There are many materials devoted to the rise of the personal computer industry. Some of them focus on technic aspects. Like "IBM PC was cheap and has open arcitecture. So it won Atari, Commodore and so on". Some of them focus on specific manifestations of computer industry like hakers culture.

But is there a researchs of 80s typical personal computer buyer? Why did he need a PC? There is an advertisement of Apple IIc where tells that a buyer can use it for... diet, fitness and tax calculating. It seems that this is not a very solid reason to pay several thousand dollars for personal computer.

  • Reading books? Monitors of the 80s were not conducive to long-term reading.
  • CAD (сomputer-aided design)? How many mechanical engineers out of the total number of PC buyers? Not too much.
  • Learning a programming languages? Why study them if there are no tasks for them?
  • Graphic design? There was no cheap digital cameras to get a raw images with high resolution.
  • Computer games? May be. But was the reason of rise of PC... only a computer games?

This topic seems to be very controversial, so I would like to read scientific research on this topic. Can someone gives sociological or economic researchs about personal computer buyer in 80s?

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    $\begingroup$ This is just my experience, not research, but may be of interest. I bought my first computer in the mid 1980s and used it mainly for word processing. At that time, features such as easy correction of typos and right-justification of paragraphs felt like a big advance on previous struggles with manual and electric typewriters. $\endgroup$ Dec 3, 2023 at 10:29
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    $\begingroup$ Agree fully with @AdamBailey. Got my first PC in 1986 and used it mainly as a replacement for my mechanical typewriter. Also playing games and a little bit of programming, just for fun. $\endgroup$
    – VARulle
    Dec 3, 2023 at 11:26
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    $\begingroup$ I used it just to learn how to program (using BASIC). especially silly tricks like N+N+1; print N. At work, before the internet, PCs were used for spreadsheet work on Lotus-123, which was revolutionary. $\endgroup$
    – dm63
    Dec 4, 2023 at 3:58


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