Business computers - but where is the business?

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The First Hungarian PC

Between bigger computers (used in computer centres, universities or companies) and cheap home computers there were several categories that ended for office or business use.

Under the conditions of a socialist state and even in the 1980s Many economic players appeared that needed the benefits of modern computers. Printing-houses, smaller companies or administration offices also had to be provided with computers. The IBM PC (introduced on 12th August, 1981) is the most significant example of a professional personal computer for business. In the middle of the 1980s this kind of technology was also not unknown to Hungarians. The real burst in information technology came right after the change of economical/political regime (1989-90).

Representatives of international companies appeared en masse during this period and trade restrictions disappeared. This also made creative “cloning” of Western technology pointless. New innovations using the country’s own components and potential also had to pass the test of international competition.

Thanks to the development in Hungarian information technology which had been taking place since the end of the 1950s, behind the ‘Iron Curtain‘, Hungarian developers were not taken unaware by these new challenges.

How to cite this page


Gábor Képes, 'Business computers - but where is the business?', Inventing Europe,


  1. Faix, Gábor. “Proper-16 fejlesztés. ” In Volt egyszer egy Szki…, edited by Bálint Dömölki et al, 47-52. Budapest: NJSZT ITF (Ervin Kovács), 2011.
  2. Faix Gábor, "Proper 16, XT - fejlesztések a nyolcvanas években." January 8, 2013.,Proper_16_XT_-_fejlesztesek_a_nyolcvanas_evekben
  3. Képes, Gábor. “Az IBM-kompatibilis személyi számítógépek térhódítása Magyarországon.” In A Magyar Műszaki és Közlekedési Múzeum évkönyve I. 2009-2011, 95-106. Budapest, 2012.

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Computers behind the 'Iron Curtain'

After the 1956 Revolution in the People's Republic of Hungary, Stalinist dictatorship was followed by a society that was ready to open towards the West. For this reason Hungary was sometimes called the "happiest barracks of the Soviet camp". Hungarian computer technology was both connected to the initiatives of the Eastern bloc countries, and also hurriedly following the West at the same time. By 1989 there were hundreds of thousands of computers in the country, and its computer technology was typically colourful and full of unique compromises between East and West.

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Technology transfer

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