The IBM PC (known inside IBM as the model 5150) was launched on August 12, 1981 and represented IBM's entry into the microcomputer marketplace. The DigiBarn has an IBM PC with a built-in 5MB hard disk (a somewhat unusual aftermarket upgrade). A typical IBM PC shipped with dual 5 1/4 inch floppy drives. The IBM PC was almost entirely built out of components made by companies other than IBM. IBM called this "open architecture" and this was a great departure from its prior "personal" computer model, the 5120, built entirely by IBM and launched in 1980. The IBM PC came bundled with Microsoft's Disk Operating System (called PC-DOS in its IBM incarnation) and a number of software packages were ready to go for it on the day of launch, including VisiCorp's VisiCalc, displayed here with the IBM PC 5150.
PC changed the personal computing world and its open architecture led
to clones and an entire industry of third party software and hardware
vendors that put this platform on top as the dominant type of microcomputer
by the 1990s. Many firms and platforms fell by the
wayside or ended up surviving in niches as a result. Some commentary
on the open versus closed approaches of IBM and Apple by DigiBarn
curator Bruce Damer may be of interest here as well as Marcin Wichary's 2006 interview with Bruce on the 25th anniverary of the launch of the IBM PC.
Know anything about the IBM PC or have a personal story to tell? Contact us!
DigiBarn pages on the IBM PC's predecessor, the IBM 5120
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