Author Topic: Brand NEW IBM PC AT + Model M! Unboxing & Setup  (Read 6149 times)

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Online Homer J Simpson

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Brand NEW IBM PC AT + Model M! Unboxing & Setup
« on: March 24, 2017, 05:06:16 pm »

 

Online james_s

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Re: Brand NEW IBM PC AT + Model M! Unboxing & Setup
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2017, 05:14:45 pm »
That's awesome, I always wanted one of those, they're worth more than I'd pay now though.
 

Offline rrinker

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Re: Brand NEW IBM PC AT + Model M! Unboxing & Setup
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2017, 09:22:32 pm »
 That's one I skipped, I never had a 286 machine. My 8088 was an 8MHz type, enhanced by an 8087 coprocessor and a V20. So it served me well past when maybe it should have. I replaced it with a 386-25.
 

Online james_s

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Re: Brand NEW IBM PC AT + Model M! Unboxing & Setup
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2017, 09:43:34 pm »
I had a 286 but it was an Epson. I actually had an IBM XT model 286 for a while, unfortunately I gave it away close to 20 years ago, wish I hadn't because it's quite a rare bird.

I love the styling of the AT case. I also like the later PS/2 towers, never had one of those either.
 

Offline rrinker

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Re: Brand NEW IBM PC AT + Model M! Unboxing & Setup
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2017, 10:02:58 pm »
 I made my first post before watching it, now that I've watched it - I can't be the only one yelling at the screen when he missed stuff that those of us who actually worked with stuff like that when it was new already know. Kids these days  :-DD :-DD :-DD
 

Online james_s

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Re: Brand NEW IBM PC AT + Model M! Unboxing & Setup
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2017, 10:33:59 pm »
A few months ago I helped a kid resurrect some old computers he cleaned out of a hoarder house. He'd never seen a 5.25" floppy disk before and had no idea that disks for a PC wouldn't work in a TRS-80. That said, who can blame him? I think he's 21, even 3.5" disks were nearly obsolete when he was born. It's good to see younger people having an interest in vintage tech with the whole "anything not shiny and new is garbage" mentality that prevails.
 

Offline rrinker

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Re: Brand NEW IBM PC AT + Model M! Unboxing & Setup
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2017, 11:15:34 pm »
 I think that's what made it more astonishing he didn't quite get some things - after he went through the catalog and mentioned some of the other stuff he has, all similar or earlier vintage IBM stuff, so this may have been his first AT, but not his first vintage machine by far. Amazing he has a genuine IBM EGA monitor that works - I don't think I ever saw one of those back in the day when they were new. My college had a deal with Zenith so my first MS-DOS machine was a Zenith Z-158, we naturally sold Zenith branded monitors and then later the original NEC Multisync which I initially borrowed to try out and then ended up buying.
 The surplus place I'm hitting tomorrow has a pair of TRS-80 Model 4's, the one looks brand new, no fading on the plastic or anything, still snow white. The claim they both work. I'm afraid I may come home with one - the Model 1 was the first computer I ever got to play with and where I Learned BASIC, and a Model 4P was my computer senior year in HS and my first 2 years of college. I had no working disks for it and it no longer turned on so I recently disposed of it. I found a set of 64K RAM chips for one, too, so if the one for sale only has 64K I can take it to the full 128K.  I wonder if I still have my Orch-90 music peripheral for it.
 

Online james_s

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Re: Brand NEW IBM PC AT + Model M! Unboxing & Setup
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2017, 12:19:58 am »
I remember seeing one genuine IBM EGA monitor, it was on an old XT that was donated to my school when I was in 6th grade. No idea what eventually became of it but those monitors are rare and sought after, I looked for one for a few years but only ever saw a couple of them go up for sale and both ended up selling for something like $350 + shipping.
 

Offline HighVoltage

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Re: Brand NEW IBM PC AT + Model M! Unboxing & Setup
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2017, 01:15:20 am »
I had one as well but it is long gone.
However, I kept the original keyboard and that one really is awesome, just a little loud these days
 
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Offline BravoV

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Re: Brand NEW IBM PC AT + Model M! Unboxing & Setup
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2017, 03:54:35 am »
However, I kept the original keyboard and that one really is awesome, just a little loud these days

If you find that annoyingly loud keyboard unbearable, please, just PM me the shipping cost, I will be so proud to be your far-far away trash bin.  >:D

Offline CJay

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Re: Brand NEW IBM PC AT + Model M! Unboxing & Setup
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2017, 08:45:07 am »
I think that's what made it more astonishing he didn't quite get some things - after he went through the catalog and mentioned some of the other stuff he has, all similar or earlier vintage IBM stuff, so this may have been his first AT, but not his first vintage machine by far. Amazing he has a genuine IBM EGA monitor that works - I don't think I ever saw one of those back in the day when they were new. My college had a deal with Zenith so my first MS-DOS machine was a Zenith Z-158, we naturally sold Zenith branded monitors and then later the original NEC Multisync which I initially borrowed to try out and then ended up buying.

it's where I got 'into' PCs after home computers, I used to repair IBM PC, PCXT, AT and clones as well as all the associated expansion cards and monitors so I've seen many of the CGA, EGA, Hercules and other monitors of the day. IBM was brilliant back then with the Tech Ref manuals, full details of the operation, schematics etc...

 

Offline VK3DRB

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Re: Brand NEW IBM PC AT + Model M! Unboxing & Setup
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2017, 10:05:24 am »
Great video, Homer. Thanks.

I worked on the AT at IBM and can add a few possibly interesting facts your probably won't find on the web.

We manufactured the motherboard and the PC-AT in Wangaratta, Australia. Other plants were at Vimercate in Italy, Greenock in Scotland and Boca Raton in Florida. The IBM plant at Wangaratta was bigger than all other electronics manufacturers in Australia combined. In fact, in 1995 we were the largest exporter on non-primary produce in the country. Today, the plant is nothing but a ghost building today after IBM abandoned the plant and sadly, the employees. Almost all the employees have left electronics as a career, somewhat disillusioned. Out of 600 employees, I think myself and another bloke named Bob who moved to the US are the only people still in the electronics industry. The high end HP and Tektronics test equipment was sold when the sold-off plant closed up in 2001, creating a big glut of quality test equipment in Australia. There was some specialist test equipment I designed and built at the plant. God knows where they are today.

The code name for the keyboard during development and manufacture was Naples. The keyboard was made in Lexington, Kentucky. As were the IBM PC printers. The Lexington plant was sold off as a new company called Lexmark around 1990.

The keys were originally taped to the front of the machine cover. They were placed in the bag carefully with the protrusions on the barrels pointing right, so the keys would look pleasing to the customer. IBM was paranoid over quality. But they failed to realise in the 1990's that customers wanted low cost, not quality.

IBM banned the use of rechargeable batteries (Nickel Cadmium) in their products due to environmental concerns. IBM was well ahead of its time with being environmentally aware. The IBM Wangaratta Plant was the first electronics manufacturing plant in the world to successfully introduce a no-clean soldering process. This was to eliminate the use of CFC's. Prior to that, we used one or two 44 gallon drums of CFC per week - all of which ended up in the atmosphere.

There was a diskette called Advanced Diagnostics, where you could run some fairly extensive tests. These diskettes were used in box sample testing in the plant, controlled by a keypress automation program (which I wrote). I think the VARS, VAMS and VADS had this diskette, but I do not recall it being provided to end users. I had the source code to Advanced Diagnostics and could modify it for my purposes. I also had the source code to BIOS and DOS.

The hard drive (or hard disk) was made by Seagate. Hideously expensive, but damn good.

I had an AT at my desk with a whopping 2MB of RAM. Having such a powerful machine and access to pre-release software, I was the first person to install OS/2 in Australia. It was the first multitasking O/S for the PC. OS/2 had no graphics then, but I got a big wow factor out of printing at the same time as doing other work (I think Sidekick could do that, sort of).

In 1988, I put in an employee suggestion to have an audio jack with a thumb wheel volume control added to the PC-AT. The suggestion was rejected. The reply was there is no foreseeable marketing value to have an adjustable volume control in a PC, and no reason to have headphones attached to a PC. But I thought otherwise, as I has drilled a hole in the PC-AT to plug in headphones to learn Morse Code during lunch time to get my full call ham license. IBM was too conservative and unable to respond to a rapidly changing market place.

They were good days in the 80's. We were one big happy family at IBM Wangaratta and around the world. Then along came a biscuit maker named Louis Gerstner to ruin it all in the late 1990's.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2017, 11:55:37 pm by VK3DRB »
 
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Offline HighVoltage

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Re: Brand NEW IBM PC AT + Model M! Unboxing & Setup
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2017, 10:59:27 am »
I worked on the AT at IBM and can add a few possibly interesting facts your probably won't find on the web.
Thank you for your great insight explanations.
I had the AT and it was a showoff for everyone at the time, also because it was soooo expensive in Germany.
Later I only had clones but I always kept my IBM AT keyboard.

Quote
The code name for the keyboard during development and manufacture was Naples. The keyboard was made in Lexington, Kentucky. As were the IBM PC printers. The Lexington plant was sold off as a new company called Lexmark around 1990.
I had no idea about that name and I thought I knew everything about that keyboard.
Over the years I must have had 50 of them in my engineering offices and repaired them, when needed.
The quality is astonishing even in today's viewpoint.
And the simplicity of the "click" construction is just amazing!

Quote
There was a diskette called Advanced Diagnostics, where you could run some fairly extensive tests. These diskettes were used in box sample testing in the plant, controlled by a keypress automation program (which I wrote). I think the VARS, VAMS and VADS had this diskette, but I do not recall it being provided to end users. I had the source code to Advanced Diagnostics and could modify it for my purposes. I also had the source code to BIOS and DOS.
Wow, nice to meet someone that was involved in the advanced diagnostics diskette
Thank you so much, 35 years later !
I still have that diskette in my holy collection.
You have no idea how many IBM AT's I have repaired with that diskette.
I was the king of the city, because nobody had a copy and this diskette was already copy protected in those days.
Plus, it was in English only and in those days there were not many people speaking English in Germany.

Thanks again for your nice write-up.

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Offline HighVoltage

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Re: Brand NEW IBM PC AT + Model M! Unboxing & Setup
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2017, 11:07:13 am »
However, I kept the original keyboard and that one really is awesome, just a little loud these days

If you find that annoyingly loud keyboard unbearable, please, just PM me the shipping cost, I will be so proud to be your far-far away trash bin.  >:D
This is a very special treasure I have in this keyboard, because I bought it brand new in 1988
It is still in pristine condition and works well.

I think I know someone here in Germany who still has a few of them, I will ask if he will let one go.
 
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Offline amspire

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Re: Brand NEW IBM PC AT + Model M! Unboxing & Setup
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2017, 11:20:09 am »
IBM was too conservative and unable to respond to a rapidly changing market place.
When we were looking for our first PC's at work, we looked at IBM, but NEC were selling a PC that was a little faster and had as standard a beautiful 800x600 colour screen (a really big deal back then). We wanted PC's for Autocad v1.2 and I don't think IBM offered anything suitable off the shelf. We never bought even one IBM PC at our company. IBM could have dominated the PC business but they threw it all away.

It is really tough for the engineering staff when the management is inept. I can understand that so many left disillusioned.
 

Offline CJay

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Re: Brand NEW IBM PC AT + Model M! Unboxing & Setup
« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2017, 11:48:21 am »
This is a very special treasure I have in this keyboard, because I bought it brand new in 1988
It is still in pristine condition and works well.

I think I know someone here in Germany who still has a few of them, I will ask if he will let one go.

Phwoarr, clicky keyboard porn and a pluggable cable too.

Used to love those keyboards, they're literally bombproof, one of the Manchester bombings did heavy damage to a client's offices and we went in to salvage as much as we could once the building was declared safe, took out many IBM PS/2 desktops, a PS/2 Model 95 server that just came back up and worked when power was restored and *lots* of those keyboards, all they needed was a good clean to rid them of the dust.
 

Online Ian.M

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Re: Brand NEW IBM PC AT + Model M! Unboxing & Setup
« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2017, 12:15:34 pm »
Nice.  I've still got my first PC which was originally pretty close to that system, though it had a 3rd party EGA monitor.   I came to PCs fairly late and picked it up second hand when 386 systems were everywhere. It got upgraded over the years as I have mentioned previously, though I've probably still got the original motherboard somewhere.   Currently the case is occupied with a Win95 system: 486DX2-80 board, 16Mb ram, and  a 1GB SCSI hard disk, with a caddy CDROM and a half height bay 5 1/4" - 3 1/2" dual floppy drive and is absolutely crammed with ISA and a couple or EISA cards.  Its no longer a classic though you cant tell the difference externally, but it did remain useful for well over a decade and still occasionally gets fired up if I need to do something 'DOS'ish.

The keyboard was a classic.  I wasn't aware that you could still get them NOS.  A USB to original IBM keyboard cable would be a nice project - with a MCU in the USB plug to handle the protocol conversin to HID.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2017, 03:54:10 pm by Ian.M »
 

Offline amspire

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Re: Brand NEW IBM PC AT + Model M! Unboxing & Setup
« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2017, 12:30:18 pm »
The keyboard was a classic.  I wasn't aware that you could still get them NOS.  A USB to original IBM keyboard cable would be a nice project - with a MCU in the USB plug to handle the protocol conversin to HID.
I have been using Unicomp buckling spring keyboards for years now. The type M keyboards were made for IBM by Lexmark, and when they stopped making them, Unicomp bought the technology in 1996 from Lexmark and IBM. They have been making them since.

I got two in 2009, and I am still on the first. Looks brand new.

https://www.pckeyboard.com
 

Offline eugenenine

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Re: Brand NEW IBM PC AT + Model M! Unboxing & Setup
« Reply #18 on: March 25, 2017, 03:39:52 pm »
I had an original PC and XT, both of which I had to leave at the curb because I couldn't fit any more when we moved.
 

Offline rdl

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Re: Brand NEW IBM PC AT + Model M! Unboxing & Setup
« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2017, 10:12:20 pm »
My first computer was an IBM PS/2 Aptiva in the tower style case that I bought nearly 25 years ago. I'm pretty sure it had one of those model "M" keyboards. It was heavy, very solid, and very clicky. I still remember it as the best keyboard I ever owned. I don't recall exactly what happened to the keyboard, but I still have the computer. I am very tempted to get one of those Unicomp keyboards.
 

Offline amspire

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Re: Brand NEW IBM PC AT + Model M! Unboxing & Setup
« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2017, 11:16:56 pm »
The popular Unicomp Type M models don't try and exactly copy the old keyboards. They are more compact, they have the extra Windows keys, they have USB. They are still pretty heavy -1.5kg compared to 500 grams for a modern HP wireless keyboard. They still have the angled keys. The plastic shows no sign of bromide yellowing after 8 years. No sign of the key graphics wearing.

The big thing is you press a key and it clicks, you have typed that character.

If I was in an office, or if I had to use the keyboard a lot while on the phone, I would use a silent keyboard. They are noisy.
 

Offline joeqsmith

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Re: Brand NEW IBM PC AT + Model M! Unboxing & Setup
« Reply #21 on: March 26, 2017, 12:23:14 am »
I'm surprised there would be NOS still available.  I made an I/O card for mine that I had designed a micro and prom programmer, log on security and sound.   I attempted to power mine up a while ago and it did not go so smooth.  Video below you can see my home made speech recognition working.  Second video, at the very start you can see the I/O card. 

https://youtu.be/pnkUPFOw_Yo?t=153

How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
 

Offline VK3DRB

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Re: Brand NEW IBM PC AT + Model M! Unboxing & Setup
« Reply #22 on: March 26, 2017, 12:53:16 am »
Those clicky keyboards were super reliable and robust.  The switches were non-contact and non-resistive. They worked on detecting the change in capacitance as a plastic fly plate moved away from two PCB pads. They were pretty much unrepairable. They had a membrane over the keys to protect from coffee spills and dust.

The PC-AT keyboard evolved from these: https://deskthority.net/wiki/IBM_Beam_Spring_Keyboards#Common_Design_Features.

The predecessors to the IBM keyboards were so expensive in those days, one of my first jobs as a new hire at IBM was to go out to large corporate customer sites in the city and diagnose and repair on-site amongst other things, keyboards. Unlike the keyboards of today, these keyboards were able to be completely disassembled and repaired. Typically a faulty keyboard would be due to one of the following:

(1) Ingress of debris. Fixed with isproproyl alcohol and some special IBM lint free cloths (part number 1650800 - that part number is burned into my brain)
(2) For an unknown reason, occasionally a key fly plate would dislodge from its leaf spring. It could take 30 minutes to successfully reattach a fly plate.
(3) The leaf spring would fracture. The key module would need to be replaced.

One day, I destroyed a keyboard circuit board by just touching it. The logic was very prone to ESD. In the case of IBM 3741 and 3742 keyboards, I would often find remnants of the key punch operator's lunch under the keyboard cover and cash that had fallen in.

With the newer PC-AT keyboards, one was sent to me at the Wangaratta plant for a full investigation into the failure because ONE had failed in the field prematurely. These days, you will never find that sort of attention to anything, except if there is a safety or financial risk.

The only criticism of the IBM keyboards is if you were in a room full of nerds or a typing pool, the clicking noise became a little annoying.
 

Offline timb

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Re: Brand NEW IBM PC AT + Model M! Unboxing & Setup
« Reply #23 on: March 26, 2017, 01:51:06 am »
The code name for the keyboard during development and manufacture was Naples. The keyboard was made in Lexington, Kentucky. As were the IBM PC printers. The Lexington plant was sold off as a new company called Lexmark around 1990.

Around 2000, 2001 I had the opportunity to acquire a tractor trailer full of used Lexmark dot matrix printers, some of them in basically new condition, others smashed to bits and some in between. I paid $250 for the lot and filled half the garage and our shed up with them.

Over the course of a year, I sold nearly 200 printers at $100 a pop. Apparently they were used by certain government offices (because dot matrix could do carbon copies and form feed) and since that model was no longer being produced and new dot matrix printers were becoming increasingly rare (and expensive), they were buying used versions of that particular model where they could find them. (That way software didn't have to be changed and employees didn't have to be retrained.)

I sold off the new and good condition ones first, then started repairing the rougher ones with working bits from the smashed units.

I was 16 and had just gotten my driver's license. That $250 investment ended up buying me a new car. Thanks Lexmark! :D

Anyway, the printers were pretty high quality and very well built. They weren't bad to service, either.

(I ended up with a large stockpile of parts for that printer and for a couple of years after I was paid to repair broken printers. They would stockpile them until they had about 10-15 broken units and ship them to me in a crate, I'd fix them and ship them back. That was a nice bonus.)
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Offline VK3DRB

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Re: Brand NEW IBM PC AT + Model M! Unboxing & Setup
« Reply #24 on: March 26, 2017, 04:57:39 am »
The code name for the keyboard during development and manufacture was Naples. The keyboard was made in Lexington, Kentucky. As were the IBM PC printers. The Lexington plant was sold off as a new company called Lexmark around 1990.

Around 2000, 2001 I had the opportunity to acquire a tractor trailer full of used Lexmark dot matrix printers, some of them in basically new condition, others smashed to bits and some in between. I paid $250 for the lot and filled half the garage and our shed up with them.

Over the course of a year, I sold nearly 200 printers at $100 a pop. Apparently they were used by certain government offices (because dot matrix could do carbon copies and form feed) and since that model was no longer being produced and new dot matrix printers were becoming increasingly rare (and expensive), they were buying used versions of that particular model where they could find them. (That way software didn't have to be changed and employees didn't have to be retrained.)

I sold off the new and good condition ones first, then started repairing the rougher ones with working bits from the smashed units.

I was 16 and had just gotten my driver's license. That $250 investment ended up buying me a new car. Thanks Lexmark! :D

Anyway, the printers were pretty high quality and very well built. They weren't bad to service, either.

(I ended up with a large stockpile of parts for that printer and for a couple of years after I was paid to repair broken printers. They would stockpile them until they had about 10-15 broken units and ship them to me in a crate, I'd fix them and ship them back. That was a nice bonus.)

Fantastic story! You were either very lucky or had a great deal of foresight. For a young bloke, you did very well. Micheal Dell started his road to becoming a 20 times over BILLIONAIRE based upon similar luck or foresight. He started out buying Seagate hard drives when he was at uni and upgrading/replacing them in IBM PC's for a fraction of what IBM was charging. The rest is history.

I found that if you swap out the 8MHz crystal with a 12Mhz crystal on a 5152 dot matrix printer, the printer would run 50% faster. We ended up modifying almost every printer in the plant. I made nothing out of that.

But in 1987 at IBM Wangaratta, each desk had one printer. As the plant grew in headcount, I submitted a suggestion that novel parallel port printer sharers be used between desks to save money. They awarded me a $3,000 bonus based upon $ saved (today's equivalent of about $10k). I bought a commercial clothes washing machine called Speed Queen with some of that money. (We still have that washing machine and it runs most days.) Soon after the parallel port printer shares idea, I repeated the suggestion for a serial port sharer for an RS-232 driven plotter, between 4 users. Another $1500 award. They were good days

But as an IBM employee, you never made real money. Just comfortable. They banned employees from investing in competitors. I wanted to invest $1000 of that bonus money to buy Microsoft shares. I should have ignored IBM's control over their employees' personal lives and just done it.

If you invested $1000 in Microsoft shares in 1986, reinvested the dividends and sold the lot in Dec 1999 and bought all Apple shares, you would have about $80 million today. Not bad for just two share transactions.
 


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