GCN at 25: 20 years ago - Micros go macro

GCN 25th Anniversary logoIf you look back at the growth of desktop computing in the federal government, 1987 was a fairly significant year. A 1988 report by the General Services Administration, recounted in the pages of GCN, found that the number of government PCs ' or micros, as they were called then ' nearly doubled in 1987 alone.

Not surprisingly, the military services led the way. The Army added 57,780 micros that year, to bring its servicewide total to 107,250. The Air Force was already using the most, adding 39,495 for a new total of 108,943. And some other agencies were just joining the trend. Education, for instance bought 138 micros in 1987, bringing its agencywide grand total to ... 138.

In all, by the end of 1987, the 20 major civilian and military agencies ' plus another category called 'other DOD agencies' ' had 469,582 micros, according to GSA's report. Today, the total of desktop and laptop PCs in civilian and military agencies could be around 6 million (GCN.com/784), but 20 years ago, a half-million represented the start ' or at least the continuation ' of something big.

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