August 12 – IBM PC Day

On August 12th, 1981 the IBM PC 5150 was released at the Waldorf Astoria in New York.

Initially the IBM PC was nothing to write home about — it wasn’t particularly cheap ($3,000, or $7,500 in today’s money) and there were other, very capable home computers, like the Apple II, already on the market — and indeed, the original IBM PC was never a huge success.

However, the IBM PC was revolutionary. Realizing the home and office computing markets were about to take off IBM put together a 12 man task force called “Entry Systems Division”. ESD did whatever it took to launch the IBM PC. The IBM PC 5150 was designed, produced and brought to market in a year. The first desktop was born.

Shunning proprietary components IBM used OEM parts. IBM chose not to use their own processor instead they used the Intel 8088 CPU while also choosing not to use their own operating system they outsourced the operating system work to Microsoft. IBM went one step further and made the PC’s architecture completely open. This allowed other companies to make and sell PC-compatible hardware and software without a license.

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