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The IBM PC (IBM 5150) Is 30 Years Old Today – Happy Birthday!

Microsoft’s Frank Shaw, Corporate Vice President for Corporate Communications, in a blog post on Wednesday look back on the past 30 years of personal computing. The IBM 5150 personal computer was unveiled August 12, thirty years ago.

IBM 5150 PC

Shaw wrote, “The IBM PC is 30 Years Old – And We’re (All) Just Getting Started, Shaw writes, “the introduction of the IBM PC was a defining moment for our industry. Once IBM entered the market with a system running the Microsoft Disk Operating System, MS-DOS, our industry really began to realize the dream of a PC on every desk and in every home.””

The key moment in Microsoft’s history came in 1980, when IBM, then the major player in the computer market, approached Microsoft with a view to it making a BASIC (a type of computer language) interpreter for its IBM PC.

Representatives from IBM mentioned to Gates that they were also on the hunt for an operating system, and he recommended a company they could talk to. However, negotiations broke down, and IBM turned to Gates to solve the problem.

Gates began working on an operating system based on the existing 86-DOS platform, and delivered the finished software, PC-DOS to IBM for a one-off fee of $80,000.

Crucially, though, Gates stipulated that he and Microsoft retain the copyright for the platform, as he recognised that other computer makers would seek to emulate it. IBM agreed, and the MS-DOS operating system Gates had created would become the foundation upon which the Microsoft empire would be built for years to come.

For the next 30 years, Shaw writes, “As we look ahead to the next 30 years, we’ll continue to lead the industry forward in bringing technology to the next billion (or 2 billion or 6 billion) people on our planet. We’ll do that as we always have, by working with our partners to deliver amazing experiences to individuals and businesses.”

“I’m looking forward to our upcoming BUILD conference in Anaheim, Calif., Sept. 12-15, where developers will hear more about how we’ve re-imagined Windows, from the chip set to the user experience, for this new world.”

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