Inventing the Electronic Century: The Epic Story of the Consumer Electronics and Computer Industries

By Alfred D. Chandler Jr. | Go to book overview

5

THE MICRDPRDCESSDR REVOLUTION:
THE COMPUTER INDUSTRY RECAST
IN THE UNITED STATES

An understanding of the fading away of the Japanese challenge calls for an awareness of the recasting of the computer industry in the same first five years of the 1980s. In commercial computing, the microprocessor created the industry as it came to be known by the late 1980s—a world of small computers used by individuals in offices, connected by networking systems, and using a wide array of software applications for all types of data processing. In addition, it created a new market: the home.

Again, IBM became the initial path definer. It was not a first-mover, but its mass-produced personal computer, followed by its multitude of clones, opened up a huge commercial computing market that swiftly reduced the demand for mainframes.

The microprocessor affected the scientific and engineering path in a different way. Here the minicomputer makers continued to serve the same scientific and engineering customers but increasingly replaced their minicomputers with microprocessor-based workstations, a technology perfected by the innovative start-up Sun Microsystems. The workstation, however, contributed to the

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Inventing the Electronic Century: The Epic Story of the Consumer Electronics and Computer Industries
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Harvard Studies in Business History, 47 i
  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • Preface to the Paperback Edition xi
  • 1: Introduction 1
  • 2: Consumer Electronics 13
  • 3: Consumer Electronics 50
  • 4: Mainframes and Minicomputers 82
  • 5: The Micrdprdcessdr Revolution 132
  • 6: The National Competitors 177
  • 7: The Consumer Electronics and Computer Industries as the Electronic Century Begins 216
  • 8: The Significance of the Epic Stdry 238
  • Appendices 259
  • Notes 275
  • Index 307
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