Sord Computer Corporation

Industry Peripherals

Sord Computer Corporation was a 1970 Japanese electronics company created by entrepreneur Takayoshi Shiina.[1] It is now known as Toshiba Personal Computer System Corporation which is currently a subsidiary of Toshiba.

History Edit

SORD was founded by Takayohi Shiina in 1970 when he was 26 years old. Initially, the company wrote software for DEC PDP minicomputers, before it branched out into hardware production. The name SORD is a contraction of SOftware/haRDware, reflecting the dual focus of the company.

In April 1972, Sord (now Toshiba Personal Computer System Corporation) developed the SMP80/08, the first microcomputer. It used the Intel 8008 microprocessor, which it was developed in tandem with. The SMP80/08, however, did not have a commercial release. After the first general-purpose microprocessor, the Intel 8080, was announced in April 1974, Sord announced the SMP80/x series, the first microcomputers to use the 8080, in May 1974. The SMP80/x series marked a major leap toward the popularization of microcomputers.[2]

In 1977, SORD released the M200 Smart Home Computer, one of the first home computers. It was a desktop computer that combined a Zilog Z80 CPU, keyboard, CRT display, floppy disk drive and MF-DOS operating system into an integrated unit.[3]

This was followed by the M100 and various other versions of the M100/M200 series, plus the multi-user M223 and M243 computers. The SORD M23 followed in 1981 and become one of the most popular SORD computers. It was one of the first to see significant use outside Japan. The M68, a dual 8/16 bit computer using both 68000 and Z80 CPUs, was released in Japan in 1983. The PIPS - Personal (or Pan) Information Processing System was released in 1980. This package was a combined spreadsheet and database business package. This was followed by PIPS-II in 1981, PIPS-III in 1982 and a complete rewrite (by a team led by Peter Hyde) as 4G-PIPS in 1986. Shiina was approached by a larger Japanese corporation in 1983 and advised to sell. He didn't - and in 1984, on the back of turnover of 35 billion yen and profit of 2 billion yen SORD found itself struggling with suppliers and the banks. SORD was sold to Toshiba in 1985. Under Toshiba, SORD went on to produce additional hardware such as the M68MX (with no Z80A) and M343SX-II multi-user computer and new versions of PIPS, a series of high performance IBM compatible machines and systems based on Alpha but now SORD (known as Toshiba-TOPS) primarily deals with embedded systems.


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