Altos Computer Systems was a technology company founded in 1977 in Mountain View, California by David G. Jackson and Roger William Vass Sr. They had a history of working together at Xerox PARC and Intel. The company was founded to build an efficient and reliable small business computer system. Altos became a leading supplier of OEM components and computers to other manufacturers and to small businesses Altos was a pioneering company in the personal computer revolution of the 1980s.
In the early 1980s, Altos was one of the first companies to introduce the concept of “open architecture” computers, which allowed customers to easily upgrade and expand their systems. This approach helped the company quickly gain popularity among businesses and government agencies, who were looking for more flexible and cost-effective computing solutions.
The company’s first product was the Altos 90, a 16-bit personal computer system which became one of the most popular personal computer system in the small business market. It was followed by the release of the 8/16-bit Altos II in 1981, which was even more successful and sold over 20,000 units worldwide. The company also released the Altos 3, the first wide customer presence in the PC market, and the Altos 386SX, which was the first to include the 80386SX processor in a personal computer system.
In the mid-1980s, Altos began to expand its product line to include more software solutions, such as its popular Unix-based operating system and its office productivity software. The company also started to develop more powerful workstations and servers, which were designed to meet the growing demands of businesses and government agencies.
In 1985, Altos released the Altos 1650, the first commercial PC to include multiple internal hard disks and future product lines would include the Altos 5 and the Altos 8, which was the first to include a floppy disk drive. The Altos 286 and 386 systems were released in 1988, which were the first to include the 80386 processor and, along with those from Compaq, were among the fastest PCs on the market.
The company’s success continued into the 1980s, with the introduction of the Altos 2000, which was the first to include the 80486 processor and was an early desktop to take advantage of the Pentium chip. The company also developed new software such as the Altos Office Suite, which allowed businesses to manage their documents, spreadsheets, and databases with more efficiency. Altos posted its first loss in 1989.
As the computer industry rapidly evolved in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Altos struggled to keep up with the competition. The company was facing increasing competition from larger and more established computer manufacturers, such as IBM and HP, as well as from newer companies that were emerging in the personal computer market.
Altos was purchased by Acer in 1990. The sale was based more on the Altos client base than on its technology.
- Year Started: 1977
- Year Ended: 1990
- Origin Of Name: Derived from Los Altos Hills, the town where the founder resided
- Location Sales: Worldwide
- Brand Name Predecessor: N/A
- Brand Name Successor: Acer
- Owner Original: David G. Jackson and Roger William Vass Sr.
- Owner While In Use: Publicly traded
- Owner Successor: Acer
- Year Resurrected: N/A
- What’s Popular Today: Dell personal computers
- Naics Code: 334111
- Location Headquarters: Mountain View, California, United States