Computer history - 1980

Updated: 02/04/2024 by Computer Hope

Major computer events in 1980

MS-DOS logo

IBM hired Paul Allen and Bill Gates to create an operating system for a new PC (personal computer). The pair bought the rights to a simple operating system manufactured by Seattle Computer Products and used it as a template. IBM allowed the two to keep the marketing rights to the operating system, called DOS.

New computer products and services introduced in 1980

On January 3, 1980, Hewlett-Packard introduced its HP-85 (codename Project Capricorn). The microcomputer had 16 KB of RAM (random-access memory), a 32 KB ROM, a 5-inch CRT (cathode ray tube) display, a built-in printer, tape drive, and keyboard, and was sold for $3,250.

IBM introduced the IBM 3081 processor, the company's most powerful to date, which features Thermal Conduction Modules.

IBM developed the experimental IBM 801, based on the RISC (reduced instruction set computing) architecture developed by IBM researcher John Cocke.

IBM introduced the Distributed Office System, which expands the information processing capability of the IBM 8100 to include text and word processing.

IBM released the 5120, a new desktop computer.

IBM announced the Displaywriter, a low-cost, easy-to-use desktop text processing system.

Colombia Data Products introduced the Commander 900 series PC.

The first Tandy Color computer was introduced.

The Commodore VIC-20 was introduced in 1980.

The HP 2680A was the first laser printer introduced by HP (Hewlett-Packard) in 1980. The printer was for office use with a price of about $100,000.

Intel released the 8087 math coprocessor.

The programming language FORTRAN (Formula Translation) 77 was created.

Pac-man eating small dots.

Namco released Pac-Man as an arcade game in Japan on May 22, 1980, and later in the United States in October 1980. Pac-Man is considered one of the highest revenue generating video games of all time, bringing in over $2.5 billion as of the 1990s. Its popularity spawned over 30 licensed spin-offs on multiple gaming systems and computer platforms.

The V.22 modem standard was introduced in 1980.

VLSI (very-large-scale integration) chips began being developed.

The first hard drive to have a storage capacity of one gigabyte was developed by IBM in 1980. It weighed 550-pounds and cost $40,000.

The field of quantum computing was formally introduced in 1980 by Yuri Manin.

Computer and technology-related events in 1980

The MS-DOS Epoch time was set to start on January 1, 1980.

ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) experienced the first major network crash, causing it to go down for four hours on October 27, 1980.

Microsoft licensed Unix and started to develop a PC version, Xenix.

Dynamic routing started to be used.

Computer companies and organizations founded in 1980

Microtek was founded on October 23, 1980.

Actian was founded in 1980.

AST was founded in 1980.

ELSA Technology was founded in 1980.

FASA Corporation was founded in 1980.

FIC was founded in 1980.

Dish Network was founded in 1980.

Integrated Device Technology was founded in 1980.

Iomega was established in 1980.

Quantum was founded in 1980.

Harman was founded in 1980.

Micro Solutions was founded in 1980.

Microcom was founded in 1980.

PSION was founded in 1980.

Michael Aldrich developed a system called Redifon's Office Revolution in March 1980, connecting sales companies, suppliers, and customers together. A type of online shopping available before Internet online shopping was available.

The Learning Company was founded in 1980.

TriGem was founded in 1980.

Computer company events in 1980

IBM hired Microsoft to develop versions of BASIC, FORTRAN, COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language), and Pascal for the PC being developed by IBM.

Steve Ballmer joined Microsoft on June 11, 1980, and became Microsoft's 30th employee, the first business manager hired by Bill Gates.

Atari became the first company to register a Copyright for two computer games "Asteroids" and "Lunar Lander" on June 17, 1980.

The Ashton-Tate Corporation purchased Vulcan in 1980 that would later become dBase.

On-Line Systems became Sierra On-Line in 1980.

Computer-related TV shows and movies released in 1980

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back was released on May 21, 1980.

Computer pioneers born in 1980

Andrew Baron

Andrew Baron was born on March 31, 1980.

Rob Kalin was born on April 11, 1980.

Shawn Fanning was born on November 22, 1980.

Computer pioneer deaths in 1980

Oliver Standingford

Oliver Standingford passed away in 1980 (Age: 67-68).

John Mauchly passed away on January 8, 1980 (Age: 73).

Klaus Samelson passed away on May 25, 1980 (Age: 62).

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