Chronology of Personal Computers (1990)




  • At the Consumer Electronics Show, Commodore gives a sneak preview of a proposed “interactive graphics player”, based on a variant of the Amiga 500, with 1 MB of RAM. The machine includes an integrated CD-ROM drive, wireless controllers, and no keyboard. [441.17]
  • Motorola formally announces the 32-bit 25 MHz 68040 microprocessor. It incorporates 1.2 million transistors, integrates the FPU, and includes instruction and data caches. [13] [338]
  • Apple Computer discontinues the Macintosh II. [75] [597.95] [701.136]
  • Microsoft releases Microsoft Office for Windows. [1268.135] (June 1989 [1886.68])
  • Hayes Microcomputer Products wins a US$1.4 million lawsuit against Everex, Ven-Tel, and Omnitel, regarding the validity of Hayes’ patent on the “+++” escape sequence. [164.14]
  • Intel releases the 80387SX math coprocessor. [511.319]
  • Intel releases the 10 MHz 287XL and 287XTL (designed for laptop computers) math coprocessors. These coprocessors operate faster than previously released versions. [511.319]
(month unknown)

  • Wells American computer company closes. [648.190]

  • Adobe introduces the Photoshop image editing software. [1886.68]
  • Toshiba announces the T1000XE portable computer. It features 2 MB RAM, and 20 MB hard drive. Weight is 6.2 pounds, price is US$2699. [1207.154]
  • Chips and Technologies announces the M/PAX multiprocessor chip set. [659.5]
(month unknown)

  • Shearson Lehman Hutton produces a report on PC advances toward the year 2000, predicting a merger between Compaq Computer and Hewlett-Packard in 1995. (Compaq and HP do merge companies, but in 2001.) [1207.21]

  • The boards of directors of Mindscape and Software Toolworks agree for Software Toolworks to acquire Mindscape. [1524.26] (late 1980s [1537.28]
  • IBM introduces the PS/2 Model 65SX, with a 386SX processor. [1095.32]
  • Microsoft introduces the Entertainment Pack Volume 1 for Windows. [1049.136]
  • Commodore offers Amiga 1000 owners US$1000 to trade in their Amiga on a new Amiga 2000. [441.7]
  • The FCC creates Part 15, Subpart B of its radio frequencies rules, covering all electronic equipment that create radio signals, including personal computers. [769.352]
  • Lotus Development ships Lotus 1-2-3/G for OS/2. This is the first major application available for OS/2. [502.49] [548.159] [606.81]
  • Hewlett-Packard introduces the LaserJet III laser printer. [795.142]
  • Cyrix introduces the FasMath 83S87 math coprocessor, pin-compatible with Intel’s 387SX. [511.329]
  • Apple Computer introduces the Macintosh IIfx. It features a 40 MHz 68030 processor, 68882 math coprocessor, 4 MB RAM, 80 MB hard drive, 1.4 MB SuperDrive, 32 kB cache, 44.1 kHz stereo audio, and choice of 8-bit to 24-bit graphics. Price is US$9800. [18] [46] [75] [591.115] [593.350] [597.95]
  • Adobe publishes the specifications for its PostScript Type 1 fonts. [680.168]
  • IBM introduces the PS/2 Model 65, with a 16 MHz 80386SX, 2 MB RAM, and 60 MB SCSI hard drive. [646.54]
  • In a patent-infringement suit between Motorola and Hitachi, the judge imposes a temporary sales ban on Motorola’s 68030 processor. [558.17]
March 17

  • In Washington, D.C., the AmiExpo trade show is held, over three days. [441.4] [1176.89]
March 23

  • US District Court Judge Vaughn Walker throws out five of six claims in Xerox’ suit against Apple Computer, claiming infringement of the Star’s system. [594.47] [2605.80] (May [346.195])
March 27

  • Sierra acquires the Dynamix company. [1524.26]
(month unknown)

  • In the film Who Waits Below, several VIC-20 computers appear. [1728.78]

  • Microsoft introduces Russian MS-DOS 4.01 for the Soviet market. [123]
  • Outbound releases the Outbound Mac-compatible portable. [559.73]
April 24

  • At the Palladium in New York City, Commodore hosts Multimedia Live!, and announces the Amiga 3000 computer. The system features a Motorola 16 or 25 MHz 68030, 68881 or 68882 math coprocessor, new Enhanced Chip Set, Zorro III bus, 2 MB RAM, 40 or 100 MB hard drive, AmigaDOS v2.0, and AmigaVision authoring system. Prices are US$3299 (16 MHz, 40 MB), US$3999 (25 MHz, 40 MB), US$4699 (25 MHz, 100 MB). [407.19] [1728.24,31]
(month unknown)

  • ABC sells magazines Compute!, Compute’s Gazette, Compute’s PC, and Compute’s Amiga Resource to General Media International. [1728.25]
  • Sharp Electronics introduces the PC-6220 notebook computer. It weighs less than four pounds, and features a 12 MHz 80C286 processor, 2.5-inch 20 MB hard drive, B/W backlit triple supertwist 8×6-inch LCD VGA 640×480 resolution screen, 1 MB RAM (expandable to 3 MB), and a socket for a 80C287 math coprocessor. Price is about US$4000. [646.53] [908.87]

  • Microsoft introduces the Microsoft Project for Windows project management software. [1049.145]
  • Microsoft introduces PowerPoint presentation software for Windows. [1049.145]
  • Asymetrix introduces ToolBook for Windows, an object-oriented visual development package. [1049.129]
  • Intel introduces the 33 MHz 486 microprocessor. Speed is 27 MIPS. [62]
  • The ComputerFest trade show (formerly called AppleFest) debuts in New York city. [642.10]
  • The DPMI Committee releases the DPMI version 0.9 specification. [511.369]
  • S3 announces plans to create a multiprocessor chip set. (The project is scrapped a year later due to lack of market interest.) [659.5]
  • Digital Research releases DR DOS 5.0. [146] [511.242]
  • The PCMCIA card specification v1.0 is released. [147] (August [696.237]) (September [206.68])
May 18

  • Universal Pictures releases the film Bird on a Wire to theaters in the USA.
    • An Apple Macintosh with red diskette appears a few times.
    • An IBM PC/XT appears briefly.
May 22

  • At the Center City Theater at Columbus Circle in New York, Microsoft introduces and ships Microsoft Windows 3.0. This version allows addressing memory above 640 kB. Microsoft spends US$3 million for opening-day marketing, as part of a US$10 million promotional campaign. [15] [28] [45] [75] [123] [146] [150] [346.239] [346.272] [379.256] [389.29] [477.161] [479.128] [548.159] [595.26] [606.81] [620.130] [618.296] [721.156] [769.4] [909.232] [1149.359] [1299.1] [1527.176] [1639.114] [1897.129] [2605.173]
(month unknown)

  • John Dvorak quote: “I think Windows 3.0 will get a lot of attention; people will check it out, and before long they’ll all drift back to raw DOS. Once in a while they’ll boot Windows for some specific purpose, but many will put it in the closet with the Commodore 64.”. [648.20]
  • IBM introduces the IBM T55D flat panel screen. It features 15-inch diagonal size with 1024×768 pixel resolution. [1095]
  • Creative Micro Designs releases three hard drives for the Commodore 64/128: 20 MB for US$599.95, 40 MB for US$799.95, and 100 MB for US$1299.95. [1118.22]
  • Ed Esber is forced to resign as president of Ashton-Tate. [618.264]

  • Nolan Bushnell of Commodore International unveils Commodore’s CDTV at the Summer Consumer Electronics Show. CDTV stands for Commodore Dynamic Total Vision. The unit hooks up to a television, and plays CD-ROMs, text, video, stereo sound. This is the first available consumer product designed for multimedia. Code-name during the product’s development was “Baby”. [539.A-18] [645.10] (January 1991 [1196.131])
  • Adobe Systems introduces the Adobe Type Manager for Windows software. [1049.147]
  • IBM introduces the IBM Personal System/1 computers, with 10 MHz 80286 processor, built-in VGA, and monitor. Prices range from US$999 to US$1999. [138] [1312]
  • Duo Computers announces the Duo FC, incorporating a PC-AT compatible and a Nintendo Entertainment System in one case. [539.10]
  • Apple Computer announces that Claris shares would not be offered to the public, but that the company would become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Apple Computer. [419.75]
  • A US District Court judge rules that Paperback Software’s duplicating the menu interface of Lotus 1-2-3 is a violation of copyright (the “look and feel” lawsuit was filed in 1987). [16] [161] [217]
  • Amstrad announces in France the 464 Plus and 6128 Plus personal computers, both with game cartridge ports. [2608.84]
  • Microsoft ships PowerPoint 2.0 for Windows, the first application to use OLE (Object Linking and Embedding). [909.232]
  • Jon Shirley resigns as President of Microsoft. He is replaced by former Boeing executive Michael Hallman. [346.272]
  • The Federal Trade Commission begins an investigation of collusion of IBM and Microsoft for alleged monopolistic practices in the PC software market. [548.347] [775] [1299.398] [1462.94] (1991 [128])
(month unknown)

  • SCSI-2 is formalized. [1038.202] [1158.247]
  • Adobe announces Level 2 PostScript. [720.167]
  • U.S. Robotics introduces the Courier v.32bis modem. [235]
  • The INMOS T-9000 processor, designed for parallel computing in the Transputer architecture, appears. [32]
  • Claris buys Filemaker from Nashoba Systems, and renames it FileMaker II. [861.21]
  • A judge rules that competitors to Intel can use the x86 designation for their processors. Intel decides to find another name for its new processors. [477.130]
  • Kaypro Corporation files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. [648.190]
  • Hard drive maker MiniScribe files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. [648.190]
  • IBM introduces the PS/2 Model 25 286. [1312]
  • Stac Electronics releases Stacker for DOS. [748.46]
  • Commodore International introduces the 64 Games System, in Europe. It is a Commodore 64 minus keyboard, with the cartridge slot on top. [808.G-18]
  • Motorola and Hitachi reach an agreement on their lawsuits, allowing Motorola to resume sales of the 68030 processor. [659.5]
  • Sharp begins shipping the Sharp PC-6220 notebook computer. [908.87]
  • Quote by Pete Peterson, executive vice president of WordPerfect: Microsoft is the “fox that takes you across the river and then eats you.”. [1149.397]
  • Quote by Paul Grayson, co-founder of Micrografx: “… there is only one person with fewer friends than Saddam Hussein. And that’s Bill Gates.”. [1149.392]
  • Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy makes a prediction that Microsoft will continue to dominate for the next 5-7 years, then there would be an industry breakthrough, by a company not yet existing. [1700.13]
  • The MSX Turbo R personal computer is released in Japan. [2287.93]


End of 1990 January-June. Next: 1990 July.

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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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