Chronology of Personal Computers

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Last updated: 2022 April 29.


July 3
  • Apple Computer and IBM sign a technology sharing agreement, to integrate the Mac into IBM's enterprise systems, to allow future RISC-based Macs to use IBM's Power PC chip, to work together on common multimedia standards, and to co-operatively produce a new object-oriented operating system. [22] [37] [46] [170.13] [205.13] [414.231] [525.3] [618.310] [733.23] [704.96] [881.81] [1080.198] [1149.405] [2605.69]
  • Quote by Richard Shaffer, publisher of Computer Letter, on the Apple-IBM alliance: "It's like a surfer girl marrying a banker.". [1149.405]
July 8
  • Microsoft begins development of Excel 4.0. [1701.337]
  • IBM aquires Metaphor Computer Systems. [1080.199]
  • Delrina Technology introduces the WinFax Pro 2.0 fax utility for Windows. Price is US$119. [1049.131]
  • Eo company is formed by former members of Go. [660.6] [964]
  • Intel launches the "Intel Inside" logo advertising campaign with computer makers. [1672.25] [1804.26]
  • Borland International buys database competitor Ashton-Tate for US$440 million. [22] [39] [102] [414.231] [879.44] [1299.428] (November [548.345])
  • Microsoft vice president Brad Silverberg quote: DOS will be "with us forever. We've learned how passionate people are about DOS.". (Four years later, the release of Windows 95 excludes a separate release of MS-DOS.) [40]
  • Microsoft changes the name of OS/2 v3.0 to Windows NT. [40]
  • Advanced Micro Devices introduces the 25 MHz Am386SX processor. [477.127] [540.64]
July (month)
  • Top selling MS-DOS computer game in the USA during the month: Castles. [1530.66]
(month unknown)
  • Quote from Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy, on the Apple Computer / IBM alliance: "The only strategic relationship that works is a purchase order.". [663.91]
  • Steve Jobs agrees with his NeXT company advisors to port the NeXTSTEP operating system to the Intel 80x86 architecture. [734.318]
  • Electronic Arts releases the Deluxe Paint 4 software for the Amiga in the United Kingdom. Main new feature is use of HAM mode for 4096 simultaneous colors. Price is 89.95 pounds. [2178.25]
  • Commodore UK releases the C386SX-LT notebook computer in the United Kingdom. It features 20 MB hard drive, 16 MHz 80386SX processor, 1 MB RAM, 1.44 MB 3.5-inch disk drive, VGA graphics, optional math coprocessor, optional internal 2400 bps modem. Price is 1175 pounds. Price with 40 MB hard drive is 1389 pounds. [2178.39]
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  • Power Computing releases the Fusion Forty accelerator card for the Amiga A1500/2000 in the United Kingdom. It includes a 25 MHz 68040 processor and 4 MB RAM. Price is 2000 pounds. [2178.58]
August 2
  • Ashton-Tate announces it will reduce its workforce by fifteen percent. [2355.35]
August 5
  • Dell Computer announces it will make a line of personal computers for retail sale via Staples stores in the USA. [2356.D3]
  • Hewlett-Packard introduces the HP DeskWriter C 300 dpi color printer for the Macintosh. Price is US$1095. [729.63] [914.53] [2356.D3]
  • Hewlett-Packard introduces its first color image scanner, the HP Scanjet IIc 400 dpi color flatbed scanner. Price for the Macintosh is US$1995; for other computers, US$2195. [413.157] [2356.D3]
  • Microsoft introduces the Microsoft QuickC for Windows 1.0 software development package. Price is US$199. [1049.139]
  • Hewlett-Packard begins development of 1.3-inch diameter hard drives. Code-name is Kittyhawk. [1058.32]
  • Symantec acquires Zortech Inc., maker of C++ compilers for DOS, Windows, OS/2, Macintosh, and UNIX. [42]
  • Symantec releases the Zortech C++ 3.0 software development package for Windows, DOS, and OS/2. Price is US$699. [1049.140]
  • The PCMCIA introduces Socket Services specification release 1.0. [696.238]
August 20
  • Apple Computer and Adobe Systems sign a letter of intent for Apple to include Adobe's font technology in future System 7 operating system. [2358.D4]
August 27
  • Intel announces a temporary halt to production of the 50 MHz 486DX processor, due to problems in manufacturing and testing. [477.126] [2359.D4]
August 28
  • The first email message is sent from space to Earth, sent by the crew of space shuttle STS-43 Atlantis, using a Macintosh Portable computer and AppleLink software. [2605.147]
August (month)
  • Top selling MS-DOS computer game in the USA during the month: AD&D: Gateway to the Savage Frontier. [1530.66]
(month unknown)
  • Spreadsheet software market share in the US: Lotus 1-2-3 39.7%, Microsoft Excel 28.6%, Quattro Pro 25%. [1440.16]
  • BlueMaq International introduces the Heat Seeker II, a souped-up Macintosh SE with 14-inch monochrome monitor, 85 MB hard drive, 800 kB floppy drive, 25 MHz 68030 plus 68882 math coprocessor, for US$7000. [413.167]
  • Apple Computer petitions the FCC to allocate a 40 MHz wide band of frequencies for use with its personal digital assistants. [634.211]
September 3
  • Lotus Development ships Lotus 1-2-3 for Windows. Price is US$595. [2358.D4]
  • Integral Peripherals introduces the first 1.8-inch hard disk drive, in capacities of 20 and 40 MB. The drive is about the size of a deck of cards. [2360.D13]
September 4
  • Sun Microsystems announces it is developing a version of its Solaris operating system for Intel-based personal computers. [1080.198] [2360.D4]
September 12
  • Sony introduces the Data Discman, a handheld computer that can operate on small compact discs costing US$20-50 each. Release is set for November, with price US$550. [2362.D3]
  • Microsoft introduces the Microsoft Works for Windows 2.0 integrated software package. Price is US$199. [1049.138] [1701.352]
  • WordStar International introduces WordStar for Windows software. [1049.151]
  • Silicon Graphics begins licensing the OpenGL graphics library. [867.108]
  • Microsoft introduces Microsoft Money 1.0 personal financial software for Windows. Price is US$69.95. [1049.142]
  • In Finland, Linus Torvalds releases a version 0.01 operating system (Linux) for 80386-based computers, for free ftp download. [1648.50] [1740.178] (August [1601.9] [1897.129] [2069.29]) (October [1104.114]) (December [1413.18]) (1989 [835.169])
  • Intel introduces the 16 MHz i486SX microprocessor. Speed is 13 MIPS. [62]
  • Intel introduces the 25 MHz i486SX microprocessor. Speed is 20 MIPS. [62]
  • Intel introduces the 25 MHz 80386SL microprocessor. Speed is 5.3 MIPS. [62]
  • Digital Research releases DR DOS 6.0, for US$100. This is the first PC operating system to include disk compression software, provided by SuperStor. [43] [548.366] [750.58]
  • The PCMCIA card specification v2.0 is released. This revision includes standards for modems, LAN cards, mass storage, and other peripherals. [206.68] [696.237] [766.264]
  • AST Research introduces the AST Premium Exec 386 SX/25 portable computer. It features 25 MHz AMD Am386SXL processor, 4 MB RAM, 80 MB hard drive, VGA display, 3.5-inch floppy disk drive. Price is US$4795; weight is 7.3 pounds, size is 11 x 8.5 inches. [2361.C6]
  • Chips & Technologies introduces the F8680 PC/Chip microprocessor. It is designed for use in notebook and handheld computers. The CPU is compatible with the Intel 8086 and Intel 80186. The chip also includes a universal asynchronous receiver/transmitter, CGA-compatible display controller, and PCMCIA support, making it the most integrated chip ever produced to date. Price is US$45. [477.128]
(month unknown)
  • Quantum Computer Services releases the America Online software for DOS. [1280.46]
October 2
  • Apple Computer, Motorola, and IBM officially sign an accord on technology sharing. Apple and IBM will jointly develop the PowerOpen Specification, based on IBM's AIX operating system. The Taligent company will be established to develop an operating system based on Apple Computer's project Pink. [44] [205.99] [293.35] [321.12] [145] [397.12] [399.32] [417.17] [746.72] [1149.405] [1205.35] [1880.20] [2605.69] (September [75] [205.2])
  • Electronic Arts, Time Warner, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers announce a joint venture for creating multimedia products. The new company is called San Mateo Software Group. (The company name is later changed to 3DO.) [1525.123] [1533.116]
October 7
  • Mediagenic files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. [1525.123]
October 8
  • At the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, the Multimedia Marketing Council launches the Multimedia PC. Keynote speakers include James Burke and Bill Gates. Requirements of a Multimedia PC are: 80286 processor, 2 MB RAM, 40 MB hard drive, VGA graphics, two-channel 16-bit audio record/playback, CD-ROM, and Microsoft Windows with Multimedia extensions. [704.217] [768.29] [1530.62]
  • Microsoft releases Windows 3.0a with Multimedia Extensions. Included is Microsoft's first media player software; it can play CD audio and WAV files. [1608.38] [1897.129]
  • The Japan Data Show is held. [1058.164]
  • DeScribe introduces the DeScribe Word Processor 3.0 for Windows. Price is US$495. [1049.150]
  • Quantum Computer Services renames itself to America Online. [1280.46] [1897.129] [2605.148]
  • Lotus Development introduces the Freelance Graphics for Windows 1.0 presentation software. [1049.145]
  • Intuit introduces the Quicken for Windows personal accounting software. [1049.142]
  • Microsoft introduces the Microsoft Bookshelf 1991 Edition reference software for Windows. [1049.141] [1080.42]
  • Compaq Computer names Eckhard Pfeiffer as CEO. [782.6]
  • Intel files a copyright infringement claim against Advanced Micro Devices, claiming the programmed logic array in the 386 is a program, thus protected by copyright. [659.7]
  • The Microprocessor Forum conference is held. [1021]
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, IBM and Motorola outline a four year road map of PowerPC processors, starting with a low-cost desktop processor, and culminating in a high performance processor for servers and workstations. [1021]
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, Advanced RISC Machines presents the 32-bit ARM600 processor. It incorporates 33,494 transistors. [963.1] [1058.134]
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, Apple Computer outlines its PowerPC migration strategy. (November [735.3])
  • Chips & Technologies announces its Super386 line of processors, and SuperMath math coprocessor. Both are compatible with Intel chips. [955.4] (September [1067.28])
  • Apple Computer and IBM create Kaleida, to create a hardware-independent multimedia scripting language. [399.32] [414.231]
  • Quote from IBM's Lee Reiswig: "We will be enhancing OS/2 until the late 1990s." [47]
  • Insite Technology ships the I325VM Floptical disk drive to system vendors. The drive uses optical technology to store 21 MB on a 3.5-inch disk. The drive can also read/write standard 720 kB and 1.44 MB disks. [149] (Insite Peripherals [1067.54])
  • Microsoft releases Microsoft Word for Windows 2.0. Price is US$495. [1049.151]
October 22
  • The COMDEX trade show is held. [909.232] [1527.191]
  • At the COMDEX show, Microsoft gives the first public demonstration of Windows NT. [909.232]
  • At Fall Comdex, IBM formally introduces OS/2 2.0, to be shipped by early spring. [1149.408]
  • At Fall COMDEX, Apple Computer unveils the Macintosh PowerBook 100. It features a 16 MHz 68000 CPU, System 7.0.1, 20 MB hard drive, 9-inch passive matrix B/W backlit supertwist LCD 640x400 screen, 2 MB RAM, two expansion slots, weighs 5.1 pounds, and costs US$2299. [46] [75] [417.130] [683.113] [1038.253] [1559] [1571.173] (cost US$1600 [578.204] (October 1990 [750.52])
  • At Fall COMDEX, Apple Computer unveils the Macintosh PowerBook 140. It features a 16 MHz 68030 CPU, System 7.0.1, 20 MB hard drive, 10-inch supertwist B/W LCD backlit 640x400 screen, 2 MB RAM, two expansion slots, SuperDrive floppy drive, weighs 6.8 pounds, and costs US$2899. [46] [75] [417.130] [683.113] [1038.253]
  • At Fall COMDEX, Apple Computer unveils the Macintosh PowerBook 170. It features a 25 MHz 68030 CPU, System 7.0.1, 40 MB hard drive, 10-inch active matrix B/W LCD backlit 640x400 screen, 4 MB RAM, SuperDrive floppy drive, 2400bps fax/modem, two expansion slots, 68882 math coprocessor, weighs 6.8 pounds, and costs US$4599. [46] [75] [414.258] [417.130] [1038.253]
  • Apple Computer introduces the Macintosh Classic II (replacing the Macintosh Classic). It features a 16 MHz 68030, System 7.0.1, 2 MB RAM, 40 MB hard drive, B/W monitor, floppy drive, for US$1899. [46] [75] [417.148] [579.96] [683.122]
  • Apple Computer unveils the Macintosh Quadra 700. It features a 25 MHz 68040, 8-bit (512 kB RAM) or 32-bit (2 MB RAM) color video, System 7.0.1, HyperCard, 4 MB RAM, support for AppleTalk and Ethernet, SuperDrive floppy drive, and various hard drive options, for US$5700-7700. [46] [75] [417.140] [683.122]
  • Apple Computer unveils the Macintosh Quadra 900. It features a 25 MHz 68040, 8-bit or 32-bit color video, System 7.0.1, HyperCard, 4 MB RAM, SuperDrive floppy drive, support for AppleTalk or Ethernet, and various hard drive options, for US$7200-9200. [46] [75] [417.140] [683.122]
October (month)
  • Top selling MS-DOS computer game in the USA during the month: Police Quest 3. [2312.58]
(month unknown)
  • RasterOps and Truevision call off their plans to merge companies. [683.49]
  • Hewlett-Packard introduces the HP 95LX handheld computer. It runs MS-DOS 3.2, includes Lotus 1-2-3 v2.2 in 1 MB of ROM, displays MDA graphics, and weighs 11 ounces. 512 kB RAM is standard, with optional 128 kB and 512 kB RAM cards. Two AA batteries can power the system for six weeks. Price is US$699. [808.128]
  • Novell ships NetWare Lite 1.0 peer-to-peer LAN operating system. Price is US$99 per node. [1038.246]
  • Commodore Business Machines unveils the Amiga 3000UX, with a Motorola MC68030 25 MHz processor, 68882 math coprocessor, UNIX System V Release 4, Open Look, and Ethernet support. Cost is US$5000, without a monitor. [172.75]
  • In Japan, Eizo introduces the F340i energy-saving monitor, which can reduces its power consumption when it senses that it is not receiving a signal. [1093.156]
  • Quote by George Colony, president of Forrester Research, on OS/2: "This has to be the greatest disaster in IBM's history.". [1149.409]
  • NEC introduces the MultiSync FG series of monitors: 3FGx, 4FG (15-inch, US$899), 5FG (17-inch, US$1599), 6FG (21-inch, US$3499). [688.162] [683.49]
November 8
  • WordPerfect releases WordPerfect for Windows. [1049.151] [1527.174] (1992 [618.321])
  • Borland International introduces the Turbo C++ for Windows software development package. [1049.140]
  • Borland International introduces the Borland C++ Application Frameworks software development package for Windows. [1049.139]
  • Ventura Software introduces Ventura Publisher desktop publishing software for Windows. [1049.133]
  • IBM completes its acquisition of Metaphor Computer Systems. [1296.D3]
  • Frank King, Senior Vice President of Lotus Development, resigns. [1440.16]
  • Intel decides against licensing Digital Equipment's technology in the Alpha architecture. [636.24]
  • Que Software introduces the RightWriter software for Windows. Price is US$99.95. [1049.151]
  • Adobe Systems releases the Adobe Type Manager 2.0 for Windows software. Price is US$99. [1049.147]
  • Borland International releases ObjectVision for Windows v2.0, a visual application development tool. Price is US$149.95. [1049.129]
  • Microsoft announces the Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) API. [767.29]
  • IBM and Intel sign a 10-year joint development agreement to create a series of integrated processors. [48] [1080.37]
  • IBM announces the PowerPC 601 microprocessor. [746.72]
  • NCR ships the NCR 3125 microcomputer, running MS-DOS, Windows, PenWindows, and PenPoint. It features an Intel 386SL processor, 2 MB DRAM, 2 MB Flash EPROM, 640x480 16 shade gray screen, optional docking station, and weighs 3.6 pounds. [681.229] [728.146]
  • Microsoft announces the Multimedia Edition of Microsoft Works 2.0 for Windows, on CD-ROM. [123]
(month unknown)
  • Phoenix Technologies, Lotus Development, and Microsoft announce a program to help developers build the Companion PC, a design of a lightweight portable computer. [1080.28]
  • Psion introduces the Psion Series 3 palmtop computer. It features 8 row by 40 column LCD display, 4 MHz NEC V30 processor, 384 kB ROM with operating system and seven built-in applications, 128 kB RAM, slot for Flash EPROM memory cards. It runs for up to 120 hours on two AA batteries. Size is 6.5 x 3.3 x 1 inches; weight is 0.5 pounds; price is US$425. [1080.40]
  • The Multimedia PC Marketing Council raises the minimum processor requirements for MPC compliance to a 16 MHz 386SX processor, due to its greater bandwidth and memory management. [1440.16] (1992 [601.77])
  • Tandon introduces the Pac II computer. It features 20 MHz 80386SX processor, 40 MB removable hard drive, 3.5-inch floppy drive. Price is US$3035. Price for 33 MHz 486 with 400 MB removable hard drive is US$6320. [1080.46]
  • NEC Home Electronics introduces the ProSpeed 486 SX/C laptop computer. It features 640x480 256 color active matrix color TFT LCD display, 20 MHz Intel 486SX processor, 120 MB hard drive, 32 bit EISA bus. [1080.47]
  • IBM exits from the desktop software market. [728.45] [1080.28]
  • Dolch Computer Systems introduces the Dolch P.A.C. 486-50E portable computer. It features 50 MHz 486 processor, 8 MB RAM, gas-plasma monochrome orange/black display, 200 MB SCSI hard drive, 84 key keyboard, three ISA slots, three EISA slots, 1 MB VGA, 1.44 MB 3.5-inch floppy drive. Weight is 18 pounds; price is US$16,995. [1080]
  • Claris introduces the ClarisWorks applications package for the Macintosh, integrating word processing, graphics, spreadsheet, charts, database management, and communications. [1080.52]
  • Total sales of MS-DOS to date: 100 million. [606.141] (80 million [1149.231])
  • Dell Computer introduces the Dell System 325NC color portable computer. It features 25 MHz Intel 386SL processor, 9 1/2-inch diagonal passive-matrix triple-supertwist nematic 640x480 resolution LCD, nickel-metal-hydride rechargeable battery, 4 MB RAM, 60 MB hard drive, 1.44 MB floppy drive, and Microsoft Ballpoint trackball. Weight is 7 pounds. Size is 8 1/2 x 11 x 2 1/3 inches. Price is US$3999. [1038]
  • Intel begins the design process of its sixth-generation processor, to follow the Pentium processor. Code-name is "P6". (This processor will debut in November 1995 as the PentiumPro.) [519.108] [669]
  • Aldus introduces the Aldus FreeHand paint program for Windows. [1049.133]
  • Software Publishing introduces Harvard Graphics for Windows 1.0. Price is US$595. [1049.145]
  • Microsoft buys the Access database program. [1700.34]
  • At the Intel Technical Forum, Intel proposes the Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) local bus. [750.177]
  • MIT releases the X v11.5 windowing system. [707.207]
  • The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) forms a committee to develop a local-bus standard. [752.8]
  • Apple Computer ships QuickTime 1.0, supporting video tracks and soundtracks. [75] [884.64]
  • IBM introduces the 20 MHz 386SLC microprocessor. It is an enhanced Intel 386SX, including an 8 kB cache, and extra instructions. It is the first chip produced under an agreement between Intel and IBM, for IBM to use in their own systems. [477.128] [606.64]
  • Lotus Development ships Lotus 1-2-3 for Macintosh v1.0. [548.159] [1038.224]
  • IBM and Siemens A.G. of Germany announce a working prototype of the world's first 64-megabit memory chip. [1292.48]
December 31
  • Shipments of Apple Macintosh computers to date: 7 million. [914.18]
  • Total sales of Lotus 1-2-3 to date: 16 million. [606.152]
  • Total shipments of Microsoft Windows 3.0 to date: 15 million. [606.141]
December (month)
  • Top selling MS-DOS computer game in the USA during the month: Police Quest 3. [1531.50]
  • Shipments of Advanced Micro Devices 386 processors for the past three months: 1 million. [737.3]
  • Market share of 386 microprocessors for the period October to December: Advanced Micro Devices 30%. [1300.D1]
  • Personal computer shipments in Asia for the year: Taiwan: 6%. [1093.44]
  • Shipments of optical drives worldwide during the year: 33 million. [1587.42]
  • Worldwide shipment of CD-ROM drives for the year: 900,000. [909.236]
  • Shipments of Intel-based personal computers for the year: 8 million, worth US$25 billion. [151]
  • Shipments of Apple computers for the year: 2.48 million. 2.3 million are Macintosh computers. [686.47] [914.18] (1.3 million single-user Macs shipped [151])
  • Percent of US homes with a personal computer: 26.6%. [214]
  • US shipments of color printers for the year: 793,500. 71% are the impact dot matrix type. [914.45]
  • Shipments of Advanced Micro Devices 386 processors for the year: over 2 million. [737.3]
  • Shipments of laser printers in the United States for the year: about 2.3 million. [988]
  • Shipments of Microsoft DOS 5.0 during the year: 8 million. [1299.431]
  • Market share of personal computers worldwide: Apple Computer 9.6%. [1895.S3.16]
  • Market share of personal computers in the US: IBM 14%, Apple Computer 12%, Compaq 4%. [958.48]
  • Shipments of IBM personal computers for the year: 2.91 million. [686.47]
  • Shipments of color ink jet printers for the year: 90,000. [819.12]
  • Shipments of sound boards for the year: 600,000. [879.181]
  • Unit shipments of personal computers during the year: about 25 million. [1199.60]
  • Market share of personal computer software: Microsoft 29%, Lotus Development 13%, WordPerfect 8%. [1700.24]
  • Desktop operating system market share in the world: Microsoft Windows 75%. [1429.58]

End of 1991. Next: 1992.

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: ).
    Link to Ken P's home page.