Chronology of IBM Personal Computers

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Last updated: 2022 April 29.


  • Apple Computer's Steve Jobs offers IBM's Don Estridge the position of president of Apple Computer, for US$1 million per year, US$1 million signing bonus, and US$2 million to buy a house. Don Estridge turns it down. [618.121]
March 8
  • IBM announces the IBM Personal Computer XT in New York City. It features a Intel 8088 processor, 10 MB hard drive, eight expansion slots, serial port, 128 kB RAM, 40 kB ROM, keyboard, one double-sided 360 kB floppy drive. Price is US$4995. "XT" stands for eXtended Technology. [35] [41] [75] [116] [120] [205.31] [346.264] [902.256,298] [1149.216] [1256.141] [1313.D4 (February [9])
March 15
  • IBM Japan announces the IBM 5550 Multistation in Japan. It features an 8 MHz Intel 8086 microprocessor, 256 kB RAM (expandable to 512 kB), up to three 640 kB capacity floppy drives, display with 1024x768 graphics monochrome or 360x512 in four colors, for US$4200-10000 with screen, printer, and keyboard. [902.144] [1314.D4
  • IBM releases IBM Personal Computer Disk Operating System v2.00 (PC-DOS), with BASIC v2.00. Price is US$60. [902.298]
(month unknown)
  • Microsoft shows IBM a raw version of Windows. IBM is not interested as they are already developing what would be called TopView. [45]
  • IBM and Microsoft begin co-developing OS/2. [38]
  • Novell introduces the NetWare network operating system for the IBM PC. [620.123] [682.154]
August 1
  • IBM forms the Entry Systems Division in Boca Raton, Florida. [902.135]
  • IBM announces the IBM 3270 PC, an 8088-based system, for US$4290. [116]
  • IBM announces the IBM 5160 Model 588, known as the PC XT/370. It is a PC XT with 8088 CPU, 768 kB RAM, 360 KN disk drive, a 10 MB hard drive, and a special add-in card containing an Intel 8087 math coprocessor and two Motorola 68000 chips to execute or emulate System/370 instructions. Price is US$8995. Price with VM/PC software and monitor is US$10,700. [116] [910.594]
  • Microsoft again shows Windows to IBM, and again IBM is not interested. [45]
November 1
  • In New York, IBM announces the IBM PCjr. It features an Intel 8088 CPU, 64 kB RAM, detached keyboard, two cartridge slots, joystick, light pen, serial port, for US$669. Price with 5.25-inch floppy drive and 128 kB RAM is US$1269. PC-DOS 2.1 operating system is available as an option. Code-name during development was "Peanut". [9] [116] [120] [146] [266.281] [35] [41] [357.28] [483.D4] [658.41] [880.104] [910.7] [930.134]
November 2
  • Quote from Sierra On-Line founder and president, Ken Williams: "...the PCjr is bound to be around for a while". (IBM will cease production of the PCjr a year and a half later.) [357.30]
November 10
  • At the Helmsley Palace Hotel in New York City, Microsoft formally announces Microsoft Windows for the IBM PC. This is the most elaborate product introduction in industry history. Windows is promised for release in April, 1984. Bill Gates predicts that by the end of 1984, Windows would be used on over 90% of all IBM compatible PCs. (The first version doesn't even ship until late 1985.) [9] [45] [123] [137] [228.53] [346.177] [389.28] [416.67] [477.158] [548.159] [909.228] [1149.258] [1299.241] [1639.108] [1648.52] [2605.170]
December 31
  • Shipments of IBM PC computers to date: one million. [1311]
  • Shipments of IBM PC computers for the year: 500,000. [203.18] [1149.215] (550,000 [997.D4])
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January 12
  • IBM announces the Personal Computer Interactive Executive operating system. It is the UNIX system licensed from AT&T, and developed for IBM by Interactive Systems Corp. Price is expected to be US$900 in April. [992.D3]
  • IBM ships the IBM PCjr. It uses the 8088 CPU, includes 64 kB RAM, a "Freeboard" keyboard, and one 5.25-inch disk drive, no monitor, for US$1300. [5] [9] [620.114] [35] [1001.D4] [1004.D4] [1076.78]
January 24
  • During the NFL SuperBowl XVIII footbal game, IBM plays an ad for the IBM PCjr. [2605.113]
  • IBM sues Corona Data Systems for copyright violation of the IBM PC's BIOS. Corona agrees to cease its infringement. [481.31] [1284.D4]
February 16
  • IBM introduces the IBM Portable Personal Computer. It features 4.77 MHz Intel 8088 processor, 256 kB RAM, 9-inch amber monitor, 80x25 text, CGA graphics, 360 kB 5.25-inch drive, DOS 2.1. Price is US$2795. It weighs 30 pounds. [35] [41] [116] [117] [120] [880.124] [949.9] [1291.D3]
February 21
  • IBM files a lawsuit against Eagle Computer for copyright violation of the BIOS used in the IBM PC. Eagle agrees on the same day to cease shipments of the infringing computers. [203.23] [1339.D13]
March 9
  • Intel and IBM announce a licensing agreement for IBM to manufacture, for its own use, processors based on Intel designs. [879.128] [1342.35]
  • Microsoft releases MS-DOS 2.1 for the IBM PCjr. [346.265]
  • Microsoft releases MS-DOS 2.11. It includes enhancements to better allow conversion into different languages and date formats. [346.253,266]
(month unknown)
  • IBM announces the PC Cluster system, allowing up to 64 IBM PCs to be connected. A Cluster Program license costs US$92, providing software, cables, and an interface device. [949.9]
  • IBM introduces DisplayWrite 1 for the IBM PC. Price is US$95. [912.54] [950.10]
  • IBM introduces DisplayWrite 2 for the IBM PC. Price is US$299. [912.54] [950.10]
  • IBM introduces PCWriter for the IBM PC. Price is US$199. [912.54]
  • MicroPro International introduces the CorrectStar spell checker for MS-DOS, for US$195. Former name was SpellStar. [912.54]
  • Microsoft France releases Multiplan for the IBM PC. [346.118]
  • Microsoft releases Microsoft Word 1.1 for DOS. [346.131] (October 1983 [346.265])
  • Phoenix Software Associates begins licensing its IBM PC compatible ROM BIOS to computer manufacturers. [912.10] [1299.265]
(month unknown)
  • At an IBM strategy conference in Boca Raton, IBM decides its future PC operating system course to be co-developing OS/2 with Microsoft. Three choices turned down are promoting IBM's own CP/X86 (portable code, virtual memory, multitasking, "Mermaid" GUI), licensing CP/X86 to Microsoft, and adopting Unix. [606.74]
  • IBM introduces a new keyboard for the IBM PCjr, offering a free upgrade to all that want it. [357.79] [930.189]
(month unknown)
  • IBM announces two new IBM PC XT configurations, one with one floppy drive and no hard drive for US$2270, the other with two floppy drives and no hard drive, for US$2570. [1128.86]
August 14
  • IBM announces the IBM PC/AT computer. It features 6 MHz 80286 processor, PC-DOS 3.0, 5.25-inch 1.2 MB floppy drive, 256 or 512 kB RAM, optional 20 MB hard drive, monochrome or color monitor. The XENIX operating system from Microsoft is also awailable. Price ranges from US$4000 to US$6700, depending on configuration. Code-name during development was Bigtop. Code-name for the computer at Microsoft was Salmon. [6] [9] [35] [41] [75] [108] [116] [120] [203.25] [346.266] [778.112] [1149.342] [1299.266] [1350.D1]
  • IBM announces the Enhanced Graphics Adapter (EGA), supporting up to 640x350 resolution in 16 colors. With 64K, the card costs US$524. For 640x350x16 mode, a US$200 64 kB RAM expander is required. [81] [120] [1299.268]
  • IBM announces its PC Network local area network. Price is US$695 per computer. Code-name during development was Ringmaster. Code-name at Microsoft was Octopus. [9] [81] [1299.266] [1350.D1]
  • Microsoft releases MS-DOS 3.0 for PCs. It adds support for 1.2 MB floppy disks, and bigger (than 10 MB) hard disks. [117] [130] [146] [748.29] [1299.268]
  • IBM introduces the PC/IX operating system for the IBM PC AT. The software is based on UNIX System III from AT&T. [81]
  • IBM announces TopView, a DOS multitasking program. [35] [383.14] [618.273] [1299.269]
  • IBM announces the Professional Graphics Controller card, for US$3000. The card takes up two adjacent slots of a PC, and includes an 8 MHz 8088 chip and 384 kB of memory. [81]
  • IBM announces the Professional Graphics Display monitor, for US$1300. The 14-inch monitor will display up to 256 colors (from 4096) simultaneously at 640x480 resolution. [81]
September 25
  • IBM makes a major software announcement of 31 programs for its personal computers. There are two series of programs, the IBM Business Management Series, for US$695 each, and the IBM Personal Decision Series, for US$150-250 each. [1354.D8]
(month unknown)
  • IBM Japan introduces the JX personal computer in Japan. It features color graphics, and runs Japanese or English software. The computer was made for IBM by Matsushita Electric Industrial company. [1384.D3]
  • Microsoft gives a demonstration of the final version of Windows to IBM. For the third time, IBM is not interested. [45]
October 25
  • IBM announces an enhanced PC AT. [1355.D3]
(month unknown)
  • IBM introduces the IBM Quietwriter Printer. Performance is about 23 cps letter quality. Price is US$1395. [139.88]
December 31
  • Shipments of the IBM JX personal computer in Japan to date: about 6,000. [1384.D3]
  • During the year, IBM sells US$4 billion worth of microcomputers. [9] [606.28]
  • Market share of personal computers for the year: IBM 63%. [203.27] (about 50% [606.55])


  • IBM releases the TopView text-based DOS multi-tasking software for the IBM PC, for US$150. [35] [107] [130] [477.159] [1299.269] [1639.108] (January [346.184] [346.267]) (April [346.285]) (October 1984 [573.65])
  • At IBM, Don Estridge is removed from the PC project, moving to vice president of manufacturing. [606.55] [1299.285]
  • IBM announces that it will cease production and promotion of the IBM PCjr. [357.80] [1397.D5]
  • Quote from Spinnaker Software chairman William Bowman: "We're just sitting here trying to put our PCjrs in a pile and burn them. And the damn things won't burn. That's the only thing IBM did right with it - they made it flameproof.". [351.14]
(month unknown)
  • Broderbund introduces The Ancient Art of War game for the IBM PC. Price is US$44.95. [1128.60]
  • IBM abandons production of the IBM PCjr. 250,000 units were sold in its lifetime. [13] [35] [880.104] [1128.86] (325,000 sold [357.30])
  • William Lowe becomes president of IBM's Entry Systems Division. [606.55] [1149.346] [1299.285] [1380.D15]
(month unknown)
  • IBM ships the 4 millionth IBM PC. [1128.86]
  • IBM debuts the IBM Proprinter dot-matrix printer. Price is US$549. [1128.5]
  • IBM debuts the IBM Color Jetprinter printer, with 7-color cartridge. [1128.5]
  • Racore introduces the ATcessory for the IBM PCjr, allowing the PCjr to run IBM PC and PC-AT software. The ATcessory features a 1.2 MB 5.25-inch floppy drive, parallel port, clock, DMA controller, and power supply. Price is US$899. [1128.76]
  • Spectrum Holobyte introduces the Art Studio graphics package for the IBM PC. price is US$49.95. [1128.77]
  • SoftKlone Distributing releases the Mirror III communications program for PCs. [688.245]
  • Irwin Magnetics introduces a 1/8-inch DC1000 cartridge tape drive, using the IBM PC floppy drive interface. [1089.392]
  • Home computer market share: IBM 8%. [154.36]
July 19
  • IBM president of entry systems, William Lowe, says the rumors of an upcoming PC II are untrue. [1380.D1]
  • IBM announces that some PC AT computers shipped since the beginning of the year include a faulty Texas Instruments chip, affecting about 10% of shipments. Circuit boards with the flawed chip would be replaced for free. [1380.D1]
  • Delta Air Lines Flight 191 crashes at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport in Texas. Don Estridge, head of IBM's Entry Level Division, is killed. [1149.346] [1299.285]
August 22
  • Microsoft and IBM sign a joint-development agreement to work together on future operating systems and environments. [45] [106] [123] [346.267] [909.230] [1385.D1]
October 15
  • IBM announces its Token Ring network, and PC Network software. The Token Ring system was co-developed with Texas Instruments. Network transmission speed is 4 Mbps. The system can use ordinary telephone wiring. Cost per computer is about US$800. [347.61] [620.123] [618.277] [1080.334] [1388.D1]
November 20
  • Microsoft ships Microsoft Windows version 1.01 for the IBM PC, for US$100. It is delivered two years after the initial announcement of the product. [16] [107] [117] [120] [123] [130] [134] [136] [146] [346.192] [477.159] [548.159] [909.230] [1089.D3] [1133.22] [1280.46] [1299.292] [1629.34] [1631.40] [1639.109] [1648.52] [1799.3] [1897.124,128] [2605.171] (November 21 [1149.313]) (v1.03 [346.187,268] [1629.34])
  • During the year, IBM sells 1.4 million IBM PC computers. [1133.21]
  • Market share of personal computers for the year: IBM 53%. [203.27]


January 19
  • The first virus program for the IBM PC appears, called the Brain. It infects the boot sector of 360 kB floppy disks. [1230.56] [1805.23] (1987 [1260.193])
January 21
  • IBM announces the IBM RT Personal Computer, using RISC-based technology from IBM's "801" project of the mid-70s. It is one of the first commercially-available 32-bit RISC-based computers. The base configuration has 1 MB RAM, a 1.2 MB floppy, and 40 MB hard drive, for US$11,700. (With performance of only 2 MIPS, it is doomed from the beginning.) [31] [116] [205.114] [329.129] [1311] [1391.D1]
April 2
  • IBM introduces the IBM PC Convertible laptop computer. It features 80C88 processor, 256 kB RAM, LCD screen, and two 3.5-inch 720 kB floppy disk drives. The detachable LCD screen can be replaced by a high-resolution monitor. Weight is 12 pounds; price is US$2000; size is 14 x 12 inches. [35] [41] [109] [116] [120] [146] [1311] [1393.D1]
  • IBM announces a new version of the IBM PC AT, with an 8 MHz 80286 processor. [117] [120] [1311] [1393.D1]
  • IBM discontinues the IBM Portable PC. [117]
  • IBM ships TopView 1.1. [130]
June 10
  • IBM and Microsoft sign a Joint Development Agreement on operating system software development. (They announce the agreement in August.) [1299.285]
  • In New York, IBM informs Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer that TopView would no longer be part of CP DOS (OS/2). [1299.321]
August 22
  • IBM and Microsoft announce a Joint Development Agreement for operating system development. The agreement was signed in June. [1299.285]
(month unknown)
  • Home computer market share: IBM 12%, Commodore 31%, Apple Computer 16%, Atari 14.7%, Tandy 9.5%, Leading Edge 1%. [154.36]
  • Quote by Jeffrey Ehrlich, a personal computer manager for the General Electric Company: "Apple is positioned for the future. The IBM machine is not.". [1399.D3]
  • IBM announces the IBM PC-XT Model 286, with 640 kB RAM, 1.2 MB floppy drive, 20 MB hard drive, serial/parallel ports, and keyboard for US$4000. [35] [109] [116] [117] [120] [1311]
  • Market share of personal computers for the year: IBM 40-44.3%, Compaq Computer 16.5%. [203.27] [1299.348]

End of 1983-1986. Next: 1987.
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