It was 40 years ago today

Happy Birthday MicroScope! As the publication turns 40, we look back on where it began and what was making the headlines back in 1982

Cast your mind back to a time when all of this felt new and the world of microcomputers was still in its infancy.

The time is 23 September 1982, the place is London, and the moment is the launch of MicroScope magazine. As a result of the increasing role that computers were playing in professional and personal lives, the channel – distribution and resellers – was emerging to get those products into the hands of more people.

That first issue of MicroScope focused on what was happening with the tie-up between the BBC and Acorn. The expectation was that there would be “an incredible amount of business for the trade” as discounts on the BBC Micro were announced. Acorn marketing director Chris Curry said the firm expected 100,000 customers for the PC by the start of 1983.

Acorn was not the only British name making waves. Sinclair was also hitting the headlines thanks to its tie-up with the Department for Education to get Spectrums and ZX printers into 27,000 schools as part of the “micros for primaries” scheme.

Other news in that first issue covered Microsoft touting MS-DOS2 as the bridge to Xenix that the industry had been looking for.

The channel has always been an industry made up of people and characters, with many of those included in that initial issue already well known across the industry and set to feature on the pages of MicroScope for years to come. Adam Osborne and Clive Sinclair were two of the larger names that kicked things off.

Adverts in that first issue serve as a barometer of some of the channel names that were already around, with Northamber, Micro Peripherals and Microsoft some of those promoting technology to potential resellers.

Those worried about the current cost of living will have a rueful smile remembering that back when MicroScope launched a pint of beer was 54p and a brand new car was around £8,498. Weekly wages were on average £135.50 (gross).

Readers were tapping their feet to some big hits that year, from Culture Club’s Do you really want to hurt me? to Come on Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners. The Human League would have been pleased to know that Don’t you want me baby? would still be a dance floor staple 40 years on.

When the staff from resellers and disties got home, they might have slumped in the sofa and tuned into Cheers or Boys from the Blackstuff, or maybe ventured out to the cinema to see some of the big releases that year, including ET and An officer and a gentleman.

Over the next couple of weeks, MicroScope will be sharing memories of the past 40 years, including views from many across the industry. The October ezine will also include some special anniversary content. We look forward to taking you down memory lane with us as we look back over not just the evolution of MicroScope, but also the market it has covered for all these years.

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