Electronics History: 40 years of the Personal Computer
On December 19, 1974 the first successful personal computer — the Altair 8800 — went on sale to the public. Poynter profiles the Altair and Bill Gates’ contribution to develop its first programming language — BASIC:
On December 19, 1974, the first successful personal computer went on sale. They called it the Altair 8800.
Popular Electronics magazine profiled the new PC in their January 1975 issue. Readers learned that for $395 you could order a kit to build the Altair yourself or buy it assembled for $495. The Altair 8800 came with 256 bytes of computer memory and Intel’s 8080 processor.
“For many years, we’ve been reading and hearing about how computers will one day be a household item. Therefore, we’re especially proud to present in this issue the first commercial type of minicomputer project ever published that’s priced within reach of many households — the Altair 8800….”
Ed Roberts, the creator of the Altair, worked with Bill Gates and Paul Allen to develop the PC’s first programming language.
The partnership between Gates and Allen marked the beginning of the Microsoft company, which officially started on April 4, 1975.