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Datapoint-WeMakeComputers

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Published on May 17, 2012

Datapoint Corporation was an amazing force in the 1970's, a key contributor in the shift from mainframes to personal desktop computers. Datapoint invented the architecture which became Intel's 8008, the first 8-bit microprocessor and which underpins most PC instruction sets to this day. Initially a manufacturer of CRT-based computer terminals, Computer Terminal Corporation produced the first self-contained, desktop personal computer, complete with CRT display, keyboard, digital magnetic storage, computer power, and even one of the first switching regulator power supplies in a business computing product... the Datapoint 2200. Even within the company, engineers often referred to even the (much more powerful) 5500 and 6600 models as "terminals" (even though the 6600 would support up to 24 user workstations!) and this always frustrated us programmers at the company. So emphasizing the shift from making "terminals" to making "computers" was something worth pointing outside, and even inside, the company...!

Several key people from Datapoint were shown in this video, including Stan Kline (at the electronic workbench), Vic Poor (at the drawing board), Harold O'Kelley (CEO at the board meeting), and many more too numerous to mention. Vic Poor was probably the one man most responsible for creating what came to be known as the "Intel architecture" for microprocessors... the legendary Intel 8008 was a custom chip implementing the Datapoint 2200 instruction set (Intel at the time was a memory company, and didn't really want to make the 8008 for Computer Terminal Corporation (later, Datapoint Corporation) because Intel at the time was convinced that there was no market for a general-purpose 8-bit microprocessor on a chip! But Datapoint at the time was the world's largest buyer of MOS memories, and Intel wanted Datapoint as a memory customer...!)

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