The personal computing business as we know it owes itself to an environment of enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and happenstance. Before PCs, the mainframe and minicomputer business model was formed around a single company providing an entire ecosystem; from building the hardware, installation, maintenance, writing the software, and training operators. The invention of the microprocessor, DRAM, and EPROM integrated circuits would spark the widespread use of the BASIC high-level language variants, which would lead to the introduction of the GUI and bring computing to the mainstream. The resulting standardization and commoditization of hardware would finally make computing relatively affordable for anyone. This is the first installment in a five part series. Over the next few weeks we'll be taking a look at the history of the microprocessor and personal computing, from the invention of the transistor to modern day chips powering our connected devices. Read the complete article.