The Commodore PET (Personal Electronic Transactor) was the world’s first Personal Computer. It was launched in 1977 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago and achieved a great success, being used in business, sciences, as well as in schools and universities.
The visionary engineer of this project was Chuck Peddle. There are several rumors about the source of the name PET. Officially it was an acronym for Personal Electronic Transactor, but the name was preferred also because it had a positive linkage with the Pet Rock fad of the late 1970’s.
The PET came fully functional with a keyboard including a separate numeric pad (almost completely unheard of at the time), a 9″ integrated Blue and White monitor, a main board with the powerful new 1Mhz MOS 6502 processor, 4K of memory, a practical storage device, a cassette tape drive, several expansion ports including an RS232 (serial) port. The basic Operating System was written by Bill Gates and Paul Allen. Commodore Basic was the only unlimited software license ever granted by Microsoft to any company for all products regardless of the number of copies used.
During the first few months Commodore could only produce about 30 machines per day but they had a huge demand. Commodore managed to assemble approximately 500 machines in its first year. The boom was reached in the following years as the computer was improved. Three series were launched and highly appreciated (PET 2001 series/CBM 3000 series, PET 4000 series/CBM 8000 series and SuperPET 9000 series). However, by 1982 PET sales were declining due to increased competition. Commodore PET remains in history as the first personal computer, an innovative revolutionist and leader in the field of computers and technology.