Wednesday Feb 01, 2023

The home computer is dead, we said in 1985. Oops – The Australian Financial Review

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Announced in late 1983, the PCjr was the one IBM personal computer product which did not turn to gold. It was late for the lucrative Christmas market and heavy criticism of the machine’s keyboard forced IBM to replace it with a more conventional one.

Home computing circa 1985. 

Despite the backing of a reputed $US40 million marketing campaign, IBM could not make the product sell, a common situation in a market where any technical failure is likely to taint a machine’s reputation through its lifetime.

While industry analysts, and IBM were hopeful of huge market demand for home computers, recent months have seen a dramatic turnaround in opinion as the market began to falter.

The reality is that while personal computers can take away much of the drudgery of office work, there is little application for them in the home except as an adjunct to business and for computer hobbyists.

The person who cannot balance his cheque book with a calculator and pencil is unlikely to be able to do so on a computer.

There is little advantage in storing recipes on a floppy disk, the average person does not write enough letters to justify the cost and the person who cannot balance his cheque book with a calculator and pencil is unlikely to be able to do so on a computer.

IBM’s announcement came too late to affect trading on US stock exchanges but any impact is likely to become evident today. The company’s shares closed at $US130.50, up $US2.125.

Other high-tech stocks traded well, a stark change from recent weeks when many companies’ shares have plunged in the wake of reduced profit and turnover projections.

Data General Corp and Digital Equipment Corp have also recently warned of a slowing down in orders which has affected their share prices, and Computervision Corp’s stocks also went into a tailspin last week when it announced it expected only to break even in the current quarter.

Source: https://www.afr.com/technology/how-the-afr-called-the-death-of-the-home-computer-in-1985-we-were-wrong-20220117-p59oyn

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