IBM model number 5150, known as IBM Personal Computer or short IBM PC, is the original version and progenitor of the IBM PC compatible hardware platform. Created by a team of engineers and designers under the direction of Don Estridge it was introduced on August 12, 1981.
Though ‘personal’ computers were introduced almost a decade earlier, even the terms “microcomputer”, “home computer” and the “personal computer” was already in use since early 1972, it was this model that brought to the term ‘PC’ to American lexicon.
There were other computers called personal, home or microcomputers, but the success of this model the term PC came to mean more specifically a microcomputer compatible with IBM’s PC products making them a standard in the field.
This success lead other companies to develop IBM Compatibles (computers used to be referred to as PC clones, or IBM clones since they almost exactly duplicated all the significant features of the PC architecture, facilitated by various manufacturers’ ability to legally reverse engineer the BIOS through clean room design) which in turn led to branding like diskettes being advertised as “IBM format”.
Companies like Phoenix Software Associates, American Megatrends, Award, and others achieved workable versions of the BIOS, allowing companies like DELL, Compaq, and HP to manufacture PCs that worked like IBM’s product.
IBM 5150 platform was created by IBM with an intention to create low-cost single-user computer in response to Apple’s success. There were three operating systems (OS) available for it but the most popular and least expensive was PC DOS, a modified version of 86-DOS, to which Microsoft acquired full rights from Seattle Computer Products.
The IBM PC was sold in high enough volumes to justify writing software specifically for it, and this encouraged other manufacturers to produce machines which could use the same programs, expansion cards and peripherals as the PC.
Happy Birthday IBM PC!
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