Chronology of Personal Computers

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Last updated: 2022 April 29.


1990

July
  • A Swedish commission issues a new set of standards to cover very low frequency (VLF) monitor emissions. [1067.210]
  • Informix Software introduces the Wingz for Windows software. [1049.147]
  • Microsoft's sales revenues hit US$1 billion for the past year, the first personal computer software company to do so. [123] [346.272]
  • Lotus Development files lawsuits against Borland International (maker of Quattro) and Santa Cruz Operations (maker of SCO Professional) claiming copyright infringement of the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet software. Borland International files a lawsuit against Lotus Development first, hoping to have the trial in California rather than Boston. [217] [453.4] [548.340]
  • Accolade releases the Star Control game for personal computers. The game is based on the Space War game of 1961. [1794.63]
  • Acer Incorporated buys Altos Computer Systems for US$94 million. [163.57]
(month unknown)
  • Marc Porat, Andy Hertzfeld, and Bill Atkinson leave Apple Computer to form General Magic company. [973]
  • MacroMind releases the Director 2.0 softwarefor the Macintosh. Price is US$695. [1095.178]
  • Borland International introduces the Paradox 3.5 database program for DOS. Price is US$795. [1095.127]
  • Advanced Micro Devices announces the Am286LX and Am286ZX processors, containing 80286 compatibility and most chips required to build a basic AT-compatible computer. Speeds are 12.5 to 16 MHz. Prices are US$69 to 89 in 1000 unit quantities. [1095.19]
  • IBM discontinues PS/2 Models 60-041, 60-071, 80-041, and 80-071. [1095.32]
  • Borland International introduces the Turbo C++ Professional 1.0 software development package for PC-DOS. Price is US$299.95. Price for Turbo C++ 1.0 is US$199.95. [1095.186]
  • Hercules Computer Technology introduces the Hercules Graphics Station video card for PCs. It features 60 MHz TMS34010 graphics processor, TIGA VGA, 1024x768 in 256 colors, 1 MB RAM, 16 bit ISA interface, for US$1024. A version with 2 MB RAM and 24-bit output costs US$3995. [1095.192]
  • Canon USA introduces the Canon BJ-10e portable ink jet printer. It weighs 4 pounds. [769.43]
August
  • Logitech introduces the ScanMan Model 256 8-bit grayscale hand-held scanner. [1049.142]
  • Microsoft releases LAN Manager for Windows. [772.29] [1186.25]
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  • The first CD-ROM magazine is published: Nautilus. [677.152]
  • Gilbert Hyatt is granted a patent for a "single-chip integrated-circuit computer architecture", 20 years after his first application for the patent. [23] [162] [185.193] [729.41] [1038.148] (July [556.30] [590.5] [597.53])
(month unknown)
  • Microsoft ships the 50 millionth copy of its implementation of the BASIC programming language. [795.90]
  • John C. Dvorak quote: "Above all, what we'll never see fly is the scanner / printer / fax / copier combo.". [906.81]
September
  • IBM and Microsoft end co-operative work on operating systems, dividing up work-to-date between them, in a series of cross-licensing agreements. Microsoft will work on Windows, DOS, and a portable version of OS/2. IBM will continue development of 16-bit (v1.x) and 32-bit (v2.0) versions of OS/2. [162] [346.245] [379.256] [477.161] [511.95] [795.15] [909.232] [1299.399] [1897.129] (November [38])
  • Motorola announces it has begun general sampling of the 68040 processor to system manufacturers. [338]
  • IBM and Metaphor Computer Systems create the Patriot Partners company, to create an operating environment allowing a single program to run on a variety of platforms. [682.57] [1080.198] [1149.364]
  • The IEEE approves the 10BASE-T Ethernet specification. [681.174]
  • Texas Instruments sues Dell for patent infringement. Dell countersues, accusing Texas Instruments of fraud and unfair competition. [548.368]
  • NewTek ships the Video Toaster, a hardware/software video effects tool for the Commodore Amiga 2000, for US$1600. [19] [409.21] [539.A-41] [640.6] [644.10] (December [857.68])
  • The PCMCIA card specification v2.0 is announced. [601.73]
September 30
  • Jean-Louis Gassée resigns as president of Apple Products. [2605.187,274]
(month unknown)
  • Microsoft ships the one millionth copy of Windows 3.0. [1149.362]
October 4
  • The Fox Network airs the Beverly Hills 90210 TV show in the USA. The school newspaper room has several Macintosh computers. [2077]
October
  • IBM releases OS/2 1.3. Code-name during development was Cutter. Code-name at Microsoft was Tiger. [769.306] [1299.383] (December [858.71])
  • Intel introduces the 20 MHz 80386SL microprocessor, designed for use in portable and laptop computers. It uses 855,000 transistors (1-micron), a 32-bit internal data path, and a 16-bit external data path. Price is US$150 each, in quantities of 1000. Speed is 4.21 MIPS. [477.126] [540.64] [62]
  • Apple Computer discontinues the Macintosh Plus. [75] [597.90,95]
  • Apple Computer discontinues the Macintosh SE. [75] [597.90,95]
  • Apple Computer discontinues the Macintosh SE/30. [75]
  • Apple Computer discontinues the Macintosh IIx. [75]
October 15
  • Apple Computer unveils and ships the Macintosh Classic. It uses an 8 MHz Motorola 68000 microprocessor, an integrated 9-inch B/W monitor, and a 1.4 MB floppy drive. Base price for a 1 MB system is US$1000. The Macintosh Classic replaces the Macintosh Plus and the Macintosh SE. Apple paid $1 million to Modular Computer Systems for use of the word "Classic" in the personal computer market for 5 years. [17] [18] [46] [75] [414.230] [416.169] [555.176] [597.90,95] [612.13] [2605.127]
  • Apple Computer unveils the Macintosh LC. It uses a 16 MHz Motorola 68020 microprocessor, and comes with 2 MB RAM, 40 MB hard drive, and 1.4 MB SuperDrive. Weight is 8.5 pounds. Base price with 2 MB RAM and a floppy drive is US$2400. [17] [18] [46] [75] [414.230] [416.169] [555.182] [1205.36] (US$2400 includes 40 MB hard drive [579.102] [597.95])
  • Apple Computer unveils the Macintosh IIsi. It uses a 20 MHz Motorola 68030 microprocessor, and comes with 2 MB RAM, 40 MB hard drive, video port, and 1.4 MB SuperDrive, for US$3769. Or with 5 MB RAM and 80 MB hard drive for US$4569. [17] [18] [46] [75] [414.230] [416.169] [555.188] [597.90,95,99]
October
  • A Macintosh Portable computer first travels into space aboard the Space Shuttle. [2356.C7]
  • Microsoft's Bill Gates quote: "Even for the next ten years, [DOS] will have a significant role to play." [23]
  • IBM introduces the XGA MCA graphics card, as a replacement for VGA. Resolutions of 640x480 and 1024x768 are supported, with up to 65,536 colors in the 640x480 mode. At the same time, IBM joins the VESA group, making the XGA specification publicly available. [20] [24]
  • Advanced Micro Devices officially acknowledges that it is working on cloning Intel's 386 processor. [163.14]
  • Lotus Development introduces the Lotus MarketPlace: Business database application for the Macintosh. The Business edition is on one CD-ROM for US$695. Information on 7.5 million businesses is included. [414] [500.8] [596.30] [675.98] (August [561.69])
  • Lotus Development introduces Lotus MarketPlace: Households, for the Macintosh. The Households version is a nine CD-ROM set, for US$695 for the first CD-ROM. Information on 80 million households and 120 million consumers is included. [596.30]
  • An arbitrator between Intel and Advanced Micro Devices rules that Intel breached its agreement with Advanced Micro Devices by refusing to share designs of the 386 CPU. However, the ruling also states that Advanced Micro Devices is not entitled to Intel's 386 because it did not contribute any accepted designs for it. [659.7] [735.7] [1067.28]
  • IBM introduces the PS/2 Model 90 XP 486-OJ5 (8590-OJ5). It features 25 MHz 80486 processor, 17-ms 80 MB hard drive, 4 MB RAM, 8 kB caching controller, 1.44 MB floppy drive, one parallel port, two serial ports, mouse port, 101-key keyboard, XGA video graphics on system board, four 32-bit Micro Channel slots, Processor Complex board, two memory boards, three 3.5-inch drive bays, one 5.25-inch drive bay. Price is US$12495. [769.288]
  • IBM introduces the PS/2 Model 90 XP 486-OJ9 (8590-OJ9). It features 25 MHz 80486 processor, 16-ms 160 MB hard drive, 4 MB RAM, 8 kB caching controller, 1.44 MB floppy drive, one parallel port, two serial ports, mouse port, 101-key keyboard, XGA video graphics on system board, four 32-bit Micro Channel slots, Processor Complex board, two memory boards, three 3.5-inch drive bays, one 5.25-inch drive bay. Price is US$13095. [769.288]
  • IBM introduces the PS/2 Model 90 XP 486-OKD (8590-OKD). It features 33 MHz 80486 processor, 12.5-ms 320 MB hard drive, 4 MB RAM, 8 kB caching controller, 1.44 MB floppy drive, one parallel port, two serial ports, mouse port, 101-key keyboard, XGA video graphics on system board, four 32-bit Micro Channel slots, Processor Complex board, two memory boards, three 3.5-inch drive bays, one 5.25-inch drive bay. Price is US$16695. [769.288]
  • IBM introduces the PS/2 Model 95 XP 486-OJ9 (8595-OJ9). It features 25 MHz 80486 processor, 16-ms 160 MB SCSI hard drive, 4 MB RAM, 8 kB caching controller, 1.44 MB floppy drive, one parallel port, two serial ports, eight SIMM sockets, mouse port, 101-key keyboard, XGA Display Adapter/A, eight 32-bit Micro Channel slots, Processor Complex board, two memory boards, two 3.5-inch drive bays, five 5.25-inch drive bay. Price is US$14145. [769.288]
  • IBM introduces the PS/2 Model 95 XP 486-OJD (8595-OJD). It features 25 MHz 80486 processor, 12.5-ms 320 MB SCSI hard drive, 4 MB RAM, 8 kB caching controller, 1.44 MB floppy drive, one parallel port, two serial ports, eight SIMM sockets, mouse port, 101-key keyboard, XGA Display Adapter/A, eight 32-bit Micro Channel slots, Processor Complex board, two memory boards, two 3.5-inch drive bays, five 5.25-inch drive bay. Price is US$16095. [769.288]
  • IBM introduces the PS/2 Model 95 XP 486-OKD (8595-OKD). It features 33 MHz 80486 processor, 12.5-ms 320 MB SCSI hard drive, 4 MB RAM, 8 kB caching controller, 1.44 MB floppy drive, one parallel port, two serial ports, eight SIMM sockets, mouse port, 101-key keyboard, XGA Display Adapter/A, eight 32-bit Micro Channel slots, Processor Complex board, two memory boards, two 3.5-inch drive bays, five 5.25-inch drive bay. Price is US$17745. [769.288]
  • Intel releases new versions of the 16, 20, and 25 MHz 80387 math coprocessor chips. These versions use the new, faster technology employed on the 33 MHz chip. [511.319]
(month unknown)
  • Hewlett-Packard's introduction of the LaserJet IIP breaks the US$1000 street price barrier. [19]
  • Commodore International releases the C286-LT microcomputer, featuring 20 MB hard drive, 1 MB RAM, 12.5 MHz 286 CPU, 640x480 LCD screen, and MS-DOS 4.01, for CDN$4495. Weight is 7 pounds. [655.28]
  • Apple Computer, VLSI Technology, and Acorn Computer create the Advanced RISC Machines company, to work on processor designs. [660.1]
  • Epson introduces the Epson NB3 portable PC. It features a 3 1/2-inch floppy drive, 20 or 40 MB removable hard drive, 1 MB RAM, B/W backlit LCD 640x480 screen, nickel cadmium battery good for 2-3 hours use, and optional docking station with 120 MB hard drive. Weight is 5.8 pounds. [795.15]
November 7
  • Z-Nix files an antitrust complaint against Microsoft, accusing it of violating the Sherman Act by using its control of operating system environment user interfaces to control the mouse pointer market. Z-Mix requests damages of US$4.5 million over Microsoft's handling of a deal to bundle Windows with Z-Nix's mouse. [1149.394] [1299.401]
November 12
  • The Fall '90 COMDEX trade show is held in Las Vegas, Nevada, over five days. 1850 exhibitors and 126,000 visitors attend. [643.10] [1466.244] [1728.26]
November
  • Zortech introduces the Zortech C++ software development package for Windows, DOS, and OS/2. [1049.140]
  • Apple Computer discontinues the Apple IIc Plus. [75] (September [218])
  • Berkeley Softworks releases GeoWorks Ensemble software for IBM PC compatibles. [1129.165] [1897.129] (1991 [909.236])
  • Berkeley Softworks releases PC/GEOS 1.0 for MS-DOS, with GeoWorks Ensemble. [477.164] [1639.116]
  • Michael Spindler becomes president of Apple Computer. [75] [414.230]
  • AT&T makes a US$6 billion hostile take-over bid for NCR. [166.58] (US$7.5 billion [282.112])
  • Microsoft quickly settles its lawsuit with Z-Nix out of court. [1149.394] [1299.401]
  • IBM introduces the PS/2 Model P75 portable computer. It features 33 MHz 486, XGA, SCSI, 8 MB RAM, 10-inch gas-plasma VGA screen, 160 MB SCSI hard drive, 1.44 MB floppy drive, mouse port. Weight is 22 pounds. Price is US$15,990. This is the first 486 portable personal computer with FCC Class B approval. [769]
  • Motorola begins volume shipments of the 25 MHz 68040 processor. [559.17] [338] (January 1991 [20])
  • The DPMI Committee releases the DPMI version 1.0 specification. [511.369]
  • The Multimedia PC Marketing Council sets the minimum configuration required of a PC to run MPC-class software: 10 MHz 286 processor, 2 MB RAM, 30 MB hard drive, 16-color VGA, mouse, 8-bit audio card, 150 kBps CD-ROM drive. [501.87] [509.228] [532] [601.77]
(month unknown)
  • Microsoft announces Microsoft Money personal finance software. [1149.379]
  • Lotus Development opens an office in Moscow, Russia. [693.118]
  • DRAM market share: Japan over 80%, US about 10%. [606.109]
December 14
  • Apogee Software releases the Commander Keen game for personal computers, as shareware. [2583.175] [2649.89]
December
  • Microsoft settles a shareholder lawsuit for US$1.5 million, which alleged Microsoft concealed prior knowledge of the importance of the delays of updates to Microsoft Word. [1299.373]
  • Microsoft begins shipping the first version of the Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) library for Microsoft Windows 3.0. [511.67]
  • Ashton-Tate's lawsuit regarding the copyright on the dBase language is dismissed in court. US District Court judge Terry Hatler rules that the dBase language is not copyrightable, because it originated from a public domain program: JPLDIS from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. [25] [548.344] [676.51] [679.51]
  • The Swedish National Board for Measurement and Testing makes a revised set of recommendations regarding electromagnetic emissions (VLF and ELF) from monitors. This set is referred to as MPR II. [1067.210] (1991 [688.117])
December 31
  • At the end of the year, 29% of American households with TV sets also have a personal computer. 7.6% have a CD-ROM drive on their PC, and 17% have a modem on the PC. [833.16]
Year
  • Shipments of personal computers in the Asia / Pacific region for the year: 3.8 million; revenue US$12.4 billion. 2 million were shipped in Japan alone. [1080.27]
  • Sales of computer hardware in Japan for the year: US$7.6 billion. [1295.9]
  • Market share of computer hardware in Japan for the year: Apple Computer 5.5%. [1295.9]
  • Shipments of operating system software during the year: DOS 14 million, OS/2 300,000, UNIX 400,000, Mac OS 2,000,000. [1299.420]
  • Shipments of Microsoft Windows 3.0 for the year: 2.75 million. [1080.197]
  • Worldwide shipment of CD-ROM drives for the year: 400,000. [909.236]
  • Market share of US personal computers: IBM 15.2%, Apple Computer 9%, Compaq 4.2%. [958.48]
  • Shipments of Apple computers for the year: 1.69 million. [686.47]
  • Shipments of IBM personal computers: 2.84 million. [686.47]
  • Market share of PC spreadsheet software: Lotus 1-2-3 47%, Quattro 14%, Microsoft Excel 14%. [527.59]
  • Current installed base of personal computers in the US: 92 million. [1897.129]
  • Percent of US homes with personal computers: 25.4%. [214] [1079.49]
  • Shipments of personal computers in the US for the year: 9 million. [1079.49]
  • Unit shipments of personal computers during the year: about 24 million. [1199.60]

End of 1990. Next: 1991.

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.
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    URL: https://pctimeline.info/
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