Today in History: IBM Launched the First Personal PC, Continues Innovation Today
August 12, 2013
By Rachel Ramsey, TMCnet Web Editor
One of my favorite parts about the social aggregator/time traveling app Timehop is that it offers the top news in history on that particular day. Today, when I was making my way down memory lane, I saw that on this day in 1981, IBM (News - Alert) introduced the 5150 – the first personal computer. I couldn’t help but think of how far IBM has come in the last 32 years.
The 5150 weighed 25 pounds with a 4.77-MHz Intel 8088 CPU that contained 29,000 transistors and 16 kB of RAM (News - Alert) – it became the de facto computing standard for more than three decades after it was introduced. At $1,565 (more than $4,000 today), IBM sold 100,000 5150 PCs by Christmas of 1981. Adding standard features and color graphics would cost more than $6,000 (more than $15,000 today).
Image via Old Computers
Thirty-two years later, IBM is still one of the top names in technology and communications. In 2008, it licensed a 32-bit Power Architecture for BAE Systems (News - Alert), which powered NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander. It also offers its Watson computing system, which has been put to work on “Jeopardy!” and in healthcare.
IBM has also kept itself busy with acquisitions. As the personal computer was once the name of the game, today’s version of that is the ever-growing buzzword, the cloud. Most recently, IBM acquired SoftLayer Technologies, Inc., a cloud computing infrastructure company, to join IBM’s cloud services division. It also completed its acquisition of Emptoris, a provider of telecom expense management solutions, in 2012 to help expand IBM’s cloud-based analytics offerings that provide supply chain intelligence leading to better inventory management and cost efficiencies.
The IBM Emptoris Rivermine telecom expense management solution helps companies reduce telecommunications expenses by managing the mobile and wireline communications lifecycle. It streamlines and automates key telecom processes such as inventory management, procurement and order management, invoice processing, auditing and cost allocation, mobile expense and device management and advanced business intelligence and reporting.
Edited by Alisen Downey