Earlier this month the original IBM PC model 5150 celebrated its 30th anniversary. Although it wasn't the first personal computer ever sold, it was largely responsible for shaping the industry in the years to come -- and still to this day -- by eschewing proprietary components in favor of off-the shelf parts. IBM even contracted out its operating system to Microsoft and decided on an open architecture so that other manufacturers could produce and sell compatible software and peripherals. The result was an ever expanding industry and a new model for computer manufacturing.
Many years have passed and plenty of milestones were met along the way, from the first PC clones in 1982, to the Internet revolution in the 90s and the so-called post-PC devices hitting the market today. We didn't want to let the occasion go by without paying our respects to the legacy that the 5150 brought. Here are some of the most important developments in the industry over the last 30+ years.
The Altair 8800 assembly kit sports Intel's 8080 CPU, gets sold through mail catalogs.
Apple launches the Apple II.
WordStar becomes the first commercially successful word processing software.
MS-DOS is born after Microsoft buys the rights to QDOS for $50,000.
IBM PC 5150 is released, helping spark the personal computer revolution.
The Compaq Portable is the first IBM PC compatible portable computer.
Richard Stallman announces the GNU Project.
Microsoft Word for MS-DOS would become a market leader with the arrival of Windows 3.0.
First known proof of concept code for a computer virus was demonstrated.
The Apple Macintosh is the 1st commercially successful PC to feature a mouse and GUI.
CD-ROM is invented by Philips and co-produced with Sony.
Intel releases the i386, a 32-bit x86 microprocessor.
Windows 1.0 was released.
Brain becomes the first IBM PC compatible virus.
Morris worm is one of the first computer worms distributed via the Internet. It affected ~10% of all computers connected to the Internet, about 6,000 machines at the time.
Critically acclaimed city-building simulation video game, SimCity, launches.
Intel's 25MHz i486 DX microprocessor, the first x86 chip to use 1+ million transistors.
The Sound Blaster audio card launches, becomes a runaway success.
To promote OS/2, Bill Gates took every opportunity after its release to say 'DOS is dead'. It didn't die.
Linus Torvalds posts a "hobby" project on Usenet newsgroup comp.os.minix, Linux is born.
Tim Berners-Lee announces the World Wide Web project and software on the alt.hypertext newsgroup.
Windows 3.1 is launched, sells more than 1 million copies in two months.
Wolfenstein 3D released by id Software
Mosaic is the world's first web browser leading to the Internet boom.
First Pentium chips running at 60 and 66 MHz.
IBM Simon: the 1st commercially available smartphone. It had no keys and used a touchscreen.
Windows NT 3.1 released with support for 32-bit programs.
id Software releases Doom, popularizing the first-person shooter genre.
Intel releases 100 MHz version of Pentium chip.
Netscape launches the first version of its web browser called Navigator.
Yahoo pioneers the web search engine boom, for long considered the web's largest portal and web directory.
Amazon.com opens its virtual doors as an online retailer of printed books.
Windows 95 sports key technologies for connecting to the Internet, and introduces the Start button.
eBay is founded (originally called AuctionWeb)
Google is founded
Dell begins selling computers via its website
Microsoft bundles Internet Explorer with an operating system for the first time (Windows NT 4.0).
Hotmail launches free webmail service
3dfx Voodoo launches 3D gaming into the limelight
Quake introduces support for 3D graphics acceleration cards
IBM's Deep Blue defeats the world chess champion, Garry Kasparov.
Steve Jobs returns to a near bankrupt Apple (share price $5.48)
Microsoft releases Windows 98
Upstart eMachines announces two home PCs priced at $399 and $499, creating the sub-$600 market.
Valve launches Half Life, wins over 50 GOTY awards
Napster is born, shakes up the music industry
Microsoft IntelliMouse becomes the first commercially successful optical computer mouse
Blogger launches as one of the earliest dedicated blog-publishing tools
Quake III Arena excludes single-player focusing on multi-player action.
Internet Explorer (IE4/5) becomes the most popular web browser with over 80% market share.
Windows 2000 released, highly regarded, leaves a solid foundation for the next generation Windows OS (not ME).
NASDAQ index reached its peak during the dot-com bubble. By 2001 stocks were falling hard as the bubble was deflating at full speed.
AMD and Intel launch their first 1GHz processors, Athlon and Pentium III, respectively.
Windows ME launches with severe compatibility issues, turns into a flop.
Wikipedia is formally launched.
Apple gives birth to Mac OS X, the beating heart of today’s Macs, iPhones and iPad.
HP buys Compaq for $25 billion to become #2 computer company (in revenue terms) only behind IBM.
Windows XP is successfully released using the more robust Windows NT kernel.
Apple launches the iPod, soon to become the world's best selling portable music player.
Microsoft releases the Tablet PC, fails to catch on.
Intel Centrino (Pentium M) laptops go to market, help push Wi-Fi proliferation.
Mark Zuckerberg and co-founders Moskovitz, Hughes and Saverin launch Facebook from their Harvard dorm room.
Gmail launched as an invitation-only beta with a record storage capacity of 1GB.
The Firefox project reaches version 1.0.
World of Warcraft launches, redefines the role-playing genre.
Lenovo buys IBM's PC division.
First video uploaded to YouTube, sets the stage for the web video revolution.
Intel and AMD launch first dual-core processors.
Intel looks to the future of efficient computing leaving the Pentium behind and focusing on the new Core processors. These are loosely based on the P6 microarchitecture that dates back to the 1995 Pentium Pro.
Facebook opens to anyone with an email address.
Hitachi begins shipping 1TB desktop hard drive.
Eee PC is announced, first commercially successful netbook.
Original iPhone is launched, revolutionizes smartphone market.
MacBook Air launches to (eventually) set the standard for ultraportables.
Bill Gates steps down as CEO of Microsoft, Ballmer takes over.
Windows 7 hits retail, big comeback from Vista's cold reception.
iPad launches as Apple talks up the post-PC era.
IBM supercomputer Watson wins Jeopardy, calculates hundreds of algorithms simultaneously to parse human language complexities, a milestone in A.I.
The PC turns 30!
Steve Jobs, one of the most iconic personalities from the computer industry, resigns his post at Apple.