Fujitsu's PC 40-year story [1] Belly behind the stage of the first machine "FM-8"

Fujitsu's PC 40-year story [1] Belly behind the stage of the first machine "FM-8"

Changes in the number of PC shipments of Fujitsu

In this series, we will look back on the 40 years of Fujitsu PC, which has supported the Japanese computer industry and has led the computer market.In addition, new episodes will be added to the published articles, and spin -off articles focusing on unique products will be posted.Please look forward to that point.

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What is "FUJITSU MICRO 8 (FM-8)"?

Once again, Fujitsu's first personal computer "FM-8" was released on May 20, 1981.The official name is "FUJITSU MICRO 8", the first product bearing the name "FM".It is well known that the FM series crown is still used as "FMV" even after 40 years.It can be said that it is the most historic PC brand in Japan.

At the time of the product announcement, the FM-8 adopted the 2CPU system and implemented 8 64kbit dynamic RAM x 8, as expressed by Fujitsu as "a product that has fruited trust technology cultivated in the semiconductor business."In order to secure 64KB as a user memory area, the address space was expanded to 128KB, and it has appeared as a "PC with luxurious designs using state -of -the -art LSIs everywhere" (Fujitsu).

At that time, the dealers and users were said to be "equipment like heavy tanks", and their high performance was origami.The CPU uses two 8 -bit micro processors "MBL6809" compatible with Motorola "MC6809".Formally, the main CPU "MBL68A09 (1))."2288MHz)" and "MBL6809 (1MHz)" were installed on the subcpu.

As for the software environment, "F-BASIC", which has added various functions to the Microsoft "Microsoft Basic", is implemented on the mask ROM.OSs such as UCSD Pascal, Flex, and CP/M were also available through floppy disks.

The FM-8 is a product that focuses on system expandability.In addition to optional CRT displays and mini floppy disk drives, we also propose a commercial audio cassette and home TV.The CRT control used a sub CPU, enabling eight colors specification in dot displayed in 640 x 200 dots, and had the color graphic display capacity of height resolution.

There are also kanji character units and printers, and 453 characters, including JIS first level kanji (2,965 characters), 453 characters, including hiragana, katakana, alphabet, numbers, and special symbols.In addition, a bubble holder unit that can use up to two 32KB bubble cassettes at the same time, a light pen, a plotter, a standard floppy disk drive, and a 10MB / 20MB microodyisk.By connecting an optional expansion unit and various modules, it could also be used for applications such as speech synthesis, measurement control, and high -speed calculation.

At the time of 1981, Mr. Minin Afuku (later Vice Chairman of Fujitsu, President Fujitsu General), who had been supervised in Fujitsu, said, "The FM-8 is a product that uses a novel design and the latest semiconductor technology. RS.-232C Equipped with an interface, it was also possible to connect to the main frame Facom M series. "In Fujitsu, FM-8 "in addition to hobby applications, office work processing, store management management, science and technology calculation, and educational tools, etc., functions and systems are expanded.Improved sex. It was positioned as a state -of -the -art personal computer developed to meet a wide range of user needs.High basic functions and pursuit of expandability were not ordinary.


I knew that PCs would be widespread

In conjunction with the release of the FM-8, Fujitsu also started a specialty store system for a personal computer store.This leads to the subsequent "FM shop party".

The first name was Aster International, Yoi Uchida, Kanto Electronic Equipment Sales, and Nissan Electric Works.As you can see from the news release of the FM-8, "Special contract stores have a wealth of technical levels of SE and CE, and can provide sufficient services suitable for sales of FM-8."In terms of side, it was a computer that was strongly conscious of business use.

One week after its release, the Micro Computer Show '81, which opened on May 27, 1981, exhibited FM-8 at the Fujitsu booth.The demo was attracted by many visitors.

In fact, with the release of the FM-8, in-house sales are being carried out in Fujitsu.According to the materials at the time, more than 500 purchases from employees were "studying".It seems that employees who anticipated that personal computers would spread in Fujitsu in the future took the initiative in purchasing the FM-8.Takuma Yamamoto, who was appointed president of Fujitsu in June 1981, the month after the release of the FM-8, also revealed that he had used FM-8 at home.

By the way, Mr. Yamamoto, the developer of the computer (main frame), declared that when he became the president, he said, "Discard the great ship gun -gun and enhance basic products such as PCs, word processors, and faximiri."He showed a posture that emphasizes the personal computer business, but the first step is this FM-8.He himself used a personal computer and seemed to be looking forward to its future potential.The "basic product" here is a unique term that Fujitsu used in the company at the time.Unlike businesses such as large computers, they referred to products used by a wide range of users, including consumers.

The results of the questionnaire survey conducted for general buyers of the FM-8 remain.According to the report, 50 % of the purpose of the FM-8 was for studying, 25 % for hobby, and 25 % for business use.A stakeholder in Fujitsu, who saw the results of this survey, analyzed, "There are many people who are purchasing for studying now, but they will use personal computers in the future."In the future, this data predicted that the use of personal computers for business applications will expand more than hobby use.

The entry into the PC market was late

Looking back, Fujitsu's entry into the computer market was never early.In Japan, in October 1978, Hitachi was launched "Basic Master L1" and Sharp released "MZ-80K" in December of the same year.NEC also released the PC-8001 in September 1979.The release of the FM-8 in May 1981 was 2 years and 7 months late from Hitachi's Basic Master L1.It is one year and eight months late from NEC's PC-8001.

Why was Fujitsu's PC delayed in marketing?The biggest reason was that the development team was so strong that the commitment and enthusiasm of Fujitsu launched.Such an anecdote remains in the company.

One day, a young engineer got the PC-8001 just released, and the discussion began in-house while watching it.The conclusion of the internal structure of the main unit was, "If this is the case, it can be made immediately.On the other hand, the company has decided that the computer that Fujitsu launches should be higher than the product in the market.

The FM-8 development project has actually started from a very early stage.Instead of being in a hurry, it seems that we waited for a time when a computer -like computer could be introduced."From the beginning, I was thinking of installing a kanji ROM. If it is a personal computer that Fujitsu is launched, it is premised on business use. The attitude did not break down from the beginning," said officials at the time.

This concept was about two years behind other companies, but the waiting period worked positively.Technical innovation has progressed, and a mass production system of 64kbit DRAM has been established, and technological innovation of Japanese processing has been seen, and Fujitsu has a technology that supports the creation of personal computers that Fujitsu has aimed for.Above all, the user using a personal computer has increased, and the business use of the personal computer gradually accelerates.I can't overlook the aging of the market.

The price of the FM-8 is 218,000 yen.It was 50,000 yen more expensive than the PC-8001 168,000 yen, but the advanced and high-performance FM-8, which incorporated the latest technology, was high.In September 1981, NEC introduced a high-performance model "PC-8801" (228,000 yen), as if to follow the FM-8.Both performance and price were conscious of FM-8, and it was a personal computer developed in a hurry.Fujitsu, who was nearly two years in the release of Unit 1, impacted the preceding manufacturer in the launch of PC high -performance aircraft.That was the entry to Fujitsu's PC market.

However, it is certain that the FM-8 was not an explosive product because it was expensive as a result of pursuing high performance.Although many dealers were nominated and purchased from the FM-8, the center of demand was the mid-100,000 yen PC of other companies.The "good, bad habit" of Fujitsu's personal computer business, which is now connected to the times, has begun at this time.

"The concept of the first personal computer that Fujitsu introduced was wrong. However, the price increased due to the higher functions. The following hand was needed to accelerate the computer business."The stakeholders look back.

At the Fujitsu's electronic device business headquarters, which developed the FM-8, a new product development project team started in January 1982.The FM-7 / FM-11 was released in November 1982.As expected by Fujitsu, the genealogy of the FM-7 pushed Fujitsu to a position called the "8-bit Mika" at once.