Chronology of Events
History of Microcomputers
1984-1986 Graphics for Everyone
Macintosh, Silicon Graphics, Amiga, IBM EGA, Atari ST, Microsoft Windows,
Next Inc., Intel 80386, Sun SPARC
Terrence E. Valeski and a group of investors buy all rights to the Intellivision
from Mattel for US$16.5 million.  (US$20 million [340.10])
Jack Tramiel, founder and president of Commodore, leaves the company. [332.10]
[334.6] [345.160] [349.30] [350.12] [362.6] [363.6] [410.5]
Apple Computer runs its "1984" commercial
during the SuperBowl, introducing the Macintosh computer. Apple
Computer runs the ad only once, but dozens of news and talk shows replay
it, making it one of the most memorable ads in TV history. The ad cost
Apple Computer introduces the Macintosh,
for US$2500. It uses the 8-MHz 32-bit Motorola
68000 CPU, built-in 9-inch B/W screen, 512x342 graphics, 400KB 3.5-inch
floppy disk drive, mouse, 128KB RAM, and weighing 20 pounds.
Apple Computer introduces its 300-baud
modem for US$300, and 1200-baud modem for US$500.
Apple releases a new version of the Lisa computer, the Lisa 2. It uses
all new software, as well as the Macintosh operating system. It comes with
512KB RAM, and one 3.5-inch 400KB floppy drive. The Lisa 2/5 comes with
a 5MB hard drive, and the Lisa 2/10 comes with a 10MB hard drive. [373.11]
Seiko Instruments U.S.A. Inc. displays the first wristwatch computer, with
a 10-character, 4-line LCD. 
Hitachi ad for their 3-inch compact
floppy disk drive: "It's clear that the 3-inch floppy will become the new
IBM sues Corona Data Systems for copyright
violation of the IBM PC's BIOS, and wins.
Commodore announces the Commodore 264 at the Winter Consumer Electronics
Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Code name for the computer was "TED". The 264
uses a 7501 microprocessor, 64KB RAM, 320x200 pixel graphics offering 128
color variations. [333.7] [334.44] [350.4] [354.18] [356.7] [359.86]
Commodore shows a prototype of the Commodore 364 computer at the Winter
Consumer Electronics Show. The 364 is like the Commodore 264, but with
a separate numeric keypad and built-in voice synthesizer. [334.44] [350.4]
Timex withdraws from the home computer business. [331.58]
Apple Computer unveils the Apple IIc
with an intense publicity extravaganza, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.
Priced at US$1300, 2,000 dealers place orders for more than 52,000 units
on the day of its introduction. The IIc uses a 65C02A microprocessor, 128KB
RAM, weighs 7.5 pounds, includes a 3.5-inch floppy drive, supports 40-
or 80-column screens, and allows both QWERTY and Dvorak keyboard layouts.
Apple Computer retires the Apple III
and Apple III+, with only 65,000 units sold in total.
Microsoft France releases Multiplan for the IBM PC. [346.118]
Commodore announces the Commodore 16 at the Consumer Electronics Show.
The machine looks like the VIC-20 and Commodore 64, but has 16KB of RAM,
and is expected to sell for around US$100, and marketed as "The Learning
Machine". [366.7] [366.16]
Commodore announces the renamed Commodore 264 as the Plus/4. It will now
feature four built-in programs, not just one. Price should be around US$300.
Commodore announces the DSP 1101 letter-quality daisywheel printer, designed
for the Plus/4. [366.22]
Commodore announces the MPS 802 dot matrix printer. [366.22]
Commodore announces the MCS 801 color dot matrix printer. [366.22]
Commodore announces the MPS 803 dot matrix printer, designed for use with
the Commodore 16. [366.22]
Okidata introduces the Okimate 10 thermal transfer color dot matrix printer,
for US$240. [366.36]
AT&T introduces the PC 6300, an 8-MHz
8086-based PC manufactured by Olivetti.
Jack Tramiel, former president of Commodore International, buys a controlling
interest in the Atari home computer and video game divisions from Warner
Communications, for US$240 million in long-term notes. Warner retains Atari's
coin-operated game division and home communications venture Ataritel. 
 [355.14] [360.15] [410.5] [482.D1]
Six months after its introduction, 100,000 Macintosh computers have been
Digital Vision releases the Computer Eyes video capture system for the
Apple II, selling for US$130 (US$350 with a camera). 
IBM announces the PC AT, a 6MHz 80286
computer using PC-DOS 3.0, a 5.25-inch 1.2MB floppy drive, with 256KB RAM,
for US$4000, which doesn't include hard drive or monitor/card. With a 20MB
hard drive, color card and monitor: US$6700.
Sinclair announces the 16/32-bit QL microcomputer, using the Motorola 68008
microprocessor, 128KB RAM, two built-in tape drives, and multitasking ROM-based
operating system. Weight is 3 pounds. Price is expected to be US$500. [366.38]
Apple Computer releases AppleWorks,
one of the first integrated software packages, with modules for word processing,
database management, and spreadsheet calculations. It was written by Rupert
Mattel sells marketing rights for the Aquarius home computer to Radofin
Hewlett-Packard introduces the LaserJet
laser printer, featuring 300dpi resolution, for US$3,600.
Intel introduces the 80186, 80188, and
Foxbase releases Foxbase for MS-DOS. [494.6]
Sirius Software files for Chapter 11 backruptcy proceedings. [358.12]
Mindset debuts the Mindset PC. [176.145]
MIPS Computer Systems is founded, and begins developing its RISC architecture.
Commodore introduces the Plus/4, with integrated software in ROM. [190.81]
Olivetti buys 60% of Acorn Computers' public shares. [347.59]
Philips announces CD-ROM players for personal computers, for under US$1000.
The Odyssey Division of North American Philips ceases production of hardware
for its Odyssey programmable videogame system. [359.8]
Forethought releases FileMaker for the Macintosh, for US$199. [582.198]
The Winter Consumer Electronics Show is held in Las Vegas, Nevada. [342.6]
Commodore unveils the Commodore 128 Personal Computer. It functions as
three computers in one: a complete Commodore 64, a CP/M mode, and a new
128KB mode.  [342.6] [343.14]
Atari introduces the 65XE, for US$120. Variations include the 65XEM with
a built-in 8-voice synthesizer, and the 65XEP with built-in monitor and
3.5 inch disk drive. [343.14] [357.66]
Atari introduces the 130XE, with 128KB RAM. [357.66]
Atari introduces the 130ST: 128KB RAM, 192KB ROM, 512 color graphics, MIDI
interface, and mouse for US$400. [343.14] [357.6]
Atari introduces the 520ST: 512KB RAM, 192KB ROM, 512 color graphics, MIDI
interface, and mouse for US$600. [343.14] [335.18] [357.7]
Cauzin releases Cauzin SoftStrips, a form of barcode technology for publishing
computer files in magazines, to be scanned into Macintosh computers. [582.202]
Intel introduces the 16-MHz 80386DX
microprocessor. It uses 32-bit registers and a 32-bit data bus, and incorporates
275,000 transistors (1.5 microns). Initial price is US$299. It can access
4 gigabytes of physical memory, or up to 64 terabytes of virtual memory.
Microsoft France releases a French version of Multiplan 2.0 for the IBM
Mimic Systems announces the Spartan, a hardware upgrade for the Commodore
64 that turns it into an Apple IIe. [343.16]
Commodore Business Machines and Electronic Arts create the Interchange
Film Format (IFF) for graphics, sound, text, animation, and other file
Software Arts sells the rights to VisiCalc to Mitch Kapor, of Lotus
Development, for US$800,000.
Nintendo introduces the Nintendo Entertainment System in the US. 
Michael Ehman founds Ehman, Incorporated, as a Macintosh peripherals vendor.
Broderbund releases the first game in the Carmen Sandiego series. [531.8]
Microsoft releases MS-DOS 3.25. [346.268]
Apple Computer introduces the Macintosh
Plus. It features a 8-MHz 68000 processor, 1 MB RAM, SCSI connector for
hard drive support, a new keyboard with cursor keys and numeric keypad,
and an 800 KB 3.5-inch floppy drive. Price is US$2600.
Compaq Computer reports third year
revenues of US$503.9 million, a U.S. business record.
Eric Graham shows his "Juggler" demo animation on the Amiga, showing the
Amiga's capabilities of ray-traced animation merged with digitized sound.
IBM announces the IBM
RT Personal Computer, using RISC-based technology from IBM's
"801" project of the mid-70s. It is one of the first commercially-available
32-bit RISC-based computers. The base configuration has 1MB RAM, a 1.2MB
floppy, and 40 MB hard drive, for US$11,700. With performance of only 2
MIPS, it is doomed from the beginning.
Microsoft releases MS-DOS 3.2. It adds support for 3.5-inch 720 KB floppy
disk drives.  (1985 DEC ) (MAR [346.254])