Who Invented the Personal Computer? “Apple Was Literally Following Us Around”


It is quite sad how someone can gleefully erase people to highlight himself. Anyone believe a claim by Steve Jobs in 2001 that there was no personal computer in 1975?

Being literate in history should require knowing that by 1974 personal computers already were on the cover of popular magazines.

July 1974 magazine highlighting the personal computer.

It also is useful to know that the first Xerox Alto personal computer (from Palo Alto, where Woz worked and took many of his ideas to start Apple) had been operational in 1972 and introduced on 1 March 1973. Note the high resolution bitmapped graphical display and the mouse.

Source: Twitter @kenshirriff

What really seems to be obscured in that 2001 Steve Jobs interview, and why 1975 matters so much as a particular time, is Bill Mensch was able to create a layout completely by hand from the 6501 schematics and produce an inexpensive working CPU on his first try.

It begins at Motorola, where Chuck Peddle, Bill Mensch and several others were employed in the early 1970’s design the MC6800 processor and its peripherals. The 6800 was not a bad design, it was however, very expensive, a development board for it costing over $300. Chuck worked largely as the 6800 system architect, ensuring all the ICs worked well together and were what was needed to meet customers needs. He attended many calls to potential clients and noted that many were turned off by one thing, price. With that in mind he sought out to build a lower cost version of the 6800 using some of the newer processes available (specifically depletion mode NMOS vs the enhancement mode of the 6800). Motorola management wouldn’t hear it, they wanted nothing to do with a lower cost processor available to the masses. And with that, Chuck, Bill and over half the 6800 team left.

They ended up at MOS Technologies, which at the time was owned in large part by Allen/Bradley. It was there, at MOS under the direction of Chuck Peddle that the 6501/2 was borne.

THAT chip moment changed everything for the personal computer market (15% of the cost of an Intel 8080), which already existed. (Apple used the 6502 at the same time as Commodore. Who? Commodore, who in fact purchased MOS to save…

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