30 years of the IBM 5150 | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 29, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:16 AM, July 29, 2019

30 years of the IBM 5150

Three decades of playing it hard but playing it safe. IBM celebrates their 30th anniversary with their 30th edition software update with the people they have served all these years, almost everyone.

Even today’s Mac users have IBM to thank every time they hit a key on their machines. IBM is the whole reason you call your laptop or Desktop a PC. Before IBM, the term ‘Personal Computer’ had a whole different meaning. It was originally termed for expensive powerhouses, like the Xerox Altos. It sounds absurd hearing it today, and all that because IBM changed the game with the release of the IBM 5150. The 5150 truly lived up to the PC name as it was accessible to everyone. It was truly personal.

IBM’s decision to not claim an exclusive license for their DOS system still haunts them to this day. From a lack of self-confidence, IBM chose to gift Microsoft with their license to acting as a licensee and have suffered a loss of market share from competitors cloning their products. IBM’s DOS eventually lost out to Microsoft yet its software is still persevered, either existing as itself in machinery belonging to other big names, or as a copy in the form of another OS.

The 5150 held its own with the boomers Apple and Microsoft, as they officially started competing in the market mid-80s. It was the first to release RGB screens that actually worked. It introduced keyboards that inspired the layout we all use every day. The positioning of every key and the satisfying clicking sound that let you know that your key press meant something was all born from this device. Weighing over just 2 kilos, it revolutionized technology at the time and struck a domino effect that would lead to the vast levels of innovation we see today.

I’m not saying that you should go and buy an IBM pc right now. They’re outdated and are heavy enough to be used to assault someone. IBM is merely to be appreciated as what started it all. Computers would’ve been rather boring if not for them.

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