The Inventions: The Microprocessor

Earlier this week I began sharing with you the inventions I’ve been hinting at the past couple of weeks. Earlier this week we’ve covered the Printing Press, the Steam Engine, and the Telegraph. Today – the Microprocessor.

Quotes from the forthcoming book The Power of Mobility. Due out this September.

“Through most of 1970, Intel’s Ted Hoff worked to create an integrated circuit with all of the components for a complete computer on one slice of semiconductor. The first Intel ‘microprocessor’ was delivered to Intel’s customer, Busicom in February 1971, and later that year Intel introduced its first microprocessor product, the 4004.”

“However, both the community of independent developers of software and hardware products for personal computers, and the growing mass of computer users were desperate for a standard operating environment they could bet on.”

“The resulting product, the IBM PC, was introduced on August 12, 1981 and was an immediate success. In the closing months of that year, IBM sold $43 million in PCs. By the end of 1984, the PC and related products were producing $4 billion in sales, enough to have ranked that division of IBM as #74 in the Fortune 500 index if it had been a standalone company.”

“[T]he continuous doubling of power and halving of costs [Moore’s Law] meant that, by the early 1980s, it was economically viable for companies to move computing power out of the carefully managed data center and onto the desktops of average white collar workers. The trend hasn’t stopped, so today computing power exceeding that found in multi-million-dollar computers in the 1960s can now be included in cheap toys and every day items.”

One Response to “The Inventions: The Microprocessor”

  1. […] explaining the drivers behind these three revolutions, I will touch upon Moore’s Law, Metcalfe’s Law, and, of course, McGuire’s Law of Mobility. I wholeheartedly believe that these […]

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