Chronology of Personal Computers (1997)



January 7

  • The MacWorld Expo / San Francisco show is held in San Francisco, California, over four days. [866.81] [889.35] [1135.19] [1244.108] [1888.D2]
  • At the Macworld Expo, Steven Jobs and Stephen Wozniak appear together on stage for the first time since 1984. Apple Computer announces it plans to release an operating system code-named Rhapsody in 1998 that will run current applications, Next OS applications, and Java applications. The new OS will feature pre-emptive multitasking and protected memory. Apple demonstrates a limited edition 20th anniversary Macintosh, featuring a flat-panel display, to be sold for US$9000. [1559] [1880.20] [1886.70] [1888.D2] [1895.S3.1]
  • At the Macworld trade show, Microsoft announces and ships Microsoft Office 4.2.1 for the Macintosh. It includes Word 6.0.1, Excel 5.0, and PowerPoint 4.0. Price is US$499. [1559]
  • Microsoft releases the final version of Internet Explorer 3.0 web browser for the Macintosh. [1559]
  • Microsoft releases the first test version of FrontPage for the Macintosh. [1559]
January 8

  • Intel releases the 166 MHz and 200 MHz Pentium processors with MMX multimedia extension instructions. Bus speed is 66 MHz. They incorporate 4.5 million transistors. Performance of the 200 MHz version is 350 MIPS. Code-name during development was P55C. MMX originally stood for “matrix-multiplication extensions”. [848.25] [886.56] [938.74] [940.106] [943.180] [952.46] [1009.19] [1179.69] [1252.30] [1887.D1]
  • Intel releases the 150 MHz and 166 MHz Pentium processors for notebook computers, with MMX multimedia extension instructions. [886.56] [938.74]
January 14

  • Corel announces it has licenced Netscape Communicator to integrate it with Wordperfect Suite 8 and Corel Office Professional 8. [1892.D20]
January 15

  • Texas Instruments announces it will withdraw from the Intel-compatible processor business. [1559]

  • Apple Computer releases the Mac OS 7.6 operating system. Code-name during development was Harmony. Upgrade price from System 7.5 is US$69, upgrade price from earlier operating systems is US$129. [815.33] [854.60] [1134.26] [1135.63] [1593.34] [1597.87] [1648.54]
  • Microsoft announces it will build support for DVD into future generations of Windows. [1559]
  • Microsoft announces Microsoft Broadcast PC, a version of Windows designed for combining television and the computer. [886.39,56]
  • Sales of Microsoft Windows to date: about 70 million. [886.39]
  • Windows Magazine editor Mike Elgan’s prediction of a PC system in the year 2000: 800 MHz Intel CPU, 64 MB RAM, 9 GB hard drive, cost US$1500. [886.39]
January 16

  • Microsoft ships Microsoft Office 97 application suite for Windows. It includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and Outlook. Standard version price is US$499; upgrade price is US$209. Professional version price is US$599; upgrade price is US$309. [1559] [1631.40] [1890.D7]
January 20

  • Olivetti S.p.A. of Italy announces it will sell its personal computer company to Piedmont International for about 250-300 billion lire (about US$159-190 million). [1893.D4]
January 22

  • Microsoft settles its browser royalty dispute with Spyglass by agreeing to a one-time payment of US$7.5 million. [1559]
January 23

  • In Dallas, Texas, Texas Instruments announces it will sell its notebook computer business to Acer Group of Taiwan. [1894.D3]

  • Apple Computer CEO Gilbert Amelio says Apple may drop the Newton line of handheld computers. [1593.32]
January 30

  • Samsung Electronics of South Korea announces it will acquire the remaining 51 percent of AST Research for US$162 million. [1935.D3]
January 31

  • Hewlett-Packard announces the HP 200LX handheld computer, with 4 MB RAM, priced at US$599. [1559]
  • Be announces it is ceasing production of its own hardware systems, to focus on software development. [1559]
(month unknown)

  • Apple Computer releases the Macintosh Java Runtime, a free Web site download. [1593.35]
February 3

  • Microsoft announces Visual Basic 5.0 Professional Edition, including a code compiler, ActiveX controls, and support for DCOM and Microsoft Transaction Server. Release date is set for mid-March. [1559]
February 4

  • Apple Computer’s acquisition of NeXT Software is complete. Total cost is $427 million. [2605.267,277]
  • Apple Computer CEO Gilbert Amelio announces restructuring of the company to focus on the Mac OS and Macintosh hardware. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak will join the executive committee as advisors to Amelio. [1460.30] [1593.32] [1936.D8]

  • McAfee Associates identifies the first known virus for the Linux operating system. [1559]
February 7

  • Microsoft announces it is ceasing development of Windows NT for systems using PowerPC processors. [779.42] [1559] [1937.36]
  • In San Francisco, California, the International Solid-State Circuits Conference is held. Intel previews a next-generation Pentium processor (code-named Deschutes) running at 433 MHz. [1010.26] [1559]
  • Apple Computer completes its acquisition of Next Software, for a total cost of US$430 million. [1559] [1938.D2]
February 9

  • The Fox Broadcasting Company airs The Simpsons TV show in the US. A personal computer appears, with system unit under CRT monitor, and separate keyboard and mouse. [1919]

  • Borland International announces it has settled its trade secrets lawsuit against Symantec. [1940.47]
February 14

  • Intel announces the release name of the P6 processor code-named Klamath: Pentium II. [1559]
February 16

  • The Fox Broadcasting Company airs The Simpsons TV show in the US. In the title scene, an Apple Computer Macintosh-style window makes a parody of the America Online software, calling it America Onlink, with a very slow loading of artwork for the show’s family characters. [1920]
February 17

  • Apple Computer unveils many updated desktop and portable Macintosh computers: PowerBook 3400 and 4400, and Power Macintosh 7300, 8600, and 9600. [1244] [1559] [1939.42]
  • Apple Computer unveils the eMate handheld computer. Weight is 4 pounds. [1559]
  • Apple Computer introduces the Newton MessagePad 2000. It features 32-bit StrongARM 162 MHz processor and 5 MB RAM. [1000.45] [1559]

  • Opera Software releases the Opera v2.12 web browser. [932]
February 18

  • Sun Microsystems releases the Java development kit v1.1. [948.104]
  • Corel begins shipping WordPerfect Suite for DOS. It includes WordPerfect 6.2, Quattro Pro 5.6, and Presentations 2.1. Price is US$495; upgrade price is US$149. [1559]
February 20

  • Borland International announces it will lay off 30 percent of its workforce, and will refocus products on software tools to create custom applications. [1942.D2]
  • Compaq Computer introduces the Presario 2100 computer. It features 132 MHz Cyrix MediaGX processor, 15-in monitor, 24 MB RAM, 2 GB hard drive, 33.6 kbps modem, 8X CD-ROM drive. Price is US$999. [1092.72] [1741.112] [1941.D3]
February 24

  • US Robotics begins shipping new 56 kbps modems. [1943.D8]
February 26

  • 3Com announces it will acquire U.S. Robotics in a US$6.6 billion stock swap. [1464.100] [1944.D1] (February 27 [1559])
February (month)

  • Top selling DOS/Windows personal computer software for the month in the USA: Turbo Tax. [2392.D10]
March 2

  • US Senator Orrin Hatch holds a hearing in Microsoft’s alledged antitrust activities, questioning Bill Gates, Scott NcNealy of Sun Microsystems, and Jim Barksdale of Netscape Communications. Bill Gates admits Microsoft’s contracts with Internet content companies are barred from promoting Netscape’s browser. [1564.278]
March 3

  • Intel begins shipping Pentium OverDrive processors with MMX technology. Prices are US$399 for 125 MHz and 150 MHz processors, and US$499 for 166 MHz processors. [1559]
March 14

  • NEC announces it will begin selling industry-standard Intel-architecture personal computers in Japan. Until now, NEC only sold its proprietary 9800 architecture personal computers in Japan. The new systems will be made by Packard Bell-NEC in the US. [1559]
  • Apple Computer terminates 2700 of 11,000 full-time positions, and 1400 contract or temporary positions. The OpenDoc and Open Transport projects are dropped, as is the Performa brand name. [1029.88] [1449.22] [1460.30] [1559] [1959] [2605.267]
  • Intel begins shipping samples of the 300 MHz Pentium II processor to computer manufacturers. [1559]
  • Intel files a lawsuit against Cyrix and Advanced Micro Devices accusing the companies of infringing Intel’s “MMX” trademark. (Both companies agree to settlements within about a month.) [1489.142] [1559] [1960.D4]

  • Compaq Computer introduces the Presario 2200 computer. It features 180 MHz MediaGX processor. Price is US$799. [1092.72]
  • Palm Computing ships the PalmPilot Personal ($299) and PalmPilot Professional ($399) editions. [2605.199]
March 17

  • Microsoft ships Office 97 Small Business Edition, for US$249. [1559]
March 19

  • Apple Computer formally unveils the 20th Anniversary Macintosh computer. It features flat-panel metal and leather design, television and FM radio tuners, special sound system with subwoofer, 12.1-inch active-matrix display, CD-ROM drive. Production will be limited to 12,000 units, in five countries: France, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom, and the United States. Price is US$7,500. [1559] (February [1589.24])
March 24

  • Apple Computer ships the MessagePad 2000 for $949 with lots of software, 16 grayscale screen, 160MHz StrongARM processor, audio recording capability, backlit rotating screen. [2605.200]
  • Apple Computer releases the Apple eMate 300. It features 25MHz ARM 710a processor, 3 MB RAM, 480×320 pixel backlit grayscale screen, Newton 2.1 operating system. Price is US$799. [1134.34] [2605.200]
March 27

  • Gateway 2000 announces plans to acquire German company Amiga Technologies. The company will be renamed Amiga International, and retain president Petro Tyschtschenko. [1559] [2017.35]
March 31

  • The consumer software division of Pixar Animation Studios is dissolved. [2605.223]
(month unknown)

  • Hewlett-Packard introduces the HP 300LX handheld computer. It features 640×240 screen, Windows CE, 2 MB RAM, Type II PC Card slot, stylus, and keyboard. It is 7.2 inches wide. Price is US$499. [1077.47]
  • Hewlett-Packard introduces the HP 320LX handheld computer. It features 640×240 screen, Windows CE, 4 MB RAM, Type II PC Card slot, stylus, and keyboard. It is 7.2 inches wide. Price is US$699. [1077.47]
  • Intel releases the Pentium OverDrive processor with MMX, with 32 kB cache. 75 MHz systems can be upgraded to 125 MHz for US$399, 90 MHz systems can be upgraded to 150 MHz for US$399, 100 MHz systems can be upgraded to 166 MHz for US$499. [1077.30]
  • Creative Labs introduces the Creative PC-DVD drive, the first PC DVD drive on the market. It plays CD audio disks, CD-ROM disks at 6X speed, and DVD disks at 9X speed. Includes IDE interface to a PCI audio/video decompression card. Price is about US$500. [1109.54]
April 1

  • In the lawsuit of Intel versus Cyrix, Cyrix agrees to a settlement, agreeing to acknowledge the term “MMX” as an Intel trademark. [1559]
April 2

  • The second JavaOne developers’ conference is held. Over 10,000 attend. [948.104]
  • Advanced Micro Devices introduces the K6 processor, featuring MMX instructions and dual 32 kB on-chip caches. Speeds and prices in 1000-unit quantities are 166 MHz (US$244), 200 MHz (US$349), 233 MHz (US$469). The processor incorporates 8.8 million transistors in a 0.35 micron process, and is based on the NexGen Nx686. [876.250] [938.74] [1009.68] [1010.27] [1077.27] [1559] [2363.D3]
  • Prince Walid bin Talal of Saudi Arabia announces he has acquired 5 percent of Apple Computer for US$115 million, becoming the company’s largest shareholder. [2363.D3] (late March [2605.268])

  • Motorola introduces the 300 MHz PowerPC 603e processor. [1597.87]
April 4

  • Apple Computer introduces new Power Macintosh 6500 systems, with 225 to 300 MHz PowerPC 603e processors. Prices range from US$1999 to US$2999. [1559] [2365.D14]
April 6

  • Microsoft announces plans to buy WebTV Networks for US$425 million. The United States Justice Department begins a review of the merger. [616.21] [775] [869.41] [939.64] [2364.D1]
April 7

  • Apple Computer ships Mac OS 7.6.1. [815.33] [1559]
  • NEC Electronics announces the 66 MHz 64-bit VR4102 processor for Windows CE devices. It features 4 kB instruction cache, 1 kB data cache, modem emulation, advanced power management, support for many peripherals. Price will be about US$25 in 10,000-unit quantities when shipping in volume in July. [1559]
April 14

  • Motorola Computer Group announces the StarMax 5000 series of Macintosh-compatible computers. They feature 225 to 300 MHz PowerPC 603e processors, 50 MHz bus speed, 512 kB L2 cache, 50 MHz bus, 32 MB RAM, ATI 3D Rage II+ graphics, 16X CD-ROM drive, 2.5 or 4.3 GB hard drive, 10Base-T Ethernet, Mac OS 7.6, and 100 MB Zip drive. Price ranges from US$1999 to US$3399. [1559]

  • Gateway introduces the Destination Big Screen PC/TV D6-300XL. It features 300 MHz Pentium II processor, 64 MB RAM, 31-inch display, 6.4 GB hard disk, DVD-ROM drive, TV tuner, surround-sound stereo speaker system, AM/FM receiver, 56 kbps modem, 4 MB Apocalypse 3Dx graphics accelerator, and photo scanner. Price is US$4699. [1009.178]
April 15

  • Samsung Electronics agrees to acquire the remaining 51 percent of AST Research, for US$5.40 per share, worth about US$170 million. [2391.D4]
April 17

  • Apple Computer reports a first quarter loss of $740 million, largest quarter loss ever for a Silicon Valley company. [2605.265]
April 21

  • In the lawsuit of Intel versus Advanced Micro Devices, Advanced Micro Devices agrees to a settlement, agreeing to acknowledge the term “MMX” as an Intel trademark, and receives the right to use it for marketing its K6 processors as “MMX(R) Enhanced”. [1559] [2393.D4] (April 22 [504.142])
April 24

  • Advanced Micro Devices announces that Digital Equipment will use the K6 processor in a business desktop computer line. [1559]
April 29

  • Larry Ellison calls off his takeover of Apple Computer. [2605.268]
April 30

  • Power Computing begins shipping the PowerCenter Pro line for the Mac OS. The systems feature 180 to 210 MHz PowerPC 604e processors, 16X CD-ROM drives. Prices start at US$2,095. [1559]
(month unknown)

  • The PC98 design guide is released: 200 MHz or higher MMX processor, 32+ MB RAM, USB and FireWire (IEEE 1394) ports, 1024×768+ video, UltraDMA/3 hard drive, and more. [1147.93]
  • Adobe officially launches PostScript 3. [815.40]
May 7

  • Intel releases the Pentium II processor. It features a new 66 MHz bus interface called Slot 1, 200 MHz 32 kB Level 1 cache, MMX instructions, 512 kB Level 2 external cache. CPU speeds available are 233, 266, and 300 MHz. The processor incorporates 7.5 million transistors using 0.35 micron process technology, and performs at 613 MIPS (300 MHz). Prices are US$636 (233 MHz), US$775 (266 MHz), and US$1981 (300 MHz) in 1000 unit quantities. Code-name during development was Klamath. [940.106] [974.105] [943.180] [946.56] [1029.73] [1077.26] [1233.131] [1263.60] [1635.52] [1639.28] [1897.131] [2394.D2]
May 8

  • Apple Computer introduces the PowerBook 2400c notebook computer. It features 180 MHz PowerPC 603e processor, 1.3 GB hard drive, 10.4-inch active-matrix color display, two PC Card slots. Weight is 4.4 pounds; price is to be about US$3500. Availability is end of May in Japan, and end of July in the US. [1559]
May 9

  • Umax Computer announces the SuperMac C500LT/140 computer. It features Macintosh compatibility, 140 MHz PowerPC 603e processor, 8X CD-ROM drive, 1.2 GB hard drive, floppy drive, two PCI slots. Price is US$999. [1559]
May 13

  • IBM unveils the ThinkPad 380 notebook computer. It features CD-ROM drive, hard disk, and floppy drive all as standard built-in drives. Prices range from US$2199 to US$3899. [1559]
  • Digital Equipment files a lawsuit against Intel, claiming infringement in Intel’s Pentium Pro and Pentium II processors of ten Digital Equipment patents related to the Alpha RISC processor. [636.3] [672.6] [1559] (May 12 [1489.142])
  • Cyrix files a lawsuit against Intel, alleging Intel copied power management and pipeline techniques protected by Cyrix patents. [1489.142] [1559]
May 15

  • Exponential Technologies ceases development of PowerPC processors. [1559]

  • Microsoft releases Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 3. [743.48] [1101.50]
  • Be releases the BeOS Preview Release for Intel-based PCs. [1134.24]
May 19

  • Intel announces the 133 MHz Pentium processor with MMX technology for notebook computers. Price is US$284 in 1000-unit quantities. [1559]
  • Hewlett-Packard begins shipping the HP 300LX and 320LX handheld computers. [1559]
May 20

  • Centaur Technology shows first samples of its IDT-C6 Pentium-class microprocessor. [1011.51] [1559]
May 22

  • Adobe Systems ships the Illustrator 7.0 software for Windows and Macintosh in Canada and the US. Price is US$595; upgrade price is US$99. [1559]
  • Apple Computer announces that it will make its Newton Systems Group a subsidiary company, to market the MessagePad 2000 and eMate 3000, with about 130 Apple employees, [739.40] [1206.28] [1559] [2605.201]
May 27

  • Power Computing begins shipping the PowerTower Pro 250 computer. It features Macintosh compatibility, 150 MHz PowerPC 604e processor, 32 MB RAM, a 2 GB hard drive, 16X CD-ROM drive, 1 MB Level 2 cache, 128-bit graphics accelerator, six PCI slots, nine expansion bays. Price is US$4495. [1559]
May 30

  • Cyrix introduces the Cyrix 6x86MX processor with MMX instructions. Price is US$190 to US$320 in 1000-unit quantities. Code-name during development was M2. [1559]
  • Lotus Development releases SmartSuite 4.5, including Word Pro 97, Lotus 1-2-3, Freelance Graphics, Approach, Organizer, and ScreenCam. Full price is US$399; upgrade price is US$149. [1559]
June 2

  • Intel announces the 233 MHz Pentium MMX processor. Price us US$594 in 1000-unit quantities. [1559]
  • Compaq Computer introduces the TFT500 15.1-inch active-matrix flat-panel display, for US$3,799. [890.9]
  • Spring ’97 COMDEX, Windows World ’97, and Spring CES are held in Atlanta, Georgia, over four days. [1010.31] [1077.92NA8]
June 4

  • Electronics Arts announces plans to acquire Maxis for US$125 million in stock. [1489] [1499.47] [1559]
June 6

  • IBM introduces Aptiva C3D computers with DVD-ROM drives. Prices range from US$1799 to US$2899. [1559]
June 9

  • Digital Equipment releases Venturis FX-2 computers, featuring 166 or 200 MHz AMD K6 processors. Prices start at US$1250. [1559]

  • Dragon Systems releases Dragon NaturallySpeaking for Windows, the first general-purpose speech recognition system. [1158.131]
  • Apple Computer and its Mac OS licensees agree to change Apple Computer’s Macintosh OS fee from about US$50 to US$150-350 per system, depending on processor speed. [764.36]
  • 3Com completes its merger with U.S. Robotics. [1559]
  • Motorola launches the 250MHz PowerPC 604e processor. [739.97] [1597.87]
  • Apple Computer ships the Twentieth Anniversary Mac, featuring active-matrix LCD color screen, 250MHz PowerPC 603e processor, 4x CD-ROM drive, 32 MB RAM, Bose Accoustimass sound system, in-home setup service, for $7500. [2605.266]
  • Compaq Computer buys Tandem Computer Inc. for US$3 billion. [635.1] [672.38] [722.18] (September, US$4 billion [872.6])
June 16

  • In New York City, New York, the PC Expo trade show is held, over three days. [1077.111]
  • At the PC Expo trade show, a dozen hardware manufacturers announce plans to produce NetPCs: Mitshubishi Electric, Compaq, HP, IBM, Dell, Acer, Gateway 2000, Mitac International, NEC, Pionex Technologies, Unisys, Zenith Data Systems. [1144.172] [1559]
June 17

  • At the PC Expo show, Corel releases the WordPerfect Suite 8, including WordPerfect 8, QuattroPro 8, Presentations 8, CorelCentral, PhotoHouse 1.1, Netscape Navigator 3.0, Envoy 7 viewer, Bitstream Font Navigator 2. Full price is US$395; upgrade price is US$179. [1559] (May 1998 [1640.116])

  • Netscape Communications releases Netscape Communicator 4.0. [919] [1897.131]
June 26

  • Steve Jobs sells 1.5 million shares of Apple Computer stock for about $15 per share, total $15-22 million. This is the stock that he received in December as part of Apple Computer’s purchase of his NeXT Software. The value of Apple Computer’s stock drops to an 11-year low. [616.16] [1559] [2605.268] (July [1206.28])
June 30

  • Shipments of handheld computers in the US during January to June: 1.4 million. [1559]

  • Market share of personal computer in the world for April to June: Apple Computer 3.8%. [1559]
(month unknown)

  • Intel, Dell Computer, and others develop the Network PC System Design Guidelines. [1143.35]
  • Microsoft releases the free Zero Administration Kit, part of its Zero Administration initiative for Windows. [1144.177]
  • Microsoft releases Direct3D 5.0. [1147.29]
  • Synchronous DRAM memory is introduced to personal computers. [1233.44]
  • Intel releases the Advanced Graphics Port (AGP) 1.0 specification, allowing graphics instruction and data throuput of 266 MBps (1X) and 512 MBps (2X). [1609.51]


End of 1997 January-June. Next: 1997 July.

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