Chronology of Personal Computers

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Last updated: 2022 April 29.


1998

July
  • Microsoft releases Direct X 6.0. [1102.28]
  • Market share of PC processors: Advanced Micro Devices 5%. [1233.132]
  • Bill Gates names Steve Ballmer as new president of Microsoft. [961.6] [1266.7]
  • Microsoft releases Windows 98 in Japan. (Sales in the first month: 500,000.) [1559]
July 22
  • Belize issues a postage stamp depicting personal computers in school, connected to the Internet. [2404.856]
July 31
  • Acclaim releases the Mortal Kombat 4 game for personal computers in the US. [1806]
(month unknown)
  • Microsoft releases the Visual Basic Professional Edition development software. Prices are US$549 (complete), US$229 (upgrade from VB4), US$279 (upgrade from VB3 or earlier). [1640.282]
  • Rates of software piracy in the world: world average 40%, Eastern Europe 77%, Middle East/Africa 65%, Latin America 62%, Asia/Pacific 52%, Western Europe 39%, North America 28%. [1640.10]
August 15
  • Apple Computer begins shipping the iMac to retail outlets in the US. Price is US$1299. (278,000 units are shipped in the first six weeks.) [793.4] [826.14] [944.74] [1094.23] [1248.21] [1559] [1628.24] [2605.295]
August
  • Intel releases the 450 MHz Pentium II processor. [1233.131]
  • Toshiba Computer Systems Division introduces the Toshiba Tecra 800 notebook computer. It features a 266 MHz Pentium II processor, 13.3-inch TFT display, 6.3 GB hard drive, optional CD-ROM, thickness of 1.7 inches, and weight of about 6 pounds. [875.166]
  • Microsoft releases DirectX 6.0 to software developers. This release improves 3D graphics rendering speed and audio capabilities. [1513.78] [1774.49]
August 20
  • Activision releases the Quake III Arena game for Windows-based personal computers. [1479.91]
August 24
  • Intel releases the 300 MHz and 333 MHz Celeron processors with 128 kB Level 2 cache. Code-name during development was Mendocino. The 153.9 mm2 die incorporates 19 million transistors in a 0.25-micron process. Prices are US$149 and US$192 in 1000-unit quantities. [843.30] [974.104] [159.25] [1124.107] [1178.76] [1559] [1640.10]
  • Adobe Systems announces Adobe Illustrator 8.0. Price is US$375; upgrade price is US$129; competitive upgrade price is US$199. [1559]
August 26
  • Gateway introduces the Gateway Destination computer. It features 333 MHz Celeron processor, 27-inch television monitor, DVD drive, 2 GB hard drive. Price is US$1999. [1559]
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  • Gateway introduces the Gateway Destination computer. It features 450 MHz Pentium II processor, 36-inch television monitor, surround sound speakers, 2 GB hard drive. Price is US$4999. [1559]
  • Be releases BeOS Release 3.2 operating system for Intel-compatible processor-based personal computers. Updated features include more support for Pentium and PowerPC processors, improved DOS and Window file format support, faster animation, and an improved Web browser. [1559]
August 27
  • Advanced Micro Devices releases the 350 MHz K6-2 processor. Price is US$317 in 1000-unit quantities. [1559]
August 28
  • Apple Computer releases the iMac in Japan. Price is 178,000 yen (US$1227). [1559]
(month unknown)
  • Donna Dubinsky and Jeff Hawkins found Handspring. [1464.100] [1559]
September 8
  • Franklin introduces the Rex Pro handheld computer. It features 512 kB RAM, LCD screen, six navigation buttons, docking station, case, nd can plug into a PC Card slot to transfer data. It weighs 1.4 ounces, fits in a wallet, and is priced at US$229.95. The unit was jointly developed by Citizen and Motorola. [1559]
September 14
  • At the end of the day's stock market trading Microsoft stands as America's most valuable company, at US$261.1 billion. Microsoft and General Electric were both valued at over US$300 billion in July, but Microsoft survived a stock market plunge better, putting it on top. [792.10] [1559]
September 15
  • Microsoft releases Office 97 Service Pack 2. [1559]
September
  • A class-action lawsuit is filed against Iomega regarding a clicking noise in Zip drives that can cause damage to the drives and disks. The phenomenon is known as the "Click of Death". [790.9]
  • Symantec recalls all copies of its Norton Uninstall Deluxe products from stores, following a court ruling concluding the software infringes on copyright of source code in Network Associates' McAfee's Uninstaller. [789.10]
  • Sun Microsystems announces a SunPCi co-processor card for Sun workstations. SunPCi uses a 300 MHz AMD K6-2 processor, runs Windows 95 or 98, and fits in a PCI slot. [791.8]
  • In Japan, IBM Japan Yamato Laboratory introduces a prototype IBM Wearable PC. It features 233 MHz processor, 340 MB IBM Microdrive, two-hour battery pack, Windows 98, ViaVoice voice recognition software, 320x240 display on headset, TrackPoint controller in handheld unit, USB and infrared ports, CompactFlash slot. [1642.10]
September 16
  • The 56 kbps V.90 modem standard is officially ratified. [1102.37] [1630.91]
  • Intel releases a low-power 266 MHz Pentium MMX processor designed for portable computers. [1559]
  • Spain issues a 70-peseta postage stamp for the 20th International Conferene on Data Protection in Santiago de Campostela, depicting a personal computer and 3.5-inch diskette. [2529.140]
September 21
  • Apple Computer releases the AppleWorks 5 software suite. Price is US$99; upgrade price is US$79. [1559]
September 22
  • Advanced Micro Devices releases the 300 MHz K6 processor. Price is US$229 each in volume quantities. [1559]
September
  • Microprocessor market share among < US$1000 desktop PCs: AMD K6-2: 68%, Intel Celeron: 16%, Cyrix MII: 16%. [893.10]
September 25
  • National Semiconductor announces it will terminate its processor manufacturing agreement with IBM by the end of the year. As a result, IBM will lose access to Cyrix 6X86 designs, compatible with Intel x86 processors. [1559]
September 28
  • Microsoft pulls Office 97 Service Release 2 from distribution, to fix reported problems in installation. [1559]
  • Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser takes the lead over Netscape's Navigator for the first time. [1462.94]
September 30
  • Unit sales of iMac systems during the first six weeks of availability: 278,000. (This is the fastest shipping Macintosh to date.) [1205.36]
July-September
  • Market share of personal computers in the US for the period July-September: Compaq Computer 15.0%, Dell Computer 13.4%, IBM 8.9%, Hewlett-Packard 8.4%, Gateway 8.2%. [1559]
  • Market share of personal computers shipped worldwide for the period July-September: Compaq Computer 13.4%, IBM 8.4%, Dell Computer 8.2%, Hewlett-Packard 5.9%, Gateway 3.8%. [1559]
October 1
  • Italy issues an 800-lira postage stamp for Communications Day, showing a personal computer monitor. [2422.1191]
October 2
  • Casio introduces the Cassiopeia E-11 handheld computer. It features backlit LCD display, 8 MB memory, 4 MB ROM, serial port, Windows CE 2.0, microphone, speaker, and docking cradle. Price is US$399. [1559]
October 6
  • Microsoft releases Visual J++ 6.0 Java delopment software. Price is US$549 for Professional Edition, US$109 for Standard Edition. [1559]
October 8
  • Microsoft announces Windows CE Handheld PC Professional Edition 3.0 hardware reference design, based on Windows CE 2.11. Code-name during development was Jupiter. [890.41] [1559] [1819.171]
October 9
  • Hayes again files for bankruptcy protection. [845.24] [1008.35] [1228.106] [1559]
October 12
  • WinBook introduces the WinBook XL computer. It features 20x CD-ROM drive, 1.44 MB 3.5-inch floppy disk drive, 233 MHz Pentium MMX processor, 256 kB Level 2 cache, 16 MB RAM, 12.1-inch dual scan display, PCI 2 MB graphics accelerator, 1.6 GB hard drive, touch pad controller. Price is US$999. [1642.35]
October 13
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, Advanced Micro Devices gives details of its K7 processor. Initial speed will be 500 MHz, with 200 MHz system bus, multiprocessing capability, and 512 kB to 8 MB secondary cache. [1559]
October 14
  • Apple Computer introduces the Mac OS 8.5 operating system. Release date is set for October 17. Price is US$99. [1559]
  • At the Microprocessor Forum, Intel gives more details of its 64-bit processor code-named Merced. It features new instruction set, new cache memory architecture, three-level cache hierarchy, new floating-point unit, A release date of mid-2000 is the current target. [1559]
October 19
  • The antitrust trial of the US Justice Department against Microsoft begins. Government lawyers spend three hours detailing acts that allegedly show that Microsoft attempted to illegally maintain a desktop operating system monopoly and used predatory tactics to create a new monopoly for Web browser software. [929.49] [1014.1] [1462.94] [1559] [1564.292]
October
  • Netscape Communications releases Netscape Communicator 4.5. [919] [1559]
  • Microsoft releases the second beta test of Windows NT Workstation and Server versions. [938.51] [1444.35] (August [945.60])
  • Quote by IBM chairman and CEO Louis Gerstner in an interview with CNBC: "the era of the PC is over". [1178.50]
October 21
  • At the Networld+Interop trade show, Microsoft releases Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 4. [1559]
October 26
  • Symantec buys Quarterdeck for US$65 million. [837.104]
October 27
  • Microsoft announces that the final name for Windows NT 5.0 will be Windows 2000. [1559] (July 1999 [1897.131])
October 29
  • IBM announces an Aptiva personal computer, with 3.2 GB hard drive, 24x CD-ROM drive, IBM 300 Performance MMX processor, 32 MB RAM, Lotus SmartSuite and modem, for US$599. IBM is the first major American computer maker to break the US$600 mark. [1559] [1630.33]
October 30
  • Microsoft re-releases Office 97 Service Release 2. This update had been released a month ago, but distribution was suspended to correct occasional improper installations. [1559]
(month unknown)
  • ATI Technologies announces the Rage 128 graphics accelerator chip. It features 8 million transistors, 250 MHz DAC, 32-bit Z-buffering, and supports OpenGL 1.2. [1647.24]
November 8
  • Intel begins airing a commercial on American television entitled "Homer's Smarter Brain", featuring Homer Simpson of The Simpsons, who has his brain replaced by a Pentium II processor, turning him into a professor. [1559]
November 13
  • Be announces BeOS Release 4 operating system, for Intel and PowerPC processor-based computers. The new release is better integrated with Windows files amd keyboard shortcuts. Release is set for December, with online purchase price US$69.95, or retail price US$99.95. [1559]
November
  • Opera Software releases the Opera v3.5 web browser. [932]
  • Netscape Communications releases Netscape Communicator 4.08. [919]
  • Red Hat Linux 5.2 is released. [774]
  • Compaq Computer introduces the Prosignia line of desktop, notebook, and server computers. [893.56]
  • LinuxPPC 5.0, Linux for the PowerPC, is announced. [774]
  • Market share of PC processors: Advanced Micro Devices 21%. [1233.132]
  • Worldwide personal electronic companion market share: 3Com Palm Computing 72%. [1185.22]
  • The COMDEX/Fall trade show is held, in Las Vegas, Nevada. 4280 exhibitors and 462,000 visitors attend. [1466.244]
November 16
  • At the Comdex trade show, Iomega announces the Zip 250 drive. It uses an external SCSI or parallel port connection, and can read and write both 100 MB and 250 MB cartridges. Transfer rate is up to 1.7 MBps. Price is US$199. Price for 250 MB cartridges is about US$17 each. [175.98] [1171.51] [1559]
  • Advanced Micro Devices releases the AMD K6-2 processor at speeds of 366, 380, and 400 MHz. Bus speeds are 66, 95, and 100 MHz respectively, and volume prices are US$187, US$213, and US$283. [938.74] [1559]
November 17
  • SyQuest Technology suspends its operations, and files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. [175.30] [789.6] [825.30] [938.168] [1008.35] [1559] [1647.28]
November 18
  • U.S. District judge Ronald Whyte grants Sun Microsystems' request for a preliminary injunction against Microsoft, requiring Microsoft to cease labeling its products that contain Java technology as being the "official" Java implementation. [1559]
November 20
  • Sierra releases the Half-Life computer game for Windows-based computers in the US. (In 2001, PC Gamer magazine calls it the best computer game ever.) [1870.73] [2530.50] [2601.99] (January 1999 [2160.48])
  • At the Comdex trade show, Sony unveils the Memory Stick memory drive and storage devices. An 8 MB storage unit measures 1.5 inches long, and is priced at US$40. [1559]
November 22
  • The Fox Broadcasting Company airs The Simpsons TV show in the US. A computer in a school has labels "COLECO" on it. The salesman says "These old Colecos will rust up on you like that" (snaps fingers). [1970]
November 24
  • America Online announces an agreement to acquire Netscape Communications for US$4.2 billion in stock. [788.1] [929.50] [1423.255] [1559] [1711.39] [1897.131] (December 24 [835.30])
November
  • Market share of US retail software, based on units sold: Corel 0.73%. [1097.15]
(month unknown)
  • Hewlett-Packard introduces the HP Jornada 820 Handheld PC. It features a StrongARM SA-1100 processor, 8.2-inch diagonal 256-color LCD display, 16 MB RAM, V.90 modem, VGA port, USB port, keyboard, and Windows CE. Weight is 2.6 pounds; price is about US$1000; size is 9.5 (wide) x 1.3 (thick) inches. [1169.149]
  • LG Electronics introduces the LG Phenom Express handheld computer. It features a Hitachi SH3 7709R processor, 8.2-inch LCD touch screen, 32 MB RAM, V.90 model, keyboard, and Windows CE. Weight is 1.9 pounds; price is about US$900. [1169.152]
  • Sharp introduces the Sharp Mobillon Pro PV-5000 handheld computer. It features a MIPS 3922 processor, 8.2-inch LC touch screen, 16 MB RAM, keyboard, Type II PC Card slot, IrDA port, and Windows CE. Weight is 2.7 pounds; price is about US$900. [1169.157]
  • Nadem introduces the Vadem Clio handheld computer. It features a NEC VR4 III MIPS 4000 processor, 9.4-inch LCD touch screen, 16 MB RAM, keyboard, stylus, Windows CE, IrDA port, PC Card slot, CompactFlash slot. Weight is 3.2 pounds; price is about US$1000; size is 11.3 x 8.8 x 1 inches. [1169.157]
  • Motorola officially introduces the G4 processor. It features AltiVec technology (allowing calculations performed on up to 16 data elements simultaneously), multiprocessor capability. Speed should be 400 MHz when it ships in mid-1999. Code-name of the processor is Apollo. [1078] [1872.20]
  • John C. Dvorak quote: "Within a 15-year period, [Bill] Gates has accumulated more wealth than the British monarchy, which has been robbing the world and its own people since the twelfth century.". [1169.87]
  • Acer introduces the Acer TravelMate 312T notebook PC. It features a 233 MHz Pentium MMX processor, 8.4-inch TFT LCD display, 3.1 GB hard disk, 32 MB SDRAM, PC Card slot, V.90 modem, external CD-ROM drive, external floppy drive Weight is 2.9 pounds; size is 9.3 x 6.9 inches; price is about US$1800. [1169.165]
  • Newer Technology introduces the Maxpowr G3 PDS 240/1MB upgrade card for the Power Mac 6100-8100 series. It includes a 240 MHz PowerPC G3 processor. Price is US$649. [1094.55]
  • Newer Technology introduces the Nupowr G3 1400 250/125 processor upgrade card for the Macintosh PowerBook 1400. It features 250 MHz PowerPC G3 processor and 1 MB cache. Price is US$799. [1094.49]
  • Newer Technology introduces the Nupowr G3 2400 240/120 processor upgrade card for the Macintosh PowerBook 2400. It features 240 MHz PowerPC G3 processor. Price is US$799. [1094.49]
  • Vimage introduces the Vpower PB 1400 G3/233 upgrade card for the Macintosh PowerBook 1400. It features 233 MHz PowerPC G3 processor, and 512 kB cache. Price is US$499. [1094.49]
  • Orange Micro introduces the OrangePC 627 PC-on-a-card for the Macintosh. It features 200 MHz IDT WinChip with MMX, 16 MB RAM, nd runs Windows 95, 98, and NT. Price is US$599. [1094.53]
  • Sonnet Technology introduces the Cresendo G3 266/1MB processor upgrade card for the PowerMacintosh 6100/7100/8100 series. Price is US$559. [1094.55]
  • Royal Consumer Business Products introduces the Royal daVinci PDA. It features 256 kB RAM. Size is 5 x 3 inches; price is about US$100. [1169.60]
December 11
  • Warner Bros. Pictures releases the film You've Got Mail to theaters in the USA. The film title is the phrase used by the America Online software, which is shown and used in the film. The icon for Microsoft Word appears on a computer desktop. An Apple Powerbook and an IBM laptop computer are used throughout the film. [2078]
December 14
  • Mattel completes its acquisition of The Learning Company for US$3.6 billion. [2159.22]
December
  • Corel begins giving away WordPerfect 8.0 for Linux Personal Edition, free for non-commercial use. [175.64]
  • Opera Software releases the Opera v3.51 web browser. [932]
  • Microsoft releases Windows 2000 Beta 3 Release Candidate 0. [1444.35]
  • Scott Draeker founds Loki Entertainment, for the purpose of porting computer games to the Linux operating system. [1451.27]
  • Palm Computing announces the Palm VII handheld computer. [938.137] [1559] [1703.53]
December 16
  • Iomega begins shipping the Clik removable storage drives. [1559]
October-December
  • Intel-compatible microprocessor market share during October to December: Intel 76%. [1444.9]
  • Handheld operating system market share from October to December: Palm OS 69%, Windows CE 20%. [1444.147]
  • Best-selling handheld computer in the US during October to December: 3Com Palm III. [1444.147]
  • Shipments of personal computers in the world during October to December: 27 million. [1559]
  • Market share of personal computers in the world during October to December: Compaq Computer 14.5%, Dell Computer 8.5%, IBM 8.7%, Hewlett-Packard 6.3%, NEC 6.5%. [1559]
  • Market share of personal computers in the USA during October to December: Compaq Computer 18.1%, Dell Computer 12.8%, Gateway 9.1%, IBM 9.1%, Hewlett-Packard 7.2%, Apple Computer 4.5%. [1559]
Year
  • Software shipments in North America on DVD: 25.1 million units. [1608.12]
  • Personal computer market share in Canada based on sales for the year: Compaq 21.5%, IBM 19.6%, Dell 10.2%, Hewlett-Packard 7.0%, Toshiba 4.7%, Apple Computer 4.0%, Packard Bell NEC 3.3%, Seanix 2.8%, Acer 1.6%, Sidus 1.5%. [1439.21]
  • Shipments of personal computers to consumers during the year: 11.8 million, generating US$12.7 billion in revenue. [827.42]
  • Shipment of personal computers in the US during the year: 36.5 million. [1249.4]
  • Shipment of personal computers worldwide during the year: 90-106 million. [835.10] [1249.4] [1420.21] [1559] [1738.50] [1757.94]
  • Worldwide personal computer unit sales: Compaq 11.5 million, IBM 7.5 million, Dell 7.1 million, Hewlett-Packard 5.0 million, NEC 3.7 million. [1194.108] (Compaq 13.2 million [1559])
  • Market share of personal computer shipments worldwide during the year: Compaq Computer 13.8%, IBM 8.2%, Dell Computer 7.9%, Hewlett-Packard 5.8%, Packard Bell NEC 4.3%. [1559]
  • Market share of personal computer shipments in the US during the year: Dell Computer 13.2%, Compaq Computer 16.7%, Gateway 8.4%, Hewlett-Packard 7.8%, Apple Computer 4.6%. [1559]
  • Personal computers in use worldwide: 364.4 million. [1178.6]
  • Personal computers in use in the USA: 129 million. [1178.6]
  • Handheld computer operating system market share for the year: Palm OS 41%, Windows CE 25%, EPOC 13%. [1185.22] [1559]
  • Market share of US mobile computers for the year: 3Com Palm 40%. [1820.29] [1559]
  • Worldwide shipments of handheld computers for the year: 3.988 million. [1814.28] [1821.18] [1822.7]
  • Installed base (worldwide) of handheld computers: 8.2 million. [1821.18]
  • Market share of handheld computers in the world during the year: Palm Computing 40%, Philips Electronics 4.4%. [1559]
  • Shipments of color inkjet printers worldwide during the year: 16 million. [1559]
  • Intel processor-based personal computer market share for the year: Compaq Computer 13.8%, IBM 8.2%, Dell Computer 7.9%, Hewlett-Packard 5.8%, Packard Bell NEC 4.3%. [835.10]
  • Market share of personal computer processors during the year: Advanced Micro Devices 12%. [1752.116]
  • Unit shipments of DVD-ROM drives in the US during the year: over 5 million. [1280.55]
  • 41-50% of US households own at least one personal computer. [838.9] [1129.163] [1459.27] [1632.6]
  • Total US households with a personal computer: 50 million. [1633.6]
  • Desktop operating system market share in the world: Windows 82%. [1429.58]
  • Shipments of desktop personal computer operating systems in the USA during the year: Windows 3.11 1.3 million, total 89 million. [1559]
  • Market share of desktop personal computer operating systems in the USA during the year: Windows 95 57.4%, Windows 98 17.2%, Windows NT 11%, Mac OS 5%, DOS 3.8%, Linux 2.1%, Windows 3.11 1.1%, Unix 0.8%, OS/2 0.5%, others 1%. [1559]
  • Shipments of personal computer operating systems for the year: Linux 2.9 million. [175.64] (700,000 [923.45])
  • Shipments of cable modems for the year: 500,000. [938.38]
  • Shipments of Apple Computer iMac computers worldwide during the year: 800,000. [843.6] [1094.23] [1559]
  • For the year, IBM's personal systems division reports a loss of almost US$1 billion. [1559]
  • Top-selling personal computer game during the year: StarCraft, at 746,365 units, worth US$31 million. [2530.50]

End of 1998. Next: 1999.

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.