The year was 1982. British computer pioneer Dr. Adam Osborne, a man who has been universally credited with creating the portable computer industry announces the “Executive” OCC-2, the the successor to his current shipping product, the CP/M-based Osborne 1. In fact, over the next year, he also publicly discusses a second, smaller model, the “Vixen”, one which would follow on after that.
Not many people will remember Adam Osborne and the significant contributions he made to help establish the personal computer industry. Many people reading this article weren’t even born when the Osborne 1, let alone the Vixen was shipped.
However, there is one particular event in computer history in which Mr. Osborne’s name will forever be associated with:The Osborne Effect.
What happened to the Osborne Computer Company after the announcements of the “Executive” and the “Vixen” is now classic business school material. Due to the pre-announcement of the newer, better products while the current inventory in the reseller channel was still full, buyers were no longer interested in current products.
Despite the fact that the company had a number of advantages, one of those being that it bundled application and OS software with its computers, Osborne was also facing heavy competition from companies like Kaypro, Apple and IBM, so the timing couldn’t possibly have been worse.
By November of 1983, the company went bankrupt, and Osborne Computer Corporation was no more.