- Tandy releases its TRS-80 videotex terminal for $399. Installation requires connecting a telephone to the modem interface and attaching the TRS-80 to the antenna terminals of your television set. (Related YouTube Video: “1980s TRS-80 TV Commercial.”)
- It is announced that local area network software will be developed by Novell. (Another major network company is 3Com. The founder of 3Com is Robert Metcalfe, the coinventor of Ethernet.)
- During 1980 IBM continues to develop its first successful personal computer. They hire Microsoft to create the new computer’s operating system. Microsoft’s system is based on QDOS software, written by Tim Paterson of Seattle Computer Products. His work was influenced by CP/M software written by Gary Kildall of Digital Research. Bill Gates and Microsoft will hold the marketing and licensing rights for the new MS-DOS (or PC-DOS) operating system.
- Oct. 27, 1980 — A computer virus spreads throughout the ARPANET network. Although it was an accident, this early Internet virus showed the importance of network security.
(In 1980, approximately 20,000 people had access to the Internet by way of 200 university, military, and government host computers around the world.)
- The Commodore VIC-20 home computer is announced. (Related YouTube Video: “Early 1980s TV commercial for Commodore VIC-20 computer, starring William Shatner.”)
- “Fiber optics technology has developed rapidly in the past few years because of its value as a medium of information transfer….Digital signals lend themselves nicely to a fiber optics system; and with most of our information transfer signals – whether by telephone or computer – becoming digital, the fiber optics system is well-suited to our current and future technology.”
(Source: Presstime, Nov. 1980)
- The Apple computer company goes public. The initial public offering of 4.6 million shares of common stock sells immediately.
- “Apple Computer Greeted Warmly on Wall Street.” Associated Press/Ocala Star-Banner, Dec. 12, 1980.
- The CompuServe dial-up service begins working with at least 12 Associated Press member newspapers. The first newspaper to go online was The Columbus Dispatch on July 1, 1980. The other papers included: The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Minneapolis Star Tribune, The San Francisco Chronicle, The San Francisco Examiner, the Los Angeles Times, The Virginian-Pilot / Ledger Star, The Middlesex News, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. (The CompuServe/AP collaboration would end in 1982.)
- “11 Newspapers Join Electronics Trial.” Associated Press/The Deseret News, Jun. 27, 1980. (Related YouTube Video: “1981 KRON-TV Story about Online Newspapers.”)
- “Dial-A-Paper Test Starts Soon in Ohio.” Associated Press/The Miami News, May 28, 1980.
- “Electronic Delivery: The Newspaper of the Future.” St. Petersburg Times, Feb. 26, 1980.
- “It’s Not That Far-Fetched: Electronic Newspapers.” Knight News Service/Toledo Blade, Mar. 30, 1980.
- A commercial videotex service is started by Belo Information Systems, the publisher of the Dallas Morning News.
company and AT&T
run a test of their experimental videotex system in Coral Cables, Florida. (They will officially launch their Viewtron
videotex system in 1983
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting conducts teletext
trials at PBS television station WETA.
These tests are managed by the Alternative Media Center of New York University.
Database vender BRS
begins offering the Dow Jones News/Retrieval system, which includes the Dow Jones newswire and abstracts of Wall Street Journal
- The New York Times Infobank database system begins offering its stories in full-text form.