IBM Markets the Personal Computer (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: Mass marketing of portable personal computers by International Business Machines marks the beginning of a revolution in business practices and communications.
Summary of Event
Although the historical roots of computers lay in ancient calculating devices of Babylonia and centuries of gradual enlargement of information storage and processing, the personal computer (PC) is a distinctly modern development. Its immediate ancestors were the World War II-era computers developed out of military necessity, notably the huge British Colossus, an electronic computer that enabled a secret decoding system known as Ultra to decode German military plans.
Meanwhile, U.S. inventors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Stanford Research Institute, the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, and the University of Pennsylvania, among others, reached new plateaus of computer technology. In 1946, an important breakthrough came with the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator) at the University of Pennsylvania. It is considered the world’s first general-purpose electronic computer, because the Colossus had a single military cryptographic purpose.
Military computers, like their postwar successors, were large, extremely expensive, and impractical for personal and routine business use. Widely marketable personal computers, or PCs, had to await the development of the transistor...
(The entire section is 1696 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!