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'[OT]: IBM PC chip'
2001\04\21@220913 by Robert A. LaBudde

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At 05:46 PM 4/21/01 -0600, Neil wrote:
> > another interesting bit of trivia is that when IBM built the first "PC",
>for
> > the first time they chose off the shelf parts instead of proprietary IBM
> > stuff. Zilog was in the hunt for the Z80 processor, but they were late to
> > develop one with the 16 bit bus, so Intel got the nod.  If Zilog had won
> > out, they would be the 800 pound gorilla!
>
>I think you mean the 68000. That was the original chip that IBM wanted to
>have in the XT/PC machines, but Motorola wasn't interested in lowering
>their prices and Intel was.
>
>Never did hear the Zilog spin on it.

I was involved in getting the first quotes for the IBM PC. At the time
(1979?) I was a technical consultant with IBM and had been teaching
microprocessor/computer courses at Old Dominion University.

I was asked to price a cost to IBM for a "state-of-the-art" off-the-shelf
microcomputer system. The requirements were:

1. Use CP/M as operating system (this limited the choices to 80xx compatibles).
2. Run Visicalc. (This was the hot business product of its day as the first
microcomputer spreadsheet program.)
3. Use Microsoft BASIC.

I called Microsoft and got a quote of $25,000 for their BASIC and $50,000
for a priorietary BASIC, one-time license fees.

I suggested the 8086, since the microcomputer world was moving to 16 bits
at that time.

In the end, they choose the 8088 for price.

Microsoft was in a battle with Digital Research at that time over CBASIC, a
compiled form of a structured BASIC, which was "eating their lunch" in the
commercial market. Microsoft apparently balked at joining with their
competitor, and said they wanted to supply the operating system as well, or
wouldn't sell their BASIC to IBM.

So Microsoft acquired the rights to a CP/M-clone for the 8086 from Seattle
Computer Systems for $250k and resold the software to IBM as PC-DOS 1.0.
Later they sued Seattle Computer Systems for infringement (they retained a
right for self-use), which helped put them out of business.

Digital Research ended up with 2nd prize: CP/M-86 was sold as an "extra"
for the IBM PC for $200. Not many people bought it. A couple of years
later, Gary Killdahl (president and owner of Digital Research and inventor
of CP/M) committed suicide after his company went bankrupt.

IBM intended to stay safely in the middle of the road. They wanted 80xx
compatibility. The Z80 was in widespread use on microcomputers, but the
16-bit version was a couple of years away and not Intel-compatible. I doubt
if it was ever considered seriously. Also Zilog was a very small company.

I never heard mention of a 68000-based PC, although such an Apple-clone
would have been a possibility. But CP/M was middle of the road where IBM
wanted to be.

Within a year or two after I sent in my report, the IBM PC was released.
This shows how fast these things could happen. There may have multiple
groups within IBM working on parts of this project.

Interestingly, in 1980 I offered to create a PC from off-the-shelf parts
for Burroughs Corporation (now part of UniSys) for $500k total cost. They
turned this down, claiming they had their own product in the works. It
didn't appear until two years later, cost $10k+ and was a flop. Although
they "owned" the small business market in 1980 with their bookkeeping
machines, within a few years they were forced completely from it due to the
IBM PC and accounting software. Ditto for Litton. NCR (National Cash
Register) did a little better, eventually being bought by ATT for their
8086-based PC system and then being closed down.

================================================================
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2001\04\21@223226 by Neil Bradley

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Good history perspective - thanks!

> So Microsoft acquired the rights to a CP/M-clone for the 8086 from Seattle
> Computer Systems for $250k

Sorta right - Microsoft was asked to do an OS and was pointed to DR since
they didn't do OSes. Gary's wife wouldn't sign the nondisclosure
agreements (Gary was flying his plane at the time) and shooed IBM
away. They went back to MS and said "Do an OS for us.", so MS scrambled
and bought QDOS from Seattle Computing for $60K. This information came
straight from the head of the guy who coordinated the entire IBM PC
project and was directly involved in all those talks (Forgot his name...).

> Within a year or two after I sent in my report, the IBM PC was released.
> This shows how fast these things could happen. There may have multiple
> groups within IBM working on parts of this project.

And at that time, that was amazing. IBM Was known as the company that
would take 9 months to ship an empty box.

-->Neil

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Synthcom Systems, Inc.  Play a song wrong twice and it's Jazz.
ICQ #29402898

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2001\04\22@002951 by myke predko

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A few corrections:


> At 05:46 PM 4/21/01 -0600, Neil wrote:
> > > another interesting bit of trivia is that when IBM built the first
"PC",
> >for
> > > the first time they chose off the shelf parts instead of proprietary
IBM
> > > stuff.
 :

The "original" IBM PC was the IBM 5240 in 1974 and used all proprietary
logic.  It had one of the really nice IBM electroluminescent displays
(readable in direct sunlight) and was programmed in APL.  We had a few in
plant in Toronto.  The 5240 was dropped when the 5150 (the original PC) came
out.  It never sold very well but did have a very loyal and enthusastic
following within IBM, but did make the cover of one of the popular
science/engineering magazines when it first came out and this article coined
the term "Personal Computer".

> >I think you mean the 68000. That was the original chip that IBM wanted to
> >have in the XT/PC machines, but Motorola wasn't interested in lowering
> >their prices and Intel was.
 :

No.  The IBM PC was originally designed for the 8085 which has an eight bit
multiplexed data bus.  The design was "upgraded" at the 11th hour with the
8088 which also had an 8 bit multiplexed bus that had the same bus timing as
the the 8085.  Other than adding a support chip (the 8282) and the upper 4
bit support (including the DMA page register), IBM didn't change the design
significantly.

If you can find an original copy of the "IBM PC Technical Reference" which
included the original motherboard schematics and the BIOS/POST listings you
can see comments indicating where the BIOS and POST code was changed from
8085 to 8086 instructions.  You will also see in the schematics how the
memory space was drawn, expecting the 8085's memory space to be segregated
into four parts; 32K for DRAM, 16K for VRAM, 8K for POST/BIOS and 8K for
expansion cards.  Depending on how old you are, you probably remember the
confusion regarding the first PC motherboard and its maximum DRAM memory
space (576K with some applications and adapters extending it up to 756K, not
the 640K we came to know and love).

> In the end, they choose the 8088 for price.
 :

At the time (I remember this quite well because I was working on 3180
("Puma") which ended up using an 8085) Intel was a *lot* more expensive than
other vendors.  Intel's response to concerns about their pricing was that it
didn't matter what the price of a chip was initially; with competition,
improved manufacturing yields, etc. within 18 months of manufacturing it
would cost $5.  I seem to remember being told that Intel had gained a lot of
credibility with IBM on the $5 a chip theory with the 8048/8748.

In 1980, the 8088 was a *lot* more expensive than the 68K.  It was also a
quite a bit more expensive than the 8086 (the 8088 has more silicon on it
and took a lot longer to get working).  I believe the costs in 1980 for the
8088 was on the order of $80/chip in 100K quantities.  I think the 68K was
around $50 and the 8086 was $60 for similar quantities.  When I was involved
with the PS/2 in 1987, the 8086 was being sold for under $4.00 a piece and
the quality of the chip was just about perfect (in 700K PS/2 Model 25/Model
30 motherboards that we built, we only returned 1 defective 8086 and 1
defective 80286 to Intel).

> I never heard mention of a 68000-based PC, although such an Apple-clone
> would have been a possibility. But CP/M was middle of the road where IBM
> wanted to be.

IBM did release a 68K based PC around 1985-1986 to hedge their bets with the
PC/AT.  I think the part number was 7100 or 7500.  It really followed IBM
tradition and was incredibly expensive for the performance, the operating
system was based on the S/34 and it was closed architecture.  I seem to
remember it lingering in the catalogs for a couple of years and then just
disappearing.  I was responsible for testing Token-Ring cards for the
product so I remember it quite well.

> Within a year or two after I sent in my report, the IBM PC was released.
> This shows how fast these things could happen. There may have multiple
> groups within IBM working on parts of this project.

The amazing thing was, it was a team of 18 people working all by themselves
as one of the first internal "IBUs" (Internal Business Units).  The team
consisted of one leader (the guy two died in the plane crash in 1987 -
sorry, I can't remember his name), three or four circuit designers, two PCB
layout technicians, one mechanical designer, and the rest being purchasing
and contracts.  They were really organized as an independant company that
had been given some seed money.  This was the only IBU that ever seemed to
get creating anything radically different in IBM.

The PC was a result of the team getting along really well and having a very
focused and well defined plan for what they were doing.  I do know that
going from the 8085 to the 8088 was an incredible risk for the team and they
were criticized by the technical community (the PC development effort was
quite well known in the small systems design/manufacturing groups of IBM)
because there weren't any popular PCs running with more than 8 bit MCUs and
the feeling was that the 16 bit 8086 processor core (in the 8088) would
intimidate the average Apple ][ user/programmer.  I always thought that the
very focused way IBM defines products when approving product plans was the
reason for the success of the project (although it nearly prevented the
change from the 8085 to the 8088) - the term "feature creep" wasn't close to
being coined then.

I was always sorry that nobody ever wrote a book about their experiences on
that team because no matter what, they created something that changed the
world and did it in a startlingly short amount of time, going against a
*lot* of established practices and conventions.  I think there was a lot to
learn from the project and afterward there were a lot of companies (IBM
included) that tried to repeat the success of the IBU and couldn't.

myke

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2001\04\22@011205 by Robert A. LaBudde

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At 11:57 PM 4/21/01 -0400, Myke wrote:
>The "original" IBM PC was the IBM 5240 in 1974 and used all proprietary
>logic.  It had one of the really nice IBM electroluminescent displays
>(readable in direct sunlight) and was programmed in APL.  We had a few in

This sounds like the IBM 5100 desktop computer. It was "portable" with a
special leather carrying case, but weighed 55 lbs. You could drag it about
100 ft before collapsing. It had a 16 x 64 screen and a 3M tape drive. You
could get either an APL or BASIC version, or one with both. It was based on
a proprietary IBM 8-bit microprocessor. This was the product that first
brought be into contact with IBM as a technical consultant. I finalized
some software and documentation on a prototype in the Rochester, MN, factory.

The 5100 was intended to break into the scientific-engineering market of HP
at  the time. It was a flop at the time, because IBM sales reps could only
sell accountants and not engineers.

The 5100 was replaced by the 5110 and then 5120 versions. The 5120 had 8"
diskette drives and used 8085 microprocessors in some of its parts. At this
point in the game (1978?), IBM had a cross-licensing agreement with Intel
and  several major supply contracts. This was part of the reason for a
commitment to Intel parts in the IBM PC.

>plant in Toronto.  The 5240 was dropped when the 5150 (the original PC) came

You will note the transition from 5100->5110->5120->...->5150. It makes you
wonder what the 5130 and 5140 numbers corresponded to.

The 5240 number may have been the Canadian version of a 51xx part number.

>No.  The IBM PC was originally designed for the 8085 which has an eight bit
>multiplexed data bus.  The design was "upgraded" at the 11th hour with the
>8088 which also had an 8 bit multiplexed bus that had the same bus timing as
>the the 8085.  Other than adding a support chip (the 8282) and the upper 4
>bit support (including the DMA page register), IBM didn't change the design
>significantly.

This matches my recollection as well. IBM used the 8085 for a variety of
peripherals and was very familiar with it. I did, however, recommend the
8086 as essential to a state-of-the-art product. The biggest problem with
microcomputers of the time was the 64kB memory limit. It was causing a lot
of problems as color screen cards were being invented.

>At the time (I remember this quite well because I was working on 3180
>("Puma") which ended up using an 8085) Intel was a *lot* more expensive than
>other vendors.  Intel's response to concerns about their pricing was that it
>didn't matter what the price of a chip was initially; with competition,
>improved manufacturing yields, etc. within 18 months of manufacturing it
>would cost $5.  I seem to remember being told that Intel had gained a lot of
>credibility with IBM on the $5 a chip theory with the 8048/8748.

Remember that IBM had the right to produce Intel chips in-house, so this
gave them control of cost.

>IBM did release a 68K based PC around 1985-1986 to hedge their bets with the
>PC/AT.  I think the part number was 7100 or 7500.  It really followed IBM
>tradition and was incredibly expensive for the performance, the operating
>system was based on the S/34 and it was closed architecture.  I seem to
>remember it lingering in the catalogs for a couple of years and then just
>disappearing.  I was responsible for testing Token-Ring cards for the
>product so I remember it quite well.

This was a product in a different line, the DEC "killer". There were
several products in this category, starting with the Series/1 system. It
developed into the current AIX (aka UNIX) based products of today.

>I was always sorry that nobody ever wrote a book about their experiences on
>that team because no matter what, they created something that changed the
>world and did it in a startlingly short amount of time, going against a
>*lot* of established practices and conventions.  I think there was a lot to
>learn from the project and afterward there were a lot of companies (IBM
>included) that tried to repeat the success of the IBU and couldn't.

Making the IBM PC was as easy as falling off a log: all you had to do was
give up on prior policy and just use off the shelf parts with an open
architecture. This was the Apple II model of the time. It was unusual for
IBM to give such a free hand to a development group, but my recollection
was that this market wasn't expected to amount to much, but was just going
to get their hands wet.

IBM was always paranoid about cross-product competition, and this kind of
"channel conflict" was always a problem with them. It was the price of
being a monopoly. So they crippled the low-end products to force customers
to move to high-end products.

In 1981, an IBM PC was 10x faster than the IBM S/34 minicomputer, expanded
to 2x the memory and was 1/20 the cost. It was a direct threat to the IBM
low and midrange product lines.


================================================================
Robert A. LaBudde, PhD, PAS, Dpl. ACAFS  e-mail: .....ralKILLspamspam.....lcfltd.com
Least Cost Formulations, Ltd.            URL: http://lcfltd.com/
824 Timberlake Drive                     Tel: 757-467-0954
Virginia Beach, VA 23464-3239            Fax: 757-467-2947

"Vere scire est per causas scire"
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2001\04\22@020619 by Dale Botkin

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On Sat, 21 Apr 2001, myke predko wrote:

> A few corrections:
>
> The "original" IBM PC was the IBM 5240 in 1974 and used all proprietary
> logic.  It had one of the really nice IBM electroluminescent displays
> (readable in direct sunlight) and was programmed in APL.  We had a few in
> plant in Toronto.  The 5240 was dropped when the 5150 (the original PC) came
> out.  It never sold very well but did have a very loyal and enthusastic
> following within IBM, but did make the cover of one of the popular
> science/engineering magazines when it first came out and this article coined
> the term "Personal Computer".

Myke, maybe you'll remember what I have forgotten.  I used to take field
service calls on one back in the early to mid-80s.  I think it was 8085
based, used what I believe was something *very* close to the PC bus --
same connectors and similar layout.  It was available in two versions,
"Data Processing" and "Word Processing".  The WP version ran OS/6 software
from ROM, the DP version ran BASIC.  It looked to me at the time like it
had been the test bed for PC technology.  My customers were havig one hell
of a time finding software support, as IBM had pretty much orphaned the
product and didn't seem to want to admit it existed.  Do you remember this
animal?  Some salesdroid in the Cleveland area sold a bunch of them, I've
never seen them anywhere else but a few small manufacturers and one
synagogue there.

Dale
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discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..."
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2001\04\22@102716 by Robert A. LaBudde

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At 01:04 AM 4/22/01 -0500, Dale wrote:
>Myke, maybe you'll remember what I have forgotten.  I used to take field
>service calls on one back in the early to mid-80s.  I think it was 8085
>based, used what I believe was something *very* close to the PC bus --
>same connectors and similar layout.  It was available in two versions,
>"Data Processing" and "Word Processing".  The WP version ran OS/6 software
>from ROM, the DP version ran BASIC.  It looked to me at the time like it
>had been the test bed for PC technology.  My customers were havig one hell
>of a time finding software support, as IBM had pretty much orphaned the
>product and didn't seem to want to admit it existed.  Do you remember this
>animal?  Some salesdroid in the Cleveland area sold a bunch of them, I've
>never seen them anywhere else but a few small manufacturers and one
>synagogue there.

There was an IBM word processing computer powered by the 8085 in this time
frame. Actually, it was reasonably popular and predated the IBM PC. I can't
recollect the name. Wang also had a competing system at the time.


================================================================
Robert A. LaBudde, PhD, PAS, Dpl. ACAFS  e-mail: EraseMEralspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTlcfltd.com
Least Cost Formulations, Ltd.            URL: http://lcfltd.com/
824 Timberlake Drive                     Tel: 757-467-0954
Virginia Beach, VA 23464-3239            Fax: 757-467-2947

"Vere scire est per causas scire"
================================================================

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2001\04\22@115954 by myke predko

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A couple of updates.

> This sounds like the IBM 5100 desktop computer. It was "portable" with a
> special leather carrying case, but weighed 55 lbs. You could drag it about
> 100 ft before collapsing. It had a 16 x 64 screen and a 3M tape drive. You
> could get either an APL or BASIC version, or one with both. It was based
on
> a proprietary IBM 8-bit microprocessor. This was the product that first
> brought be into contact with IBM as a technical consultant. I finalized
> some software and documentation on a prototype in the Rochester, MN,
> factory.

That sounds like the same beast.  I don't remember ever seeing it carried
(it was always on a truck).  I never saw a BASIC version - I wonder if that
was 5100 and the APL version was 5200.

> At 01:04 AM 4/22/01 -0500, Dale wrote:
> >Myke, maybe you'll remember what I have forgotten.  I used to take field
> >service calls on one back in the early to mid-80s.  I think it was 8085
> >based, used what I believe was something *very* close to the PC bus --
> >same connectors and similar layout.  It was available in two versions,
> >"Data Processing" and "Word Processing".  The WP version ran OS/6
software
> >from ROM, the DP version ran BASIC.  It looked to me at the time like it
> >had been the test bed for PC technology.  My customers were havig one
hell
> >of a time finding software support, as IBM had pretty much orphaned the
> >product and didn't seem to want to admit it existed.  Do you remember
this
> >animal?  Some salesdroid in the Cleveland area sold a bunch of them, I've
> >never seen them anywhere else but a few small manufacturers and one
> >synagogue there.
>
> There was an IBM word processing computer powered by the 8085 in this time
> frame. Actually, it was reasonably popular and predated the IBM PC. I
can't
> recollect the name. Wang also had a competing system at the time.

Wasn't it called the "DisplayWriter"?  Sorry I can't remember the model
number.  I seem to remember that it had an 8086 in it, not an 8085.  I also
remember that the display was turned 90 degrees ("Portrait" for Windows
users) so you could also see the entire page and used 8" Floppies.  It was a
strange beast and I remember it being pushed mostly by the typewriter
marketeers.

The word processing software ("DisplayWrite") was ported to PC-DOS by IBM
and was reasonably successful.  I also think that the software port killed
the DisplayWriter because there was no reason to buy the much more (closed
design and software) expensive word processor.

myke

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2001\04\22@122728 by Douglas Wood

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Did you know that Adam and Eve had the first computers? Yeah... Eve had an
Apple and Adam had a Wang! ;-)

Douglas Wood
Software Engineer
dbwoodspamspam_OUTkc.rr.com

Home of the EPICIS Development System for the PIC and SX
http://epicis.piclist.com

{Original Message removed}

2001\04\22@124634 by David VanHorn

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At 11:31 AM 4/22/01 -0500, Douglas Wood wrote:
>Did you know that Adam and Eve had the first computers? Yeah... Eve had an
>Apple and Adam had a Wang! ;-)

Look at all the trouble they got into in interfacing too!  Some things
never change.
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2001\04\22@144038 by Dale Botkin

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On Sun, 22 Apr 2001, Robert A. LaBudde wrote:

> At 01:04 AM 4/22/01 -0500, Dale wrote:
> >Myke, maybe you'll remember what I have forgotten.  I used to take field
> >service calls on one back in the early to mid-80s.  I think it was 8085
> >based, used what I believe was something *very* close to the PC bus --
> >same connectors and similar layout.  It was available in two versions,
> >"Data Processing" and "Word Processing".  The WP version ran OS/6 software
> >from ROM, the DP version ran BASIC.  It looked to me at the time like it
> >had been the test bed for PC technology.  My customers were havig one hell
> >of a time finding software support, as IBM had pretty much orphaned the
> >product and didn't seem to want to admit it existed.  Do you remember this
> >animal?  Some salesdroid in the Cleveland area sold a bunch of them, I've
> >never seen them anywhere else but a few small manufacturers and one
> >synagogue there.
>
> There was an IBM word processing computer powered by the 8085 in this time
> frame. Actually, it was reasonably popular and predated the IBM PC. I can't
> recollect the name. Wang also had a competing system at the time.

Yes, I was unclear -- the ones I was working on in '85 or so dated back to
the late 70s, well before the PC.

Dale
---
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discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..."
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2001\04\22@144449 by Dale Botkin

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On Sun, 22 Apr 2001, myke predko wrote:

{Quote hidden}

Nope, I remember the DisplayWriter, which was (I think) a direct
descendent of / replacement for the OS/6.  This was a different box.  I
mostly worked on big iron and only occasionally took calls on Series/1 and
smaller systems.  I was working for a small 3rd party maintainer at the
time, then later for Sorbus.

> The word processing software ("DisplayWrite") was ported to PC-DOS by IBM
> and was reasonably successful.  I also think that the software port killed
> the DisplayWriter because there was no reason to buy the much more (closed
> design and software) expensive word processor.

Yup.  I think the later DW systems were built in a worked-over 5251
cabinet, weighed a ton.

Dale
---
The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new
discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..."
               -- Isaac Asimov

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2001\04\22@144701 by Dale Botkin

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And one of the two must have originated that joke, it's about that old...
;-)

On Sun, 22 Apr 2001, Douglas Wood wrote:

> Did you know that Adam and Eve had the first computers? Yeah... Eve had an
> Apple and Adam had a Wang! ;-)
>
> Douglas Wood
> Software Engineer
> @spam@dbwoodKILLspamspamkc.rr.com
>
> Home of the EPICIS Development System for the PIC and SX
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2001\04\22@145735 by Dan Michaels

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>> Wasn't it called the "DisplayWriter"?  Sorry I can't remember the model
>> number.  I seem to remember that it had an 8086 in it, not an 8085.  I also
>> remember that the display was turned 90 degrees ("Portrait" for Windows
>> users) so you could also see the entire page and used 8" Floppies.  It was a
>> strange beast and I remember it being pushed mostly by the typewriter
>> marketeers.
>
>Nope, I remember the DisplayWriter, which was (I think) a direct
>descendent of / replacement for the OS/6.  This was a different box.  I
>mostly worked on big iron and only occasionally took calls on Series/1 and
>smaller systems.  I was working for a small 3rd party maintainer at the
>time, then later for Sorbus.
>

8086 according to:

http://www.obsoletecomputermuseum.org/displayw.html

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2001\04\22@150603 by Dan Michaels

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BTW, links to 2 dozen computer museums/etc:

userhttp://www.sfsu.edu/~hl/mmm.html

Go to bottom of page.

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2001\04\23@070444 by Alan B. Pearce

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>Wasn't it called the "DisplayWriter"?  Sorry I can't remember the model
>number.  I seem to remember that it had an 8086 in it, not an 8085.  I also
>remember that the display was turned 90 degrees ("Portrait" for Windows
>users) so you could also see the entire page and used 8" Floppies.  It was
a
>strange beast and I remember it being pushed mostly by the typewriter
>marketeers.

>The word processing software ("DisplayWrite") was ported to PC-DOS by IBM
>and was reasonably successful.  I also think that the software port killed
>the DisplayWriter because there was no reason to buy the much more (closed
>design and software) expensive word processor.

I seem to recall hearing that it was experience with this machine that led
to the development of the PC. The article I saw also reckoned that it was
possible to port PC-DOS to this machine, but because the PC hardware was so
much cheaper it was never done commercially.

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2001\04\26@082836 by Steve Nordhauser

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I'm a day or two behind on my digests, so excuse me if I'm late to the subject
but, I can add to the history lesson a bit.
I had one of the first IBM PCs, it came with 64K of memory, upgradable to
256K on the motherboard.  I fully loaded it to 640K with an add-on.  No hard
drive but I did add an external pair of floppies so that I had 340Kx4 of mass storage.
With a Princeton Graphics CGA monitor, OS and Dbase III, it cost about $4300.
I had this around 1980-81ish. Oh, it had a cassette port in the back.  And for you
kids out there, that was not for music - it was for data storage.

At the same time at my company, the secrataries wanted all new IBM Selectric
typewriters at about $2K each.  Instead we bought Morrow computers - Z80
based with CP/M and a nice text based menu system.  They came with piles of
software - OS, Wordstar, Dbase, Visicalc.  With a daisy wheel printer, they were
$2K.  These were great machines - never a problem.  The joke was that if you
bought the software, the computer was free.  My understanding was that Morrow
pre-announced that they were working on a PC clone.  Sales dropped to zero
because everyone wanted the clone.  Should be a 'classic' for business schools to
study.

Class dismissed.
Steve Nordhauser

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2001\04\26@151335 by Alexandre Domingos F. Souza

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>$2K.  These were great machines - never a problem.  The joke was that if you
>bought the software, the computer was free.  My understanding was that Morrow
>pre-announced that they were working on a PC clone.  Sales dropped to zero
>because everyone wanted the clone.  Should be a 'classic' for business schools to
>study.

       The same happened to Osborne, with his "model one" portable. When anounced "model two", there was a warehouse full of "model one" computers! :oD So it got no sales anymore, everyone was waiting for the "model two". And Osborne broke :oP

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2001\04\26@152954 by David VanHorn

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>
>         The same happened to Osborne, with his "model one" portable. When
> anounced "model two", there was a warehouse full of "model one"
> computers! :oD So it got no sales anymore, everyone was waiting for the
> "model two". And Osborne broke :oP

Almost happened to Verifone as well.
Sales staff leaked word of the new "ZON" terminals, and sales of the
existing product plummeted.
Pressure to get the new terminals out was unbeleivable, but we did make it
happen, and survived.

Rule 1:  Never let engineering staff talk to sales.


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2001\04\26@153618 by John Pfaff

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As many other companies have, Wabco let out the word of the EPIC 3102 before
it was ready, and sales of the 3101 went down the hole.  As a result, the
3102 was rushed into production with a design that wasn't supposed to go out
the door.  Many of the pieces were prototypes and could have been greatly
improved.  There were all kinds of problems with it.

- John

{Original Message removed}

2001\04\26@215843 by Bill Westfield

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Heh.  All you really need to do is get a reputation for your "new products"
shipping BEFORE they're quite ready for mass consumption.  Then you can
ship your old products while people are waiting to see if the new one has
enough merit to justify the risk...

Then there's the "no new product ever fits exactly the same niche as any
existin product, even though as many as a half dozen products may overlap
some portion of each niche..."

:-)
BillW

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