In 1981, International Business Machines Corp. entered the personal computer market, and was welcomed as a competitor, rather slyly, by Apple. IBM's PC boasted a disk operating system that became an industry standard. Hewlett-Packard had launched its first PC in 1980. The early '80s were to be dominated by microcomputer expansions -- and by a torrid pace of start-ups.
Steadily improving microprocessors triggered a related explosion of other peripherals: printers, modems, disk drives, interlinked networks, equipment for building chips, video games, computer-assisted design. The games business reached its zenith in 1981 and by 1983 was plummeting.