Microcomputer Age

The important thing about the microcomputer age, that it brings the power of the computer from business and governments to the individual.  This is the first time that computers start to become affordable for the average person.  New computer and software empires are build by Microsoft and Apple.  Hundreds of new millionaires (and some billionaires) are created during this time.

The Microcomputer Age Begins
1973    IMSAI is founded, and created the IMSAI 8080 which was based on Intel 8008 microprocessor.
1973    R2E Micral was the earliest commercial, non-kit personal computer based on a microprocessor, the Intel 8008.
1974    The Microma liquid crystal display (LCD) digital watch is the first product to integrate a complete electronic system onto a single silicon chip, called a System-On-Chip or SOC.
1974    Intel releases the 8080 CPU
1974    Scelbi 8H computer, the first commercially advertised U.S. computer based on Intel's 8008 microprocessor.
1975    MITS Altair 8800, popularized the microcomputer for the home. MITS stands for Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems.
Historical note: This system first appeared in the January edition of Popular Electronics.  It was  where Bill Gates and Paul Allen developed BASIC for the Altair based on a public domain version of BASIC created in 1964. This software was also the first most widely pirated programs.
1975    Tandem-16 was created by Tandem computers, its the first fault-tolerant computer designed for online transaction processing.
1976    CP/M (Control Program for Microcomputers) was an early OS for Microcomputers, created by Gary Kildall and John Torode
1976    Intel introduced the 8080, it was five times faster than its predecessor the 8008, and could address 64 kilobytes of RAM
1976    Zilog introduced the Z-80, it could run any program written for the 8080 and included twice as many built-in machine instructions.
1976    5.25" Floppy Disk is created by Shugart Associates.
1976    IBM 3800 was the first laser printer
1976    Steve Wozniak designed the Apple I, a single-board computer.
1976    Apple Computer is incorporate, on April 1 Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniack incorporate the company.
1976    Microsoft is a registered trade name, on November 26,  Bill Gates drops out of Harvard in December.
1976    Cray-1 Super Computer is released, it was the first commercially successful vector processor.
1976    6502 processor is released, a popular CPU for microcomputers
1977    Tandy Radio Shack releases the TRS-80 Model 1.
1977    Commodore starts selling the PET (Personal Electronic Transactor).
1977    Apple Computer released the Apple II.
1977    The U.S. government adopted IBM's Data Encryption Standard (known as DES)
1978    Intel releases the 8086 CPU
1978    Word Star is released, its one of the first popular word processing applications
1978    Digital Equipment Corp. introduces the VAX 11/780, which can address  4.3 gigabytes of virtual memory
1979    VisaCalc is released, the first spreadsheet application, becomes the first "killer application"
1979    Motorola releases the 68000 microprocessor
1979    Atari introduces the Model 400 and 800 Computer.
1979    Bell Labs' single-chip DSP-1 Digital Signal Processor device architecture is optimized for electronic switching systems.
1979    John Shoch and Jon Hupp at the Xerox PARC created a computer program called a "worm," it was designed to search a network for idle processors.
1979    USENET goes online it was created as a means for providing mail and file transfers using UUCP communications standard.
1980    3.5" floppy disk was created by Sony
1980    Seagate Technology created the first hard disk drive for microcomputers, the ST506.
1980    Zip Drive, developed by Iomega can hold 100MB of information
1981    Osborne 1, is considered the first "portable" computer, created by Adam Osborne.
1981    Apple III, the successor to the very popular Apple II was focused at businesses.
1981    IBM PC 5150 is released with PC-DOS/MS-DOS v1.0
Historical note: This computer started the IBM PC revolution that is running to this day.
1981    Apollo Computer unveiled the DN100 which was first the workstation computer.
1982    Intel Releases the 80286 CPU
1982    Cray released the Cray XMP supercomputer, running at 420 megaflops.
1982    Commodore 64 goes on sale
1982    Disney's "Tron" was one first first movies to utilize computer-generated graphics.
1982    Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet is released.
1983    Apple Lisa, first commercially produced computer with a graphical user interface.
1983    Sun develops workstations that ship with Berkeley Unix and feature built-in networking.
1983    The ARPANET standardizes on the TCP/IP protocols adopted by the Department of Defense (DOD).
1983    Bernoulli Box is released, cartridge-based system that used hard disk technology.
1983    CD-ROM was created by Sony and Philips
1983    Apple introduces the LISA computer, its first personal computer with a GUI.
1983    Compaq Computer introduced first PC clone that could run the same software as the IBM PC.
1983    PC-DOS/MS-DOS v2.0 is released
1983    MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is introduced. An industry-standard electronic interface that links electronic music synthesizers.
1983    WordPerfect v1.0 is release
1983    Microsoft Word v1.0 is release
1983    Richard Stallman announces GNU (Gnu's Not Unix). Stallman set out to develop a free alternative to the popular Unix operating system.
1984    Datapoint, the first company to offer networked computers, fails to achieve critical mass.
1984    Apple Macintosh is released
Historical note: This computer started the GUI revolution that is running to this day.
1984    IBM released the PC/AT and PC Jr.
1984    In William Gibson novel "Neuromancer" he coins the term "cyberspace."
1984    Cisco Systems is founded
1984    DNS (Domain Naming System) is created, with top level domains of .gov, .mil, .edu, .org, .net, and .com.
1985    Motorola releases the 68020 CPU.
1985    Quantum Computer Services debuts, which later changes its name to America Online
1985    The WELL (Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link) is founded. An on-line BBS (Bulletin Board System).
1985    Aldus announced its PageMaker, this program made desktop publishing practical.
1985    Stallman founded the Free Software Foundation (FSF) based on the philosophy that all software should be free.
1985    Commodore released Amiga 1000, it had audio and video capabilities beyond those found in most PCs of the day.
1985    The C++ programming language became the dominant object-oriented language in the computer industry.
1985    Microsoft Windows v1.0 is release
1986    "Brain" is the first PC virus.
1986    Daniel Hillis of Thinking Machines Corp. advanced artificial intelligence by developed the concept of massive parallelism in the Connection Machine.
1986    IBM and MIPS released the first RISC-based workstations, the PC/RT and R2000-based systems.
1986    PIXAR is founded, originally called the Special Effects Computer Group at Lucasfilm (in 1979). Steve Jobs paid 10 million dollars to purchase the group from Lucasfilm.
1986    Intel Releases the 80386DX CPU
1987    Motorola releases the 68030 CPU.
1987    IBM PS/2 computer, with OS/2 is released.  Includes new graphic, mouse and keyboard ports.
1987    Microsoft Windows v2.0 is released.
1987    Apple engineer William Atkinson designed HyperCard, a software tool that simplifies development of in-house applications.
1988    Intel Releases the 80486DX CPU
1988    The first "Internet Worm" is released by Robert Morris Jr., it infects 10% of all computer on the Internet at the time.
1988    Fidonet, a popular traditional bulletin board system (BBS) joins the Internet.
1988    Steve Jobs, left Apple to form his own company, unveiled the NeXT computer.
1988    DARPA creates CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team) to respond to threats to the Internet.
1988    The first "Anti-Virus" program is created, in response to the Brian virus.
1988    Pixar's "Tin Toy" became the first computer-animated film to win an Academy Award, taking the Oscar for best animated short film.
1988    Internet Relay Chat (IRC) developed by Jarkko Oikarinen
1989    After being forced out Apple Steve Jobs creates NeXT, and releases the NeXT Cube.
1989    The first CD-ROM is release, created by Phillips and Sony
1989    Creative Labs releases the "Sound Blaster" card.
1989    Microsoft Office for the Macintosh is launched.
1989    "Virtual Reality" concept was the hot topic at Siggraph's convention in Boston.
1989    MCI Mail, OnTyme, Telemail and CompuServe had all interconnected their commercial email systems to the Internet, interconnected with each other for the first time.
Historical note: This was the start of commercial Internet services in the United States (and possibly the world).