Computers - The History Of Desktop Computers


Anyone who was interested in a cheap desktop computer in the mid 1980s would have noticed an array of options. The Apple Lisa, courtesy of Apple Computer Inc, was designed to be a personal computer with a powerful GUI, or graphic user interface, geared towards the business community. The Lisa was a more advanced system then the Macintosh operating system, due to its protected memory, cooperative multitasking abilities, a built in screen saver, and more, but the complexity of these programs taxed the 5 MHz Motorola 68000 microprocessor that the system was designed to run on, particularly during document scrolling. This, and possibly the price of the system, led to the discontinuation of the Lisa system three years after its launch.

Another early desktop computer was the Commodore, which used Commodore DOS. The Commodore VIC 2o was popular in the early and mid nineteen eighties, and as time went on, classes, repair centers, and educational enterprises focusing on this desktop computer were developed. In terms of a cheap desktop computer alternative, the VIC-20, at $299.95, fit the bill for many consumers who were interested in owning the latest technology, without the hefty triple digit price tag often associated with it.

Of course the grandfather, so to speak, of most personal desktop computers was the Osborne I, introduced in nineteen eighty one. Weighing 25 pounds, the Osborne, though not exactly portable, nevertheless paved the way for many of the computers on the market today. In 1983, with the announcement of Microsoft Windows, the concept of an operating system moved beyond DOS to the mainstream computing culture, and in nineteen eighty four, Bill Gates, the founder and CEO of Microsoft , was featured on the cover of Time Magazine. Microsoft and Apple Computer would go on to become major competitors in the area of technical innovation. The following year, Paul Brainard of the Aldus Corporation introduced Pagemaker for the Macintosh, which allowed users to mix type and graphics on the same page. This, along with the new Apple LaserWriter printer helped to create the field of desktop publishing.

The desktop computer market, now a flourishing and rapidly expanding demographic of business professionals, programmers, and home users, welcomed the introduction of the PS/2 personal computer by International Business Machines Corporation in 1987. This computer featured improved graphics, a 3.5 inch diskette drive, and proprietary bus to help prevent competition by clone makers, an ongoing problem for the software company. 

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