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Thread: Curious about the mindset of engineers/etc at computer makers

  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by tipc View Post
    *SNIP* But far and away most businesses and individuals went with Big Blue. Which really.only made the most sense, then and.now.
    This was a huge part of it for big corporations like Xerox, IBM and TI. Xerox at the time was bathing in money from their photocopier and laser printer business, which is why they were running PARC. Things like this could be justified as potentially marketable to existing customers (modem built in + comms application = mobile terminal, keep in mind this was only a few years after people were still lugging around hefty thermal printer-based teletypes the size of portable typewriters) or if not, then they could be distributed to their own sales staff and then the remainder could be unloaded. TI had a similar machine in the CC-40, and developed a proprietary HEXBUS peripheral system and a wafertape storage system, neither of which even made it to market and the machine was dumped (along with the few HEXBUS peripherals that were manufactured) on the market about as quickly as Xerox dumped the 1810 series.

    Short answer? Lots of money that isn't theirs, and it looks bad on the balance sheets to have a lot of cash lying around. That's why there are so many MSX clones floating around, or why Japanese computers by the late 80s were so wildly over-engineered and expensive such as the X68000 and FM-TOWNS but never sold on the global market.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bifo86 View Post
    Xerox at the time was bathing in money from their photocopier and laser printer business, which is why they were running PARC.
    They started PARC because they needed a replacement for their cash cow when their xerography patent expired and the threat of the 'paperless office'

    There were several product divisions, the one that came up with the 820, 860 etc. was in Dallas and was run by a guy that came out of Atari at a time when Xerox
    had no coherent market plan for computers. If you can find it, there is a book called "The Computer That Nobody Wanted" written by the Xerox CTO that shows
    how rudderless the company was in the early 80s.

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    CP/M was on the downslope but it was cheap. Epson had a good deal of success with the PX-4 and friends which ran CP/M, had a 40x8 screen and were launched 1985 onwards.

    The Amstrad PCW series were smash hit in 1985 and continued into the 1990s. To be fair they were pitched as a wordprocessing system and happened to run CP/M as well. In fact CP/M wasn't even part of the original plan. You got a mono display system with nice keyboard, 3" floppies and printer at a price people were willing to actually pay. It's not like 1985 era DOS machines were that much better.

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