The Digital Group

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The Digital Group was an early microcomputer manufacturer, active in the 1970s.

Dr. Robert Suding and Richard Bemis founded the Denver, Colorado based outfit in the summer of 1974, Suding being the chief designer. Unlike many early microcomputers such as the Altair 8800, which were sold in kit form and often required flipping panel switches, The Digital Group released machines geared towards user-friendliness--the user merely had to insert a disk or tape, press the Reset button, and be presented with a menu of programs on the media, and their machines were offered with each of the popular CPUs of the day, depending on the customer's preference. Keyboards, a high-speed tape interface, and monitors were offered as standard equipment, and a full array of peripherals were also sold, ranging from disk drives to printers to acoustic couplers and more. In 1976, they became the first outfit to release a computer based on the new Z80 CPU.

The user-friendliness of their computers and a large amount of available software made the company popular and sales grew rapidly. While previous Digital Group offerings had used a passive backplane with slots (similar to the S-100, but using a proprietary bus design that actually predated the Altair 8800), the company announced a new single-board machine during 1978, the Bytemaster, which had an integrated video display, 32k of SRAM, and 5.25" floppy drive providing 160k of storage.

For all their success and prestige in the nascent microcomputer industry, The Digital Group filed for bankruptcy in August 1979 due to inept management and conflicts with parts supplies. The Bytemaster ended up never being shipped or manufactured in production quantities, only a few dozen machines were produced before the company went under.

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