The IBM Personal Computer, commonly known as the IBM PC, is the original version and progenitor of the IBM PC compatible hardware platform. It is IBM model number 5150, and was introduced on August 12, 1981. It was created by a team of engineers and designers under the direction of Don Estridge of the IBM Entry Systems Division in Boca Raton, Florida. Alongside “microcomputer” and “home computer”, the term “personal computer” was already in use before 1981. It was used as early as 1972 to characterize Xerox PARC’s Alto. However, because of the success of the IBM Personal Computer, the term PC came to mean more specifically a microcomputer compatible with IBM’s PC products.
TRS-80 was Tandy Corporation’s desktop microcomputer model line, sold through Tandy’s Radio Shack stores in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The first units, ordered unseen, were delivered in November 1977, and rolled out to the stores the third week of December. The line won popularity with hobbyists, home users, and small-businesses. Tandy Corporation’s leading position in what Byte Magazine called the “1977 Trinity” (Apple, Commodore and Tandy) had much to do with Tandy’s retailing the computer through more than 3000 of its Radio Shack (Tandy in Europe) storefronts. Notable features of the original TRS-80 included its full-stroke QWERTY keyboard, small size, its Floating Point BASIC programming language, an included monitor, and a starting price of $600. The pre-release price was $500 and a $50 deposit was required, with a money back guarantee at time of delivery. One major drawback of the original system was the massive RF interference it caused in surrounding electronics. This became a problem when it was determined to violate FCC regulations, leading to the Model I’s phase out in favor of the new Model III. By 1979, the TRS-80 had the largest available selection of software in the microcomputer market.
International Business Machines Corporation, or IBM, is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation, with headquarters in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and markets computer hardware and software, and offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas ranging from mainframe computers to nanotechnology. The company was founded in 1911 as the Computing Tabulating Recording Company (CTR) through a merger of three companies: the Tabulating Machine Company, the International Time Recording Company, and the Computing Scale Company. CTR adopted the name International Business Machines in 1924, using a name previously designated to CTR’s subsidiary in Canada and later South America. Security analysts nicknamed IBM Big Blue in recognition of IBM’s common use of blue in products, packaging, and logo.
The Apple II (styled as Apple ][ ) is an 8-bit home computer, one of the first highly successful mass-produced microcomputer products, designed primarily by Steve Wozniak, manufactured by Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.) and introduced in 1977. It is the first model in a series of computers which were produced until Apple IIe production ceased in November 1993. The first Apple II computers went on sale on June 5, 1977 with a MOS Technology 6502 microprocessor running at 1 MHz, 4 kB of RAM, an audio cassette interface for loading programs and storing data, and the Integer BASIC programming language built into the ROMs. The video controller displayed 24 lines by 40 columns of monochrome, upper-case-only (the original character set matches ASCII characters 20h to 5Fh) text on the screen, with NTSC composite video output suitable for display on a TV monitor, or on a regular TV set by way of a separate RF modulator. The original retail price of the computer was 1298 USD (with 4 kB of RAM) and 2638 USD (with the maximum 48 kB of RAM). To reflect the computer’s color graphics capability, the Apple logo on the casing was represented using rainbow stripes, which remained a part of Apple’s corporate logo until early 1998. The earliest Apple II’s were assembled in Silicon Valley, and later in Texas; printed circuit boards were manufactured in Ireland and Singapore.
Electronic Arts, Inc. is a major American developer, marketer, publisher and distributor of video games. Founded and incorporated on May 28, 1982 by Trip Hawkins, the company was a pioneer of the early home computer games industry and was notable for promoting the designers and programmers responsible for its games. It is one of the largest video game publishers in the world. Originally, EA was a home computing game publisher. In the late 1980s, the company began developing games in-house and supported consoles by the early 1990s. EA later grew via acquisition of several successful developers. By the early 2000s, EA had become one of the world’s largest third-party publishers. On May 4, 2011, EA reported $3.8 billion in revenues for the fiscal year ending March 2011, and on January 13, 2012, EA announced that it had exceeded $1 billion in digital revenue during the previous calendar year. In a note to employees, EA CEO John Riccitiello called this “an incredibly important milestone” for the company. EA began to move toward direct distribution of digital games and services with the acquisition of the popular online gaming site Pogo.com in 2001. In 2009, EA acquired the London-based social gaming startup Playfish, and in June 2011, EA launched Origin, an online service to sell downloadable games directly to consumers. In July 2011, EA announced that it had acquired PopCap Games, the company behind hits such as Plants vs. Zombies and Bejeweled.
Windows 3.0, a graphical environment, is the third major release of Microsoft Windows, and was released on May 22, 1990. It became the first widely successful version of Windows and a rival to Apple Macintosh and the Commodore Amiga on the GUI front. It was followed by Windows 3.1. Windows 3.0 originated in 1989 when a group of Microsoft programmers independently decided to develop a protected mode Windows as an experiment. They cobbled together a rough prototype and presented it to company executives, who were impressed enough to approve it as an official project. Windows 3.0 succeeded Windows 2.1x and included a significantly revamped user interface as well as technical improvements to make better use of the memory management capabilities of Intel’s 80286 and 80386 processors. Text-mode programs written for MS-DOS could be run within a window (a feature previously available in a more limited form with Windows/386 2.1), making the system usable as a crude multitasking base for legacy programs. However, this was of limited use for the home market, where most games and entertainment programs continued to require raw DOS access.
An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit (also referred to as IC, chip, or microchip) is an electronic circuit manufactured by the patterned diffusion of trace elements into the surface of a thin substrate of semiconductor material. Additional materials are deposited and patterned to form interconnections between semiconductor devices. Integrated circuits are used in virtually all electronic equipment today and have revolutionized the world of electronics. Computers, mobile phones, and other digital appliances are now inextricable parts of the structure of modern societies, made possible by the low cost of production of integrated circuits. Early developments of the integrated circuit go back to 1949, when the German engineer Werner Jacobi (Siemens AG) filed a patent for an integrated-circuit-like semiconductor amplifying device showing five transistors on a common substrate arranged in a 2-stage amplifier arrangement. Jacobi disclosed small and cheap hearing aids as typical industrial applications of his patent. A commercial use of his patent has not been reported. The idea of the integrated circuit was conceived by a radar scientist working for the Royal Radar Establishment of the British Ministry of Defence, Geoffrey W.A. Dummer (1909–2002). Dummer presented the idea to the public at the Symposium on Progress in Quality Electronic Components in Washington, D.C. on May 7, 1952. He gave many symposia publicly to propagate his ideas, and unsuccessfully attempted to build such a circuit in 1956.