In 1980, IBM undertook an uncharacteristically fast development process for its first personal computer, cannily named the IBM Personal Computer, or PC. But it needed to cut some corners and bypass some old-school IBM traditions to come in on schedule. So, the first IBM PC was designed by a small team led by Don Estridge in Boca Raton, Florida that operated like a small, very non-IBM-like startup. And rather than leveraging IBM’s big, complicated internal hardware and software systems, the team went with open, inexpensive third-party offerings instead.
This expedient decision created the PC market we still enjoy today with the release of the first IBM PC in 1981. Thanks to IBM’s open design, other hardware makers were able to quickly copy the design, reverse-engineer the few secret bits in its BIOS, and create IBM-compatible PCs, or clones, of their own.