Commodore PET 2001
The PET was Commodore’s entry into the then still uncharted territory of micro-computers (we’re talking 1977 here!). The success however was overwhelming and it even surprised Commodore.
The first PET 2001 machines had a very unpracticaly “calculator-style” keyboard. After the initial success however, Commodore was quick to change the keyboards with a full typewriter quality keyboard with a numeric keypad, and newer versions of Commodore BASIC.
There are even some nice little extra’s about the PET that are not widely known:
Microsoft wrote the BASIC used in the 40-column PETs and it is to this day still regarded by Bill Gates as his first “bad deal”. He had negotiated with Jack Tramiel, owner of Commodore, that they would supply the OS for the PET machines, but it was Jack that had the upper hand in the negotiations as he bought a perpetual license with the rights to modify BASIC without having to go to Microsoft for approval. Also, it was a one-off license fee, and not a per-user license model which Microsoft operates today. Bill Gates once mentioned even that he would have become a millionnaire much quicker if he would have negotiated better on the Commodore deal.
Microsoft still put a little “Easter Egg” in the OS on the early PETs. Just type: wait 6502, 10 and “MICROSOFT!” will be printed on the display 10 times.