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Chuck Peddle's $25 Microprocessor Ignited Computer Market


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Chuck Peddle, in April 2019.

Chuck Peddle, who led a team that designed a microprocessor that served as the electronic brain for some of the earliest personal computers,died of pancreatic cancer on Dec. 15.

Credit: University of Maine Alumni Association

Though he never became a household name, Chuck Peddle was among the peers of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates in the 1970s who transformed personal computers from curiosities for geeky hobbyists into essential tools for the masses.

Mr. Peddle led a team at MOS Technology Inc. that designed a microprocessor priced at $25, around a 10th of the cost of competing devices. The MOS 6502, introduced in 1975, served as the electronic brain for some of the earliest personal computers, including the Apple I and II, as well as for videogame consoles.

The microprocessor's low price changed the economics for personal-computer makers, allowing them to offer higher performance at affordable prices, said Douglas Fairbairn, a director at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif.

Mr. Peddle died of pancreatic cancer on Dec. 15 at his home in Santa Cruz, Calif. He was 82.

He was also a pioneering designer of desktop computers. When Commodore International Ltd. acquired MOS in 1976, he stayed on to design Commodore's PET computer, a popular product in the late 1970s.

From The Wall Street Journal
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