Chronology of Personal Computers (1983)




  • Kaypro begins shipping the Kaypro 10 computer. [950.224]
  • Apple Computer officially begins marketing the Lisa computer. [346.150]
  • Tom Mack releases the first version of RBBS for MS-DOS, the first shareware program for running an online electronic bulletin board system. [489.105]
  • Microsoft releases XENIX 2.3A. [951.255]
  • COMPUTE! Publications begins COMPUTE!’s Gazette magazine, for Commodore computer users. [804.17] [809.6]
  • At AT&T; Bell Labs, Bjarn Stroustrup designs the C++ extensions to the C programming language. [132] [176.122] [374.12]
July 18

  • The one millionth Apple II computer is sold, in California. [2605.23]
(month unknown)

  • Texas Instruments ships the 1 millionth TI 99/4A. [865.8]
  • Morrow Designs introduces the Morrow Micro Decision microcomputer. It features a 4 MHz Zilog Z80A microprocessor, 64 kB RAM, two serial ports, 200 kB 5.25-inch floppy drive, CP/M v2.2, and separate video terminal. [461.306]
August 1

  • IBM forms the Entry Systems Division in Boca Raton, Florida. [902.135]

  • Jon Shirley becomes president of Microsoft. [346.264] [1149.248] [1299.236]
  • A US Federal Court of Appeals rules that Franklin Computer did violate Apple Computer copyrights on computer programs and the Apple Computer operating system on ROM chips. This overturns a lower court’s ruling that programs on chips are indistinguishable from the hardware itself, which is not subject to copyrights, only patent protection. [80] [983.D5]
  • Acorn Computers releases the Electon microcomputer, a stripped down version of the BBC Microcomputer Model B, for 199 pounds. [2583.127]
(month unknown)

  • Sorcin Corporation releases the Superwriter word processor for IBM PC-DOS, for US$295. [902]
  • Helix Laboratories announces the first bubble-memory board for the IBM PC. The 4-megabit Helix PCBM uses four Intel 7100-4 1-megabit bubble memory chips, providing a total of 512 kB storage for US$1500. [902.64]
  • Wang Laboratories announces the single in-line memory module (SIMM). [461.8]
September 12

  • Apple Computer reduces the price of the Lisa computer with software from US$9995 to US$8190, and also makes the Lisa available without software for US$6995. [901.84] [902.8] [2605.79]

  • Microsoft officially releases Microsoft Word for MS-DOS 1.0, for US$375, or US$475 with the Microsoft Mouse. Original name was Multi-Tool Word. [346.129] [502.49] [1149.242] [1298.188] [1559] [1631.40] (November [1299.222,239])
  • IBM withdraws its 4-inch disk system from the market. [902.8]
  • Brian Dougherty leaves Imagic, and forms Berkeley Software. [802.22]
  • Quicksoft introduces PC-Write word processor for the IBM PC. The program is sold as shareware for a US$10 disk copy fee. Registration and manual cost US$75. [1229.R10]
  • Amiga developer Jay Miner completes a prototype computer, code-named “Lorraine”, using a Motorola 68000 processor with three custom chips called Agnus, Denise, and Paula. [2634.138]
  • At Shepperton Studios in England, the 1984 commercial for Apple Computer is filmed, directed by Ridley Scott. [930.128]
  • Osborne Computer lays off three-quarters of its staff, then files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. [9] [266.280] [370.12] [713.260] [930.123] [1286.D11] [1355.D3]
  • Microsoft France releases Multiplan for the Apple II. [346.118]
  • The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit rules in a lawsuit by Apple Computer against another company that virtually all computer programs can be copyrighted, as they are separate from the computer chips on which they are stored. [1284.D4]
  • VisiCorp files a lawsuit against Software Arts, claiming the company failed to make timely updates to the spreadsheet software. [1299.244]
(month unknown)

  • Modula Research Institute announces full a Modula-2 compiler for MS-DOS, for US$40. [902.7]
  • Seagate Technology proposes ST412HP, a new interface standard for high-performance, high-capacity small hard drives. [902.8]
  • SWP introduces the ATR8000, an Atari computer peripheral allowing the running of CP/M-80, CP/M-86, and MS-DOS programs. The Z80 version with 16 kB RAM costs US$349. The 8088 version with 128 kB RAM costs US$799.95. [910.332]
  • Ovation Technologies announces Ovation Software for MS-DOS. The package combines spreadsheet, word processing, graphics, database management, and communications capabilities. Price is expected to be US$700-900 in early 1984. [902.7]
  • Rockwell International introduces the R65C02 microprocessor, a CMOS version of the 6502 processor. It also adds a few new instructions. [910]
  • At Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York, all incoming freshmen are issued Zenith Z-100 microcomputers. Cost to each student is US$200 per semester until graduation. [912.164]
  • At Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey, all freshmen in science and systems planning are required to purchase DEC Pro 350 computers with dual floppies, and a 10 MB hard disk, for US$1950, 80% discounted off list price. [912.164]
  • Dallas Baptist College in Dallas, Texas, begins requiring incoming freshmen to buy Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 100 portable computers. [912.182]

  • Atari begins shipping its XL computers. [364.36]
  • Coleco Industries begins shipping the Adam microcomputer. [363.54] [364.36]
  • 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]
  • Tandy/Radio Shack announces the “transportable” TRS-80 Model 4P, for US$1800. It features a 4 MHz Zilog Z80A CPU, 64 kB RAM, two 5.25-inch floppy drives, and 9-inch B/W screen. [326.67] [368.148] [902.8]
  • Compaq Computer introduces the Compaq Portable Plus computer. It features an 8088 processor, 10 MB hard drive, 128 kB RAM, 9-inch video display with 80×25 text, detachable keyboard, 360 kB disk drive, two expansion slots, MS-DOS 2.02, and MS-BASIC 2.0. Weight is 28 pounds. Price is US$4995. [108] [910.8] [951.249]
  • Texas Instruments cancels plans to introduce the TI-99/8 home computer, and withdraws from the personal computer market. [202.209] [266.281] [331.58] [910.8] [1005.31] [1284.D1] [1339.D1]
  • Hewlett-Packard unveils the HP 150 microcomputer. It features an Intel 8088 microprocessor, dual 3.5-inch disk drives (710 kB capacity each), MS-DOS 2.0, 9-inch green HPTouch optical touchscreen, 256 kB RAM (expandable to 640 kB), 80×27 text and 512×390 graphics. Code-name during development was Magic. [461.36] [880.101] [949.88]
  • Visicorp releases VisiOn, an integrated software environment for PCs, for US$1795. It requires 512 kB RAM and a hard disk. [348.69] [346.177] [1149.256] [1639.108] [1639.108] [1648.52] (November [346.285] [618.219] [1299.244]) (early 1984 [909.236])
  • Quarterdeck announces it would build a graphical user interface for DOS called DESQ. [1149.256]
  • National Semiconductor begins shipping its 6 MHz 32-bit NS32032 microprocessor. Price is about US$220 each in large quantities. Speed is about 1 MIPS. [364.37] [910.7] [1349.D3]
October 23

  • Apple Computer holds its annual sales conference in Honolulu, Hawaii. The theme of the event is “Leading the Way”. The 1984 commercial is shown, then the Macintosh is unveiled. [930.129] [2605.111]

  • Apple Computer begins giving sneak previews of the Macintosh computer to the press. [930.151] (December [372.29])
(month unknown)

  • Acorn releases the Acorn Electron personal computer in the UK. [2287.90] [2651.18]
  • Digital Equipment announces the Rainbow 100 Plus, like the Rainbow 100 but with 128 kB RAM (expandable to 896 kB), CP/M-86/80 v2.0, and a 10 MB hard drive. [880.100] [949.170]
  • Steve previews the 1984 commercial for the Apple Computer board of directors. None of the board like the film. [930.132] [1885.18]
  • Quote by Apple Computer’s Mike Markkula to Steve Jobs, on seeing the 1984 Macintosh TV ad: “You mean you really want to show this?”. [663.84]

  • 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]

  • Satellite Software International ships WordPerfect 3.0 for US$500. [330.108] [502.49]
  • Satellite Software International ships Personal WordPerfect for US$200. [330.108]
  • Borland International releases the Turbo Pascal software development package for CP/M and 8086-based computers. It includes a compiler and integrated programming environment. price is US$49.95. [176.122] [1299.261] (first advertised in October [9] [346.265]) (ships in 1984 [795.90])
  • Apple Computer releases AppleWorks software for the Apple II. AppleWorks is one of the first integrated software packages, with modules for word processing, database management, and spreadsheet calculations. It was written by Rupert Lissner. [1886.65] (1984 [218])
November 28

  • The COMDEX trade show is held in Las Vegas, Nevada. [902.7] [1076.28]
  • At COMDEX, Radio Shack unveils the Tandy TRS-80 Model 2000 computer. It features an Intel 80186 processor, 80×25 text, 128 kB RAM, two 720 kB disk drives, MS-DOS 2.0, for US$2750. Optional 12-inch monochrome monitor: US$250. Optional monochrome graphics card: US$450. Optional color graphics card: US$750. Optional color monitor: US$800. Optional extra 128 kB RAM: US$300. Optional 10 MB hard drive. [618.168] [1076.28]
(month unknown)

  • Shugart Associates announces a 1 GB laser-based optical disk drive, for US$6000 each in large quantities. SCSI controller is US$1500. It uses non-erasable 12-inch optical disks, costing US$100-150 each. [910.8]
  • Seagate Technology begins shipping ST212 12 MB half-height 5.25-inch hard drives. Cost is about US$690 in quantities of 1000. [910]
  • Micro Office Systems Technology introduces the Road Runner notebook computer. It features Z80 processor, 64 kB RAM, serial port, 300 bps modem, 80×8 LCD screen built into the flip-up cover, cartridge-based software and memory. Weight is 5 pounds. Price is US$1895. [910]
  • Mosaic Software announces Integrated Six, with spreadsheet, database management, word processing, graphics, communications, and terminal emulator. Price is US$495. [910.8]
  • Intel announces the 2004 non-volatile RAM, which backs up 4 kB RAM to a 4 kB EPROM. [910.8]
  • Scientia introduces Concept VP, a window-oriented operating environment for the IBM PC. Price is US$350. [910.8]
  • IBM announces the IBM Personal Computer Color Printer. It prints at about 200 cps in draft mode, and 30-40 cps in near-letter quality mode. 8-color printing is achieved using a 4-color ribbon. [910.7]
  • Radio Shack announces the TRS-80 Model MC-10 Micro Color Computer. It features a Motorola 6803 processor, 4 kB RAM, 32×16 text, 64×32 graphics. Size is 2 x 7 x 8.5 inches; weight is 29.5 ounces; price is US$120. [1076.34]
  • Toshiba introduces the Toshiba 1350 24-pin printer, the first of its kind. [1128.38]
  • Microsoft begins project Odyssey, a new spreadsheet program designed to be better and faster than Lotus 1-2-3. (It will eventually emerge as Excel.) [1149.278] [1299.259]
  • In Australia, a federal court rules that computer ROM programs are not literary works, and as such are not protected by Australian copyright law. Apple Computer had sued an Australian computer dealer for copyright infringement of the Taiwan-made Wombat computer. [901.8]
  • Digital Research, Zilog, and American Microsystems agree to put Personal CP/M on some Z80 microprocessors, to be manufactured by American Microsystems. [901.7]
December 15

  • In the 1:00 AM sign-off slot of KMVT television station in Twin Falls, Idaho, Apple Computer runs its 1984 Macintosh ad, solely to make the ad eligible for awards during 1984. Cost of running the ad: $10. [180.171]

  • The International Trade Commission issues an exclusion order to prevent Apple lookalike computers made in Taiwan from entering the US. [983.D5]
  • Compaq Computer makes its first public stock offering, raising US$67 million. [113]
  • In exchange for some software work Tim Paterson had done for Microsoft, Paul Allen grants Paterson’s Falcon Technology company a royalty-free license to include MS-DOS with their hardware products. (In 1986, Microsoft buys back the license for about US$1 million.) [1299.311] (1982 [1149.341])
  • Compaq Computer makes the Compaq PC available in Canada. [880.120]
  • Apple Computer introduces the redesigned Apple III as the Apple III Plus, with 256 kB RAM, clock, new logic board, SOS 1.3, and DB.25 peripheral ports, for US$2995. [46] [75] [203.58] [593.350] [2605.43]
December 31

  • Shipments of IBM PC computers to date: one million. [1311]
December (month)

  • Apple Computer sells 110,000 Apple IIe during the month, setting a one month sales record. [997.D5] [1004.D4] (100,000 [990.D4])

  • During the year, Computerland opened over 215 new stores, bringing the total to 548 stores worldwide. [1702.167]
  • During the year, Compaq Computer has sold about 50,000 computers, worth US$111 million, setting a U.S. business record. [113] [203.23] [618.173] [606.51] [1149.233] [1290.D1]
  • Unit sales of home computers during the year: 4.3 million. Average price: US$440. [355.8]
  • During the year, 55 new personal computer magazines are introduced. [1146.8]
  • Shipments of Tandy computers for the year: 300,000. [997.D5]
  • Shipments of personal computers using Intel 8088 processors during the year: over 1 million. [1006.D5]
  • Shipments of home computers in the United States for the year: about 5 million. [990.D1]
  • Shipments of Apple Computer Lisa computers for the year: 15,000. Initial estimates were 50,000. [80] (11,000 shipped [203.63])
  • Shipments of Coleco Industries Adam computers for the year: 95,000. [991.D4]
  • Shipments of Commodore microcomputers for the year: over 3 million. [713.284]
  • Shipments of Apple Computer computers for the year: 750,000. [997.D5]
  • Shipments of IBM PC computers for the year: 500,000. [203.18] [1149.215] (550,000 [997.D4])
  • Shipments of Commodore 64 computers for the year: 1.2 million. [1284.D1]
  • Worldwide spreadsheet sales for the year: 539,000 units. [627.73]
  • Sales of 64 kbit RAM chips worldwide during the year: 365 million, equalling US$1.4 billion. This is the first semiconductor industry product to top US$1 billion. [1285.D2]
  • Market share of personal computers worldwide for the year: Apple Computer 11.2%. [1682.49]
  • Market share of spreadsheet software for the year: Lotus 1-2-3 37%. [627.73]


End of 1983. Next: 1984.

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