Burroughs B90 Range

Burroughs B90

Burroughs learnt from its experience with the B80 and developed the B90 range as a result.

The B90 was fully compatible with the B80.  It came with a narrow printer or a wide printer - both of them dot-matrix models. It used the CMS operating system, and also used the KeyBMS application suite.  There were two key differences between the B90 and the B80.  Firtsly, the B90 was faster.  But secondly, the B90 introduced a 3-MB floppy disk, and the basic model came equipped with a dual floppy-disk drive.  The B90 could also use all of the peripherals from the B80 and B700 ranges.

The 3-MB floppy disk drive was sensitive to temperature due to the relatively high density of data stored on the disk.  The drive would periodically have to re-calibrate itself automatically for several seconds to ensure that it could continue to read and write data accurately.  When it was not re-calibrating, the 3-MB floppy disk was fast.  As technology it was impressive, as 3-MB was held on an 8-inch floppy disk, and the alternative was 2.1 MB held on a disk cartridge that was about 18-inches in diameter and 3-inches deep.

The B90 range was introduced in about 1980.  However, Burroughs had missed the fact that that new microcomputers, such as the Apple 1 and Commodore PET, were already being used by businesses, and they could do as much and cost less.   Apple Computer had been created in 1976.  IBM launched the Personal Computer" in the USA in 1981.  By 1983, when the IBM PC was launched in Europe, Burroughs and the other top-ten computer companies of the day realise that they had been caught flat-footed.

To develop a new microcomputer to compete against the IBM PC and the Apple would take too long, and so Burroughs (like the other top-ten computer companies) went to Convergent Technology and bought rights to re-badge their latest business desk-top computer as their own product.  This became the Burroughs B20.

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Last modified:01 January 2017