[vcf-midatlantic] Bowmar Brain, MOS, C=
touchetek at gmail.com
Sun Apr 16 12:33:36 EDT 2017
I had a "Bowmar Brain" calculator in high school that my Dad gave me.
When calc prices dropped to nothing, it seemed fit for me
to dissect the Bowmar and see what was inside and it never got put
back together. I think I thought I could hook it up and drive
it like a math coprocessor or something. That never happened.
I just ran across this paragraph in the MITS Wiki linking Bowmar to
MOS Technology, and then C=:
MOS supplied Bowmar calculator ICs... Bowmar imploded,
I suppose one of the cripplers of MOS... leading to C= buying MOS.
Bowmar Instrument Corporation introduced the "Bowmar Brain", a
four-function pocket calculator, in September 1971 and the $179
calculator sold over 500,000 copies in the first year. Bowmar then
developed the "901B" calculator that was priced at $120. In
September 1972, Texas Instruments (TI) introduced the TI-2500 portable
four-function calculator that also sold for $120. The 901B and the
TI-2500 both used the TI TMS0100 family of "calculator-on-a-chip"
integrated circuit. TI was now directly competing with their IC
customers. Other semiconductor companies such as National Semiconductor
and Rockwell began selling calculators. Commodore Business Machines and
other office equipment companies also got into the market. A frenzied
price war started. By early 1974, Ed Roberts found he could purchase a
calculator in a retail store for less than his cost of materials. The
larger companies could sell below cost to win market share. Bowmar lost
$20 million in 1974 and filed for bankruptcy. Commodore acquired
their IC supplier, MOS Technology. Texas Instruments won the price war
but their calculator division lost $16 million in 1975.
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