Chronology of Personal Computers (1996)



January 4

  • Intel announces the immediate availability of the 150 MHz (60 MHz bus) and 166 MHz (66 MHz bus) Pentium processors. Pricing is US$547 (150 MHz) and US$749 (166 MHz) each in quantities of 1000. The processor operates on 3.3-volts of power, and utilizes Intel’s 0.35 micron BiCMOS manufacturing technology. Project name during development was P54CS. [62] [242][265] [283.8] [411] [473.10] [523.6] [557.135] [598.4] [821] [1559]
January 9

  • Apple Computer officially unveils the Newton 2.0 operating system. [1559] (December [271.N7])

  • The US Supreme Court upholds a March 1995 ruling that Borland International’s Quattro Pro did not violate Lotus Development’s Lotus 1-2-3 copyrights. The original suit was filed in July, 1990. [304.49] [453.4] [1559]
January 11

  • Umax Data Systems of Taiwan buys Radius’ Macintosh business, including the Macintosh operating system license. Umax will set up a US company, Umax Computer, to produce a line of Macintosh compatible computers. [427.40] [927.27] [1559] (late MAY [2605.254])

  • GT Interactive releases the Duke Nukem 3D video game for personal computers. [2617.85]
  • Advanced Micro Devices and Intel sign a five-year patent cross-license agreement. This includes Intel’s MMX processor multimedia extensions, and royalty payments to Intel. [141] [62] [411] [408] [814.122]
  • 3Com debuts the Palm Pilot. [814.138] [1158.101]
  • United Microelectronics settles its dispute with Intel over its 486 processor family. United Microelectronics agrees to terminate its 486 processor business, and pay Intel for legal expenses. [411]
  • Microsoft acquires Vermeer Technologies, including the software product FrontPage. [927.26] [1075.118] [1559]
  • One year after the release of Microsoft Bob, less than 300,000 copies have been sold. [1559]
  • Advanced Micro Devices and NexGen complete their merger, with AMD paying US$623 million for NexGen. [141] [450.18]
  • 3D Realms releases the Duke Nukem 3D game for personal computers. [1497.101] [1538.23] [2383.30]
  • IBM releases OS/2 for PowerPC-based computers. [293.35]
  • Compaq Computer announces the Scanner Keyboard, for US$350. It incorporates a color page scanner into an otherwise normal keyboard. [404.A5]
  • Digital Equipment announces it is exiting from the consumer desktop PC market, and discontinuing the Starion line of multimedia PCs. [455.32] [475.A5]
  • Intel changes the project name for the P7 processor to Merced. [450.3] [411]
  • Apple Computer’s board of directors fire CEO Michael Spindler, and demote co-founder Mike Markkula from chairman to vice chairman. [430.38] [451.3] (February [1559])
  • Compaq Computer and IBM announce that future PCs will support the CEBus (Consumer Electronics Bus) standard. [631.39]
  • Number of US homes with a personal computer: 33.9 million. [853.12]
January 22

  • Microsoft releases Internet Explorer for the Macintosh. [1559]
January 23

  • Sun Microsystems ships the Java 1.0 development kit. [948.103]
January 31

  • At Demo 96 in Palm Springs, California, Apple Computer gives the first public showing of the Mac OS running on a PowerPC Platform (PPCP) computer. The prototype, built by IBM, uses a 132MHz PowerPC 604 processor. [430.42] [870.35,79] [2605.253]
  • Corel purchases WordPerfect, Quattro Pro, and the PerfectOffice application suite from Novell for US$180 million in cash, stock, and future licensing royalties. [297.6] [299.1] [430.42] [451.1] [455.4] [435.43] [467.6] [828.22] [1559]
(month unknown)

  • Intel begins shipping the 200 MHz Pentium Pro processor. [590.1]
  • Apple Computer begins shipping the PowerBook 5300ce. [926.35]
  • Power Computing introduces the PowerCurve 601/120 Macintosh-compatible computer. It features a 120 MHz PowerPC 601 processor in a processor card slot, 256 kB of L2 cache, 8 MB RAM, 850 MB hard disk, three PCI expansion slots. Base price is US$1699. [926.27]
  • Micro Express ships the MicroHex-686/100, the first computer using the Cyrix 6×86 microprocessor. [431.54]
February 2

  • At an emergency meeting of the board of directors of Apple Computer in New York, CEO Michael Spindler is replaced by Gilbert Amelio. [299.3] [381.11] [430.38] [455.2] [459.28] [861.30] [882.25] [896] [1559] [1886.70] [2605.240,264]
February 5

  • Gilbert Amelio also assumes the position of Chairman of Apple Computer. [861.30] [2605.198]
  • Netscape Communications ships Netscape Navigator 2.0 web browser for Windows 3.1, 95, NT, and the Macintosh. Price is US$49. It features support for JavaScript, Java applets, streaming audio, and 3D. [1559] (March [1897.131])

  • Cyrix announces availability of the 133 MHz 6×86-P166+, 120 MHz 6×86-P150+, and 110 MHz 6×86-P133+ processors. Prices, for 1000 unit quantities, are US$621 (133 MHz), US$451 (120 MHz), US$326 (110 MHz). All chips operate at twice the bus speed. The processors are manufactured by IBM for Cyrix. [457.42] [460] [473.10] [557.136] [408]
  • IBM announces availability of 6×86 processors, manufactured for sale under a license from Cyrix. Prices, for 1000 unit quantities, are US$590 (6×86-P166+), US$400 (6×86-P150+), US$300 (6×86-P133+), US$185 (6×86-P120+). [408]
February 9

  • Bandai Digital Entertainment unveils the Pippin Atmark computer. The system is licensed from Apple Computer, comes with keyboard, mouse, and modem for Internet access, and plugs into a television. [1559]
February 14

  • Microsoft releases the Windows 95 Service Pack 1 operating system update. [472.109] [1559] [1588.19]

  • Seagate officially announces it is discontinuing development of SSA (Serial Storage Architecture) as a peripheral interface. [1012.90]
  • Micron Electronics closes subsidiary company Zeos Computer. [486.311]
  • Santa Cruz Operations releases SCO UNIXWare 2.1. [472.25]
  • Hewlett-Packard introduces the HP Color LaserJet 5M 300 dpi color laser printer for the Macintosh. It features 36 MB RAM (max 84 MB), 40 MHz AMD Adobe PostScript Level 2 processor, and JetDirect Ethernet card. Price is US$7625. [870.39]
  • Motorola ships samples of the 64-bit PowerPC 620 processor. [298.40]
  • Seagate Technology and Conner Peripherals complete their merger. [473.10] [227]
  • IBM announces it is abandoning plans to develop its Power Personal Series line of PowerPC-based desktop PCs. [301.3] [381.11]
  • IBM ships OS/2 Warp Server. [305.8] [374.1]
February 19

  • Apple Computer announces that Motorola’s Computer Group has licensed the Mac OS. Motorola can also sub-license the Mac OS to other manufacturers who purchase PowerPC motherboards from Motorola. [381.11] [406] [861.31] [1559] [1597.87]
February 25

  • The Fox Broadcasting Company airs The Simpsons TV show in the US. A computer is used, and when the screen is shown, a window is titled “Untitled-1”, and shows an animated wristwatch for a “please wait” symbol, like an early version of Microsoft Windows. [1854]
(month unknown)

  • Advanced Micro Devices discontinues the NexGen Nx586 processor. [434.36] [386]
  • Cyrix announces it will begin selling complete PC systems based on its 6×86 processor. The systems will use fast memory, disks, and graphics subsystems. [386]
March 4

  • In San Francisco, California, the Software Publisher’s Association holds its Excellence in Software Awards ceremony. Winners include: Best Sports Software: IndyCar Racing II by Sierra On-Line; Best Simulation Software Program: IndyCar Racing II by Sierra On-Line; Best Home Learning Program for Adolescents: The Lost Mind of Dr. Brain by Sierra On-Line. [1474.14]
March 14

  • At the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany, Apple Computer introduces the Apple Newton MessagePad 130, with transreflective LCD with an electroluminescent backlight, battery life about 8 hours (4 with backlight on), 1.2 MB heap space, 20 MHz ARM 610 RISC processor, 320×240 pixel display, one Type II PC Card slot, 2.5 MB internal RAM, for US$799. [1813.113] [2605.198] (June [884.45])

  • Intel releases the 120 MHz Pentium OverDrive processor for 60 MHz systems, with the 133 MHz version for 66 MHz systems, and the 125 MHz version for 75 MHz systems. Price for any of the chips is US$400. [474.60] [62] [406]
  • Intel introduces the Pentium-133 VRT processor, a 133 MHz Mobile Pentium with 66 MHz system bus designed for portable computers. Price is US$371 in quantities of 1000. [62] [406]
  • Intel introduces two 100 MHz Pentium-100 VRT processors for portable computer use. One is manufactured in a 0.6 micron process, dissipating 3.0 Watts, and sells for US$218 in 1000 unit quantities. The other uses a 0.35 micron process, dissipates 2.25 Watts and sells for US$271. [406]
  • Microsoft ships the 30 millionth copy of Windows 95. [452.53]
  • Iomega ships the one-millionth Zip storage device. [1245.48]
  • Packard Bell Electronics acquires Zenith Data Systems, as part of a US$650 million deal with NEC and Groupe Bull. [305.3] [456.10] [475.A5] [523.102] (February [521.13]) (April [1559])
  • Gateway 2000 introduces the Destination XTV 400 computer. It features a computer, 27-inch monitor, stereo sound, wireless mouse and keyboard. Price is US$2499. [1185.31]
  • Computer-maker CompuAdd shuts down operations. [436.53]
  • Compaq Computer introduces the 180 MHz Pentium Pro-based Prolinea. [514.10]
  • Microsoft launches Windows 95 in China. [781.41]
  • China begins airing on TV the “educational” situation comedy show “My Computer Family”. It is sponsored by Microsoft and Compaq Computer. The show focuses on use of Microsoft products and presents the importance of intellectual property rights. [781.41]
  • Intel gives first details about MMX, multimedia extensions for the Pentium processor, at Intermedia World in San Francisco. MMX will add 57 new instructions to the processor. The instructions accelerate calculations by up to 8 times in audio, graphics, speech, and data communications. [822.18] [406]
  • Apple Computer releases System 7.5 Update 2.0. [861.32]
  • Microsoft signs a licensing deal with Sun Microsystems for Java. [1455.41] [1559]
  • Digital Equipment introduces the HiNote Ultra II subnotebook computer. It features a 100/120/133 MHz Pentium, weighs 4 pounds, 10.4-inch color SVGA active matrix screen, removable memory/hard drive pack, removable CD-ROM/speaker pack, and removable external ports pack. Prices range from US$3000-6000. [463.6] [515.16]
  • America Online agrees to bundle Netscape Navigator 2.0 with AOL’s GNN online service. AOL users will also be able to select Netscape software to browse the web. [850.20] [1564.295]
  • Microsoft agrees to bundle America Online software with Windows 95. AOL agrees to make Microsoft’s Internet Explorer its built-in default browser. [850.20] [1564.295]
  • Iomega sells its 1-millionth Zip drive. [485.7]
  • Advanced Micro Devices begins shipping the AMD5K86 microprocessor, compatible with the Intel Pentium processor. Prices are US$75 for 75 MHz AMD5K86-P75, and US$99 for 90 MHz AMD5K86-P90, in quantities of 1000. Former name of the chip was SSA/5. [141] [557.136] [386]
(month unknown)

  • Cyrix announces availbility of a line of custom-built personal computers, using the 6×86 processor. [344]

  • The Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) is held. [292]
  • At the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, Intel announces the development of a new CPU interface for graphics accelerators, called the Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP). [344]
  • At the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, Microsoft announces the Simply Interactive PC (SIPC) initiative, intended to make personal computers as popular and easy to use as a television. An SIPC computer would be a sealed unit, with external expansion, and capable of booting in seconds. [294]
  • At the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, Microsoft releases its PC 97 specification, which systems must meet to carry the “Designed for Microsoft Windows” logo. [294]
  • Hewlett-Packard begins shipping the HP LaserJet 5 line of laser printers. [516.31,86]
  • IBM announces volume shipments of 166 and 180 MHz PowerPC 604 processors. Prices are US$499 and US$693, respectively, in 1000-unit quantities. [557.136] [294] [1597.87]
  • Palm ships the Palm Pilot handheld computer. [1955.61]
  • Microsoft releases the Flight Simulator game for personal computers in the USA. [2530.50]
  • Corel releases Corel WordPerfect Suite 7, and Corel Office Professional Suite. [467.6] (May [497.1])
  • Apple Computer introduces the Power Macintosh 9500/150, with a 150 MHz PowerPC 604 processor. [494.124]
  • Advanced Micro Devices releases the 75 MHz AMD5K86-P75. [740.186]
April 23

  • Microsoft releases the Internet Explorer 2.0 web browser for the Macintosh, on systems running System 7.0.1 or higher. [1559] (May [1886.70])
April 29

  • Power Computing releases the PowerTower line and the PowerCenter line of Macintosh-compatible computers. All systems use the PowerPC 604 processor, and range in price from US$1895 to US$4195. [884.40] [1559]
(month unknown)

  • Sharp Electronics introduces the Zaurus ZR-5800FX handheld computer. It features keyboard and fax modem. Price is US$729. [1813.113]
May 6

  • Apple licenses the Mac OS to IBM, which may sub-license it to other manufacturers. [861.31] [294] [1244.40] [2605.254]
May 10

  • Apple Computer halts PowerBook 5300 production and initiates a recall. [2605.237]
May 14

  • Western Digital announces the 3.1 GB Caviar AC33100 hard drive, using the Enhanced IDE interface, with 12ms data access time. Volume production is scheduled for June, with a Fall release time and retail price of US$549. [1559]
May 15

  • In Los Angeles, California, Bandai Digital Entertainment announces the Pippin @World computer. The device includes a keyboard and CD-ROM player. It can be hooked up to a television and connected to the Internet. Bandai expects to ship the device in September, priced at US$599. [1559]

  • Netscape Communications releases Netscape Navigator 2.02 web browser. [553.24] (v2.0 in March [919])
  • At Apple Computer’s Worldwide Developers Conference, IBM and Motorola announce sampling of 200 MHz PowerPC 603e and 604e processors. Both employ an 0.35 micron CMOS process. Motorola announces pricing for the PowerPC 603e at US$224 (166 MHz), US$256 (180 MHz), and US$360 (200 MHz). [572.20] [292]
May 19

  • The Fox Broadcasting Company airs The Simpsons TV show in the US. A character refers to the Us Festival, “sponsored by that guy from Apple Computers”. Response by another character is “What Computers?”. [1855]
May 20

  • Apple Computer joins the Network Computer Coalition. [861.33]
May 22

  • Paramount Pictures releases the film Mission: Impossible to theaters in the USA and Canada. A black laptop computer is used to monitor several video cameras. The Netscape Web browsing software appears on a computer. A white desktop computer appears. A Verbatim 230 MB optical disk is used. A small Apple Computer portable computer is used. [1995]
May 28

  • Apple Computer announces the Macintosh Performa 6320CD computer. It features 120 MHz 603e PowerPC processor, 16 MB RAM, 1.2 GB hard drive, CD-ROM drive, sixteen preinstalled titles and fifteen CD-ROM titles. Price is US$2599. [1559]
May 29

  • The first JavaOne developers’ conference is held. Over 6000 attend. [948.103]
June 4

  • Packard Bell announces plans to merge with the personal computer operations of NEC outside of Japan. The combined company will be called Packard Bell NEC. Cost of the acquisition is US$300 million, expected to be completed by July 1. [846.16] [1559]

  • Microsoft begins licensing Visual BASIC for Applications to third party software developers. [29.70]
  • Microsoft threatens to cancel Compaq Computer’s license to Windows, due to Compaq’s plans to bundle Netscape Navigator with its new computers, snstead of Internet Explorer. (This prompts Netscape executive James Barksdale to contact the U.S. Justice Department.) [1711.4]
  • Corel releases the Quattro Pro 7 spreadsheet program. [1254.149]
  • DayStar Digital ships 2-processor Macintosh-compatible computers. [1034.59]
  • Linus Torvalds releases the Linux kernel version 2.0. [1601.9] [1648.52]
  • Intel introduces and begins volume shipments of the 200 MHz Pentium processor. It incorporates 3.3 million transistors in a 0.35 micron BiCMOS process, with a 66 MHz system bus. Price is US$599 in quantities of 1000. [523.6] [62] [557.136] [609.108] [943.180] [242]
  • Cyrix announces the 150 MHz 6×86-P200+ processor, with 75 MHz system bus, making it faster than Intel’s 200 MHz Pentium. The processor is manufactured by IBM in a 0.44 micron CMOS-5S2 process. Price is US$499 in 1000 unit quantities. [523.6] [242]
  • IBM announces limited availability of the 150 MHz 6×86-P200+ processor. The chip is sold under a license from Cyrix. Price is US$479 in 1000 unit quantities. [495.32] [242]
  • IBM announces the availability of “Long Trail”, the first motherboard reference design based on the PowerPC Platform. [884.23]
  • Sony Information Technologies of America introduces Sony’s new line of consumer-based PC systems, priced at US$2000-3000. [524.14] [546.37] [1039.36]
  • Apple Computer releases OpenDoc v1.0. [861.38]
  • Installed base of Microsoft desktop operating systems: DOS 25%, Windows 3.x 49%, Windows 95 20%, Windows NT 1%, other 5%. [554.54]
  • Microsoft ships DirectX 2.0 to developers, eight months behind schedule. New features include DirectPlay and Direct3D. Direct3D is a hardware-independent framework for hardware-based acceleration of 3-D games for Windows. Previous name for Direct3D was Win/G. [575.36] [1254.63] [1774.48]
  • SunSoft releases Wabi 2.2 (Windows Applications Binary Interface) allowing SPARC processor-based computers to run Windows applications. [523.19]
  • Advanced Micro Devices begins shipping the K5-PR100 microprocessor. It is a 100 MHz Pentium-compatible plug-in replacement. Price is US$84 in 1000 unit quantities. Former name was 5K86. [141] [494.16] [524.131] [525.65] [242]
June 17

  • Compaq Computer announces the Armada line of notebook computers, including the low-end 1100 series, and high-end 4100 series. Compaq also announces three new models in the LTE 5300 line. [1559]

  • At PC Expo, Apple Computer, IBM, and Motorola demo a 133 MHz PowerPC 604 prototype system running both the MacOS and Microsoft Windows NT. [884.35]
June 22

  • id Software releases the Quake game for personal computers in the USA. [2583.177] [2655.79]
(month unknown)

  • NEC Electronics begins shipping its R4101 processor for personal digital assistants. The chip includes a 33 MHz 4100 processor core, 2 kB instruction cache, 1 kB data cache, real-time clock, DMA controller, audio driver, and interfaces for serial port, keyboard, infrared, and touch-screen interfaces. [590.5]
  • SyQuest unveils the EZFlyer removable-cartridge drive. Price is US$299 for the drive, and US$29 for each 230 MB cartridge. [884.24]
  • Sony introduces the PCV-70, with 166 MHz Pentium processor, 2.1 GB hard drive, 28.8K modem, MPEG decoder, 8X CD-ROM drive, and custom Visual Audio Integrated Operation (VAIO), a 3D graphical user interface. [832.15]
  • Sony introduces the PCV-90, with 200 MHz Pentium processor, 32 MB RAM, 2.5 GB hard drive, 28.8K modem, MPEG decoder, 8X CD-ROM drive, and custom Visual Audio Integrated Operation (VAIO). [832.15]
  • The SCSI-3 specification is drafted. [1158.247]
  • The USB Implementers Forum approves the USB specification. [1272.104]


End of 1996 January-June. Next: 1996 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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