Chronology of Personal Computers (1984)



January 3

  • Docutel/Olivetti begins marketing the Olivetti PC, compatible with the IBM PC. The computers are made by Corona Data Systems. Price is US$2895 with one floppy drive, or US$3295 with dual floppy drives. [982.D4]
January 4

  • Franklin Computer agrees to pay US$2.5 million in damages to Apple Computer for copyright infringement of the operating system used in the Apple II computer. Franklin Computer agrees to cease selling their cloned operating system by April 1. [982.D4]
January 5

  • Netherlands Antilles issues a 45-cent postage stamp depicting a personal computer in making newspapers. [2465.1213]
January 6

  • In Tokyo, Japan, Hitachi announces it has developed the world’s first memory chip with the capacity of 1 megabit. [984.30]
  • The International Winter Consumer Electronics Show is held, in Las Vegas, Nevada. [990.D1] [991.D1]
  • At the Winter CES, Coleco Industries announces a disk drive for the Adam computer. [990.D4] [991.D4]
January 7

  • Commodore International announces the Commodore 264 at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Code-name for the computer was “TED”, named for its Text Editing Chip. The 264 uses a 7501 microprocessor, 64 kB RAM, 320×200 pixel graphics offering 128 color variations. (The computer is later renamed Plus/4.) [333.7] [334.44] [350.4] [354.18] [356.7] [359.86] [713.282] [804.18] [990.D4] [1216.24] [1284.D1]
  • Commodore International shows a prototype of the Commodore 364 computer at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show. The 364 is like the Commodore 264, but with a separate numeric keypad, 48 kB ROM, and built-in voice synthesizer. [334.44] [350.4] [354.18] [804.18] [990.D4] [1284.D1]
  • At the Winter CES, Commodore International shows the SX-64, formerly called Executive 64. It now includes a 5-inch monitor, and one 170 kB 5.25 disk drive, for US$995. [804.18]
  • Commodore International introduces the TED-16, a 16 kB version of the Commodore 264, with a price under US$100. [804.18]
  • Commodore announces that during 1983, they sold US$1 billion worth of computers, the first personal computer company to do so. [713.284] (January 9 [997.D1])
January 10

  • Jack Tramiel decides to resign from Commodore International. [997.D5] [2636.266]
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]
  • Mattel Electronics sells worldwide marketing rights for the Aquarius home computer to Radofin Electronics, the company that made the computer. [340.10] [992.D3]
  • In London, England, Sinclair Research announces the 16/32-bit Sinclair QL microcomputer. It features 7.5-MHz Motorola MC68008P microprocessor, 128 kB RAM, 48 kB ROM, 42×25 text, 256×256 8-color graphics, 512×256 4-color graphics, two joystick ports, two built-in 100-kB Microdrive tape drives, two network sockets, and multitasking ROM-based operating system. Weight is 3 pounds. Price is expected to be US$500 when marketed in the US later in the year. QL stands for Quantum Leap. [366.38] [992.D3]
January 13

  • Jack Tramiel, founder of Commodore International, resigns as president, CEO, and a director. The resignation was due to Chairman Irving Gould’s refusal to allow Tramiel’s sons in the company. [332.10] [334.6] [345.160] [349.30] [350.12] [362.6] [363.6] [410.5] [713.284] [993.27] [997.D1] [997.D2] [1284.D9] [2634.18] [2636.267] (February [804.18])
January 15

  • Steve Jobs and Bill Gates sign an agreement rescinding their original Macintosh applications contract, allowing Microsoft to market its own competing products. [1299.246]

  • Seiko Instruments U.S.A. Inc. displays the first wristwatch computer, with a 10-character, 4-line LCD. [9]
  • Hitachi ad for their 3-inch compact floppy disk drive: “It’s clear that the 3-inch floppy will become the new standard.” [4]
  • GRiD introduces the Compass laptop computer to Canada. [880.132]
  • Newsfield releases the first issue of Crash magazine, for Spectrum users in the UK. [2650.50] (February [2607.250])
  • The first issue of Macworld magazine is published. [1886.66]
January 17

  • Commodore International names Marshal Smith as new president and CEO. [998]

  • 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 20

  • Handwell Corporation agrees to cease copyright infringement of the BIOS in the IBM PC, used in its compatible computer system. [1284.D4]
January 22

  • Apple Computer runs its 1984 60 second TV commercial during the NFL SuperBowl XVIII football game, introducing the Macintosh computer. Apple Computer runs the full ad only once, but dozens of news and talk shows replay it, making it one of the most memorable ads in TV history. The ad cost US$400,000 to produce, and US$800,000 for TV air time. [46] [180.169] [185.121] [203.64] [582.116] [617.16] [716.13] [1149.267] [1002.C1] [2605.113] (cost US$700,000 to make [1885.18])
January 24

  • At the Flint Center of DeAnza College in Cupertino, California, Apple Computer holds its annual stockholders meeting. The 1984 TV advertisement is shown, then Steve Jobs introduces the Apple Macintosh. It features a 7.83-MHz 32-bit Motorola 68000 CPU, built-in 9-inch monochrome screen, 512×342 graphics, 400 kB 3.5-inch Sony 400-kB floppy disk drive, mouse, 128 kB RAM. Weight is 20 pounds; size is 9.7 by 10.9 inches on base and 13.5 inches high; price: US$1995-2495. Original code-name was McIntosh. The 216 kB System 1 operating system was derived from LisaDesk. MacWrite and MacPaint software are included free for a limited time. [9] [41] [46] [75] [120] [140] [185.121] [205.38] [266.281] [346.151] [372.29] [477.159] [542.114] [582.21] [593.350] [597.94,104] [617.16] [662.8] [901.31] [930.157] [950.339] [997.D1] [1003.C3] [1004.D5] [1076.23] [1149.267] [1205.36] [1248.17] [1648.54] [1886.66] [2605.79,96]
  • Apple Computer introduces its 300-baud modem for US$300, and 1200-baud modem for US$500. [75] [950.339]
  • Apple Computer releases the Apple ImageWriter printer for US$595. It is a modified C.Itoh printer. [950.339] (December 1983 [218] [1886.65]) (price US$695 [218]
  • At the Apple Computer stockholder meeting, Apple releases a new version of the Lisa computer, the Lisa 2. It can use the Macintosh operating system, or an update of the Lisa operating system. It comes with 512 kB RAM, mouse, keyboard, built-in 12-inch monitor, and one 3.5-inch 400 kB floppy drive, for US$3495. The Lisa 2/5 includes a 5 MB hard drive, for US$4495. The Lisa 2/10 includes a 10 MB hard drive, for US$5495. [373.11] [901.84] [950.339] [2605.79]

  • IBM sues Corona Data Systems for copyright violation of the IBM PC’s BIOS. Corona agrees to cease its infringement. [481.31] [1284.D4]
  • Microsoft ships Microsoft BASIC (MacBASIC) and Microsoft Multiplan for the Macintosh. [123] [346.152] [389.28]
January 31

  • Commodore International announces that it will likely delay shipping the 264 and 364 models, due to continued high demand for the Commodore 64. [1284.D1]
  • Apple Computer is reorganized into three divisions: Apple II, Apple 32, and Accessory Products. [1007.D4]
(month unknown)

  • Alan Kay quote: the Macintosh is “the first personal computer good enough to criticize”. [1141.67]
  • Digital Research introduces CP/M-68K, for use on Motorola 68000 processor-based computers. [880.71]
  • Mindset Corporation announces the Mindset Personal Computer. It features a 6 MHz 80186 processor, 84 key keyboard with sockets for mouse or joystick, 128 kB RAM, 32 kB screen RAM, 64 kB ROM, one 320 kB 5.25 floppy drive, MS-DOS 2.0, BASIC cartridge, custom graphics chip and cartridge connectors. Price is about US$2000. [176.145] [949.271]
February 6

  • Software Arts files a lawsuit against Visicorp to end its contract over rights to market Visicalc, claiming Visicorp failed to market the product adequately. [1286.D4]
February 7

  • Victor Technologies files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. [1286.D11] [1287.D4] [1289.D4]
February 14

  • Lotus Development introduces the Symphony software application, a hopeful successor to Lotus 1-2-3. Symphony adds word processing, communications, and expanded record keeping to the features of Lotus 1-2-3. Price is to be US$695 when released. [1288.D1] [1289.D4] [1299.248]

  • Microsoft releases Multiplan v1.1 for the PC. [346.111]
February 16

  • IBM introduces the IBM Portable Personal Computer. It features 4.77 MHz Intel 8088 processor, 256 kB RAM, 9-inch amber monitor, 80×25 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

  • Timex withdraws from the home computer business. [331.58] [1339.D1]
  • 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]
  • Marshal Smith takes office as new president and CEO of Commodore International. [1284.D9] [2636.267]

  • In England, Sinclair Research ships the Quantum Leap business computer. [1341.D1]
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]

  • The West Coast Computer Faire is held in San Francisco, California. [951.119]
  • At Microsoft, Bill Gates signs a licensing agreement giving Falcon Technology a royalty-free DOS license. [1299.311]
  • 3Com first sells shares to the public. [618.234]
  • Amiga signs an agreement with Atari to develop graphics chips for Atari. [1352.D16]
  • Ashton-Tate announces Framework for the IBM PC. It is integrated software combining word processing, database management, financial modelling, business graphics, outline processing, in a windowing environment. Price is expected to be about US$700. [346.266] [650.74] [912.56] [950.9]
  • NEC introduces the 8 MHz V20 microprocessor, the first clone of Intel’s 8088. It uses 63,000 transistors. [477.125]
  • NEC introduces the 8 MHz V30 microprocessor, the first clone of Intel’s 8086. It uses 63,000 transistors. [477.125]
  • 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]
  • Microsoft decides to temporarily shelve work on a new spreadsheet (Excel) for the PC, and concentrate on a version for the Macintosh. [346.157] (mid-year [1149.281])
  • AT&T; announces the 3B2/300 microcomputer. It features Western Electronics WE32000 CMOS processor, one 720 kB 5.25-inch floppy drive, 10 MB hard drive, 512 kB RAM, four expansion slots, and ports for two users. Price is US$9950. [950.9]
  • Project IIx is cancelled at Apple Computer. [218] (April [930.174])
(month unknown)

  • Seequa Computer announces the Chameleon Plus portable microcomputer. It features 256 kB RAM, 9-inch built-in green monitor, two 5.25-inch 320 kB disk drives, keyboard, serial and parallel ports, 5 MHz 8088 processor, 2.5 MHz Z80A processor, MS-DOS 1.25, Perfect Writer/Calc/Speller, Microsoft BASIC-86, 80×25 text and 640×200 graphics, but no expansion slots. Weight is 28 pounds. Operating systems supported: MS-DOS, PM/M-80, CP/M-86. Price is US$2895. [912.327]
  • Hewlett-Packard introduces the HP 2225 printer, better known as the HP ThinkJet ink jet printer. It features bi-directional printing, 150 cps, less than 50 dB noise, 192×96 dpi, and weighing under 5.5 pounds. Price is under US$500. [949.84]
  • Diser stops production of the Lilith computer, which was optimized for Modula-2 language use. [949.10]
  • IBM announces the IBM CS-9002 Lab Computer, an update to IBM’s 68000 processor-based computer system. The basic computer costs US$6495. A 4-user machine with 10 MB hard disk and Microsoft XENIX costs US$15960. [949.9]
  • Intel drops the price of the BPK70-4 1-megabit bubble-memory subsystem from US$199 to US$149 in 10,000 lot quantities. [949.10]
  • Casio unveils the PB-700 handheld computer. It features 4 kB RAM (expandable to 16 kB), 20×4 character display, 58 key keyboard, BASIC. Weight is 4.5 pounds; price is about US$200. Optional add-on FA-10 color printer/plotter costs about US$250. Optional add-on CM-1 microcassette module costs about US$90. [1076.15]
  • 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]
  • Hicomp introduces the MBM-550 Bubble Drive for the IBM PC. It features 256 kB on an expansion slot, acting like a floppy drive. Price is US$995. For 512 kB, price is US$1495. [912.50]
  • Digital Equipment introduces the Rainbow 100B. It features Zilog Z80 and Intel 8088 microprocessors, CP/M-80, CP/M-86 2.0, MS-DOS 2.05, 128 kB RAM, two 400 kB 5.25-inch disk drives, and three expansion slots. Price is US$2750. [912.50]
  • Eagle Computer introduces the Eagle Turbo XL. It features an 8 MHz 8086, 256 kB RAM, 10 MB hard drive, 360 kB 5.25-inch floppy drive, keyboard, five expansion slots, 12-inch green monochrome (720×352 resolution) or 13-inch color monitor (640×200 resolution). Price is US$4995. [912.52]
  • Sord Computer of America introduces the IS-11 Consultant notebook computer. It features Z80A CMOS processor, 40×8 character display, 32 kB RAM, 64 kB ROM, 8×40 character LCD, and 128 kB tape storage. It runs on batteries, weighs 4 pounds 6 ounces, and costs US$995. [912.52] [950.9]
  • Kaypro renames the Kaypro II microcomputer to Kaypro 2, due to confusion between “II” and “11”. [951.33]
  • IBM introduces the IBM PCjr Color Display, a 13-inch monitor for 80×25 text and 320×200 graphics in 16 colors. Price is US$429. [912.54]
  • CompuSource introduces the Abacus Portable computer. It features 9-inch amber monitor, 52 key detachable keyboard, 6502 and Z80 processors, 80 kB RAM (expandable to 128 kB), 4 kB ROM, two 5.25-inch half height 164 kB disk drives, Art Sci Magic software. Price is about US$2000. [1076.15]


End of 1984 January-March. Next: 1984 April.

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