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 25th Anniversary of IBM 5150 coming up next month View next topic
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xtguy



Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 28
Location: the mile high state, Colorado

PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 2:04 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Well guys, the original "PC" that started it all is coming up for its 25th anniversary on August 12.

I can't help but wonder how the world of personal computers might have been different if IBM had never entered the microcomputer market. I suppose most of you on the board have wondered the same thing.

There are still people even today, who resent the IBM 'peecee' (as they call it) and how it came to dominate the personal computer market, turning their DEC's, Kaypro's and other non-standard computers into incompatible oddities worth only a few percent of their original purchase price by the end of the decade.)

I remember reading a story of someone who had one of the Kaypro CP/M portables in the 1980's. They used it in the 1980's and loved it, but by 1991 or 1992 it was a white elephant in a heavy steel case that sat in the back of the closet and which they wanted to lug around no more. They lived in New York City, and so to get rid of it, they intentionally left it sitting on their doorstep while they took a walk around the block. When they returned, just as they had hoped, the Kaypro was gone.

I have an interesting computer book from 1986 called "The IBM XT Clone Buyer's Guide". In it, the author makes a strong case for the idea that the (then new) XT Clone computer was a great way to get into personal computing for far cheaper than getting an original IBM PC, XT or one of the "compatibles". It gives the cost of a build-it-yourself XT clone at $900 (a system containg 2 floppy drives, color or high resolution monochrome monitor, 640K RAM, serial and parallel ports.) This price did not include a hard drive or software. These clones were switchable between 4.77 and 8 mhz (there is one short paragraph about the latest Turbo boards running at 10 mhz., they must have been introduced just about the time the book was going to press).

Apparently his book was successful, because it was reprinted in 1989 in a much larger, expanded version. He also had AT and 386 Clone Buyer's guides later in the decade.
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Puckdropper
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Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 760
Location: Not in Chicago

PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 9:52 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

What the IBM PC and MS-DOS did was standardize the industry. Rather than having our Commodores, TI's, Kaypros etc to not exchange data between the IBM PC gave us a way to exchange data electronically.

Without the IBM PC, there may have been another clear winner, but there may not be. We could still have a wealth of computer types that are incompatible with each other, and if that had happened, the PC industry probably would have died.

I disagree with anyone who says hindsight is 20/20.

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Jorg



Joined: 03 Dec 2005
Posts: 41
Location: Netherlands

PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 3:18 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

And I still don't have one Sad

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ryan



Joined: 19 Apr 2006
Posts: 261
Location: WisConSin

PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2006 12:29 am Reply with quoteBack to top

And think what might have happened if the IBM exec's plane flight didn't crash and he did manage to buy all intel 386 chips indefinately preventing compaq and others from making faster clones with intel chips?
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Erik



Joined: 28 Feb 2006
Posts: 121
Location: LI, NY

PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 1:57 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Maybe now we wouldn't be buying Lenovo products...
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creepingnet



Joined: 19 Oct 2004
Posts: 137
Location: Lynnwood,WA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2006 7:00 am Reply with quoteBack to top

ryan wrote:
And think what might have happened if the IBM exec's plane flight didn't crash and he did manage to buy all intel 386 chips indefinately preventing compaq and others from making faster clones with intel chips?


It's hard to tell what would have happened. Back in those days, I'm still happy with how things came out in the end, even if it was under sad circumstances, as the Compaq Deskpro 386 is a rather cool machine, and was very well made and way ahead of it's time when it came out.

However, if IBM did it, and expanded on the AT concept, it would have been a LOT better. Rather than make those PS/2's, and make another AT, like maybe the IBM 5180 PC 386 ST (Super Technology), that would have been really cool to see. Nothing better than a full sized AT clone with a 386 and an IBM Model "M" keyboard for some good ole' DOS games.

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ryan



Joined: 19 Apr 2006
Posts: 261
Location: WisConSin

PostPosted: Thu Aug 24, 2006 12:39 am Reply with quoteBack to top

IBM wanted to force its dream of AT being the standard for the next 10 years. It had made attempts to strongarm intel into not releasing the 386 and when that failed it planned on buying all of the 386 production indefinately AKA making IBM intels sole retailer of 386 chips.

That would have mean't 286 until 1995 if IBM were capable of keeping technology at a standstill of sorts.

Perhaps computers would have been transmuted a tad with 133mhz 286 systems that had the bugs worked out and perhaps GUIs would have been properly implemented on straight 286 code, no way to know now.
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