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West Coast Computer Faire: Wikis


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The West Coast Computer Faire was an annual computer industry conference and exposition most often associated with San Francisco, its first and most frequent venue. The first faire was held in 1977 and was organized by Jim Warren and Bob Reiling. At the time it was the biggest computer show in the world, intended to popularize the personal computer in the home. The West Coast PC Faire was formed to provide a more specialized show. However, Apple stopped exhibiting at the West Coast Computer Faire, refusing to exhibit at any show other than Comdex that also had PC based exhibits. In 1983, Warren sold the rights to the Faire for US$3 million to Prentice Hall, who later sold it to Sheldon Adelson, the owner of Interface Group and COMDEX. In total sixteen shows were held, with the last in 1991. After Jim Warren sold the show, it had a few more good years, and then declined rapidly.


Some people refer to the first faire as the birth of the personal computer industry. It took place on April 16–17, 1977, in San Francisco Civic Auditorium & Brooks Hall, and saw the debut of the Commodore PET, presented by Chuck Peddle, and the Apple II, presented by then-21-year-old Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. On the first day of exhibition, Jobs introduced the Apple II to a Japanese textile technician named Mizushima Satoshi, who became the first authorized Apple dealer in Japan. There were about 180 exhibitors, among them Intel, MITS, and Digital Research. More than 12,000 people visited the faire.

The 2nd West Coast Computer Faire was held March 3–5, 1978, at the San Jose Convention Center. This event had the first-ever microcomputer chess tournament, won by Sargon.

The 3rd West Coast Computer Faire was held November 3–5, 1978, at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The 4th West Coast Computer Faire returned to San Francisco in May 1979 at Brooks Hall and Civic Auditorium. Dan Bricklin demonstrated VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet program for personal computers.

At the 5th West Coast Computer Faire, held in March 1980, Microsoft announced their first hardware product, the Z-80 SoftCard, which gave the Apple II CP/M capabilities.

The 6th West Coast Computer Faire was held in April 1981, when Adam Osborne introduced the Osborne 1.

The 7th West Coast Computer Faire saw the introduction of the 5MB Winchester disk drive for IBM PCs by Davong Systems. It was held on March 19–21, 1982 in San Francisco. That year's conference also featured a Saturday breakout session, titled "THE IBM PERSONAL COMPUTER", with eight talks delivered in a three-hour period. One of these was (as listed in the program):

P.C. — It's Impact on the MicroComputer Industry 
Bill Gates, President
10800 N.E. 8th #819
Bellevue, WA 98004

At its peak, all available spaces for exhibits were rented out, including the balcony of Civic Auditorium, and the hallway to the restrooms in Brooks Hall (Where Bob Wallace ("Quicksoft") introduced "PC Write")

The 8th West Coast Computer Faire was held from March 18–20, 1983.

Subsequent West Coast Computer Faires were held in Moscone Center in San Francisco.

The 16th West Coast Computer Faire was held from May 30 to June 2, 1991, at Moscone Center in San Francisco.

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