Chronology of Personal Computers (1985)



January 2

  • Coleco Industries announces it will sell off its Adam computer inventory and abandon the home computer business. [343.18] [1362.D1] [2636.254] (1984 [9])
January 5

  • The Winter Consumer Electronics Show is held in Las Vegas, Nevada, over two days. [342.6] [1363.29]
  • At the Winter CES, Commodore International unveils the Commodore 128 Personal Computer. It functions as three computers in one: a complete Commodore 64, a CP/M mode, and a new 128 kB mode. It features a 8502 processor, Z80 processor, 128 kB RAM, and ROM cartridge port. Price is US$300. [8] [342.6] [343.14] [804.18] [1128.30] [1364.D5]
  • At the Winter CES, Commodore shows the Commodore LCD laptop computer. It features built-in software, modem, and flip-top screen. [804.18]
  • At the Winter CES, Commodore International announces the 1571 Disk Drive, for the Commodore 128. It has a dual-sided capacity of 340 kB on double-density 5.25-inch diskettes. [804.18] [1128.33]
  • At the Winter CES, Atari introduces the Atari 65XE computer, with 65xx processor and 64 kB RAM. It is to replace the Atari 800 XL. Price is US$120. [343.14] [357.66] [139.14] [1364.D5]
  • At the Winter CES, Atari introduces the Atari 65XEM. It is an Atari 65XE with a built-in eight-voice AMY music synthesizer chip. Price is about US$150. [343.14] [357.66] [139.14]
  • At the Winter CES, Atari introduces the Atari 65XEP. It is like the Atari 65XE but portable, with a built-in monitor and 3.5-inch disk drive. [343.14] [357.66]
  • At the Winter CES, Atari introduces the Atari 130XE. It is an Atari 65XE with 128 kB RAM. Price is US$140. [357.66] [139.14] [1364.D5]
  • At the Winter CES, Atari introduces the Atari 130ST computer. It features 128 kB RAM, 192 kB ROM including Digital Research’s GEM operating system, 640×400 monochrome or 320×200 16-color graphics from a palette of 512 colors, 32 kB screen RAM, MIDI interface, and mouse. Price is US$399. [343.14] [357.6] [139.14] [1363.29] [1364.D1]
  • At the Winter CES, Atari introduces the Atari 260ST computer. It features 256kB RAM. Price is US$499. [1364.D1]
  • At the Winter CES, Atari introduces the Atari 520ST computer. It features 512 kB RAM, 192 kB ROM including Digital Research’s GEM operating system, 640×400 monochrome or 320×200 16-color graphics from a palette of 512 colors, 32 kB screen RAM, MIDI interface, and mouse. Price is US$599. [343.14] [357.7] [139.14] [1363.29] [1364.D1]

  • At the Winter CES, Star Micronics introduces the Star Micronics SD-10 dot-matrix printer. It features 160-cps speed, 60×120 dpi quality, and 2 kB buffer. Price is US$449. [1146.38]
  • The first Macworld Expo trade show is held, in San Francisco, California. [1886.66]
  • Microsoft releases Microsoft Word 1.0 for the Macintosh. Price is US$195. [346.138] [1128.46] (1984 November [346.267]) (late 1984 [1149.316])
  • Microsoft shows Steve Jobs the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet for the first time. Jobs is not impressed, claiming that Lotus Development’s Jazz would be more popular. [346.160] [1299.272a]
  • Enterprise Computers releases the Enterprise personal computer in the UK. It is available in 64 kB or 128 kB RAM versions, with 256-color graphics, 3-channel sound, and CP/M-compatible operating system EXOS. [1794.108]
  • Compaq Computer reports second year revenues of US$329 million, an industry record. [113]
  • Satellite Software International ships WordPerfect Jr. for US$200. It is designed for use on the IBM PCjr. [330.108]
  • Former Microsoft founder Paul Allen founds Asymetrix. [346.267]
January 20

  • As part of the Macintosh Office advertisement campaign, Apple Computer runs a TV ad during the SuperBowl called Lemmings, showing blindfolded business executives walking off a cliff. [582.117] [725.47] [930.234] [2605.144]
January 22

  • Applied Computer Techniques of Great Britain introduces the Apricot computer in the US. [1368.D4]
January 23

  • Apple Computer introduces the Macintosh Office, with the first two products being the Appletalk network, and the LaserWriter laser printer. A US$50 kit will be available for connecting a Macintosh to the 230 kbps Appletalk network. The LaserWriter is priced at US$6995. [750.48] [140] [218] [1368.D1] [1886.66,69] [2605.145] (August [120])
  • Apple Computer officially renames the Lisa 2/10 computer as the Macintosh XL. Price is US$3995. [46] [75] [593.350] [930.264] [1368.D1] [2605.79]
January 24

  • Apple Computer settles a trademark-infringement lawsuit with Management and Computer Services over the use of the word “Mac” in Macintosh computer-related products. Apple agrees to pay an undisclosed sum. [1369.D7]
(month unknown)

  • VisiCorp files for bankruptcy. [346.113]
  • Apple Computer introduces the AppleTalk network. It implements four layers of the Open Systems Interconnection in software, allowing inexpensive cabling and node connections. Data transfer rate is 230 bbps. [996.38]
February 6

  • Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak resigns from Apple Computer, to start a company that will develop home video products. [46] [75] [1377.35] [1399.D3] [2605.18]
February 11

  • Texas Instruments begins volume production of 256 kilobit DRAM chips. [1370.D4]
  • Franklin Computer emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. [1370.D4]
  • Digital Equipment concedes it has ceased production of the Rainbow computer. [1370.D4]

  • Apple Computer ships the LCD flat panel display for the Apple IIc. Size is 11 3/8 x 5 3/8 x 1 1/2 inches; Price is US$599. [1146.86]
  • Microsoft releases Microsoft Word 2.0 for DOS. [346.132] [346.267] [502.49]
  • Xerox discontinues its 820 and 16/8 computer families. [1146.8]
  • 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])
February 19

  • US President Ronald Reagan awards Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak jointly the National Medal of Technology for their achievements at Apple Computer. [930.324] [2605.31]
(month unknown)

  • AT&T; introduces the Unix PC. It features 10 MHz 68010 processor, 512 kB RAM, one 360 kB floppy drive, 10 or 20 MB hard drive, graphics card, serial and parallel ports, 1200-bps modem, 103-key keyboard, 3-button mouse, 12-inch green screen with 720×348 pixel graphics. Price is US$5095. Unix System V operating system is US$495. [1146.34]
  • Seiko introduces the Datagraph System. It includes a UC-2000 wrist module, UC-2100 mini-keyboard, and UC-2200 controller. The wrist module displays 4 lines of 10 characters, includes 2000 bytes of RAM, and has four buttons. The controller incorporates a printer, keyboard, 8K Microsoft BASIC, simple games, and can transfer data to and from the wrist module. Price is US$340. [1146.28]
  • Seiko introduces the PC Datagraph RC-1000 wrist terminal. It features 2 lines of 20 characters display, six buttons, and RS-232 port for serial connection to personal computers. Price is US$150. [1146.28]
  • Mimic Systems announces the Spartan, a hardware attachment for the Commodore 64 that adds an Apple IIe-compatible system to it. [343.16]

  • Apple Computer introduces the Apple Enhanced IIe. It uses a 65C02 processor, has an improved character generator ROM chip, and other improvements. Price is US$895. Price for an upgrade kit is US$70. [218] [1146.57]
  • Digital Research introduces its GEM operating environment for MS-DOS, though the program cannot run DOS applications. [1639.108] [1897.128] (1986 [205.40])
  • At IBM, Don Estridge is removed from the PC project, moving to vice president of manufacturing. [606.55] [1299.285]
  • Compaq Computer ships its 200,000th personal computer. [1146.8]
  • 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]
  • Radio Shack introduces the Tandy 6000 multi-user system. It features Z80A and 68000 processors, 512 kB RAM, 80×24 text, graphics, 1.2 MB 8-inch disk, optional 15 MB hard drive, TRS-DOS, or XENIX 3.0. It supports up to 9 users. [880.106,118]
  • An antitrust complaint is filed against Kaypro, for insisting dealers sell its computers at list prices. (Kaypro later settles by paying US$19,500 in civil penalties and court costs.) [1146.8]
(month unknown)

  • AST Research introduces the jrCombo multifunction expansion board for the IBM PCjr. It features clock/calendar, parallel port, and 128 kB RAM. Price is US$395. Price with 512 kB RAM is US$1395. [1146.57]
  • Kaypro releases the Kaypro 286i desktop personal computer. It features 6 MHz 80286 processor, 512 kB RAM, 84-key keyboard, two 1.2 MB floppy drives, 320×200 pixel 4-color video adapter, serial port, two parallel ports, eight expansion slots, MS-DOS. This is the first microcomputer compatible with the IBM PC-AT. Price is US$4500. [1146.54] [1128.25]
  • The 10th West Coast Computer Faire is held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California. 50,464 people attend. [1128.5]
April 11

  • At an Apple Computer board meeting, John Sculley asks Steve Jobs to step down as head of the Macintosh division. The other executives agree. [745.ix] [930.262] (April 10 [2605.156])

  • 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])
  • Apple Computer releases System 2.0 operating system for the Macintosh. [1559] [1648.54]
  • Apple Computer releases the Apple ImageWriter II printer. [1886.66] (September [218])
  • Compaq Computer introduces the Compaq Deskpro 286 and Portable 286. [108] [490.D4]
  • William Lowe becomes president of IBM’s Entry Systems Division. [606.55] [1149.346] [1299.285] [1380.D15]
April 29

  • The Macintosh XL (formerly called Lisa) is dropped from Apple Computer’s product line. [46] [120] [346.165] [930.264] [1377.35] [2605.80] (March [582.90])
(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]
  • 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]
  • Victor Technologies announces the VPC personal computer. It features 8088 processor, 256 kB RAM, two 360 kB 5.25-inch floppy drives, IBM PC compatibility, seven expansion slots, keyuboard, monochrome or color monitor, and optional 15 or 30 MB hard drive. [1128.76]
  • Victor Technologies announces the VI personal computer. It features 8088 processor, 256 kB RAM, 1.2 MB 5.25-inch floppy drive, monochrome or color monitor, and optional 10, 20, or 30 MB hard drive. [1128.76]
  • Mitch Kapor and Dan Bricklin make a deal to sell Software Arts to Lotus Development. [618.158]
  • National Semiconductor debuts the 32000 32-bit processor. [513]
  • Software Arts sells the rights to VisiCalc to Mitch Kapor, of Lotus Development, for US$800,000. [218]
May 2

  • At the Pierre hotel in New York City, Microsoft introduces the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet software for the Macintosh. [346.162,267] [492.61] [1149.285] [1299.278]

  • Microsoft demonstrates Microsoft Windows at Spring COMDEX. Release date is set for June, at a price of US$95. [346.187]
May 7

  • Wang Laboratories introduces four new versions of its professional computers compatible with the IBM PC. [1371.D5]
May 8

  • Atari launches the Atari 520ST personal computer. “ST” stands for 16 (“S”) and 32 (“T”). [1373.D1] [2634.21]
  • Kaypro introduces a slimmed-down version of its Kaypro 2861 computer, compatible with the IBM AT, for US$2995. [1372.D2]

  • Lotus Development buys Software Arts. [1056.328]
  • Total shipments of VisiCalc to date: 800,000. [1056.328]
May 24

  • An executive staff meeting is held at Apple Computer. John Sculley confronts Steve Jobs over rumors of a takeover while Sculley would be away in China. Jobs says Sculley should leave the company, but most of the senior staff support Sculley staying. [930.280] [2605.16]
May 27

  • Apple Computer ceases selling computers directly to corporations. [1377.35]
  • Lotus Development releases Lotus Jazz for the Macintosh, for US$595. [346.165] (August [582.200])
May 28

  • Apple Computer’s board of directors decides to remove Steve Jobs as general manager of the Macintosh division. [180.206] [734.72] [930.289]
May 31

  • Apple Computer announces a restructuring of the company, eliminating the Macintosh and Apple II divisions, amalgamating them into manufacturing and marketing divisions. Steve Jobs is removed as a division manager. [1374.35] [1377.35] [1897.128] [2605.157]
(month unknown)

  • Steve Jobs sells four million shares of Apple Computer, netting about US$70.5 million. (If he had held them to the fall of 1987, they would have brought US$481 million.) [734.110]
  • In England, Advanced RISC Machines ships a 32-bit ARM processor. Its first application is in an accelerator card for Acorn PCs. [32] [599.15]
June 2

  • In Chicago, Illinois, the International Summer Consumer Electronics Show (CES) opens. [1375.D16]
June 10

  • Lotus Development completes its acquisition of Software Arts, and announces it has decided to end production of Visicalc. [1376.D4]
June 14

  • Apple Computer announces 1200 job layoffs, one-fifth of the company. [930.299] [1377.35]

  • Microsoft releases a revised Microsoft Word 1 for the Macintosh. [346.139]
  • Mike Markkula backs John Sculley’s decision to “banish” Steve Jobs from any official duties at Apple Computer. [618.200]
  • Apple Computer reports its first quarterly loss. [75]
  • Microsoft announces Windows 1.0. [75] [150]
  • Apple Computer introduces the UniDisk 5.25 single 5.25-inch floppy disk drive, with the ability to daisy-chain additional drives through it. [218]
June 25

  • Microsoft’s Bill Gates suggests to Apple Computer’s John Sculley that Apple Computer license Macintosh technology to a few significant developers. [763.25] [1299.288] [2605.240]
June 30

  • Microsoft year-end revenue: US$140 million; profit US$31.2 million. [1149.326]
(month unknown)

  • Commodore announces availability in the USA of its PC10 and PC20 computers. They are IBM PC compatible, and have been previously released in Canada and Europe. [804.18]
  • Commodore introduces the UNIX-based Commodore 900 Business Computer. [804.18]
  • Apple Computer starts the User Group Connection, to share Apple info with Mac user groups. [729.204]
  • Michael Cowpland founds Corel Corporation, in Canada. [831.68]
  • Photonics Corporation begins developing Photolink, a wireless infrared LAN technology for the Apple Macintosh. [634.210]
  • U.S. Robotics introduces the Courier 2400 modem. [235]
  • Intel introduces the 80287 math coprocessor. [511.309] (1980 [1064.26])
  • CD-ROM drives are introduced for computer use. [849.18]
  • Motorola unveils its 68008 CPU chip. [120]
  • Novell introduces NetWare 2.0 network operating system. [618.282]
  • Ashton-Tate buys Forefront, maker of Framework. [650.74]
  • Steve Wozniak returns to Apple Computer. [203.68]
  • Commodore International and Electronic Arts create the Interchange File Format (IFF) for graphics, sound, text, animation, and other file types. [449.33] [920.82]
  • Microcom adds real-time data compression to its modems, as MNP 5. [712.184]
  • Broderbund releases the first game in the Carmen Sandiego series. [531.8]
  • Iomega introduces its Bernoulli storage cartridge system to the Macintosh market. [612.208]
  • In the Micro/Vest versus Bill Millard (ComputerLand) lawsuit, Millard is ordered to hand over 20% of ComputerLand stock to Micro/Vest, plus US$141 million in punitive damages. [647.95]
  • Ashton-Tate buys MultiMate International Corporation. [650.74]
  • Microsoft releases QuickBASIC 1.0. [795.90]
  • Commodore International introduces the Commodore 128D in Europe. It does not pass American FCC certification, so cannot be sold in the USA. [814.23]
  • Irwin Magnetics introduces a 1/8-inch DC1000 cartridge tape drive, using the IBM PC floppy drive interface. [1089.392]
  • Intel and IBM sign an agreement allowing IBM to manufacture its own x86 processors and design derivative products, but not to sell them directly on the open market. [979]
  • Home computer market share: IBM 8%. [154.36]
  • Microsoft begins development of Visual BASIC for Windows. [606.77]
  • John Garcia forms the NovaLogic company. [1473.22]
  • Amstrad releases the CPC 664 personal computer in the UK. [2287.90]
  • Amstrad releases the CPC 6128 personal computer in the UK. [2287.90]


End of 1985 January-June. Next: 1985 July.

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


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