Chronology of Personal Computers

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References are numbered in [brackets], which are listed here. A number after the dot gives the page in the source.

Last updated: 2022 April 29.


1977

January
  • Mike Markkula invests US$91,000 in Apple Computer, and backs a US$250,000 line of credit with Bank of America, in exchange for one-third interest in Apple Computer stock. [930.34] [1702.94] [2605.10]
January 3
  • Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, and Mike Markkula file for incorporation of Apple Computer. The corporation purchases the Apple Computer partnership for US$5308.96, paying Ron Wayne one-third of that. [861.33] [2605.10] (1977 March [353.259])
January
  • Apple Computer employees move into an office on Stevens Creek Boulevard in Cupertino, California. [266.219] (February [353.259])
  • A working model of the first Radio Shack computer is demonstrated to company president, Charles Tandy. [266.197]
  • Commodore first shows a prototype PET computer at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show. [713.32]
  • Chuck Peddle, of Commodore International, shows the first PET computer to Radio Shack, hoping to have Radio Shack sell it. [445.256]
February
  • Bill Gates and Paul Allen sign a partnership agreement to officially create the Microsoft company. Gates owns 64 percent, Allen owns 36 percent. [123] [1299.103] [1526.83]
February 14
  • Computer Shack hires John Martin (Musumeci) as Director of Franchise Sales. [1702.69]
February
  • Apple Computer hires Michael Scott as first president. [1886.64] [2605.11]
February 18
  • The first Computer Shack franchise is opened in Morristown, New Jersey. 112 people visit in the first day. [9] [266.194] [548.433] [1702.64] (Tandy franchise [346.258])
April
  • Microsoft announces FORTRAN-80 language compiler. Price is US$500. [1299.110]
  • Rob Janov of Regis McKenna company designs the corporate logo for Apple Computer. [1886.64]
April 15
  • The First Annual West Coast Computer Faire is held, in San Francisco's Brooks Civic Auditorium, over three days. 12,750 attended the weekend event. [203.7] [266.145] [353.265] [747.74] [1299.106]
April 16
  • Commodore International shows its Commodore PET 2001 computer at the West Coast Computer Faire. The PET includes a MOS Technology 6502 processor, 4 kB RAM, 14 kB ROM, keyboard, 9-inch monochrome display, and cassette tape drive, for US$595. The computer shown is a one-off prototype. [9] [266.182] [346.46] [445.256] [713.30] [747.74] [1298.187] [1299.100,106] (US$800 [176.54] [190.81]) (March [41]) (June [624.172])
April 17
  • Apple Computer introduces the Apple II at the West Coast Computer Faire. The computer features a 6502 CPU, 4 kB RAM, 16 kB ROM, keyboard, 8-slot motherboard, game paddles, graphics/text interface to color display, and built-in BASIC, for US$1298. It is the first personal computer with color graphics. [9] [41] [46] [120] [140] [176.54] [203.7] [266.182] [346.47] [593.350] [1280.42] [1298.187] [1886.64] [2605.12] (March [185.114]) (July [716.234])
April 20
  • Bill Gates and Paul Allen write to MITS complaining of overdue royalty payments on 8080 BASIC, and of MITS' failure to sub-license and promote the product to others. They state that if the situation is not remedied within ten days, the licensing agreement for 8080 BASIC would be terminated. [1149.114] [1299.109]
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April 21
  • An attorney for MITS denies Microsoft's charges, claiming MITS is up-to-date on royalty payments, and did not have to license 8080 BASIC to competitors. [1299.109]
April
  • An attorney for MITS pays Microsoft US$14,526 to cover 8080 BASIC royalty payments since December 1, 1976. [1299.109]
(month unknown)
  • MITS files for arbitration to seek a decision on whether its 8080 BASIC contract with Microsoft is still valid. [1299.109]
May 5
  • MITS files for a restraining order against Microsoft, to prevent Microsoft from licensing 8080 BASIC until the dispute with MITS is resolved. [1149.114] [1299.109]
May 12
  • A judge grants MITS' restraining order against Microsoft licensing 8080 BASIC, until July 8 or until the arbiter's determination is made. [1299.109]
May
  • 10 months after its introduction, 175 Apple I kits have sold. [218]
May 22
  • Pertec buys MITS and the Altair line for US$6 million in stock. [233.194] [266.51] [346.44] [548.384] [1149.114]
June
  • Apple Computer delivers its first Apple II system. [1559] [1886.64] (April [196.20]) (May [528.352])
  • Camp Retupmoc ("computer" spelled backwards), the first week-long computer camp, is held in Terre Haute, Indiana. [9]
  • Apple II computers are first shipped to Europe by independent distributor Eurapple. [46]
  • Commodore shows its first production PET computers at the Summer Consumer Electronics Show. [713.30]
June 15
  • The National Computer Conference is held in Dallas, Texas. For the first time, an area is set up for microcomputer companies. [1149.123] [1405.D1] [1406.43]
(month unknown)
  • The name of Computer Shack is changed to ComputerLand. [1702.65]
  • Gary Kildall grants a distribution license for CP/M to Seymour Rubenstein of IMSAI Manufacturing, for US$25,000. [346.51] [266.139] [1149.175]
  • Vector Graphic introduces the Vector Graphic I system. [202.203]
  • The first issue of Personal Computing is published, by David Bunnell. [266.xv]
  • A patent on Ethernet computer networking is granted to David Boggs, Butler Lampson, Bob Metcalfe, and Charles Thacker of Xerox PARC. [1298.187]
  • Bally completes designs of a home computer. [267.48]
  • Officials of the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health first begin measuring radio-frequency radiation from display monitors. They report emissions are too low for their instruments to measure. [558.138]
  • The Altair Software Distribution Company changes its name to Peachtree Software. [548.434]
  • Gilbert Hyatt adds a claim to a single-chip computer to his 1970 patent application. [590.5]
  • Quote by Kenneth Olsen, founder and president of Digital Equipment: "There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.". [1584.332]
  • Microsoft creates the File Allocation Table to store data on diskettes for the Microsoft Stand-alone Disk Basic. [1626.18]
July
  • Microsoft ships "Microsoft FORTRAN" for CP/M-based computers. [123] [346.49]
(month unknown)
  • Digital Equipment introduces the LSI-11/2 microcomputer (board with microprocessor), with 8 kB RAM. [949.358]
August 3
  • At the Warwick Hotel in New York City, Radio Shack (a division of Tandy Corporation) announces the TRS-80 microcomputer. It features Zilog Z80 processor, 4 kB RAM, 4 kB ROM, keyboard, black-and-white video display, and tape cassette for US$599. [9] [195.49] [202.198] [319.43] [548.413] [862.14] [1149.120] [1298.187] [1299.111] (US$300 [266.198]) (June [41]) (1978 [205.24])
August
  • Microsoft licenses its 6502 BASIC to Apple Computer for US$21,000. [346.48] [1299.111] [2605.13] [2605.13] (early 1978 [949.300])
September
  • One month after launching the TRS-80, 10,000 are sold, exceeding sales projections of only 3,000 in the first year. [266.198] [548.413] [346.46]
(month unknown)
  • Dennis Hayes forms Hayes Microcomputer Products. [1298.187] (Spring 1978 [451.A1])
October
  • Apple Computer de-lists the Apple I from its price list. [2605.14]
  • Radio Shack opens its first all-computer store, in Fort Worth, Texas. [266.198]
November
  • Apple Computer releases Applesoft, a version of BASIC with floating-point capabilities. It is licensed from Microsoft. [218]
  • Heath Schlumber Company introduces its first microcomputer kit, the H-8 personal computer kit, based on the Intel 8080. [246.81] [744.3]
  • Paul Terrell sells his chain of 74 Byte Shops for US$4 million. [266.190] [2605.9]
(month unknown)
  • Xerox renames its Janus workstation project to Star. [716.231]
  • IMSAI Manufacturing begins shipping the VDP-80 computer. [1702.96]
December
  • At an executive board meeting at Apple Computer, president Mike Markkula lists the floppy disk drive as the company's top goal. [218] [266.225]
  • Steve Wozniak writes disk controller software for use with the Shugart 5.25-inch floppy disk drive for the Apple II. [618.63] [930.62]
  • Microsoft wins an important legal battle against Pertec, on ownership of the BASIC software Bill Gates and Paul Allen wrote and licensed to MITS. [346.45] (September [1299.111])
Year
  • Total shipments of personal computers worldwide during the year: 48,000. [1559]

End of 1977. Next: 1978.

1947-1968 1969-1971 1972-1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981
1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991
1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001
2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008-end


A list of references to all source material is available.

Other web pages of interest:

  • Chronology of Microprocessors
  • Personal Computer References in Pop Culture
  • This Day in Personal Computer and Video Game History

  • Last updated: 2022 April 29.
    Copyright © 1995-2022 (email: ).
    URL: https://pctimeline.info/
    Link to Ken P's home page.