Archive for May, 2016

OMFG: CC – Computerarchiv

May 21, 2016

While doing my research on the upcoming Fortune Systems entry I stumbled upon the most interesting, useful, and eye-opening resource on the ancient computer market I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately (for some of you), it’s in German, and it’s about the German computer market, but it’s simply wonderful for any statistically interested retro computing nut.

What this resource represents is the archive of a (once) commercial information service in Germany that published virtually all available computer models on the market for all manufacturers. For each model they compiled at least one configuration (often up to three different configurations, a small one, a typical one and a large one), described the configuration briefly (using their own notation) and noted down the price for that configuration (without tax). Sometimes they also described the technical data of a model family in more detail. They did this every 3 months from 1971 to 2001.

These reports were published as paper brochures with varying page numbers from 5 pages in 1971 to 195 pages in 1991. According to their history it soon became an indispensable part of every computer sales professional’s suitcase.

There were two types of reports: orange ones on smaller computers (“B├╝rocomputer”), PCs, work stations, middle-sized systems and the like, and blue ones on “regular” computers (“EDV”).

The archive consists of two parts:

  • the first part (“30 Jahre Computermarkt D 1971-2001 (pdf)”) consists of scanned copies of the original brochures. Not all issues are represented, but there is one issue for every year.
  • the second part (“Hersteller-Dateien 1986-2001 (html)”) assembles the entries as text over the different issues. The entries are organized according to manufacturers.
    Unfortunately, some entries exist only in one part, but not in the other.

The value of these reports were (and are) not only that they assembled all the market information in one booklet and that it was published periodically, but also that they pre-processed price list information by chosing a configuration and collecting the prices for the needed components. This information was even more valuable for the companies that did not publish public price lists, but insisted to give you a number for your quote only after a lengthy consultation process. This, of course, also means that you as a buyer, might end up with a different price than the one described in the report, but a rough price for a computer was more important for the competition than none price…

The publisher of these brochures, the CC company, certainly intended to earn money by doing all this, but they certainly also lived up to their claim to shed some “light on the computer market”.

Apart from the market reports on computers, the CC company also published market reports on

  • software
  • terminals
  • text processing systems

but unfortunately, these are not available as of now.

The URL is: http://cc-computerarchiv.de/

If you know something similar for other markets, I’d love to hear about it.

In the upcoming months I might feel inclined to do some analyses using this resource and present it in this blog.

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