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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
Acorn Computers Ltd.
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company A UK computer manufacturer, part of the AcornComputer Group plc. Acorn was founded on 1978-12-05, on a
kitchen table in a back room. Their first creation was an
electronic slot machine. After the Acorn System 1, 2 and 3,
Acorn launched the first commercial microcomputer - the
ATOM in March 1980. In April 1981, Acorn won a contract
from the BBC to provide the PROTON. In January 1982 Acorn
launched the BBC Microcomputer System. At one time, 70% of
microcomputers bought for UK schools were BBC Micros.
The Acorn Computer Group went public on the Unlisted
Securities Market in September 1983. In April 1984 Acorn won
the Queen's Award for Technology for the BBC Micro and in
September 1985 Olivetti took a controlling interest in
Acorn. The Master 128 Series computers were launched in
January 1986 and the BBC Domesday System in November 1986.
In 1983 Acorn began to design the Acorn RISC Machine (ARM),
the first low-cost, high volume RISC processor chip (later
renamed the Advanced RISC Machine). In June 1987 they
launched the Archimedes range - the first 32-bit RISC
based microcomputers - which sold for under UKP 1000. In
February 1989 the R140 was launched. This was the first
Unix workstation under UKP 4000. In May 1989 the A3000
(the new BBC Microcomputer) was launched.
In 1990 Acorn formed Advanced RISC Machines Ltd. (ARM) in
partnership with Apple Computer, Inc. and VLSI to develop
the ARM processor. Acorn has continued to develop RISC
based products.
With 1992 revenues of 48.2 million pounds, Acorn Computers was
the premier supplier of Information Technology products to
UK education and had been the leading provider of 32-bit RISC
based personal computers since 1987.
Acorn finally folded in the late 1990s. Their operating
system, RISC OS was further developed by a consortium of