History of the PC

Dave Bradley

Track: Business
Date: Friday, July 28
Time: 11:35am - 12:20pm
Location: Portland 256

This talk traces the early history of personal computers, from the original founders of the industry through the IBM Personal Computer family of machines. Many of the earliest participants were people you've never heard of, and the ones that you think you know probably have additional dimensions to their personality that you didn't know. There were false starts and missteps along the way to the creation of a personal computer that you'd be willing to buy. There are also common themes in the personal computer industry, from market forecasting (or lack thereof) to the influence of standards on the overall growth of the business.

The talk focuses on the IBM Personal Computer and its family of systems since Dave was one of the "original 12" engineers who started the PC development in 1980. The talk shows the design of the original PC, and the stories of how they came about and how they were used. There's the very first IBM PC, as delivered by Dave to Microsoft, that looks more like a science fair project gone bad. Bill Gates contributions to the PC are catalogued. The all-conquering IBM sales force appears in a story about the sound system of the PC. The talk describes the problems that arose in developing a family of systems, and some of the interesting solutions that followed.

Dave is best known as the inventor of the infamous three-key sequence, Ctl-Alt-Del. He describes the way it came about, Bill Gates contribution to it, and the continuing role it plays in today's world.