8 of 10Image
DEC Rainbow 1001
If the VAX 11/780 was the high-water mark of DEC's dominance, the Rainbow 100 was a bad omen for the future. An idiosyncratic design that married a Z80 chip with an 8088, it managed to be compatible with very little and annoy users very much.
Taken as a stand-alone computer, the hardware was built to DEC's usual high standards; in the PC market, it was a bad fit. The user couldn't format floppy disks, which had to be bought pre-formatted from DEC. It wasn't PC compatible, so it couldn't run much software. It had an odd keyboard layout. It cost $3,000.
There are many signs that DEC itself wasn't too keen on the Rainbow, as little marketing was done and the sales teams got more money for less work by selling minicomputers. Plus, it was mostly built around technologies that DEC hadn't invented, which, in a fiercely proud engineering company, rarely endears a product.
The result, in the end, was that DEC missed the microcomputer revolution and was buried, much as most of the mainframe manufacturers had dismissed minicomputers 20 years before.
Photo credit: David Alcubierre/Wikimedia