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Terminal for a MAI Basic/Four minicomputer

Basic/Four is a variety of Business Basic which originally ran on computers of the same name introduced in 1971. The company that produced the system, Management Assistance, Inc., was later known as Basic/Four Corporation, MAI Basic Four, Inc., and MAI Basic Four Information Systems.[1]

Basic/Four Corporation was created as a subsidiary of Management Assistance, Inc. in Irvine, California.[when?] Basic/Four sold small business minicomputers that were assembled from Microdata Corporation CPUs.

MAI Basic Four Business Basic was one of the first commercially available business BASIC interpreters. MAI Basic Four (the company) originally sold minicomputers, but later offered superminicomputers and microcomputers. The computers ran an operating system with the BASIC interpreter integrated. The BASIC interpreter was written in TREE-META.[2]

1984 ad co-marketing "MAI/Basic Four" software with the Tandy 2000 personal computer

In 1985, Wall Street financier Bennett S. LeBow purchased the company after it had experienced significant operating financial losses. [3]

In 1988, LeBow used the company as a platform for an unsuccessful attempted hostile takeover of much larger Prime Computer.[4]

In the mid-1980s, the company released accounting software for third-party microcomputers. In 1988, it released its own 80286-based workstation. [5] The Basic4 system was utilized by many small banks and credit unions.

In 1990, the company changed its name to MAI Systems Corporation and changed its business to be a system integrator instead of a combined hardware and software manufacturer, reselling third-party computers but installing their own customer-specific software system. [6]

MAI Systems Corporation became a wholly owned subsidiary of Softbrands Inc. in 2006.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "MAI Canada Ltd". CIPS Magazine. Canadian Information Processing Society. 1971. Retrieved 2023-02-03. MAI Canada Ltd. will be showing its first product, a new computer system designated Basic/Four.
  2. ^ "Programming - What were the first BASIC interpreters to be programmed in high-level languages?". Retrieved 2020-09-06.
  3. ^ Kathleen Burton, LeBow vows steady course after MAI housecleaning, Computerworld 18 March 1985 page 82
  4. ^ "COMPANY NEWS; MAI Basic Pursues Prime Computer". New York Times. Associated Press. November 24, 1988. Retrieved April 12, 2011.
  5. ^ Julie Webber, MAI Introduces 286 Family of Workstations, Info Word, 8 August 1988 page 28
  6. ^ Stories about MAI, retrieved June 9,2017

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