Chronology of Events
Last updated: 1998 June 04.
History of Microcomputers
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Intel's MMX is the biggest advance in
PC processors since the 386. Not a new chip, but a new technology that
will be applied across Intel's entire line of CPUs, MMX speeds up key multimedia
and communications operations using a new set of 57 processors instructions.
The Pentium MMX chip also has a 32K cache instead of the ordinary Pentium's
16K, delivering a substantial processing speed boost with any application.
Six big names have started selling MMX system: Micron, Dell, Packard Bell,
NEC, Toshiba, and Gateway 2000. These heavy hitters all had their own spin
on next-generation multimedia hardware.
January 7, 1997, 3 p.m. PT
SAN FRANCISCO--Apple Computer (AAPL)
will raise the stakes in the performance battle with nemesis Intel later
this year by introducing a 500-MHz Macintosh. As previously reported by
CNET, the system will use a processor
from Exponential Technology, a company that rose from obscurity to make
headlines last year when it announced plans to manufacture a 500-MHz chip.
Apple is in fact a major investor in Exponential and the two have been
doing joint development work on the chip, dubbed the X704. Exponential
is planning to ship its X704 processors in the second quarter running at
466-, 500-, and 533-MHz.
Gateway acquires assets of AMIGA Technologies, GmbH
NORTH SIOUX CITY, S.D., March 27, 1997 - Gateway
2000, Inc. (Nasdaq: GATE) today announced that the company has made
an offer to acquire the assets of AMIGA Technologies including all patents,
trademarks and trade names. The company is a subsidiary of ESCOM AG, a
German-based computer company that went into bankruptcy in July of 1996.
AMIGA led the industry in combining computer graphics, animation, and film
sequences with stereo sound known today as multimedia.
The offer has been accepted by the court-appointed Administrator in
Bankruptcy in Germany acting on behalf of AMIGA. The agreement is subject
to regulatory approval.
"This acquisition is good news for Gateway and customers of AMIGA,"
said Rick Snyder, president and CEO of Gateway
2000. "It will strengthen our intellectual property position and invigorate
a company that has been a pioneer in multimedia solutions and operating
AMIGA Technologies will be renamed AMIGA International. The company
will operate as a separate business unit and will retain its current president,
Petro Tyschtschenko, who will work to develop new products for the AMIGA
"Gateway 2000 will give us
new life and energy for the future," said Tyschtschenko.
Intel is shipping new samples of its
MMX-capable Pentium II processor to vendors and system board manufacturers
with some samples capable of running at 300 MHz.
April 2, 1997 AMD announced 166-, 200-,
and 233-MHz versions of its long-awaited K6 CPU today, a competitor to
Intel's forthcoming Pentium II and Pentium 233-MMX processors.
Microsoft buys WebTV for US$425
Intel launched (May 7, 1997) its new
Pentium II processor.
Exponential Technologies, the maker of high-performance processors slated
for Macintosh computers, is closing its PowerPC operations. Announcement
that the company was laying off 25 percent of its workforce and only days
after Apple Computer (AAPL) executives said they will not use Exponential's
X704 processor in any systems for the foreseeable future.
Digital Equipment files a lawsuit against
Intel, claiming infringement of 10 Digital
Equipment patents in Intel's Pentium
Pro and Pentium II processors.
Netscape release internet communicator 4.0.
Steve Jobs sells 1.5 million shares of Apple
Computer stock, that he received in December as part of Apple
Computer's purchase of his NeXT Software.
Microsoft invests US$1 billion in
ComCast, a venture to provide speedy web access via cable lines.
Compaq Computer buys Tandem Computers
for US$3 billion.
Microsoft invest $150,000,000.00
US in Apple Computer Microsoft
also agreed that when it makes major software releases in the future,
it will release both Windows and Macintosh versions of the products simultaneously
Microsoft also agreed by the end of this year to issue a Macintosh version
of its Office 98 software and committed to release Macintosh versions of
Office for the next 5 years. In exchange, Apple will make Microsoft's Internet
Explorer the default Internet browser on its computers.
Motorola announces the StarMax 6000 Macintosh-compatible system.
Microsoft Corp. released InternetExplorer
Next-Generation Internet. In a move that could cast shadows on the
next-generation Internet 2, both houses of Congress have voted to
slash fiscal 1998 funding for the project.(The House voted for $78 million
and the Senate for only $35 million). Just as the current Internet once
was, the Internet 2 is initially targeted to serve universities
and research institutions that need a higher-speed, less trafficked, and
more capable version of the Internet. As Internet usage has skyrocketed
to include far more people than those at such organizations, the need for
a smaller-scale, research-focused, private Internet has increased. Over
100 organizations and the U.S. government are financially backing the Internet
Quote by Aberdeen Group Inc.'s research analyst Mark Peabody: "The only
influence Netscape has is with the web heads who are coding at 2 o-clock
in the morning with 10 Cokes in front of them.".
Steve Jobs is named interim CEO of Apple Computer.
SANTA CLARA, Calif., Oct. 9, 1997 -- Intel
Corporation announced today that the first member of its new family
of 64-bit microprocessors, code named Mercedô, is scheduled for
production in 1999. The processor will be produced on Intelís 0.18 micron
process technology, which is currently under development. The Merced processor
will extend the Intel Architecture with new levels of performance and features
for servers and workstations. Merced processors will run all the software
that currently operates on 32-bit Intel processor-based machines.
Apple Power Mac 6500 is released. A
300-MHz 603e processor, a 50-MHz system bus, and 512 KB of L2 cache clocked
at 50 MHz.. It's 64 MB of RAM. For storage, it has 5-GB hard drive, a 12X
SCSI CD-ROM drive, and a 100-MB Iomega
Zip drive. A 33.6-Kbps modem. Video is ATI 3D Rage II+. All that for $3000.00
Motorola exits from the Macintosh-compatible market.
Intel and Digital Equipment settle their lawsuits with a ten-year patent
license agreement, among other things.
The U.S. justice department asks a federal court to hold Microsoft in contempt
because it may be forcing PC makers to distribute Internet Explorer as
a condition of selling Windows 95.
On November 10, IBM announced the world's
highest capacity desktop PC disk drive with new breakthrough technology
called Giant Magnetoresistive (GMR) heads. Pioneered by scientists at IBM
Research, GMR heads will be used in IBM's new Deskstar 16GP, a 16.8-gigabyte
drive that holds eight times more information than today's average desktop
hard drive. The new drive can hold 8 hours of full-motion video (MPEG-2
quality video) or information that when printed fills more than 16 pickup
trucks. No bigger than the head of a pin, the GMR head is a major advancement
over the previous technology called a magnetoresistive head. The GMR head
is the world's most sensitive sensor for reading computer data on hard
drive products. With it, Deskstar 16GP brings high-powered workstation
capacity and performance to the average desktop PC user.
Seagate Technology ships its 100 millionth disc drive, a Seagate Medalist
2.5 GB 3.5-inch hard drive. The drive is presented to the Tech Museum of
Innovation in California.
Sun Microsystems takes legal action against Microsoft for shipping Internet
Explorer 4.0 with a non-standard implementation of Java.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson stunned the industry by ruling
that software giant Microsoft must license its Windows 95 operating system
to PC makers without requiring them to also take the Microsoft Internet
Jan. 26, 1998--Intel Corporation introduced the 333 MHz Pentium II processor.
The 333 MHz processor is also the first Pentium II processor built on Intel's
advanced 0.25 micron process technology.
February 4, IBM researchers announced they have demonstrated the world's
first experimental CMOS microprocessor that can operate at one billion
cycles per second (1000 MHz or 1 GHz).
A standard for 56-Kbps modems is approved by the International Telecommunication
Union (ITU). The V.90 standard resolves the battle between the two competing
56 Kbps technologies -- X2 from 3COM and K56flex from Rockwell Semiconductor.
Both manufacturers have announced that their future modems will conform
Intel introduced the Pentium II 350MHz
and 400Mhz. and also the Celeron, the first to support a 100 megahertz
internal PC bus.
Apple Computer unveiled a $1, 299 Jetson-like computer aimed at consumers
called the iMac, it's an all-in-one system, with only an external keyboard,
and a built-in 15-inch monitor. The computer, has a 233 megahertz
PowerPC chip and comes with 32 megabytes of memory, a 4-gigabyte hard drive,
a built-in CD-ROM drive and built-in speakers. It does not have a floppy
drive. It comes in a dual-toned aqua and clear plastic enclosure, with
a carrying handle at the top, much like the old Macs.
May 18, 1998 -- Attorneys General from 20 states and the District of Columbia
filed an antitrust lawsuit today in Washington, D.C., alleging that the
Microsoft Corporation illegally
stifled competition, harmed consumers, and undercut innovation in the computer
software industry.The States asked the Court to conduct a hearing and then
issue a preliminary injunction ordering Microsoft to provide its Windows
98 operating system either with no browser, or with alternative browsers
-- so that computer manufacturers and consumers could freely select the
browser of their choice.
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