The PC era - 1981 to present

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Sources: Microsoft and CNET News.com staff research

Two-plus decades have brought major changes to the PC industry. Here's a glimpse at some of the significant events:

1981

* IBM announces the 5150 PC, ranging from $1,565 to $4,500.

1982

* Commodore announces the Commodore 64 microcomputer.

* Columbia Data Products releases the first IBM PC clone.

* Intel introduces the 6MHz 286 processor.

* Sun Microsystems and Compaq Computer are founded.

1983

* Apple Computer introduces the Lisa computer for $10,000.

* Compaq ships a 28-pound portable computer.

* Microsoft announces the Windows operating system.

* Sony unveils the 3.5-inch floppy disk, which holds up to 1MB of data.

1984

* Apple introduces the Macintosh computer.

* IBM announces the PC-AT.

* Philips unveils CD-ROM players for PCs.

* The number of hosts on the Internet reaches 1,000.

* Hewlett-Packard enters the printer business.

* Dell Computer is founded.

1985

* Microsoft ships Microsoft Windows 1.0.

* Gateway is founded as Gateway 2000.

1986

* Microsoft goes public.

1987

* Intel introduces the 20MHz 386 processor.

1989

* Intel releases the 25MHz 486 processor.

* HP marks its 50th anniversary.

1990

* The World Wide Web is born.

1993

* Microsoft launches Windows NT 3.1.

* The number of Americans on the Net reaches 3 million.

* Intel introduces the 66MHz Pentium processor.

1995

* Microsoft releases Windows 95 and Office 95.

1998

* Intel releases the 450MHz Pentium II.

* Apple ships the iMac.

1999

* The number of people worldwide on the Net passes 201 million.

2000

* Intel releases the 1.5GHz Pentium 4.

2001

* The number of PCs sold worldwide since 1981 hits 835 million.

* Apple's iPod turns on the music.

2002

* Apple unveils flat-panel iMac.

* HP closes book on Compaq merger.

2003

* AMD announces 64-bit Opteron and Athlon 64 processors.

* Dell starts its printer business.

* Intel launches Pentium M and Centrino wireless notebook brand.

* PC shipments rise again, hitting nearly 155 million units for the year, according to IDC.

2004

* Gateway completes eMachines buy.

* Intel kills plans for 4GHz Pentium.

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