What Happened Today, August 6th

 
Microsoft Buys $150M of Apple stock

In an effort to help save Apple Computer and possibly deflect criticism in its own anti-trust trial, Microsoft Corp. buys $150 million in shares of Apple Computer Inc. Apple, which had been struggling to find direction and profits for years, agreed to the boost in funding with terms that dictated cooperation in the design of computers as well as shared patents. Microsoft agreed to continue supporting MS-Office for the Mac for another five years as well.

What Happened This Week

Mina Rees
Mina Rees
 
Computer Pioneer Mina Rees Born

Mina Spiegel Rees was born in Ohio and became one of the earliest female computer pioneers. Before her death in 1997, Rees would leave her mark in the worlds of computers, mathematics, and education. Rees graduated with degrees in mathematics from Hunter College and Columbia University and ran the Office of Naval Research (ONR) after World War II, where she organized work on early computers such as the Harvard Mark I. Throughout her career, she made many important contributions to the use of computers in solving applied mathematical problems and was known for her strong administrative skills and influence.

In 1970, she became the first female president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Rees died on October 25, 1997 at age 95.

Radio Shack TRS-80
Radio Shack TRS-80
 
Radio Shack Announces TRS-80 Computer

Radio Shack announces its TRS-80 Model I, the company's first personal computer. Equipped with 4KB of RAM, cassette-tape storage, and a built-in BASIC interpreter, the TRS-80 was one of the first mass-marketed personal computers (along with the Commodore PET and Apple II). At a time when most microcomputers came in kit form and appealed to hobbyists, these three computers addressed the average person and were very popular in schools.

Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
 
Computer Shuts Down Space Shuttle

Only a few seconds before ignition, a computer halts an engine test in preparation for the launch of the space shuttle Discovery. The shuttle engine's computerized controllers determined that a valve was not closing fast enough and sent a major component failure command from the computer to all three engines, telling them not to fire. The test and computer system were part of NASA efforts to ensure the safety of Discovery, whose flight would be the first since the Challenger explosion in 1986.

 
Mira-Pak Settles Suit Against IBM

In an example of the many - and sometimes obscure - legal challenges faced by IBM Corp. due to its dominance in the computer market, Mira-Pak Inc. settled and antitrust suit against the computer giant. Mira-Pak had charged IBM in 1973 with attempting to monopolize the industry for computers to control the weight of snack food packaging. The settlement also involved IBM's agreement to withdraw a counterclaim against Mira-Pak.

 
Microsoft Buys $150M of Apple stock

In an effort to help save Apple Computer and possibly deflect criticism in its own anti-trust trial, Microsoft Corp. buys $150 million in shares of Apple Computer Inc. Apple, which had been struggling to find direction and profits for years, agreed to the boost in funding with terms that dictated cooperation in the design of computers as well as shared patents. Microsoft agreed to continue supporting MS-Office for the Mac for another five years as well.

ASCC (Harvard Mark I)
ASCC (Harvard Mark I)
 
IBM presents ASCC Giant Brain to Harvard

IBM president Thomas J. Watson Sr. formally presents the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (ASCC) to Harvard University. One of the earliest digital computers, known at Harvard as the Mark I, this giant relay-based machine was the result of Professor Howard Aiken's research into computation.

The Mark I was a curious mixture of punch card technology and simple electronics which became out-of-date almost as soon as it was completed. It was 51 feet long, 8 feet high, and weighed 5 tons.

Nonetheless, IBM learned about large calculator development with the Mark I and applied these skills in its own Selective Sequence Controlled Calculator (SSEC), another Giant Brain project undertaken when Aiken snubbed IBM by claiming he had invented the ASCC.

Marc Andreessen
Marc Andreessen
 
Netscape Communications Goes Public

Netscape Communications Corp. goes public after generating revenues of $16.6 million in the previous 12 months. Shares jumped from $28 to $75 before closing at $58 the first day. Netscape was co-founded by Marc Andreessen who had earlier written the MOSAIC web browser while a student at the University of Illinois.