Columbia Data Products
|Headquarters||Altamonte Springs, Florida|
Columbia Data Products (CDP) introduced the MPC 1600 "Multi Personal Computer" in June 1982. It was an exact functional copy of the IBM PC model 5150 except for the BIOS which was clean roomed. IBM had published the bus and BIOS specifications, wrongly assuming that this would be enough to encourage the add-on market but not enough to facilitate unlicensed copying of the design.
CDP advertisements stated that the MPC "can use software and hardware originally intended for the IBM Personal Computer". The MPC was the first IBM PC clone and was actually superior to the IBM original. It came with 128 KiB RAM standard, compared to the IBM's 64 KiB maximum. The MPC had eight PC expansion slots, with one filled by its video card. Its floppy disk drive interface was built into the motherboard. The IBM PC, in contrast, had only five expansion slots, with the video card and floppy disk controller taking two of them. The MPC also included two floppy disk drives, one parallel and two serial ports, which were all optional on the original IBM PC. The MPC was followed up with a portable PC, the 32 pound (15 kg) "luggable" Columbia VP in 1983.
|Date||June 1982 (Marketed)|
|CPU||4.77 MHz 8088 16 bit registers|
|RAM||128 KiB, 1 MiB max|
|Video||16 colors 320×200 CGA|
|OS||MS-DOS, CP/M-86, MP/M-86, OASIS, Xenix|
|Interface||2×RS232, parallel, monitor, keyboard|
The success of the MPC and its successors built CDP revenue from US$9.4 million in 1982 to US$56 million in 1983, with an IPO at US$11 in January, 1983. In February 1984 IBM announced the introduction of their first portable PC. By August 1984 the CDP sales were faltering and CDP announced layoffs of 114 employees at its Maryland headquarters and 189 employees at a second factory in Puerto Rico. By 1985 their stock had dropped to US$0.50 and was delisted.
In 1987 CDP shifted emphasis from hardware to software. They developed and licensed Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) software to Western Digital (WD), a supplier of hard drive controllers. In 1991 WD sold their SCSI business to Future Domain, where it languished.
Columbia Data Products was founded in 1976 in Columbia, Maryland. It changed ownership, was taken private in 1986, and continues to operate under that name. CDP is now headquartered in Altamonte Springs, Florida. The company currently specializes in data security. No mention of the MPC can be found on the company's history page.
PC Magazine in June 1983 criticized the MPC's documentation, but reported that it had very good hardware and software compatibility with the IBM PC. BYTE in November 1984 approved of the portable MPC-VP's PC compatibility, reporting that it ran Microsoft Flight Simulator, WordStar, Lotus 1-2-3, dBASE II, and other popular applications without problems. It concluded that the computer was "one of the best overall bargains on the market today".
- Advertisement (1982-10). "Check The Chart Before You Choose Your New 16-Bit Computer System.". BYTE. p. 83. Retrieved 19 October 2013.
- New York Times, February 16, 1984
- "IBM Will Sell Portable Version of its PC Model", Wall Street Journal, February 17, 1984.
- New York Times, August 15, 1984
- Wall Street Journal, April 26, 1985
- Sandler, Corey (1983-06). "Columbia: Call It A "Work-Alike".". PC Magazine. p. 447. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
- Callamaras, Peter V. (1984-11). "The Columbia Multipersonal Computer-VP". BYTE. p. 276. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
- Columbia Data Products website
- CDP history
- MPC specifications from Old-computers.com
- Prototype of CDP luggable computer
- Columbia VP Portable PC – picture and specifications
- Scanned images (JPEG's) of CDP advertising and November 1983 brochure with price comparisons to IBM and Compaq portable
- Scanned jpg images of VP Portable advertising from 1984