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A microcomputer is a personal computer built around a microprocessor. Some very early personal computers (in the general sense of the term), such as the Datapoint 2200, had CPUs built out of many integrated circuits, but as a result they were too expensive for average people to afford. The advent of the microprocessor changed that, leading to the 'personal computer' (in the sense of 'a small computer which an ordinary person could afford').

The first production microcomputer to be openly available was the Altair 8800, introduced in January, 1975; the Apple II, unveiled in May, 1977, was the first massively successful microcomputer.

Further reading

  • Gordon Laing, Digital Retro: The Evolution and Design of the Personal Computer, Sybex, Alameda, 2004
  • Michael Nadeau, Collectible Microcomputers (Schiffer Book for Collectors), Schiffer, Atglen, 2002