|History of Microcomputers 1997-1999
Last updated: 2002 March 05.
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January 7, 1997, 3 p.m. PT
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
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.
Apple Computer (AAPL)acquire NEXT software a Steve Jobs company, for $430
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 systems technology." 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 market.
"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
Microsoft buys WebTV for US$425 million.
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.
Apple Computer Introduces OS/8
Gilbert Amelio resigns as president, CEO, and chairman of Apple Computers.
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 4.0 software.
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 Merced™, is scheduled for production in 1999. The
processor will be produced on Intel’s 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 US.
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.
Compaq Computer announces its intent to buy Digital Equipment for US$9.6
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). IBM fellow Dr.
Mark E. Dean holds an experimental 1000 MHz CMOS microprocessor. (image)
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
Apple Computer ceases development of its Newton operating system and Newton
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.
Byte magazine was purchased by CMP Media Inc on May 29th, 1998. CMP Media
owns over 13 computer magazines, including Windows Magazine.
The Federal Trade Commission's administrative file a complaint before an
FTC Administrative Law Judge Against Intel Corp.
June 8, 1998--Intel Corporation today introduced the Intel(R) Celeron(TM)
processor 300 MHz, the second member of that processor family designed
to meet the core computing and affordability needs of the sub-$1,200 Basic
PC market segment.
June 23, 1998--The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Tuesday
overturned an injunction that had prohibited Microsoft from requiring computer
makers that license its Windows 95 operating system to also use its Microsoft
Internet Explorer browser. The Department of Justice sought the preliminary
injunction last October, and was granted it by U.S. District Judge Thomas
Penfield Jackson on Dec. 11. But the appeals court, by a 2-to-1 decision,
tossed out the earlier decision by the lower court, citing numerous
Windows 98 is finally released. It sports a few features that distinguish
it from Windows 95: it enables you to buy new TV tuner cards and watch
TV on your computer. The new Active Desktop still integrates the browser
directly with the OS (despite user polls that show that most people don't
want this feature). The courts set a date in September to see if this tactic
is legal, even though the OS ships on June 25.
Microsoft lashed back at the 20 state attorneys general pursuing the company,
filing a counter-lawsuit that says the states are violating its intellectual
property rights with their antitrust suit. In documents filed with a federal
court in Washington D.C., Microsoft charged that the states were acting
illegally by suing the company, and should be forced to pay Microsoft's
Apple introduces the iMac . The specs include
a 233-MHz PowerPC G3 processor with 512K of backside cache, 32 MB of RAM
(expandable to 128 MB), a 4 GB hard disk and a 24X CD-ROM; Jobs touts the
end result as being faster than a 400-MHz Pentium II. In addition to a
33.6 Kbps modem and 10/100BASE-T Ethernet, you get a pair of USB (Universal
Serial Bus) ports, an infra-red sensor, and stereo surround sound. In addition
to Mac OS 8.1, it'll ship with Internet Explorer 4.0, a new version of
America OnLine, Quicken 98, the rechristened AppleWorks (formerly ClarisWorks)
and FileMaker Pro 4.0.
Aug. 24, 1998--Intel Corporation today introduced the Pentium II processor
450 MHz, which is built around Intel's
industry-leading P6 microarchitecture and is supported by the Intel 440BX
AGPset, is also offered at 400, 350, 333, 300, 266 and 233 MHz speeds.
In 1,000-unit quantities, the Pentium II processor 450 MHz costs $669,
and is available today in systems from leading PC manufacturers. Boxed
Pentium II processors, SE440BX motherboards for PCs, and N440BX motherboards
for high-volume servers are now available from Intel product dealers and
The Intel Celeron processors are now offered at 333 MHz and 300A MHz speeds
(both with 128 KB of integrated L2 cache on the processor core), and the
300 MHz and 266 MHz speeds (without integrated L2 cache). In 1,000-unit
quantities, Intel Celeron processors 333 MHz and 300A MHz cost $192 and
$149, respectively. These processors are
supported by the Intel 440EX AGPset and are well-suited for a broad range
of Basic PC motherboard designs. Both processors are now available in systems
today from major PC manufacturers. Boxed Intel Celeron processors and the
accompanying MU440EX Micro ATX motherboards are also available from Intel
product dealers and resellers.
Oct. 6, 1998--Intel Corporation announced the fastest speed version of
its Pentium(R) II Xeon(TM) processor at 450 MHz,
designed for use in dual-processor (two-way) workstations and servers.
Microsoft shipped the next release of Windows CE software for handheld
PCs with a variety of new enhancements and support for a range of wireless
solutions. Known as the Microsoft Windows CE, Handheld Professional edition.
Formerly code-named Jupiter, the H/PC Pro Edition is based on the CE 2.11
OS and provides new hardware differentiation such as full-sized VGA displays.
Apple introduces Mac OS 8.5.
Windows NT 5.0 Gets a New Name: Windows 2000.
LinuxPPC 5.0, Linux for the PowerPC, is announced.
Red Hat Linux 5.2 is released.
IBM announced a 25GB hard drive.
November 24, 1998 -- America Online, Inc. (NYSE: AOL) announced that it
will acquire Netscape Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: NSCP) Netscape
common stock, was valued at $4.2 billion.
Apple updates Mac OS to Ver.8.5.1
Intel announces the 300-MHz and 266-MHz Mobile Celeron processors, for
Intel announces the 366-MHz Mobile Pentium II processor. It includes 256KB
L2 cache. Code name during development was Dixon.
Macworld Expo in San Francisco: The iMac for 1999 features increased processor
speed of 266 MHz, a 6-gigabyte drive (up from 4 gigabytes) and a lower
price of $1,199. It's available in five translucent
colors - blueberry, grape, tangerine, lime and strawberry.
Intel announced the Pentium III processor at 500 and 450 MHz. The Pentium
III processor integrates the best features of the P6 microarchitecture
processors - Dynamic Execution performance, a multi-transaction system
bus, and Intel MMX media enhancement technology. In addition, the Pentium
III processor offers Streaming SIMD Extensions 70 new instructions enabling
advanced imaging, 3D, streaming audio and video, and speech recognition
IBM announces it will begin distribution and technical support for the
Linux operating system on its systems.
Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 5.0.
IBM and Dell Computer announce a seven-year technology pact, worth US$16
billion, in which IBM will supply Dell Computer with various components
America Online completes its acquisition of Netscape Communications.
IBM introduced its tiny 340 MB microdrive, one-inch
form factor weighing about 17 grams.
Jun. 15, 1999. IBM released today both the world’s smallest and world’s
largest hard drives. The Deskstar 37GXP holds up to 37 GB of data on a
single drive, which is a significant leap above the current top of the
line (also made by IBM), which holds 25 GB. Meanwhile, the company’s new
MicroDrive holds up to 340 MB of data and is no bigger than a matchbox.
It will be used in handhelds and digital cameras where space is at a premium.
SAN FRANCISCO, July 27 - Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), the world's
No. 1 chip maker, introduced two new processors, including a faster Pentium
III at a price that is lower than its most recent upgrade.
Intel said that its new Pentium III, with a speed of 600 megahertz,
is priced at $669, in quantities of 1,000. Intel's last upgrade of the
Pentium III chip, to 550 megahertz, was priced at $744.
The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip maker also introduced a new Celeron
processor, targeted to the low-end of the PC market. Intel said that its
new Celeron, running at 500 megahertz, is priced at $167, in volume quantities
Apple introduced iBook, powered by a blazingly
fast 300MHz PowerPC G3 processor.
September 17, 1999 4:46 PM PT. Amiga, a unit of Gateway Inc. (NYSE:GTW),
notified its customers that it is changing its strategy yet again, and
will not bring to market a much-anticipated multimedia computer.
October 4, 1999--AMD today introduced the 700MHz AMD Athlon™processor,
the world's fastest and highest-performance x86 processor. Major computer
manufacturers including Compaq and IBM also will announce the availability
of systems based on the 700MHz AMD Athlon processor.
October 5, 1999 -- AMD Vice President of Engineering Fred Weber today disclosed
details of AMD's x86 64-bit architecture and system bus of the future,
Lightning Data Transport™. Both are planned to be implemented in AMD's
eighth-generation microprocessor, code-named SledgeHammer.
October 15 IBM announced the Ultrastar 72ZX, at 73 gigabytes (GB) the world's
highest capacity drive, is about the size of a paperback novel yet can
hold the equivalent of a floor of books at the New York Public Library
with room to spare. The Ultrastar 72ZX and the 36LZX 10,000 RPM drives
also boast the most bits per square inch -- 7.04 billion to be exact --
of any server-class hard drive in the world. This higher density contributes
to higher storage capacity.
Nov. 5, 1999 - A federal judge declared Friday that Microsoft Corp.
possesses monopoly power in the market for PC operating systems and harmed
consumers through its anti-competitive behavior, giving the government
a pivotal victory in the long-running antitrust trial. The findings represent
a major setback to Microsoft, largely because U.S. District Judge Thomas
Penfield Jackson rejected Microsoft's defense that its actions have not
Nov. 22, 1999 - CUPERTINO, California. Apple’s blueberry iBook™ is the
number one selling portable computer in the U.S. retail market in October,
according to the most recent monthly hardware report by PC Data. Based
on this report, the combined sales of Apple’s iBook and PowerBook®
portable computer lines give Apple® an 11 percent share of the U.S.
retail portable market in October.
December 2, 1999 - CUPERTINO, California. Apple® today announced that
it has enhanced its entire Power Mac™ G4 line to include the new Rage 128
Pro graphics card, featuring up to a 40 percent increase in 3D graphics
performance and a digital video interface which supports Apple’s new digitally-driven
LCD displays. In addition, the 350 MHz configuration has been upgraded
to the same architecture used in the 400 MHz and 450 MHz configurations,
and now comes with a DVD-ROM drive, AGP graphics and support for Apple’s
AirPort™ wireless networking (optional $99 card required).
Dec. 7, 1999 -LOS ANGELES, Calif., Intel Corporation today conducted the
first public technology demonstration of its future hardware and software
products based on Bluetooth™ wireless technology. These products will enable
computer manufacturers to add new wireless communications capabilities
to portable computers and other PC products to be introduced around mid-2000.
The demonstration showed two notebook development systems synchronizing
data wirelessly using Intel's Bluetooth radio module and software suite.
SANTA CLARA, Calif., Dec. 20, 1999 -- Intel Corporation today introduced
Pentium® III processors at 800 MHz and 750 MHz, establishing Intel's
highest levels of performance for the desktop.Like all Pentium III processors
based on Intel's advanced 0.18-micron process technology, these new processors
feature Advanced Transfer Cache and Advanced System Buffering. These technologies
boost performance by placing a full-speed level two cache memory directly
on the processor die and increasing the width of the data pathway to the
Y2K BUG is around the corner. For many computer and software systems, the
year 2000 will bring a host of problems related to software programs that
record the year using only the last two digits.
End of 1997-1999
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