I found three issues of PC World from 1990 today. The PC world was simpler. Software was 16-bit and largely constrained by the 640K barrier. Microsoft was not yet the Evil Empire, that was still IBM. People used IBM PCs or "clones", and the operating system was PC- or MS-DOS. See how different life was:

Selected tidbits from may 1990 (Volume 8, Number 5):

Selected tidbits from June 1990 (Volume 8, Number 6):

  • IBM Fortifies its Towers: IBM revamps the Model 80, rolls out an SX-based Model 65, ...
  • 33-MHz 486's? Now You're Talking!
    AST and Everex are first out of the blocks with a pair of hot systems built around Intel's scarce 33-MHz chip.
  • Notes Lives Up to its Notices Never mind the price -- early users are sold on Lotus Notes 1.0.
  • What Makes the 486 Run?
  • An ad for the new HP LaserJet III
  • The same MS ads as last month
  • Gateway 2000's top desktop: $5295.00: 4 Meg RAM; 1.2 Meg 5.25" Drive; 1.44 Meg 3.5" Drive; 150 Meg ESDI Drive; 16 bit VGA with 512K; 14" 1024 x 768 color monitor; MS-DOS 3.3 or 4.01

Selected tidbits from August 1990 (Volume 8, Number 8):

  • IBM's New Home PC! Exclusive Preview: The PS/1
  • Sycophantic coverage of the PS/1.
  • Pushing the SX Envelope
  • 14 SX machines reviewed; an opinion piece that says 386 machines are faster and better.
  • A Microsoft ad Introducing new Windows 3.0. (C:> - Kiss it goodbye.)¹
  • Sycophantic coverage of Windows 3.0.
  • Will a Pen Replace the Keyboard on your Next PC?
  • Ads for the Ami Professional word Processor (from Samna, not yet acquired by anyone)
  • Ads for font cartridges and 2400 bps modems.

1. It really says that.

Some content (c) 1990 PC World magazine, some snide comments by me.


PC World is Britain's largest chain of computer superstores, offering everything from business network systems to mouse mats.

Bought by the Dixons Group in 1993 as part of the purchase of Vision Technology Group, the chain originally had four stores. Dixons were selling PCs through their Dixons and Currys stores, and wanted a greater presence in the still-growing home PC market, as well as a way into the lucrative business and server markets.

The new store chain added a massive source of income for the group, as many people would prefer to buy computers and components from a store though of as "specialist". This gives Dixons access to almost all of the technical demographic sectors of the PC marketplace.

PC World sells a range of peripherals, as well as machines from a variety of manufacturers, notably Compaq, Packard Bell, HP and eMachines, (but, I hasten to add, not any of Tiny, Time or Mesh). They also market Dixons own brand range of PCs, Advent, as well as being the sole UK distributor of eMachines computers.

Since 2002, PC World have begun selling build-your-own components, to attract the more technical market sector and to increase credibility. This puts them in direct competition with Maplin and others, especially as they are pushing for a greater online prescence.

The Group has invested heavily in PC World, and the chain now has over 90 stores as well as two in the Republic of Ireland. Sales in the last trading year were £1,108 million, and Dixons continues its policy of opening new PC World stores to boost their market share.

In addition to opening stores in the UK, Dixons has also taken the store format overseas, in the form of PC City, opening up all over Europe.

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