Front & Center: Todd Townsend Salutes 30 Years of the IBM PC

In technologist Todd Townsend's latest Front&Center column, he salutes the IBM PC, turning 30 today in the post PC era.

Thirtieth birthdays usually mark the end of careless youth -- the end of a generation.

That's true for the PC, too, which turns 30 today. But the PC sparked a revolution -- it changed everything. And today, tech is still in a rapid and continual process of reinvention. In my video below, I talk about my old Atart 2600, the MicroAge and ponder what would have happened if Apple and IBM had entered business in the late 1970s and early 1980s in a different way.

No question that Apple -- with its Apple II -- had the head start by four years in business. Computer users were sneaking in the Apple II with its killer app at the time, the Visicalc spreadsheet. And it was that success the scared IBM into rushing the top-secret project that became the IBM PC. In turn, the PC launched an era of countless clones and made possible the ubiquitous computing we all take for granted now.

With the consumerization of tech in business -- as smartphones, tablets, and other alternative platforms explode in the workplace and join PC, Mac and Linux desktop systems as key platforms -- we're in a post PC era. But it's fun looking back as we move forward into an exciting new future.

Happy Birthday, IBM PC! Join me next time right here at Front & Center.

Based in New York, Todd Townsend is a BYTE technologist who brings us fast-paced news and columns via his video column, Front&Center. Email him at [email protected]

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