- Mike Harvey begins the Nibble magazine for Apple Computer products.
- Universal Data Systems announces the 103LP 300 bps modem, connecting
directly into the phone line, requiring no additional power. Price: US$195.
- Morrow Designs advertises the 26 MB DISCUS M26 hard drive system for
- The first issue of S-Eighty is published, for TRS-80 enthusiasts.
- The first issue of Computer Shopper is published.
- Hewlett-Packard completes work on the Capricorn project, producing
the HP-85. With a 32-character wide CRT display, small built-in printer,
cassette tape recorder, and keyboard, it sold for US$3250.
- Microsoft begins development on an 8086 version of AT&T's UNIX
- Sinclair Research announces the ZX80 computer in the North American
market. It uses a 3.25-MHz NEC Technologies 780-1 8-bit microprocessor,
and comes with 1KB RAM and 4KB ROM.
- Mattel begins shipping the game component of the Intellivision.
- Atari ad: "Atari promises to be the most popular Personal Computer
System of the 1980's!".
- Microsoft Corp. announces its first hardware product, the Z-80 SoftCard
for the Apple II. This card gives the Apple II CP/M capability, contributing
greatly to Apple Computer's success. The card includes CP/M and Microsoft's
Disk BASIC, all for US$349. The announcement is made at the West Coast
Computer Faire in San Francisco. Tim Patterson of Seattle Computer Products
had built several prototypes before Microsoft's Don Burdis took over the
project. In its first year of release, 25,000 units are sold.
- Satellite Software International ships WordPerfect 1.0 for Data General
- At the West Coast Computer Faire, Adam Osborne approaches Les Felsenstein
with the idea of starting a computer company.
- Tim Patterson begins writing an operating system for use with Seattle
Computer Products' 8086-based computer.
- Data General announces the Eclipse MV/8000. Code name during development
was Gallifrey Eagle.
- Seattle Computer Products decides to make their own disk operating
system (DOS), due to delays by Digital Research in releasing a CP/M-86
- Apple Computer introduces the Apple III at the National Computer Conference,
in Anaheim, California. The Apple III uses a 2-MHz 6502A microprocessor,
and includes a 5.25-inch floppy drive. Price ranges from US$4500 to US$8000.
- Universal Data Systems announces the 202LP 1200 bps modem, connecting
directly into the phone line, requiring no additional power.
- Seagate Technologies announces the first Winchester 5.25-inch hard
- Steve Ballmer joins Microsoft.
- Shugart begins selling Winchester hard-disk drives.
- Radio Shack introduces the TRS-80 Model III. It uses the Zilog Z80
CPU, and is priced from US$700 to US$2500.
- Radio Shack introduces the TRS-80 Color Computer. It uses the Motorola
6809E CPU, comes with 4KB RAM, and sells for US$400.
- Radio Shack introduces the TRS-80 Pocket Computer. It features a 24
character display, with 1.9KB of programmable memory. Price is US$230.
- Radio Shack introduces the Daisy Wheel Printer II for US$1960.
- The last issue of S-Eighty is published.
- IBM's Corporate Management Committee gives William Lowe approval to
begin Project Chess, by recruiting 12 engineers, and building a prototype
- IBM representatives meet with Microsoft's Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer
to talk about Microsoft products, and home computers.
- IBM asks Bill Gates to write the operating system for their upcoming
- IBM's Project Chess task force contacts Digital Research about using
CP/M-86 for IBM's upcoming microcomputer. Gary Kildall is not interested,
for a variety of reasons.
- The Project Chess task force at IBM shows a prototype microcomputer
to the Corporate Management Committee. Approval is given to build an operational
microcomputer, code-named Acorn.
- IBM meets with Microsoft again, and shows plans for Project Chess,
a personal computer. The code name for the computer is "Acorn". Bill Gates
argues that IBM should use the 16-bit 8086, rather than the 8-bit 8080
- QDOS 0.10 (Quick and Dirty Operating System) is shipped by Seattle
Computer Products. Even though it had been created in only two man-months,
the DOS worked surprisingly well. A week later, the EDLIN line editor
was created. EDLIN was supposed to last only six months, before being
- Hal Lashlee and George Tate form Software Plus. The company later changes
its name to Ashton-Tate.
- Microsoft announces the Microsoft XENIX OS, a portable and commercial
version of the UNIX operating system for the Intel 8086, Zilog Z8000,
Motorola M68000, and Digital Equipment PDP-11.
- Apple Computer releases DOS 3.3.
- Microsoft decides to propose to IBM that they provide the operating
system for IBM's microcomputer.
- William Lowe assembles the members of "Project Chess", known as the
"Dirty Dozen", the 12 engineers assembled to design and build the IBM
PC, in Boca Raton, Florida.
- Apple Computer sells over 78,000 Apple II computers during the fiscal
- The first issue of Softalk magazine for Apple Computer products appears.
- Tim Patterson shows Microsoft his 86-DOS, written for the 8086 chip.
- Software Publishing ships the pfs:File database program.
- IBM meets with Microsoft again, to formalize plans to work together
in creating a new microcomputer.
- Microsoft's Paul Allen contacts Seattle Computer Products' Tim Patterson,
asking for the rights to sell SCP's DOS to an unnamed client (IBM). Microsoft
pays less than US$100,000 for the right.
- Bill Gates, Paul Allen, and Steve Ballmer meet with IBM in Boca Raton,
Florida, to deliver a report to IBM. They propose that Microsoft be put
in charge of the entire software development process for IBM's new microcomputer,
including converting Seattle Computer Products' SCP-DOS to run on the
- Sol Libes quote in Byte magazine's ByteLines: "The 32-bit machine would
be 'overkill' for a personal computer.".
- Microsoft and IBM sign a contract for Microsoft to develop certain
software products for IBM's microcomputer.
- Atari sponsers the First National (US) Space Invaders Competition,
in New York. Bill Heineman of Whittier, California scores 165,200 to win
an Asteroids Table Top Video Game.
- InfoCom releases the Zork adventure game for the TRS-80 and Apple II.
In the first nine months, 7,500 copies are sold.
- IBM delivers the first PC prototype to Microsoft, so they can begin
developing BASIC and the machine's operating system.  (November [346.78])
- Apple Computer becomes a publicly held company, selling 4.6 million
shares at US$22 per share. More than 40 Apple employees and investors
become instant millionaires.
- Seattle Computer Products renames QDOS to 86-DOS, releasing it as version
0.3. Microsoft then bought non-exclusive rights to market 86-DOS.
- Apple Computer ships the first Apple III units in limited quantity.
- IBM promotes William Lowe from the Entry Systems Division to Vice President
of IBM's laboratory in Rochester, Minnesota.
- Don Estridge replaces William Lowe in IBM's Entry Systems Division.
- Wayne Ratcliff contracts with George Tate to market his Vulcan database
- The first issue of Popular Computing is published.
- Logo Computer Systems is formed in Montreal, Canada, to market the
public domain language LOGO.
- Exidy Systems introduces the Computer System 80.
- Philips and Sony create the CD-Audio standard for optical disk storage
of digital audio.
- Microsoft begins work on its first microcomputer application, a spreadsheet
program initially called Electronic Paper.
- Hewlett-Packard releases the HP-85.
- Sinclair Research ships the ZX80 in North America, for US$200.
- Apple Computer begins project "Diana", which would become the Apple
- Ken and Roberta Williams start On-Line Systems, developing software
for the Apple II.
- IBM's Austin Laboratory creates a microprocessor called ROMP (Research/Office
Products MicroProcessor) based on Jon Cocke's 801 RISC design.
- Digital Research releases CP/M-86 for Intel 8086- and 8088-based systems.
- Intel announces the iAPX-432 32-bit microprocessor. Intel later builds
the 80286 as a step between the 8086 and the 432.
- The term RISC (reduced instruction set computer) is coined by Professor
David Patterson of the University of California in Berkeley. He designs
a microprocessor called RISC I.
- Bally sells its Consumer Products Division to Astrovision.
- Intel introduces the 8087 math coprocessor.
- CompuServe merges with H&R Block, and renames MicroNET to CompuServe
- Alan Ashton and Bruce Bastian found Satellite Software International.
- Apollo introduces a line of workstations using the Motorola 68000.
- Sony Electronics introduces the 3.5 inch floppy disk and drive, double-sided,
double-density, holding up to 875KB unformatted.
- Panasonic and Quasar unveil hand-held computers, made by Matsushita.
The unit uses a 1-MHz 6502 CPU, and weighs just 14 ounces (397 grams).
- Onyx introduces the Onyx C8002 microcomputer. It features a Zilog Z8000
microprocessor, 256KB RAM, tape backup, hard disk, serial ports for eight
users, and running Unix, for US$20,000. It is the first microcomputer
featuring an implementation of Unix.