The emergence of the PC industry

The emergence of the PC industry

Until the early 1970s, computers were huge machines - from the largest ones, the supercomputers, to mainframes and minicomputers - and were mainly used for scientific research in universities and in military institutions, and for business calculations in m ajor companies. Surprisingly, when the first microprocessors appeared, none of the established companies such as IBM, DEC or HP had the idea to build small, personal computers. They just did not see any market for them and could not imagine what those mach ines should be needed for. None of these large companies anticipated the possibilities of PCs, which are today used in almost every office, in the home, in the school, on airplanes, etc. and can act as typewriters, calculators, accounting systems, telecomm unications instruments, libraries, tutors, toys and many the like.

So, it was the hobbyists, single electronics wizards who liked tinkering with electronic devices that constructed their own computers as the first PCs. These "computer nuts" ignited the "fire in the valley;") they launched the personal computer revolution in Silicon Valley "out of their own fascination with the technology. The personal computer arose from a spirit of sharing "hard-won technical information" with other computer freaks who developed their devices for the fun of tinkering around in this fasci nating field of electronics. Some of these frequently young hobbyists found themselves almost overnight as millionaires, after they had sold their devices in a newly founded firm.

Before dealing with the story of Apple, which is typical of Silicon Valley and responsible for the breakthrough of the personal computer, some information about the first PC and the emergence of the PC industry shall be given.

  1. Altair - the first PC
  2. The first computer shops
  3. Homebrew Computer Club

Martin Groeger
Last modified: Mon Jul 8 05:35:26 PDT