It has evolved since 1981 from an expensive, high-margin novelty to a commodity necessity, and the driving force was standards. With the advent of the IBM PC, machines from different manufacturers could interoperate for the first time. In 1982, the first clones emerged. By 1986, over 30 million PCs were in use.
The personal computer to beat in 1986 was the IBM PC-XT, featuring an Intel 80286 processor, 640K of RAM, a 1.2 MB floppy drive and a 20 MB hard drive. It ran IBM’s PC-DOS. The cost: about US$4,000.
That year, IBM’s market share was almost 45 per cent, with Compaq trailing at 16.5 per cent. And, 1986 was also the year Apple released the Mac Plus.
In 2005, shipments of Intel-based products hit almost 208 million units, with projections of close to 230 million for 2006.