Exhibits At the Museum

This Day in History

Today: September 2, 2014

September 17, 1971

RCA Withdraws from the Computer Market

RCA withdraws from the computer market after losing $490 million. RCA, one of the “Seven Dwarfs,” a group that included Honeywell, Control Data Corporation, Univac, Burroughs, NCR, and General Electric, had tried to compete with IBM in the mainframe computer market, but were ultimately unsuccessful. RCA’s Spectra 70/45 computer was launched as a competitor to the IBM 360 and RCA heavily lauded its reliance on monolithic ICs as opposed to the 360’s hybrid SLT modules. The Spectra had some cross-compatibility with 360 instruction sets and software, but the operating systems proved unable to facilitate easy transfer of programs across the two systems. The 360 gained a stranglehold in the market, and in part led to RCA’s, and the other Seven Dwarfs’, demise in the mainframe computer market.