A Long Way From Univac Essay

1540 words - 6 pages

Can you imagine a world without computers? You most probably interact with some form of a computer every day of your life. Computers are the most important advancement our society has ever seen. They have an interesting history, many interesting inner components, they are used nearly everywhere, and continue to advance incredibly fast. Because the field of computers is so broad, this paper will focus mainly on personal computers.Although computers have been evolving for quite some time, they really didn't gain popularity until the introduction of the personal computer. In 1977, Steve Jobs, co-founder of the Apple Computer Company, unveiled what is generally considered to be the first personal computer, the Apple II. This computer was introduced on April 16, 1977, at the First West Coast Computer Faire, in San Francisco. In 1981, the International Business Machines Company introduced the first IBM PC. Unlike Apple, IBM used a policy of open architecture for their computer. They bought all of their components from the lowest bidder, such as the 8086 and 8088 microprocessor chips, made by a Intel, a Hillsboro, Oregon company. When IBM's computer's design had been finalized, they shared most of the inner workings of the computer with everyone. IBM hoped that this would encourage companies to manufacture computers that were compatiblewith theirs, and that in turn, would cause software companies to create operating systems, or OS, and other programs for the "IBM Compatible" line of computers. One of the computer manufacturers was a Texas company called Compaq. A company called Dell Computers was the first "factory direct" computer seller. A small Redmond, Washington company called Microsoft made a large amount of software for the "IBM Compatible" line of computers. This open architecture policy of IBM was not without it's flaws, however. IBM lost some business to the "clones" who could offer more speed, more memory, or a smaller price tag. IBM had considered this an acceptable loss. One of the few components of the IBM PC that was kept from the clone manufacturers was the Basic Input Output System, or BIOS. This program, which was usually etched permanently on a chip, controlled the interactions between the internal hard and floppy drives, the external drives, printers, and monitors, etc. Clone manufactures had to make their own versions of an input output system. Some manufacturers copied the IBM BIOS exactly, such as Eagle Computers, and Corona Data Systems. This is one adverse affect that IBM had not thought of. However, all of IBM's copyright violation lawsuits against these companies ended in IBM's favor. IBM has continued to grow to this day, however, the clone manufacturers make far more personal computers than IBM, while IBM makes more business machines, and the Power PC microprocessor, used in Macintosh computers. IBM clone are now made by Packard Bell, Sony, Acer, Gateway 2000, and more. The clones have continued to use software and operating...

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