MECC, which stood for "Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium", was founded in 1973, having been created by the state of Minnesota. (eek! socialism! bad bad bad!)
Before the introduction of the microcomputer, MECC ran a timeshare computer system, to which Minnesota schools could connect for free with a teletype. They also created the first program documentation library, for Teachers to access.
Then, in 1980, they made a statewide contract to purchase microcomputers for schools. After studying the various machines availiable, they settled on a contract with Apple; such was MECC's influence that Apple II's became the De Facto standard for computers in schools not only in Minnesota, but Nationwide. Eventually, all of MECC's Timeshare software was ported to the Apple II.
MECC quickly realized that it was leading the way not only in minnesota, but america, and that it had a problem with copy protection. To solve this in a close-but-not-quite open source way, they charged a small fee each year to schools who wanted to use their software; the individual school could make as many copies as they desired.
As children began to bring disks home, MECC began to sell some of its more popular software, such as The Oregon Trail, commercially. This eventually led to MECC becoming self-preserving.(technically owned by the state of Minnesota but not requiring state funding.) Shortly thereafter, MECC changed the meaning of it's acronym to Minnesota Educational Computing Company.
After the fall of the use of Apple IIs in schools, MECC was purchased by a venture capitalist for a paltry $5 million - and then sold again less than a year later to The Learning Company for $250 million. (5000%! quite a return!) MECC's office in Minnesota was deemed unnecesary by The Learning Company, and Closed in 1999.
, one of our own noder
, unpacked the first Apple II
in a Minnesota high school library
. See Big Larry and the G-men