Menu

For a 10-minute presentation at a networking event I decided to do something a little nostalgic and so I pulled together some of the key events in computer history going back to 1976.

The list below hasn’t been 100% verified for complete accuracy and was put together from many different sites on the internet and thus should be seen as a bit of fun or a rough guide!

1976

  • Steve Wozniak designed the Apple 1 a single board computer and, along with Steve Jobs, sold about 200 units

1977

  • The Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor) came fully assembled and was straightforward to operate, with either 4 or 8 kilobytes of memory
  • Apple II is released which is a complete computer and came with the game breakout, it was an instant success
  • Tandy Radio Shack´s first desktop computer — the TRS-80 — sold 10,000 units In the first month after its release, which was more than the company´s projected sales of 3,000 units for one year.

1979

  • Atari introduces the Model 400 and 800 Computer the 400 was primarily a game console while the 800 would be more of a home computer. Both sold well, though they had technical and marketing problems, and faced strong competition from the Apple II, Commodore PET, and TRS-80 computers.

1981

  • IBM introduced its PC, igniting a fast growth of the personal computer market. The first PC ran on a 4.77 MHz Intel 8088 microprocessor and used Microsoft´s MS-DOS operating system.
  • Adam Osborne completed the first portable computer, the Osborne I, which weighed 24 pounds and cost $1,795. The machine featured a 5-inch display, 64 kilobytes of memory, a modem, and two 5 1/4-inch floppy disk drives.

1982

  • Commodore introduces the Commodore 64 and came with 64KB of RAM. By the time the C64 was discontinued in 1993, it had sold more than 22 million units and is recognized by the 2006 Guinness Book of World Records as the greatest selling single computer model of all time.

1983

  • Compaq Computer Corp. introduced first PC clone that used the same software as the IBM PC. With the success of the clone, Compaq recorded first-year sales of $111 million, the most ever by an American business in a single year. With the introduction of its PC clone, Compaq launched a market for IBM-compatible computers that by 1996 had achieved an 83-percent share of the personal computer market. Designers reverse-engineered the Compaq clone, giving it nearly 100-percent compatibility with the IBM

1984

  • Apple Computer launched the Macintosh
  • IBM released the PC-AT based on the Intel 80286 chip.

1985

  • The Amiga 1000 is released. Commodore’s Amiga 1000 sold for $1,295 dollars (without monitor) and had audio and video capabilities beyond those found in most other personal computers.

1987

  • IBM introduced its PS/2 machines, which made the 3 1/2-inch floppy disk drive and video graphics array standard for IBM computers. The first IBMs to include Intel´s 80386 chip, the company had shipped more than 1 million units by the end of the year.

1989

  • Intel released the 80486 microprocessor which contained more than 1 million transistors.
  • Maxis released SimCity

1990

  • The World Wide Web was born when Tim Berners-Lee, a researcher at CERN, the high-energy physics laboratory in Geneva, developed Hyper Text Mark-up Language. HTML, and allowed the Internet to expand into the World Wide Web
  • Microsoft shipped Windows 3.0 on May 22. Compatible with DOS programs, the first successful version of Windows finally offered good enough performance to satisfy PC users.

1991

  • CERN launches the World Wide Web.
  • CD-recordable (CD-R) technology is released.

1992

  • There are about 20 Web servers in existence

1993

  • The Pentium microprocessor is released. The Pentium was the fifth generation of the ‘x86’ line of microprocessors from Intel.
  • The game Doom is released
  • Mosaic graphic WWW browser developed by Marc Andreessen, Graphics user interface makes WWW finally a competitor to Gopher. Production of web pages becomes an easy task, even to an amateur.
  • There are 200+ Web servers in existence

1994

  • Yahoo is founded by Stanford graduate students Jerry Yang and David Filo, Yahoo started out as “Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web” before being renamed. Yahoo originally resided on two machines, Akebono and Konishiki, both named after famous Sumo wrestlers.
  • The iomega Zip drive was released

1995

  • Windows 95 released
  • The first online bookstore, Amazon.com, is launched in Seattle by Jeffrey P. Bezos
  • EBay is founded by Pierre Omidyar
  • Hotmail is started by Jack Smith and Sabeer Bhatia
  • Altavista search engine is built.

1996

  • Google began as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were students at Stanford University
  • There are 100,000 Web servers in existence

1997

  • There are 650,000 Web servers in existence.
  • “Deep Blue 2” beats Kasparov, the best chess player in the world.
  • DVD technology (players and movies) is released. A DVD-recordable standard is created

1998

  • Windows 98 released
  • Google is founded on 5th September 1998
  • There are 3.6 million Web servers in existence

1999

  • There are 4.3 million Web servers in existence

2000

  • Windows Millennium released

2001

  • Windows XP is released
  • Xbox: Bill Gates introduces the Xbox on January 7th 2001.
  • Apple’s iPod is made available.
  • Wikipedia is launched.

2002

  • Approximately 1 billion PCs have been sold

2003

  • Intel incorporated Wi-Fi in their Centrino chip opening a floodgate of wireless internet adoption in the next few years
  • The amount of SPAM e-mail exceeded the amount of legitimate e-mail for the first time

2004

  • Google indexed more than 8 billion pages on the web.
  • Facebook (limited to Harvard students only) started this year

2005

  • YouTube, the first video sharing site came online.

2006

  • Windows Vista is released
  • Twitter, the micro blogging site opened with 140 characters maximum per message.
  • iTunes downloaded its billionth file in May.

2007

  • Apple introduces the iPhone in June revolutionizing the mobile phone industry. More than 74 million iPhone were sold in the next 4.5 years.

2009

  • Windows 7 released

2010

  • Apple introduced the iPad.
  • There are 4.7 billion mobile phone subscriptions (2 out of every 3 people on the planet).
  • YouTube used more bandwidth than the entire internet did in 2000.

2011

  • Amazon releases the Kindle Fire tablet computer/eReader in October and sells more the 25 million by the end of the year.
  • More than 5.6 million iPhone apps are downloaded daily.
  • There are more than 800 million Facebook users (more than 1 in 10 on the planet).

2012

  • Windows 8 released
  • IPhone 5 is released
  • The number of smart phones worldwide reaches 1 billion. This took 14 years to reach this number. It is estimated that it will take three more years to reach 2 billion.
  • Tablet computers become the fastest adopted technology hardware with a 10% adoption rate in 2.5 years.

Now (June 2013)

  • Microsoft announces the re-introduction of the start button to windows 8 in its future 8.1 release.

< Back to articles