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Chapter 19 Other Companies, Organizations
19.1 — Early Organizations
Amateur Computer Society (ACS)
Was formed in May 1966 by Stephen B. Gray. It was
created as "a nonprofit group open to anyone interested
in building and operating a digital computer that will
at least perform automatic multiplication and division,
or is of a comparable complexity." A publication
entitled ACS Newsletter started in August 1966. Grey has
stated that "ACS membership never totaled more than a
few hundred." The newsletter and the Society terminated
in December 1976.
People's Computer Company (PCC)
Robert L. Albrecht founded the People's Computer
Company and associated Community Computer Center in the
late 1960's. The company published the PCC Newsletter
starting in October 1972. The cover of the first
newsletter stated the "People' s Computer Center is a
place. ...a place to do things the People's Computer
Company talks about. ...a place to play with computers -
at modest prices. ... a place to learn how to use
computers." It also indicated that "We have a small,
friendly computer ...an Edu System 20, a time sharing
terminal that connects us to the world and a Tektronix
programmable calculator and some simple calculators and
books to help you learn and ..."
Lee Felsenstein who belonged to a group called
Resource One, helped to organize Community Memory, a
public information network in the early 1970' s.
Felsenstein established the organization and system to
humanize the computer interface and bring computing
power to the people. It provided free access to a time
sharing system. The Community Memory system consisted of
remote teletype terminals located in several storefronts
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located around Berkeley, California. The system operated
a bulletin board and enabled people to communicate or
leave messages. Felsenstein also wanted to replace the
Teletype units with an easy-to-use machine he called
"The Tom Swift Terminal."
Homebrew Computer Club
At a number of locations in early 1975 in the
Silicon Valley area, a notice was posted reading
"Amateur Computer Users Group. Homebrew Computer Club...
you name it. Are you building your own computer?
Terminal? TV Typewriter? I/O Device? or some other
digital black box? Or are you buying time on a time-
sharing service? If so you might like to come to a
meeting of people with like-minded interests . " The
notice had been posted by Fred Moore and Gordon French.
French was a mechanical engineer and computer hobbyist
and both had been associated with Robert Albrecht of the
People's Computer Company. The meeting was held at
Gordon French's garage in Menlo Park, California on the
5th of March 1975. About thirty people attended the
first meeting. Albrecht demonstrated the new Altair
computer. Another computer enthusiast Steve Dompier
described his visit to MITS Inc., in Albuguergue, New
Mexico. Stephen Wozniak also attended this first
meeting. From this first meeting the Homebrew Computer
Club was formed. The attendance guickly increased and
meetings became fortnightly gatherings at the Stanford
Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) .
The club was a forum for the interchange of
information and became a catalyst for the technological
development of the microcomputer. Gordon French was the
secretary and librarian. Fred Moore issued the initial
newsletters highlighting the meeting activities and
other news. A dominant member was Lee Felsenstein who
became moderator of the meetings . A number of members of
the club became entrepreneurs who established their own
companies. Some of these were, Steve Jobs and Stephen
Wozniak who founded Apple Computer, Robert Marsh founder
of Processor Technology. Adam Osborne sold his books on
microprocessors at the club and Felsenstein would design
the SOL and Osborne microcomputers .
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By 1979/80 the Homebrew Computer Club was past its
peak with other user groups being formed with a focus on
more specific interests.
Other Early Groups
The Amateur Computer Group of New Jersey was
founded in May 1975 with Sol Libes as the first
President. Then the Long Island Computer Association of
New York formed in 1975. The Southern California
Computer Society (SCCS) began a few months after the
Homebrew Computer Club in 1975. It was a well organized
group which guickly grew and had a membership in the
thousands. The editor of their magazine left to publish
his own Interface Age periodical. In 1911 , Jonathan
Rotenberg who was 13 years old at the time, founded the
Boston Computer Society in 1977. a special interest
group called SIGPC on personal computing was formed by
the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) . The first
chairperson for ACM SIGPC was Portia Isaacson.
Many other computer clubs were formed during the
mid 1970' s in the USA and other countries. Two Byte
magazine articles : "A Computer Hobbyist Club Survey"
 and "Clubs and Newsletters Directory" 
provide additional details of these early organizations.
Clubs, groups and societies helped to disseminate
information on personal computers and computing.
However, other early organizations that provided similar
input came in various names such as conventions, fairs,
festivals and shows.
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19.2 — Conventions, Fairs and Shows
World Altair Computer Convention
The first World Altair Computer Convention (WACC)
was organized by David Bunnell of MITS, Inc. It was held
in Albuquerque, New Mexico in March 197 6. This was the
first microcomputer convention and several hundred
Trenton Computer Festival
The Trenton Computer Festival was the first
regional convention. Sol Libes organized it and the
Amateur Computer Group of New Jersey sponsored the
festival that was held in May 1976.
Personal Computing 76
The first national microcomputer show was
organized mainly by John Dilks and co-chaired by James
Main. The show was held in Atlantic City, New Jersey in
August 197 6. The Sol computer and the Apple I computer
board were introduced at this show. Attendance was
estimated to be about 4,500 people.
Computerfest was a conference for hobbyist
computing sponsored by the Midwest Affiliation of
Computer Clubs (MASC) that was first held in Cleveland,
Ohio in 1976.
Personal Computing Show!
Personal Confuting magazine sponsored three shows
called the Personal Computer Show! in 1977. The First
Western Show was in Los Angeles in March, The First
Eastern Show was in Philadelphia in April/May and The
Fist New England Show was in Boston in June.
West Coast Computer Faire
Founded by Jim Warren, the first Faire was in
April 1977 at the Civic Auditorium in San Francisco,
California. Warren was also the first editor of Dr.
Dobb's Journal . The Faire was oriented to computer
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hobbyists and personal computer users. Attendance at the
first Faire was almost 13,000 with around 180
exhibiters . In 1983 the Faire was sold to Prentice-Hall,
A show organized by a company called The Interface
Group Inc., which was founded by Sheldon Adelson in
1973. COMDEX is an acronym for COMputer Dealers'
Exposition. The show is oriented to computer
manufacturers , dealers and distributors . The first show
was held in December 1979. COMDEX has become one of the
largest computer shows in the world. It holds two major
shows a year. In winter the show is in Las Vegas and in
the spring it is in another major city such as Atlanta,
Chicago or Toronto.
COMDEX was purchased in 1995 by the Softbank
Corporation, a large Japanese software distribution
company. A subsidiary named Softbank COMDEX Inc., now
operates the COMDEX shows.
Consumer Electronics Show (CES)
A show for wholesalers and retailers of consumer
electronic products. It is held twice a year. Las Vegas
in January and Chicago in June.
National Computer Conference (NCC)
It is the largest annual computer show in the data
processing industry and is sponsored by the American
Federation of Information Processing Societies (AFIPS) .
The first national show was held in New York in June
1973. Personal computing was recognized as a special
theme by having a Personal Computer Fair and Exposition
at the June 1977 conference in Dallas, Texas. Following
this, microcomputer products became a significant group
of the exhibitors.
The first MacWorld Expo was held in Boston in
August 1985. CeBIT is one of the largest technology
expositions in the world, and is held annually in
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19.3 — Historical Organizations
A significant interest is developing in the
history of computing within the history of science and
technology. A number of organizations have been
organized to support and encourage this specialty.
The American Computer Museum
The American Computer Museum was founded by
Barbara and George Keremedjiev in May 1990 and is
located in Bozeman, Montana. The museum displays a
history of computer technology from ancient Babylonian
and Egyptian times to recent personal computers. The
museum has items such as: an IBM Tabulating Machine, IBM
1620 transistorized computer, DEC PDP-8 minicomputer,
IBM System/360, various personal computers from the
1970' s and 1980' s and other items of comparative
technology. Special displays are introduced periodically
such as items from the Smithsonian Institution and a
rare mathematical book collection of Erwin Tomash' s .
For further information contact Barbara
Keremedjiev at The American Computer Museum Ltd., 234
East Babcock street, Bozeman, Montana, USA. MT 59715.
The phone number is (406) 587-7545.
Charles Babbage Institute (CBI)
— Center For The History Of Information Processing
The CBI was established in 1977. A principal in
the 1977 founding was Erwin Tomash. The first
headguarters were established in Palo Alto, California
in April 1978. In the fall of 1980 CBI moved to the
University of Minnesota.
The Institute has archives of historic materials
from pioneers, companies and organizations related to
computing. It also has photographic archives, oral
histories, reprint series and data bases of computing
literature , company developments and information on
archival holdings outside the CBI.
A brochure describing the activities and services
of the Institute is available. A guarterly Newsletter
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detailing current activities at the CBI and elsewhere
relating to the history of computing is also available.
For further information, write to the Charles
Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota, 103 Walter
Library, 117 Pleasant Street SE, Minneapolis,
Minnesota, USA MN 55455. The phone number is (612) 624-
Computer History Association of California
Kip Crosby founded the Computer History
Association of California (CHAC) in April 1993. It was
an educational organization that studied, preserved and
popularized the history of electronic computing in the
State of California. The Association published a
guarterly newsletter called The Analytical Engine. The
first issue published was July/September 1993 (Volume
1.1) . The association encountered difficulties in 1997
and the last issue of The Analytical Engine was Volume
4.1, Winter 1997.
The Computer Museum
The Computer Museum was located in Boston,
Massachusetts and opened in late 1984. The museum had a
number of early North American and British computers and
a collection of manuals, developers notes, technical
memoranda, marketing materials etc. A collection of
thousands of photographs, hundreds of video film titles
and approximately 1,200 books were also at the museum.
In 1999, The Computer Museum closed at its 300
Congress Street, Boston location and joined forces with
the museum of Science, Boston. The Computer museum's
collection of artifacts resides at The Computer Museum
History Center in Moffett Field, California.
The Computer Museum History Center
The museum was established in 1996 and is
dedicated to the preservation and celebration of
computing history. "It is home to one of the largest
collection' s of computing artifacts in the world, a
collection comprising over 3,000 artifacts, 2,000 films
and videotapes, 5,000 photographs, 2,000 linear feet of
catalogued documentation and gigabytes of software."
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For further information write to The Computer
Museum History Center, Building T-12A, Moffett Federal
Airfield, Mountain View, California, USA. 94035.
Historical Computer Society
The Historical Computer Society was founded by
Tamara Greelish and David A. Greelish who is the
director and editor. The society publishes a quarterly
magazine called Historically Brewed. The first issue was
August/September 1993. The magazine headline states
"Since 1993 — What's New in What's Old! --The
Enthusiast's Magazine of Computer History Nostalgia."
The society encountered difficulties in 1996, and the
last issue of Historically Brewed was Issue #9.
The International Business Machines (IBM)
Corporation established IBM Archives as a separate
department in 1974. The Archives primary mission is to
preserve materials documenting the history and evolution
of IBM and its predecessor companies. The holdings have
limited information on items after 1982.
For further information contact IBM Archives, 400
Columbus Avenue, Valhalla, New York, USA. 10595
Intel Corporation established the Intel Museum in
Santa Clara, California in February 1992 . The museum
naturally concentrates on Intel history and has
interactive video and real-time automated displays.
Exhibits describe how semiconductor chips are made and
For further information contact: Intel Museum,
Robert Noyce Building, 2200 Mission College Boulevard,
Santa Clara, California, USA. CA 95052-8119. The phone
number is (408) 765-0503.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in
California has a Computer Museum with a collection of
early computers. Some of those computers are: Control
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Data 660, Cray-1, DEC PDP-8, DEC PDP-10 and Commodore
Additional information can be obtained from
Lawrence Livermore Computer Museum, Pod F North, 1401
Almond Avenue, Livermore, California, USA. CA 94550.
Motorola Museum of Electronics
Motorola founded the museum in September 1991. The
museum traces the history of the company and its
products. It has historical exhibits, audiovisual
displays and interactive computer displays .
For further information contact: Motorola Museum
of Electronics, 1297 East Algonquin Road, Schaumburg,
Illinois, USA. 60196-1065. The phone number is (847)
National Museum of American History
The Smithsonian Institution' s National Museum of
American History, has a number of historical computers
in its collection. Some of the significant early
mainframe computers and minicomputers are: CRAY-1,
ENIAC, Harvard Mark 1, UNIVAC and the DEC PDP-8. The
personal computer holdings include: Apple I and II
computers, Altair 8800 and other S-100 bus
microcomputers, IBM PC, Apple Macintosh, Osborne 1, Sun-
2 workstation, TRS-8 and Xerox Alto. An Information Age
permanent exhibition displays a number of these
computers, communications technology and interactive
workstations are provided for use by visitors.
For further information contact Jon Eklund,
Curator of Computer Technology, American Museum of
American History, Smithsonian Institution, , Washington,
USA. DC 20560. The phone number is (202) 357-2828.
Stanford University Libraries
The Stanford University Libraries acquired the
historical collections of Apple Computer, Inc., in
November 1997. The collection includes books, documents,
hardware, memorabilia, periodicals, software and
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other historical organizations are being started.
Some of these are the Computer History Association of
Delaware, Computer History Association of Iowa and
Cornell University Classic Computer Club.
19.4 — Retailers and Software Distributors
Arrowhead Computer Co. —The Computer Store
This was the first personal computer store and was
founded by Dick Heiser in West Los Angeles, California
in July 1975. He was a dealer for Altair microcomputers.
Paul Terrell became the MITS Altair 8800
representative for Northern California in 1975 and
founded Byte Shop's in December. The Byte Shop store
opened in Mountain View, California and by 197 6 he had
76 retail stores around the country. Terrell gave Steve
Jobs an order for 50 Apple I microcomputer boards in
April 1976. This led eventually to the founding of Apple
Mike Henochowicz and Errol Jacobson founded a
software store called Soft Warehouse Inc., in 1984. The
company then started opening superstores and selling
computer hardware. In 1991, the company went public and
changed its name to CompUSA Inc. The two founders left
around this time. James F. Halpin became president and
chief executive officer of what is now the largest
personal computer products retailer in the USA. In 1998,
the company started providing custom-built personal
computers and purchased the Computer City chain of
stores from Tandy.
Computer Mart was the first computer retail store
in New York and was founded by Stanley Veit in February
1976. Computer Mart sold Apple Computer, IMSAI ,
Processor Technology Sol, SwTPC and other computers. It
also had a large selection of magazines and books.
Other Companies, Organizations and People 19/11
Subsequently a number of other stores opened in other
parts of the USA with the same name, but different
owners. They had an informal association then a company
called XYZ Corporation was formed to enable consolidated
purchasing and coordinate assistance. However changing
market conditions resulted in the store closing in 1979.
William H. Millard founded Computer Shack in
September 1976 and the first president was Edward Faber.
The company franchised personal computer retail stores
which at the beginning emphasized the IMSAI 8080
microcomputer. However due to threatened litigation by
Tandy Corporation for encroaching on the Radio Shack
trade name, the name was changed to ComputerLand in
The first franchised store opened in February 1977
in Morristown, New Jersey. By 1984 it was an
international chain of approximately 700 franchised
However in 1984 litigation over a convertible loan
to IMS Associates (a holding company for ComputerLand)
resulted in Millard losing 20 percent of the ownership.
Millard then relinquished control of ComputerLand and
moved to the Pacific island of Saipan in the spring of
However by 1994 ComputerLand had financial
problems. This resulted in the franchise and
distribution portions of ComputerLand being sold to the
Merisel, Inc., for close to $100 million. Merisel is a
dominant distributor of hardware and software.
This was a retail computer store organization
founded by Dick Brown and Sid Harrigan in 1975. It had
the entire USA East Coast distribution rights for Altair
Lifeboat Associates was founded by Larry Alcoff
and Tony Gold. The company became a major distributor of
software in the late 1970 's. One of the early major
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products was the CP/M operating system. They also
developed modified versions of CP/M for North Star
Computers and other floppy disk drive systems. After the
release of the IBM PC computer the company also became a
distributor for Microsoft MS DOS. Lifeboat renamed the
operating system SB-86 (Software Bus 86) .
Robert Sherwin Leff started a software
distribution company called Robwin in April 1980. Robwin
is a contraction of Left's first and middle names. In
the summer of that year he formed a partnership with
David Wagman and in January 1981 the company name was
changed to Softsel Computer Products . Softsel became one
of the world' s largest distributors of personal computer
software during the 1980' s. The company acguired
Microamerica in 1990, a major hardware distributor, and
changed the corporate name to Merisel, Inc.
Dan Fylstra and Peter Jennings founded Personal
Software, Inc. in February 1978. The company started
initially by marketing a game developed by Jennings
called Microchess and other game programs. Personal
Software marketed personal computer software in a manner
similar to book publishers. He would acguire the rights
of software from the developer and add sophisticated
marketing and distribution. A significant agreement in
1979, was for the distribution rights for VisiCalc as
developed by Daniel Bricklin and Robert Frankston of
Software Arts. The Personal Software company name was
changed to VisiCorp in early 1982.
Was founded by George Tate and Hal Lashlee in 1980
as a discount mail-order software service.
Other Companies, Organizations and People 19/13
19.5 — Networks and Services
The concept of the CIE (Community Information
Exchange) Net was introduced by Mike Wilber at the First
West Coast Computer Faire in April 1977. Wilber proposed
this early telecommunications network for personal
computer users, as a means of exchanging programs and
files of data.
A short local area network developed at the Xerox
PARC (Palo Alto Research Center) for the Alto research
computer in late 1973. Two of the principals in the
development were Robert Metcalfe and David Boggs . It is
a multi-access broadcast system used to link many
computer systems with a single coaxial cable. The
control of access is by a system called CSMA/CD (Carrier
Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection) . Xerox
released Ethernet for use outside the corporation in
The Internet evolved from the U.S. Government
ARPANET as described in Section 2.6 and a sister network
funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for
academic purposes, called the NSFnet. U.S. Government
funding was terminated for the ARPANET in 1989 and for
the NSFnet in April 1995. This resulted in the emergence
of commercial networks that became loosely known as the
Internet is a global network of more than 34,000
smaller networks, public and private. The number of
users worldwide was estimated to be 304 million by the
U.S. Department of Commerce in March 2000. The network
uses the TCP/IP (Transport Control Protocol/Interface
Program) software specifications. TCP/IP was developed
by the U.S. Department of Defense for communications
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ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network)
ISDN was introduced in the mid 1980 's to combine
voice and data with about 2 times the throughput.
After the West Coast Computer Faire in April 1911,
Dave Caulkins organized a group to design a net which
became known as PCNET (Personal Computer NETwork) .
UseNet (for "Users network") is a collection of
UNIX systems that is a public forum for the exchange of
ideas and news articles. A group for computer historians
worldwide is accessed by: alt . folklore . coirputers .
World Wide Web
Tim Berners-Lee started developing the concepts
for the World Wide Web (WWW) for application to the
Internet at CERN in Switzerland, in 198 9. CERN is an
acronym for Conceil Europeen pour la Researche
Nucleaire, (the international council which started the
laboratory) . CERN is now known as the European Particle
Physics Laboratory. He had previously developed a
personal hypertext program called Enquire in 1980. The
World Wide Web evolved from a desire to link in a
hypertext manner similar to the capabilities of his
Enquire program, information resources at CERN and other
laboratories around the world. The information resources
included graphics, sound, text and video. Berners-Lee
designed the hypertext markup language (HTML) for
encoding documents, the hypertext transfer protocol
(HTTP) and the universal resource locator (URL) for
addressing documents (the WWW. whatever system) . This
became the basis for a global hypertext system that
Berners-Lee named the World Wide Web (WWW) .
The WWW program was released to a limited number
of NeXT computer users at CERN in March 1991 and for
NeXT users outside CERN in August. The program was then
converted for other computer users and demonstrated in
San Antonio, Texas in December 1991. This resulted in an
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increasing number of users during 1992 and the following
Stephen M. Case first got involved with an on-line
service for Atari games in 1983, at a company called
Control Video Corporation. The company started to
encounter financial difficulties in 1984. This resulted
in Case and entrepreneur James V. Kimsey obtaining
control of the company and changing its name to Quantum
Computer Services in 1985. Quantum arranged distribution
and marketing agreements with Apple Computer, Commodore,
IBM and Tandy to bundle Quantum' s on-line service called
Q-Link with their computers. In 1989, the company
introduced a new service called America Online. Then in
October 1991, the company changed its name to America
Online (AOL) , Inc., and went public in March 1992 with
187,000 subscribers. By 1997, AOL had more than 8
million subscribers and had become a dominant on-line
In September 1997, AOL and a telephone company
called WorldCom, signed a three-way agreement. This
resulted in WorldCom purchasing CompuServe, an exchange
whereby AOL obtained the 2 to 3 million CompuServe
subscribers and WorldCom obtained AOL' s Internet
division, and AOL committed to a long-term phone pact
with WorldCom. AOL is now the largest on-line service
provider with about 14 million subscribers .
AOL acguired Netscape Communications Corporation
for $4.2 billion in November 1998. AOL also signed at
the same time, a licensing and marketing agreement with
Sun Microsystems Inc. The company wanted to dramatically
step up its Web presence by using Netscape's Web sites
Jeffrey Wilkins founded CompuServe Corporation as
a computer service to an insurance company in 1970.
Wilkins expanded the company into a computer time
sharing service to provide personal computer users
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access to large data banks of information in 1978 . This
new service was named MicroNET. It also became a popular
means whereby computer users could exchange information
via bulletin boards.
The company was acguired by H & R Block Inc., and
the service name changed from MicroNET to CompuServe
Information Services in 1980. The company provided a
diverse range of services which included: bulletin
board, business data, computer technology information,
educational reference, electronic mall shopping,
entertainment, home and health, money markets, news and
weather, sports and travel.
By 1997, CompuServe was encountering difficulties
and was losing market share to companies such as America
Online and Microsoft. This resulted in the company being
sold to WorldCom in September.
General Videotex Corporation started an on-line
service named Delphi in 1982. To expand the service.
General Videotex purchased the Byte magazine BIX (Byte
Information Exchange) on-line service in January 1992.
Dow Jones News/Retrieval
The Dow Jones News/Retrieval service was provided
by Dow Jones and Company Inc.
GEnie is an on-line service started by the General
Electric Company in 1985. GEnie is an acronym for
"General Electric network for information exchange."
The Prodigy Services Company was founded in 1984
by CBS, IBM and Sears, Roebuck and Company. CBS withdrew
its investment in Prodigy in 198 7.
The Telecomputing Corporation of America was
founded by William von Meister in 1979. The company
provided an on-line information service for personal and
business users called The Source. The Reader ' s Digest
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organization purchased the company in 1981. Then The
Source was purchased by CompuServe and its subscribers
merged that service in 1989.
19.6 — Associations
ACE (Advance Computing Environment)
ACE was founded in April 1991 by twenty companies
led by Compaq, DEC, Microsoft, MIPS Computer Systems and
the Santa Cruz Operation. The alliance was formed to
develop a new standard for an "advanced computing
environment." The consortium's intent was to develop
compliant systems that would accommodate Microsoft's
object oriented operating system, RISC personal
computers and UNIX operating systems . However Compaq
left the ACE initiative in April 1992.
APDA (Apple Programmer's and Developer's Association)
Apple Computer and the A.P.P.L.E. (Apple
Pugetsound Program Library Exchange) user group
sponsored the founding of the Apple Programmer's and
Developer's Association (APDA) in August 1985. Apple
Computer promoted the founding of APDA initially to
disseminate Macintosh computer technical information for
outside software development. The organization provides
up-to-date technical information and preliminary
material from Apple Computer. Apple Computer assumed
full control of APDA in December 1988.
DMTF (Desktop Management Task Force)
DMTF was formed in 1992 to develop a common
framework for managing PC computer systems . The founders
were Digital Equipment Corporation, Hewlett-Packard,
IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Novell, SunSoft and SynOptics
Communications. The group developed the Desktop
Management Interface (DMI) specification for desktop
hardware and software in March 1974. It is also
developing a Management Information Format (MIF) that
will act as a central database for DMI .
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EIA (Electronic Industries Association)
The EIA is a North American standards organization
for computer equipment. A popular standard is RS-232C
for connecting computers to modems and terminals .
ICC (International Color Consortium)
The ICC was formed in March 1994 by Adobe, Agfa,
Apple Computer, Kodak, Microsoft, Silicon Graphics, Sun
Microsystems and Taligent. The consortium was formed to
establish a common device profile format for color.
MIC (Microfloppy Industry Committee)
MIC was an association of over 30 companies that
was formed in May 1982 to establish a microfloppy media
standard. This committee was responsible for the
adoption of the 3.5-inch hard-cartridge disk standard in
Microcomputer Industry Trade Association
This association was founded in 1979.
OSF (Open Software Foundation)
The Open Software Foundation (OSF) was an
organization of initially seven companies that was
formed in May 1988. The foundation which included the
Digital Equipment Corporation, Hewlett-Packard and IBM
was formed to develop a unified UNIX operating system
standard independent of AT&T. It was a reaction to the
alliance formed in April 198 8 between AT&T and Sun
Microsystems to develop a unified UNIX system.
Since the release of UNIX in 1969, many different
versions of the operating system had been developed by
various organizations. The different versions had unique
characteristics that affected the portability of the
operating system and inhibited the development of
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Apple Computer, IBM and Motorola made an early
announcement of the formation of the PowerPC Alliance in
July 1991, followed by a final agreement in October. The
companies formed the alliance to jointly develop new
emerging technologies. Five of the joint initiatives
were microprocessor technology, object-oriented
technology, multimedia technology, interconnectivity and
networking to provide an open systems environment. IBM
and Motorola agreed to jointly develop a broad range of
microprocessors based on IBM's POWER architecture.
Apple and IBM agreed to form a joint venture
company called Taligent that would develop a new
operating system. Joseph M. Guglielmi who had been an
IBM executive on the OfficeVision and OS/2 software
development, was selected to head the new Taligent
company in early 1992 . The new operating system would be
based on object-oriented design principles incorporated
in the Apple Computer Pink project.
Apple and IBM also agreed to form another joint
venture company called Kaleida to develop multimedia
technologies . Nathaniel Goldhaber who had worked with
Apple Computer on new multimedia technology was selected
to head the new Kaleida company in mid 1992.
The three companies also agreed to develop a
PowerOpen environment project for support of IBM AIX and
Macintosh applications. Finally Apple and IBM agreed to
develop solutions that would allow their systems to
interact more effectively.
Software Publishers Association
The Software Publishers Association (SPA) is an
organization representing individual software
developers . It was founded to promote and protect the
rights of software publishers. It has a special interest
in the illicit copying of software products. The SPA
merged with another association in January 1999, to form
the Software & Information Industry Association.
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VESA (Video Electronics Standards Association)
VESA is a group of companies who have organized to
establish industry standards for video cards and
19.7 — Other Companies and People
The following provides information on companies
and people of significance in the personal computer
industry, that have not been detailed previously in the
Amazon Inc., was founded by Jeffrey Bezos in July
1994 as an online Internet bookstore. The website became
operational in July 1995. It has since expanded its
products to include items such as: compact disks,
computer products and auctions. In 1998 it had sales of
$610 million. The November 29, 1999 issue of Forbes
magazine estimated Bezos' s wealth at $7.3 billion. Then
in the December 27 issue of Time magazine, he was
featured on the cover as "Person of the Year."
Kwok Yuen Ho, Lee Lau and Benny Lau founded ATI
Technologies Inc. in Toronto, Canada in 1985. ATI went
public in November 1993. Ho is the chief executive
officer of the company that is now a leading producer of
desktop graphics systems .
Brother International Corporation is a leading
supplier of fax machines, labeling devices, printers and
word processors. Hiromi Gun j i became the chairman,
president and chief executive officer in 198 6.
Other Companies, Organizations and People 19/21
Cisco Systems, Inc., was founded in 1984 by
Leonard Bosack, Sandra Lerner and three colleagues Kirk
Lougheed, Greg Satz and Bill Westfield. The company is a
market leader in the networking industry. The products
are data routers, network software, servers and
switches . The company received financing from venture
capitalist Donald Valentine' s company Seguoia Capital in
1988. Valentine purchased controlling interest in the
company and hired John P. Morgridge as president and
chief executive officer. In 1990, the company went
public and Bosack and Lerner left the company. Morgridge
became chairman in 1995 and John T. Chambers who had
joined the company in 1991, succeeded him as president
and CEO. Cisco has acguired numerous companies since
1993 and has become a dominant supplier of products for
the Internet. This has also resulted in Cisco attaining
a market capitalization in 2000, as the most valuable
company in the world.
Computer Intelligence Infocorp is a computer
market research unit of the Ziff-Davis Publishing
Dataguest is a subsidiary of the Gartner Group
Inc. The company is a dominant supplier of information
technology research. It provides forecasts, market
analysis, statistics and summaries of research to
Pierre Omidyar founded AuctionWeb in the fall of
1995, that shortly after became eBay Inc. In early 1996,
Omidyar brought in Jeff Skoll: a friend and Stanford
M.B.A. as a partner. Meg Whitman who was a marketing
executive, was also recruited as the chief executive
officer in early 1998 . The company had become very
successful and went public in September 1998 .
19/22 PartV Bits and Bytes
victor Aldhadeff founded Egghead Discount Software
in Bellevue, Washington in 1984. Aldhadeff made buying
software a more friendly experience. The company
subseguently became Egghead, Inc., and went public in
1988. A rapid expansion to 112 stores led to financial
losses and Aldhadef f ' s resignation in 1989. Egghead
closed all its physical stores in 1989 and now sells
exclusively through the Internet. Terence M. Strom is
now the president and chief executive officer.
Bill Atkinson, Andy Hertzfeld and Marc Porat
founded General Magic in 1990. The company developed an
operating system called Magic Cap for personal digital
assistants (PDA's) .
Joseph J. Cayre was a principal in the founding of
GT Interactive Software Corporation in 1992. The company
is a major publisher of game software and became a
public company in 1995.
Adrian Carmack, John Carmack, Tom Hall and John
Romeo founded id Software, Inc., in 1990. The company
develops game software and uses shareware to release the
David Sun and John Tu founded Kingston Technology
Corporation in 1987. The company is a major supplier of
memory enhancement chip clusters and other personal
computer peripherals .
Daniel Borel and Pierluigi Zappacosta met at
Stanford University and founded Logitech International
SA in 1981. The company obtained the rights to a Swiss-
designed mouse in 1981 and is now a major producer of
mice and other computer input devices.
Other Companies, Organizations and People 19/23
Michael Mauldin developed a search engine
algorithm for gathering data and information on the
World Wide Web. CMG@Ventures bought the rights to
Mauldin' s technology and founded Lycos Inc. in 1995. The
company name is derived from the wolf family of spiders
that Mauldin compared his algorithm to. Lycos owns a
network of related but separate Web sites and has become
a popular portal for Internet users. Robert Davis is the
chief executive officer and the company went public in
Macromedia, Inc., is a multimedia software company
formed in 1992 from the merger of three other companies.
John C. Colligan is the chairman, president and chief
Micronics Computers, Inc., makes motherboards for
original eguipment manufacturers. Dean Chang, Minsiu
Huang and Harvey Wong founded the company in 198 6.
Paul Alien Group
Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, founded
the Paul Allen Group in March 1994, as an umbrella
organization for his various ventures. Vern Raburn, who
had also been at Microsoft, became the president and
chief executive officer. One of his ventures is the
Asymetrix Corporation that he founded in 1985 to create
multimedia development software.
Steven P. Jobs founded Pixar Animation Studios
after purchasing the computer-graphics division of
Lucasfilm for $10 million in 1986. Pixar developed a
highly successful computer-animated film called Toy
Story in 1995. The film was created using software
systems also developed by Pixar.
19/24 PartV Bits and Bytes
PointCast Inc., was founded in 1992 as a company
that delivers information and news through the Internet.
The company introduced PointCast Network in 1996. The
chief executive officer is Christopher R. Hassett.
Systems Applications Products (SAP) is a German
software company founded in April 1972 . The company was
founded by former IBM system engineers Hans-Werner
Hector, Dietmar Hopp, Hasso Plattner, Klaus Tschira and
Claus Wellenreuther . Its first product was a financial
accounting system called R/1. Following this a mainframe
version called R/2 was released and subseguently a more
extensive version called R/3 was released. SAP went
public in 1988 and is now one of the world's largest
software companies .
Olin B. King and two associates founded Space
Craft, Inc. in 1961 and subsequently renamed the company
SCI Systems, Inc. The company initially specialized in
contract engineering and electronic systems for the U.S.
space industry. In the 1970' s SCI produced sub-
assemblies for IBM terminals and in 1981 they began
building circuit boards for the IBM Personal Computer.
In 1984, the company started producing complete personal
computers for other companies that resold them under
their own label. SCI Systems is not a well known
personal computer company. It is however, a major
computer technology company.
Softbank Corporation was founded by Masayoshi Son
in 1981. The company is the largest distributor of
software in Japan. Softbank acquired COMDEX shows in
1995 and Ziff-Davis Publishing Company in early 1996.
Other Companies, Organizations and People 19/25
An Wang founded Wang Laboratories, Inc., in 1951.
The company became one of the largest suppliers of
dedicated screen-based word processing systems in the
mid 1970' s. However, it did not make a successful
transition to personal computers, and the appointment of
his oldest son as president in 1986 aggravated the
problems at the company. The company then began to
encounter severe financial difficulties in the late
1980' s that resulted in it filing for bankruptcy
protection in mid 1992. The company is now focusing on
software and systems consulting and management.
Stewart Alsop is a columnist for the Fortune
magazine and runs a fall computer industry conference
called Agenda. He is also a partner in a venture capital
John Brockman and his partner Katinka Matson
developed a successful New York literary agency called
Brockman, Inc., in the 1970' s. In 1983, Brockman
announced a transition in his company to also be a
software agency. He represented software developers in
the marketing of software to major New York publishers.
Brockman is also the author of a number of books that
includes Dlgeratl : Encounters with the Cyber Elite
Esther Dyson was a New York security analyst who
joined Ben Rosen's investment company and took over the
management of his Rosen Electronics Letter. In the early
1980' s, during the time Ben Rosen became the chairman of
Compaq Computer Corporation and a director of Lotus
Development Corporation, Dyson purchased the newsletter
and renamed it Release 1.0. She is editor of the monthly
newsletter and runs an annual spring conference called
19/26 PartV Bits and Bytes
PC Forum. These and other activities place Dyson in a
significant role in the communication and dissemination
of information related to the personal computer
Donald E. Knuth is a scholar noted for his major
contributions to computer technology. His multi-volume
text entitled The Art of Coiaputer Programming has
received wide acclaim.
Nicholas Negroponte is a founder and director of
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media
Laboratory. The laboratory is focusing on the study and
experimentation of future forms of human and computer
communication. In 1992, Negroponte co-founded the Wired
magazine of which he is a senior columnist. Negroponte
is also the author of being digital  .
Ann Winblad is the co-founder of a venture capital
company specializing in start-up software firms. She has
also been a friend of Bill Gates for a number of years .