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PCGH Special: The 12 most important companies of PC history

Author: Henner Schröder (Jul 09, 2008)
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(2nd place: Apple) The first “PC” that worked as we know it of computers today: the Apple I of 1876. Steve Wozniak made it by hand. In contrast to other home computers of that time, the Apple was available fully assembled and not as a kit. Additionally it could be operated with a keyboard (not with lever keys) and used a TV as a display. Data was stored on tape.
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(2nd place: Apple) The first “PC” that worked as we know it of computers today: the Apple I of 1876. Steve Wozniak made it by hand. In contrast to other home computers of that time, the Apple was available fully assembled and not as a kit. Additionally it could be operated with a keyboard (not with lever keys) and used a TV as a display. Data was stored on tape.
(2nd place: Apple) With this Wozniak brought his ideas to perfection: the Apple II of 1977. It has been the first mass-produced microcomputer, was build until into the 90s and thus is one of the most successful systems in history. It established today’s form of the computer and with its extensibility via plug-in cards predated one of the IBM PC’s successful features.
(2nd place: Apple) The graphical user interface, which was adopted from Xerox (see 3rd place: Xerox), had been introduced to the market with the Lisa computer already but it was the Macintosh of 1984 that made it popular. In contrast to DOS PCs a test file could be displayed the way it would look like on the paper (WYSIWSYG); therefore Apple introduced the desktop publishing in cooperation with Adobe. The user friendliness of this system was unmatched for years.
(2nd place: Apple) It saved Apple (faced with ruin) and set new trends in PC industries: the first iMac of 1998. It combined the computer system with the monitor into a single unit, used modern technology like USB (in order to cut out antiquated things like floppy drives), had a modem for easy access to the internet and hid all that in a flashy colorful design. Offered at low prices, the iMac became a internet device for the masses – the PC market trailed in behind.
1st place: IBM – founded in 1889. Today IBM offers hardware, software and IT services.
(1st place: IBM) This IBM 350 of 1956 is the first hard drive. The principle to store data on magnetic discs is still in use today.
(1st place: IBM) That’s the thing, the founder of modern PC industry: IBM’s 5150 of 1981. Its flexible architecture that could be customized with additional plug-in cards, the (compared to IBM’s other systems) low price and the many compatible clones made this architecture a standard quite fast. Soon it put most of the other platforms out of business. The 5150 is the prototype of the x86-PC, as it dominates today’s PC world and made compatibility a maxim.
(1st place: IBM) The second generation of the IBM PC – the PS/2 of 1987. It introduced many new standards that persisted for a long time, like SIMM modules for the memory, the VGA port, 3.5 inch discs or the PS/2 connectors for mouse and keyboard.
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