A Personal Computer, abbreviated PC, is a collective term used to describe a computer system used in the home, although in recent years, that strict definition has been relaxed. Originally, the term was first used by IBM to describe their new IBM PC Range. Although the term 'PC' has been used before, and indeed, as early as 1972, the name stuck, and has been used ever since to specifically refer to PC's based on the original IBM PC, the IBM 5150.
From a technical point of view, Macs can be termed as PC's, since they share the same basic characteristics as their Windows- and Linux- operated counterparts. However, the architecture of the Mac prevents it from using the classic definition of 'PC', since its architecture is not derived from the original IBM computers, rather being based on Motorola's PowerPC Architecture
The IBM-compatible PC has undergone many evolutionary changes, and will go through several more.
When the PC was first released, IBM was trying to break into a market dominated at that time by Apple. IBM took about a year to design an affordable Microcomputer, but they took a more radical approach than they were used to; They used parts from other manufacturers, to make the IBM PC an Open Standard. The original idea was that companies could make PC's based on the same architecture, whilst still recieving royalties from their ROM BIOS. Unfortunately for IBM, other companies, like Compaq, reverse engineered the ROM BIOS, so they were able to use the IBM PC architecture wholly royalty free.
Today, the PC, while still based on the original IBM hardware, has grown to the point where bottlenecks are now being reached with regards to the microarchitecture.
Typically, you can define a PC into a number of different roles.
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