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.

Feb 1975

The Altair 8800 assembly kit sports Intel's 8080 CPU, gets sold through mail catalogs.

Jun 1977

Apple launches the Apple II.


WordStar becomes the first commercially successful word processing software.

Jul 1981

MS-DOS is born after Microsoft buys the rights to QDOS for $50,000.

Aug 1981

IBM PC 5150 is released, helping spark the personal computer revolution.

Jan 1983

The Compaq Portable is the first IBM PC compatible portable computer.

Sep 1983

Richard Stallman announces the GNU Project.

Oct 1983

Microsoft Word for MS-DOS would become a market leader with the arrival of Windows 3.0.

Nov 1983

First known proof of concept code for a computer virus was demonstrated.

Jan 1984

The Apple Macintosh is the 1st commercially successful PC to feature a mouse and GUI.

Jun 1985

CD-ROM is invented by Philips and co-produced with Sony.

Oct 1985

Intel releases the i386, a 32-bit x86 microprocessor.

Nov 1985

Windows 1.0 was released.

Jan 1986

Brain becomes the first IBM PC compatible virus.

Nov 1988

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.

Apr 1989

Intel's 25MHz i486 DX microprocessor, the first x86 chip to use 1+ million transistors.

Nov 1989

The Sound Blaster audio card launches, becomes a runaway success.

Jun 1991

To promote OS/2, Bill Gates took every opportunity after its release to say 'DOS is dead'. It didn't die.

Aug 1991

Linus Torvalds posts a "hobby" project on Usenet newsgroup comp.os.minix, Linux is born.

Aug 1991

Tim Berners-Lee announces the World Wide Web project and software on the alt.hypertext newsgroup.

Apr 1992

Windows 3.1 is launched, sells more than 1 million copies in two months.

May 1992

Wolfenstein 3D released by id Software

Jan 1993

Mosaic is the world's first web browser leading to the Internet boom.

Mar 1993

First Pentium chips running at 60 and 66 MHz.


IBM Simon: the 1st commercially available smartphone. It had no keys and used a touchscreen.

Jul 1993

Windows NT 3.1 released with support for 32-bit programs.

Dec 1993

id Software releases Doom, popularizing the first-person shooter genre.

Mar 1994

Intel releases 100 MHz version of Pentium chip.

Oct 1994

Netscape launches the first version of its web browser called Navigator.

Jan 1995

Yahoo pioneers the web search engine boom, for long considered the web's largest portal and web directory.

Jul 1995

Amazon.com opens its virtual doors as an online retailer of printed books.

Aug 1995

Windows 95 sports key technologies for connecting to the Internet, and introduces the Start button.

Sep 1995

eBay is founded (originally called AuctionWeb)

Jan 1996

Google is founded

Jun 1996

Dell begins selling computers via its website

Jul 1996

Microsoft bundles Internet Explorer with an operating system for the first time (Windows NT 4.0).

Jul 1996

Hotmail launches free webmail service

Oct 1996

3dfx Voodoo launches 3D gaming into the limelight

Jan 1997

Quake introduces support for 3D graphics acceleration cards

May 1997

IBM's Deep Blue defeats the world chess champion, Garry Kasparov.

Sep 1997

Steve Jobs returns to a near bankrupt Apple (share price $5.48)

Jun 1998

Microsoft releases Windows 98

Sep 1998

Upstart eMachines announces two home PCs priced at $399 and $499, creating the sub-$600 market.

Nov 1998

Valve launches Half Life, wins over 50 GOTY awards

Jun 1999

Napster is born, shakes up the music industry

Jul 1999

Microsoft IntelliMouse becomes the first commercially successful optical computer mouse

Aug 1999

Blogger launches as one of the earliest dedicated blog-publishing tools

Dec 1999

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.

Feb 2000

Windows 2000 released, highly regarded, leaves a solid foundation for the next generation Windows OS (not ME).

Mar 2000

NASDAQ index reached its peak during the dot-com bubble. By 2001 stocks were falling hard as the bubble was deflating at full speed.

Mar 2000

AMD and Intel launch their first 1GHz processors, Athlon and Pentium III, respectively.

Sep 2000

Windows ME launches with severe compatibility issues, turns into a flop.

Jan 2001

Wikipedia is formally launched.

Mar 2001

Apple gives birth to Mac OS X, the beating heart of today's Macs, iPhones and iPad.

Sep 2001

HP buys Compaq for $25 billion to become #2 computer company (in revenue terms) only behind IBM.

Oct 2001

Windows XP is successfully released using the more robust Windows NT kernel.

Oct 2001

Apple launches the iPod, soon to become the world's best selling portable music player.


Microsoft releases the Tablet PC, fails to catch on.

Mar 2003

Intel Centrino (Pentium M) laptops go to market, help push Wi-Fi proliferation.

Feb 2004

Mark Zuckerberg and co-founders Moskovitz, Hughes and Saverin launch Facebook from their Harvard dorm room.

Apr 2004

Gmail launched as an invitation-only beta with a record storage capacity of 1GB.

Nov 2004

The Firefox project reaches version 1.0.

Nov 2004

World of Warcraft launches, redefines the role-playing genre.

Dec 2004

Lenovo buys IBM's PC division.

Apr 2005

First video uploaded to YouTube, sets the stage for the web video revolution.

May 2005

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.

Sep 2006

Facebook opens to anyone with an email address.

Apr 2007

Hitachi begins shipping 1TB desktop hard drive.

Jun 2007

Eee PC is announced, first commercially successful netbook.

Jun 2007

Original iPhone is launched, revolutionizes smartphone market.

Jan 2008

MacBook Air launches to (eventually) set the standard for ultraportables.

Jun 2008

Bill Gates steps down as CEO of Microsoft, Ballmer takes over.

Jul 2009

Windows 7 hits retail, big comeback from Vista's cold reception.

Apr 2010

iPad launches as Apple talks up the post-PC era.

Feb 2011

IBM supercomputer Watson wins Jeopardy, calculates hundreds of algorithms simultaneously to parse human language complexities, a milestone in A.I.

Aug 2011

The PC turns 30!

Aug 2011

Steve Jobs, one of the most iconic personalities from the computer industry, resigns his post at Apple.