20th Century: 1976

On February 3, 1976, David Bunnell published an article by Bill Gates about software piracy in his Computer Notes Altair newsletter.

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak demonstrate the first Apple computer at the Home Brew Computer Club in April 1976. The Apple I had a 6502 MOS 1 MHz processor, 8 kB of onboard memory, and 1 kB of VRAM for $666.66.

Apple I Board – ArnoldReinhold, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0&gt;, via Wikimedia Commons.

The 8086 (also called iAPX 86) is a 16-bit microprocessor chip designed by Intel between early 1976 and June 8, 1978, when it was released. The Intel 8088, released July 1, 1979,[4], is a slightly modified chip with an external 8-bit data bus (allowing cheaper and fewer supporting ICs). It is notable as the processor used in the original IBM PC design. The 8086 gave rise to the x86 architecture, which eventually became Intel’s most successful processor line. On June 5, 2018, Intel released a limited-edition CPU celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Intel 8086, called the Intel Core i7-8086K.

USR was founded in 1976 in Chicago, Illinois (and later moved to Skokie, Illinois) by a group of entrepreneurs, including Casey Cowell, who served as CEO for most of the company’s history, and Paul Collard, who designed modems into the mid-1980s. The company name is a reference to the fictional company U.S. Robots and Mechanical Men, which featured prominently in the works of Isaac Asimov.

Atari released the Atari 2600 (originally called the Atari VCS) on September 11, 1977. It is credited as the first game system to utilize ROM cartridges to store game code instead of having games built into the gaming system.


Microsoft officially dropped the hyphen in Micro-soft and trademarks the Microsoft name on November 26, 1976.

In 1976 the first broadcast of The Muppet Show, I, Austin City Limits, Charlie’s Angels, Family Feud, The Gong Show, Laverne, and Shirley.


1976 in Software:

Mesa is a programming language developed in the late 1970s at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center in Palo Alto, California, United States. The language name was a pun based upon the programming language catchphrases because Mesa is a “high level” programming language.

Smalltalk is an object-oriented, dynamically typed reflective programming language. Smalltalk was created as the language underpinning the “new world” of computing exemplified by human-computer symbiosis. It was designed and created in part for educational use, specifically for constructionist learning, at the Learning Research Group (LRG) of Xerox PARC.

1976 in Games:

Moby Games