obsolete category called 8 bit computers. According to one legend the IBM PC almost became such an 8 bit machine. This would of more than severely limited and reduced the capabilities compared to what could have been to become and well as made the growth of the original PC into its family more than difficult and stilted.

IBM was planning to make the PC an 8 bit computer as that was the clear and dominant standard at the time. However one of the industry “experts “that IBM consulted in the planning of the PC was Mr. Bill Gates himself. Gates understood that although the 8 bit computing was the power machine of its time that the days of the 8 bit computer were more than numbered, For the IBM PC to be really successful convincingly detailed to the IBM contacts this new computer had to “lead the way” into the much more powerful realm of 16 bit computing. Gates knew this and successfully talked IBM into changing its plans.

IBM corporate structure and dominance in the computer industry of the time must be understood and put into its relevance. IBM at the time was the dominant computer company of the day. Most computing was done on large mainframe computers. This was a very lucrative position for IBM which was the dynamo and model of the corporate structure with its cadre of blue suited employees , graphs and charts at meetings , technical prowess with leading edge technology and scull sales and tech support and very importantly vital corporate financing of these mainframe computers for business , industry , government and large educational facilities. This was a smoothly running money machine for IBM. IBM had no interest in having their bread and butter market change – even if they were to be the decision makers and the leaders.

IBM it seemed was being embarrassed by a little company operating on nothing more than a shoestring and basically back yard garages. Apple’s little “microcomputers” were making steady and visible headway into IBM turf, Even the threats of IBM sales staff to IT department heads and staff that “If I ever find an Apple Microcomputer here you are cut off !” did not stem the tide. It seemed that department head managers were getting around such mean edicts and threats by ordering Apple computers by submitting departmental planning budgets and ordering the distinctive and essential IBM Selectric ball typewriters for their departments. The cost of these units was approximately $ 3000. Interestingly enough this was the approximate cost of that Apple computer that was being denied to their department. Hence in an irony IBM’s pricing structure (as well as Apple's) led to the competitive forces that hastened the entry of the hallmark computer product of our time the IBM PC.