Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak get credit for ushering in the personal computer revolution. All Chuck Peddle did was power it.
Peddle, whose low-cost microprocessor allowed Jobs and Wozniak to mass-produce the Apple II, died on Dec. 15 at his California home from pancreatic cancer. He was 82.
An engineer for Motorola in 1975, Peddle designed an affordable chip but was told by his employer to cease. Motorola had just launched a $300 processor. Peddle’s cost $25.
Peddle took his idea and some of his fellow Motorola engineers to rival chipmaker MOS Technology, where they created the 6502. This chip powered the Apple I, II, the Commodore PET and the Atari gaming console.
“Chuck Peddle is one of the great unsung heroes of the personal computer age,” Doug Fairbairn, director at the Computer History Museum, told The New York Times. “Virtually all of the early, successful, mass-market personal computers were built around the 6502, not chips from Intel or anyone else.”
Motorola sued and Peddle eventually had to pay a $200,000 fine.
MOS later acquired Commodore Business Machines. Its first computer, the PET, was powered by the 6502 and sold for $495, according to the Time’s obituary. Jobs and Wozniak tried to sell Apple to Commodore but were turned down (see story below).
Source: The New York Times