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A microcomputer is a complete computer on smaller scale that is designed to be used by one person. The computer is based on the technology that allows for a microprocessor (a central processing unit) to be placed on a chip and it made its first appearance when the microprocessor became commercially available in the 1970s.


The microcomputer is now commonly known as the personal computer or PC. The Apple II, introduced by Apple Computers in the 1970s was the most popular PC in that period. However IBM pegged Apple’s success back in the 1980s when it entered the PC market with the IBM PC. IBM left all its competitors in its wake as it dominated the PC market and the only company to survive the onslaught was Apple Computers. Computers maker then had to adjust by making their PCs similar internally to that of IBM’s and soon there were only two types of computers in the world – Apple computers and IBM-PC compatible PCs.

The 1990s saw an explosion in the use of the PCs as their computing power increased markedly. This coupled with the popularity of the World Wide Web and the constant reduction of PC prices pushed the PCs into a lot of homes and were no longer just a business tool or a pastime for computer enthusiasts.

In terms of portability microcomputers can be divided into:



International Medical Informatics Association
American Medical Informatics Association
UK Health Informatics Society
Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society

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Last Updated: 10 August 2006.

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