The Computer Revolution: From Room-Sized to Pocket-Sized

By Sophia Maddox | May 2, 2024

In 1975, Bill Gates and Paul Allen Founded a Little Company Called Microsoft in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Computers are an integral part of life. People use them to communicate with people who are important to them at work and home. Many people look up information that they want to learn on a computer. Others watch movies, play games or entertain themselves using computers. From early morning to late night, people rely on computer systems to help them stay organized.

While it is hard for most people to imagine life without computers, it hasn't always been that way. Here's a look at how people developed computers and their operating programs. Along the way, meet some people who influenced their development. You'll discover how computers went from filling entire rooms to being small enough to fit in your pocket.

 

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Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft, called Micro-Soft, initially, in 1974 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. To do this, Bill Gates left Harvard University, while Paul Allen quit his job as a computer technician. They started their business in Albuquerque because it was home to MITS, maker of the Altair 8800. Microsoft found early success with its MS-DOS operating system, which it licensed to various companies. The system was the most prevalent throughout the 1980s. Unlike computers with a graphics user interface, users on computers with the MS-DOS operating system could manipulate files on their devices using a command line.

In 1986, Gates moved Microsoft to Redmond, Washington. The company went public that year, and the first shares sold for $21, which raised $61 million.

The World's First Dynamic Random Access Memory Computer, the Intel 1103, Transforms the Industry

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In 1969, William Regitz of Honeywell started contacting companies looking for someone to share in developing a dynamic memory circuit containing a three-transistor cell that workers had developed. After being turned down by several companies, Intel became excited about the project and assigned Joel Karp to work with Regitz.

After developing the 1X, 2Y cell and creating the Intel 1102, Intel officials decided that a 2X, 2Y cell would work better, leading to the release of the 1103 in October 1970. This allowed manufacturers to move away from bulky magnetic-core random access memory and to refine previous transistor-based memory cell designs. R.H. Dennard, who designed the one-cell transmitter, said the development of this cell "allowed RAM to become very dense and inexpensive. As a result, mainframe computers could be equipped with relatively fast RAM to act as a buffer for the increasing amount of data stored on disk drives. This vastly sped up the process of accessing and using stored information."