Timeline of Computer History
 

1975  
Companies
Xerox Sigma-5
Xerox closes its computer division. After acquiring computer maker Scientific Data Systems (SDS) in 1969, Xerox redesigned SDS’s well-known Sigma line of computers. Xerox struggled against competitors like IBM and in 1975 closed the division. Most of the rights to the machines were sold to Honeywell.
Computers
MITS Altair
The January edition of Popular Electronics featured the Altair 8800 computer kit, based on Intel´s 8080 microprocessor, on its cover. Within weeks of the computer´s debut, customers inundated the manufacturing company, MITS, with orders. Bill Gates and Paul Allen licensed BASIC as the software language for the Altair. Ed Roberts invented the 8800 — which sold for $297, or $395 with a case — and coined the term "personal computer." The machine came with 256 bytes of memory (expandable to 64K) and an open 100-line bus structure that evolved into the S-100 standard. In 1977, MITS sold out to Pertec, which continued producing Altairs through 1978.
Felsenstein´s VDM
The visual display module (VDM) prototype, designed in 1975 by Lee Felsenstein, marked the first implementation of a memory-mapped alphanumeric video display for personal computers. Introduced at the Altair Convention in Albuquerque in March 1976, the visual display module allowed use of personal computers for interactive games.
Tandem-16
Tandem computers tailored its Tandem-16, the first fault-tolerant computer, for online transaction processing. The banking industry rushed to adopt the machine, built to run during repair or expansion.
Networking
   Telenet, the first commercial packet-switching network and civilian equivalent of ARPANET, was born. The brainchild of Larry Roberts, Telenet linked customers in seven cities. Telenet represented the first value-added network, or VAN — so named because of the extras it offered beyond the basic service of linking computers.

 


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