The IBM PC, the machine that helped launch the original revolution in business computing, burst onto the scene 28 years ago today.

Though it was far from the first personal computer available for purchase, IBM’s original 5150 model quickly became the gold standard for business computing, and helped to transform our notions of communication and collaboration forever.

The year was 1981. While Apple and other companies had been selling to hobbyists and select geeks, there was by no means any guarantee that personal computers would be as influential as they are today.

But just a year later, Timehad named the computer “Man of the Year,” and 80 percent of Americans predicted that home computers would be “as common as television sets or dishwashers.” The millions of IBM PCs sold and the army of clones it inspired are what jump-started that shift.

The IBM PC was a driving force behind getting people to see computing as a personalized activity at work and at home. By cementing the idea of computing as a personal activity in our culture, the IBM PC set the stage for the Web as we now know it, a phenomenon that would eventually circle back to influence the enterprise enormously.

Photo courtesy Wikipedia