A Look Back Into 25 Years of IBM's PC History

A Look Back Into 25 Years of IBM's PC History
Here's a fond look back at the Personal System/2 series of PCs, which embarrassed IBM in the 1980s but shaped the modern PC you know today.
By Benj Edwards
Features Jul 11th 2012

Twenty-five years ago, IBM announced the Personal System/2 (PS/2), a new line of IBM PC-compatible machines that capped an era of profound influence on the personal computer market.

By the time of the PS/2's launch in 1987, IBM PC clones--unauthorized work-alike machines that could utilize IBM PC hardware and software--had eaten away a sizable portion of IBM's own PC platform. Compare the numbers: In 1983, IBM controlled roughly 76 percent of the PC-compatible market, but in 1986 its share slipped to 26 percent.

IBM devised a plan to regain control of the PC-compatible market by introducing a new series of machines--the PS/2 line--with a proprietary expansion bus, operating system, and BIOS that would require clone makers to pay a hefty license if they wanted to play IBM's game. Unfortunately for IBM, PC clone manufacturers had already been playing their own game.

In the end, IBM failed to reclaim a market that was quickly slipping out of its grasp. But the PS/2 series left a lasting impression of technical influence on the PC industry that continues to this day.

Source: PC World (US)