> Back to MENU



notes :



MSX, Genesis.

In the early 1980s, personal computers slowly started entering French homes. No one really knew what a personal computer was or what to use it for, but the promise to help educate children and make them smarter, as well as help them learn the tools of the 21st century, ended up convincing middle-class parents to purchase them. "There will be a computer at home!"

In December 1984, the french magazine, "Science et Vie Micro" ran a front page cover displaying "50 home computers". That’s right! 50 different models! And without a doubt, many more would be available on the market. A wealth of new home computers would soon be available. Every electronic manufacturer had their own computer model, which they presented as better than their competitors.

Remembering back, just to name a few, there was the Alice, Exelvision, Hector 2 HR +, Thomson MO5, Apple IIe, Sinclair Spectrum, Atari 600 XL, Amstrad CPC 464, Acorn, Commodore, Laser Lynx, Aquarius, Dragon, and Spectravideo. All these machines offered nearly the same capabilities, "Play, Manage, Learn, Create", but all had different operating systems, different languages, and none of them were compatible with one another.

Out of this chaotic zoo where everyone was lost in a new world of home computing, came the MSX.

The promise of perfect compatibility.

MSX is the result of the collaboration between two rising companies of the 1980s, Japan's ASCII and the US based, Microsoft.
The idea? Create a range of compatible micro-computers to tap into the home markets.

For this purpose, the same hardware and software base was adopted.

Z80A microprocessor with at least 8 KB of RAM
VDP Texas Instruments TMS-9918 offering a maximum resolution of 256 * 192 pixels in 16 colors, 32 sprites.
16KB of Video Ram.
Yamaha Sound Processor AY-36-8910 featuring 3 voices and 8 octaves.
Centronics interface, tape recorder connector, at least 1 joystick port, 1 Expansion port, and a 70-key keyboard with 5 programmable function keys and 4 arrow keys for a cursor.
And lastly, a 32KB Rom containing Microsoft’s Extended version of Basic.

Where did these specifications come from? Was it a divine intervention? It almost was! Let’s step back a few years ...

It all began with an encounter...

In 1976 Kazuhiko Nishi was a student at the prestigious Waseda University in Tokyo. He was already fascinated by the emerging new world of computers, software and electronics.
With friends he set out to create a game that runs on the new models of the "Pong" processor-based General Instrument AY-3-8500 processor that will be used in the Odyssey 300 console and Coleco Telstar. Nishi wanted to build a console himself with his own game and resell it.
To this end he visited General Instrument to purchase some chips, but he was told that those are not available as retail order in small quantities.
Without enough money to purchase a large order of chips, he decided to abandon the idea of creating it himself.
Though disappointed, he did not give up on his idea entirely and decided that if he cannot sell his game, he will instead sell the information on how to build it.
His article was published in a magazine which turned out to be very successful. From this point, he continued writing articles on video games for several other magazines ...

One day he decided that instead of writing for others, he should create his own book and publish it.
Nishi decided to drop out of college to focus on this, which was a most "un-Japanese" thing to do, especially from a top school like Waseda, and began publishing a PC magazine called I/O.
 

In 1977, with two friends he found ASCII to publish I/O. He later dropped the magazine for another, more "professional" looking publication, dealing with electronics and video games: ASCII Magazine.

Nishi realized, that writing articles, and testing software were simply just not good enough. "I can do better," he said. So he decided on a second attempt at making software himself, but for that, he would need a programming language. Who had a good programming language he wondered? The name that came immediately to his mind was Microsoft.

It was midnight, one night in August of 1977, that Kazuhiko Nishi picked up the phone to call Microsoft headquarters in Albuquerque, NM. "Can I talk to your president?” He asked politely.

microsoft siege
Microsoft Headquarter in the 80s

Bill Gates decided to take the call, and the two young men begin to talk. At the end of their conversation, Nishi offered Bill Gates a plane ticket to Tokyo, so they could meet in person. Gates declined the offer as he was too busy to travel, and so instead Nishi flew to America to meet with Bill Gates.
Nishi and Gates finally met in person two months later at a computer show.

The two young men discussed their interests, professional background and expertise for over nine hours, and realized that they had a lot of common points and connections.
Both men were 21 years old, came from the same social background, they had both left a university to create their respective businesses, and they both had the same passion about computing and were confident that the software and the computer market would soon explode.
"Let's sell software," said Nishi ... And so they would. After some discussions, the two men agreed to do business together.

Their personalities complemented each other well. Nishi was affable, persuasive, and had all the talents you would expect of a skilled businessman, while Gates had a more theoretical approach of things.

microsoft

The partnership of ASCII and Microsoft Corporation would transform the burgeoning software market into an industry. Nishi became the vice president of Microsoft, and his company, ASCII, became the official representative of Microsoft in Japan.

Japan's first personal computer.

Kazuhiko Nishi, "Kay" as his friends call him, wanted to prove himself to his new business partner. He knew that NEC Corp. was working on a personal computer. He called Kazuya Watanabe, manager at NEC Corp., and convinced him to come to the United States to meet with Bill Gates and Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft.
The meeting with the young owners of Microsoft, was conclusive. Wartanabe was impressed by these young men. He went back to Tokyo with a project that he presented to his company's board of directors: Making a computer with the support of Microsoft and ASCII.
It was in 1979 that the result of this project was completed, and the "NEC PC 8000," was born, Japan's first home computer. It is also the first home computer with the built in Basic language from Microsoft. It was a commercial success and a great opportunity for Microsoft and ASCII to demonstrate their expertise.

 pc8001
Nec Pc 8001

In July 1980 IBM reached out to Microsoft, to ask them to develop an operating system for their new computer.
Gates was not enthusiastic about this; Microsoft was already overbooked, and had never created an operating system. Furthermore, there was no guarantee that their computer with this operating system would ever be released. Initially, Gates suggested to IBM to ask around at Digital Research for a license of their CP / M. However, IBM was unable to reach a deal with Gary Kildall, the owner of Digital Research and the inventor of CP / M.
IBM then turned back to Microsoft, which had already agreed to provide the Basic language. It was "Kay" Nishi who persuaded Bill Gates to agree. "Let's do it, Let's do it," he told Gates. Gates finally agreed and promised IBM an operating system.
Not having the time to develop such a system from the scratch, Gates decided to search for one that could be adapted for IBM.

Tim Patterson, of Seattle Computer Products, provided them with what they were looking for. Tim Patterson had developed an operating system called 86-DOS (QDOS or for Quick and Dirty Operation Sytem) which corresponded perfectly what Gates needed.
Gates bought 86-DOS for $ 50,000. The 86-Dos was renamed to PC-DOS and proposed to IBM!

Microsoft’s growth was speeding up, and Nishi was divided between Japan and the West coast of the United States. Always inbetween flights, it was not uncommon for him to host and lead meetings from his plane.

mcrosoft team first trip to japan
Microsoft team first trip to japan. From the left, Paul Allen, Bill Gates, Junichi Okada, Kay Nishi.


In 1981, Nishi imagined a briefcase size computer the with an LCD screen. During a trip between Japan and the United States, he met with Kazuo Inamoro, president of Kyocera Corp. During the flight, he persuaded Inamori to produce this new type of computer. This would become the Portable Radio Shack 10, the first laptop computer. Microsoft and Ascii designed the software part and sold the license on 3 Continents to the Olivetti and Tandy brands.


Portable Radio Shack 100

Spectravideo: "I am your (grand)father"

Harry Fox and Alex Weiss, two Swiss watchmakers, migrated to the U.S. in the 50s. The company they created, SPECTRAVISION, was in the business of International watch trade. In the early 1980s, they decided to invest in the lucrative game consoles market and rename the company to, Spectravideo. All gamers around the world know this name for the famous Quickshot joystick. Spectravideo developed an Atari 2600 add-on as well, to make it a micro-computer with a keyboard and a programming language extension.

Early in 1982, Fox and Weiss decided to produce a real computer. With the help of Tony Law, a Hong Kong entrepreneur at the head of the electronics company Bondwell, they envisioned a new architecture for a computer that would cost $30 to produce and could be sold for $100.

A concept was developed around a Z80 processor, a Texas instrument VDP and a Yamaha sound chip. With a hardware concept in hand, a manufacturer provider to make the machine, they were on the right track to complete their project.
They now needed software for it. For this, they contacted Microsoft. After several attempts, it was in September of 1982, that they were able to reach out to "Kay" Nishi. "Send me the specifications of your computer," he told Harry Fox. Upon receiving the document, Kay became very excited about Spectravideo’s project. Nishi immediately caught a flight to Hong Kong, to meet with Spectravideo.

Nishi was aware of the market segmentation. Many home computer brands, had been unable to communicate, and unable to exchange software. This was an annoying situation for users but also for businesses.

At this time, Nishi's company, ASCII, held 30% of the software market in Japan. This was in large part due to his partnership with Microsoft. This was already an enviable situation, but with a standardized home computer market, growth would be easier. For Nishi it was clear, the home computer market must be standardized! And he was not the only one to think this.
In Japan, the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications had wished to use home computers for communication. Matsushita Electric Corp. (Panasonic, JVC, Victor ...), the largest electronics company in the world had already called for a standardization of the industry, and there had already begun a clear idea of
​​what was desirable. Since 1978, Matsushita was evaluating the potential of telecommunications, the ability to remotely control systems, audio, video, robots, and applications for the home ...

Nishi immediately understood that the configuration proposed by Harry Fox was extremely flexible and would even be able to compete with more expensive desktop configurations, with far superior capabilities than the IBM PC for sounds and graphics.

A strange family resemblance

At the same time, the Coleco company was preparing the release of a revolutionary console in August of 1982, the ColecoVision. The hardware design of the console was designed by Eric Bromley, a clever engineer who had worked in the arcade industry at Midway and was hired by Coleco.
The architecture of the ColecoVision console was based on the Z80 processor and a Texas instrument VDP, which were very close to the specs of the Spectravideo computer.


We know that Coleco subcontracted part of its production in Hong Kong's Train Bit Corp. But was there a technology exchange in Hong Kong? Was the architecture of the machine designed by Fox, Weiss and Law copied from the Colecovision?
Some sources speculate that it was Spectravideo that licensed its hardware design to Coleco early in 1982 ; Afterall SVI also released the SV-603, an adapter to run the Colecovision games on the Spectravideo microcomputer.

At this point, no definitive conclusion can be reached. History still has to reveal some of its secrets.

 
The three machines are so close that Spectravideo can both run the MSX software and the ColecoVision games, through appropriate adaptors, the SV-606 and SV-603.

Editor's note: For my part, I doubt that the realization of three different systems with the same components and the same overall architecture is the result of luck. Although these components are common at the time, it does not explain that they are so close. I believe that the hardware of the ColecoVision's console might have "inspired" Spectravideo, and consequently the MSX. In this scenario, MSX would therefore be an improved version of the Colecovision console with a keyboard ... Maybe ...  

Once at Spectravideo’s offices in Hong Kong, an enthusiastic Nishi proposed to make some changes to the original design.
In just two days he had reorganized the overall architecture of the computer to make it easily expandible. He increased the ROM capacity and promised that Microsoft would develop a version of Basic more powerful than the IBM PC’s, even allowing for the addition of a floppy disk drive, setting up an easily programmable "interrupt" system, and making the keyboard easy to use for word processing.
With these new changes in place, producing the computer for $30 would no longer be an option, but Nishi ensured that the computer could cover many needs, whether in business or leisure, with a cartridge ROM expansion area. He promised Weiss and Fox they would be able to sell this machine for 5 years and would benefit from it, as the technology evolved and production costs fell.

Spectravideo had its computer. The SVI-318 was launched in January 1983 at CES in Las Vegas with a launch price of $600.

svi-318

In June of that same year, Spectravideo offered a "deluxe" model called the SVI-328, identical in every aspect to the previous model, but with a mechanical keyboard, numeric keypad and 64 KB of RAM instead of 32 kb previously.
svi-328

sv 606
SV-606 module for Spectravideo 318/328
This Huge module attaches to the back of the computer,
and allows to connect a cassette player MSX, joysticks and
receive MSX game cartridges.


SV-603 Module allow to play Colecovision game on
Spectravideo 318/328

Becoming a standard.

While Spectravideo was busy building and marketing their home computer, Kazuhiko had been visiting the leading Japanese Electronics Companies. He had carried with him a mockup of the Spectravideo SV-328, and Showed off its diverse features. He knew the platform was ideal to launch a home computer “standard”. The Matsushita Leaders had been especially impressed, and had seen the Spectravideo as an ideal basis for their project of a home computer standard that could be accepted by the entire Japanese Electronic Industry.

Nishi had also convinced most of the other Japanese Electronic Manufacturers to adopt a standard based on the presented specifications: The companies that joined in were Casio, Canon, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Victor, Kyocera, Mitsubishi, Nec, Yamaha, General, Pioneer, Sanyo, Sharp, Sony, and Toshiba. He also convinces Korea’s GoldStar (now LG), Samsung, and Daewoo, etc and a bit later, Philips in Europe.

In april 1983 Nishi called Harry fox to tell him that «the entire Japanese Industry wants to license their home computer design».

Harry Fox felt a bit overwhelmed and was notready to negotiate with the entire Japanese industry. Moreover, it would mean that he would have to admit that much of the design consisted of Nishi’s ideas, and he hardly felt he could hold out for a high price when selling Nishi back his own ideas. “At first they talked about a license for Japan only. But then they said they wanted to be able to sell it all over the world” Fox recalled. Fox offered Nishi a deal. He told Nishi to prepare a new design “different enough so that you do not have to license it from us, but close enough so that we can make our machine (the svi-318) compatible with an adapter”.

Thus, the MSX Project was born.

MSX over the world

The meaning of the M.S.X initials has often been debated. Microsoft often names its products with the letters «M» and «S»; MS-Basic; MS-Dos etc... M.S.X. being a Microsoft Trademark so it is very likely that those letters were picked to designate the company. The «X», stands for «eXtended» from the name given to its Basic by Microsoft for the MSX computer, the «eXtended Basic». That explanation was mentioned in the first pages of the Sanyo PHC-28 from 1984. In later interviews after the “divorce” with Microsoft, Nishi mentioned that MSX actually stands for Machine with Software eXchangeability.

MSX was officially announced to the press on June 27th 1983. That announcement took a lot of US Microsoft employees by surprise. Many didn’t know that their company was associated with the Japanese Electronics Industry to build a standard. Some of them had only heard about it a week before the announcement.

Indeed the project had always been a project of the Tokyo based ASCII-Microsoft affiliate rather than a true Microsoft project.

msx

For many computer manufacturers in the US and Europe, the announcement of this alliance was concerning. At some point, Zenith, Coleco and even Atari at least considered joining the standard, but ultimately, Spectravideo was the only US based manufacturer supporting the MSX.

Japan

In the Japanese market, MSX computers from Sony, Yamaha, Matsushita, Sanyo and other leading Japanese electronics companies began arriving in Japanese stores only four months after the initial announcement of the standard. And the support of such a wide array of Japanese hardware companies quickly gave the MSX standard an ability that no other computer could claim.

The standard defined by Nishi required total compatibility between the different MSX computers but did not stop manufacturers from adding additional features as long as they did not impact compatibility. Yamaha for instance produced a range of MSX computers that were dedicated to music with built in synthesizers. Pioneer produced MSX computers with a built-in laserdisc interface while JVC on the other hand, focused on models with Superimpose features for video editing.

Some manufactures offered multiple models, like Sony who offered MSX computers in many different case and colors.

Between October of 1983 and Summer of 1984, about 265,000 units were sold in Japan among the 12 manufacturers. It was not the largest success that its promoters where hoping for but it was significant enough to boost the home computer and software market in Japan.

MSX was mostly sold at discount prices as a gaming console and as a learning tool for children. Most of the software companies in Japan would produce titles for the MSX. MSX also became a popular platform for role playing game series such as Final Fantasy, YS, XAK or Dragon Slayer.

In the USA

MSX was announced in the US press in July of 1983. Info-World welcomed the announcement and forsaw the possibility for the Japanese home computer market to grow and catch up on the already well-established US Market. The expansion of the Japanese software market is seen as an opportunity for American software houses to distribute their products in Japan.

However, the introduction of MSX in the US was very slow and Microsoft was not actively promoting it. MSX was eventually introduced at the CES Computer Show in 1985, by Yamaha and Pioneer. However, the presentation was not a success. The announced invasion of MSX Machines was coming much too late when the US market was already moving to 16-bit machines (Apple Mac, IBM, Commodore Amiga). The 8-bit market was already dominated by Commodore who had gotten rid of most of its competitors in that segment by cutting prices. Info World summarized the presentation with the same conclusion «MSX doesn’t stand a chance in the US Market».

Yamaha was the first one to offer a MSX model on the US Market in January of 1985 (The Yamaha CX5M). Those computers were sold through specialized music stores as MIDI interface controlling computers. Sold for approximately $500, it could not compete with much cheaper computers, such as the C64, which had already been discounted at $199 by the time the MSX was announced. Also the competition had thousands of available programs, while the MSX had very few available outside of Japan. Other manufacturers postponed then cancelled the introduction of the MSX models on the US Market.

In Europe

The first MSX computers were introduced in Europe in September of 1984. The first models available in Europe were produced by Sony, Toshiba, Canon, Sanyo, Yashica and Philips. Unfortunately, the supply of machines were limited, only about 100.000 MSX were available for all of Europe before April of1985, limiting the overall sale numbers. The reception of the MSX was very disparate in the different European countries. Sales were pretty good in Italy, but poor in the UK where cheaper entry level computers like the ZX Spectrum were already very popular.

The popularity of the Philips brand in Belgium and the Netherlands helped boost the sales in those countries.



Sanyo PHC-28 one of the first MSX Wave in europe.

In France

Ambiguity or ignorance? This is what comes to mind when summarizing the MSX situation in France. In February of 1984, the popular « Micro Système » magazine introduced the Spectravideo SV318 as the MSX Precursor.

The article was very good and the computer was appreciated for its capabilities, especially its extended Basic, as well as the compatibility with CP/M and the possibility to play Colecovision games through the optional SV603 adapters. The review insisted on the fact that the SV-318 was fully compatible with the MSX Standard, which was not correct; the SV-318 was not an MSX. At the same time, Spectravideo announced that it would produce the SV-606 adapter to make its computer compatible with the MSX Standard.

Another French magazine, “Tilt”, reviewed the Spectravideo SV-728 in December of 1984. The journalist seemed to be confused and assimilated the SV-318 with the MSX model. The review however, was positive and the computer was appreciated for its ease of programming and potential for games. According to an SVM magazine article from July 1984, the overall confusion about Spectravideo’s MSX compatibility came from the company importing the Spectravideo computers in France (Valric-Laurene) which provided conflicting information to the press. SVM stated that “while the Microsoft Extended Basic resembled the MSX Basic, neither the SV-318 or the SV-328 were conforming with the MSX Standard”.

SVM would be the first to perform a real test of MSX computers in their 1984 July/August edition. The review stated that MSX were good machines, had a good implementation of the Basic language but they were awaiting to see which software will be available.

The following comparison table was provided (The MSX was compared to an IBM PC sold at 3 times the price of the MSX model)


1- Arithmetic operations.
2- Transcendental functions.
3- Concatenating strings.
4- Display speed

In 1984, the overall prospect for the MSX seemed positive and the expectation was that the MSX Standard would help resolve the chaos created by the multiple incompatible brands available at the time.

In its year end edition, « Tilt » reviewed 3 MSX machines:

- The Canon V20, The Sanyo PHC 28, Yashica YC64 «Good design, (...) Nice Keyboard (...), Good sound quality (...) improving selection of games..
.

At the same time, SVM gave mixed reviews. “MSX are good machines, well-built and are above average (…) but next year Atari will launch a 16-32 bits computer. Are the Japanese coming in too late?”

What about Spectravideo?

When Spectravideo announced its entry in the home computer market in 1982, it received a lot of attention. Many were expecting this new competitor to be very aggressive toward Atari and Commodore. However, Spectravideo never got the full support from its principal investors. In May of 1983, those investors expressed their disagreement with the management of the company and backed out. At the same time Spectravideo was spending millions of dollars in advertising, including a publicity stunt with Actor Roger Moore (James Bond). Harry Fox never secured a solid distribution network despite thousands of machines being sold.

In 1984, the company was close to bankruptcy. It was their Hong Kong manufacturer, Bondwell, that decided to purchase Spectravideo. Its headquarters was then moved to Hong Kong and Bondwell’s president, Christopher Chan, took over the leadership of the company.


MSX SVI-738 with floppy disk and 80 colomne mode


Bondwell produced and distributed IBM PC clones under its name while also manufacturing computers for other companies. Chsitopher Chan wanted to promote Spectravideo products in the entry level segment and decided to package the SV-328 with a Tape Recorder, a Joystick and 10 games for a $200 retail price. The machine would achieve some success in Europe, especially in Scandinavian countries. In the US, the SV-328 would not be able to compete in the price war engaged by Commodore, but the announcement by Harry Fox that its next machine would be fully MSX compatible helped the stock value of the company for a little while. Their first MSX model would come in May of 1984, under the name SVI-728.
The adapter to make the SVI-318 MSX compatible was announced at the same time for 50$.
One year later, the SVI-738 Xpress was announced. It was a first generation MSX machine with a built-in disk-drive, a 80 Column display card (based on the MSX2 VDP) which allowed the machine to run CPM programs. It was a great computer but was released one year too late to be competitive. In 1986, the company announced a Hybrid PC / MSX named SVI-838 XʼPress 16.

The divorce

In 1983, despite their friendship, Bill Gates was becoming increasingly irritated to see Nishi running many activities and chasing new technologies instead of promoting Microsoft software with its Japanese clients. The MSX project was taking a lot of time and energy from Nishi and even though Microsoft in the US was officially supporting the project, its investment was limited.

As the Japanese market grew, Gates became increasingly impatient with Nishi. Especially when Nishi spent a million dollars on a publicity stunt for the MSX featuring a giant Dinosaur doll in the Tokyo Shinjuku train station. Gates was furious even though Nishi used the money from his own company to pay for this unconventional event.

While Gates prepared Microsoft to be publicly traded on the stock exchange, he decided to re-organize things. He offered Nishi a plan to merge ASCII with Microsoft and to take part in Microsoft capital. Nishi refused and wanted to remainindependent.
After some painful discussions, they decided to end their association. Both men were bitter. Nishi claimed that he would have the freedom to initiate projects he could not have done with Microsoft, such as designing video and sound chips, designing computer networks, etc… By mid-1986 Microsoft would reopen its own office in Tokyo.

Upgrade me !

The MSX2 would suffer from the separation of ASCII and Microsoft. Introduced in 1985, the MSX2 was not a major evolution from the original. While in 1984, a 16-bit evolution of the MSX was foreseen, this new generation was still built around the aging Z80 processor.

The minimum RAM was increased to 64KB and the Extended Basic was improved to version 2.0. The Video RAM was also increased from 16KB to 64KB, but most models were equipped with 128KB of VRAM.

While the sound processor remained the same, the main improvment was the graphic processor designed by Yamaha (the V9938) which would have a display resolution of 512x212 in 16 colors or 256x212 in 256 colors. This new graphics processor was also fully backward compatible with the MSX 1 VDP. This new VDP was designed by ASCII and the US Patent for it was registered on December 19th, 1984.

A success or not ?

In France, the answer was clearly « no ». There was not a coordinated effort between MSX promoters. When the MSX came out, prices were too high compared to other computers like the Amstrad CPC, which was being sold for a lower price and provided a built in tape player and monitor. Atari was discounting its Atari XL line to prepare for the arrival of the ST and the Spectravideo « Fake MSX » SV-318 was dropping its bundle price by Christmas of 1984.

Despite the quality of the MSX, the lack of advertising, the high price of the machines and the intense competition would result in the failure of the MSX in France.
In June of 1985, the magazine « Standard MSX » would report that only 22,000 MSX machines were sold in France.

In Japan the situation was better, especially after the introduction of the MSX2 and more affordable models like the Panasonic FS-A1 series. The new machines no longer looked like toys and offered one or two disk drives and astonishing capabilities.

Estimated sales (All MSX versions combined)

France : Around 65 000 units between 1984 et 1987. (1/3 are MSX2)
Belgium : 20 000
Swizerland : 2000
Italy : 80 000 units
Great-Britain : 18 000 units, until 1986 (MSX2 was not introduced in GB)
Spain : 160 000
Netherland : 400 000
USSR : Around 1 000 000 (Educational system) *
Arabian Emirates : 1 300 000 *
USA : few thoundand !
Japan : 5 000 000 (Most are MSX2, 2+ and Turbo-R)

Total without South America : Around 6 745 000 Units
* To be verified. Sources are not reliable



Philips produced some good MSX2 models but would stop producing soon after.
The next MSX evolution, the MSX2+ in 1988 would only be available in Japan, and produce only by few manufacturers (Panasonic, Sanyo and Sony). In 1991 the ultimate MSX evolution would only produce by Panasonic.

Considering Nishi’s ambition to make the MSX a worldwide standard, we are far from this result. But overall the MSX sales and user base were not so bad.

The Apple 2 sold about 6,000,000 units, the Atari 8-Bit computers sold 4,000,000 units, the Amstrad CPC sold 3,000,000 units and the C64 sold 17,000,000 units.

With a bit less than 7,000,000 units sold, the overall MSX sales are not terrible for a home computer. However, with these figures split over 18 different manufacturing brands, those numbers are probably much less than those manufacturers were hoping for.

By Eric Boez, May 2013
Translation by Magoo and SkyeWelse


Sources :
Article : Wall Street journal, 27 Aout 1986 : How Two Computer Nuts Transformed Industry Before Messy Breakup
Article : Wired, Novembre 1993 : The Comeback of Japanese Software Entrepreneur Kay Nishi
Article : Los Angeles Time, juin 1990 : Toward Creativity in Japan
Article : Info World, juillet 1983 : Msx a standard
Article : Info World Janvier 1985, MSX The pong of 1980's
Article : PC Mag US, Février 1984 : People in the News Kazuhiko Nishi
Article : Info World Fevrier 1985, Commodore enter price war
Article : Micro MSX, juin 1987 : Le MSX est il coulé
Article : SVM juillet 1984
Article : Info World, Novembre 1984
Article : Creative Computing, Aout 1984 : Kay Nishi bridges the culture gap
Interview : Kazuhiko Nishi Interview conducted by William Aspray, 16 février 1993
Interview : Kazuhoko Nishi, MSX-Magazine été 1992
Livre : The MSX Standard : The New Computer by R.C. Wood 1985
Livre : MSX and the Coming Revolution in Consumer Electronics by R. C. Wood. 1984
Livre : Early Home Computer
Site : www.sambal.com
Site : http://www.colecovision.dk/history.htm
site : http://www.dvorak.org/blog/whatever-happened-to-msx-computers/
Article : The register, Juillet 2007, MS-DOS Paternity suit settled. By Andrew Orlowski.
Site : About.com : History of MS-Dos operating system by Mary Bellis.
   
MSX Rating