“A computer revolution of enormous magnitude is about to take place. Because Europe’s most successful business computer company is now doing business in America…
So, if you still think that Apple is a better business computer, look at it from a different perspective.”
Who was the first to launch a speech recognition system for PCs… way back in 1984? Who introduced the first 3.5’’ floppy disk drive, the infrared trackball, the keyboard with programmable function keys along with a built-in LCD screen ?
Who decided to provide stylish designs and high resolution screens (800×400 in 1983), under the framework of a fully integrated concept, leading to the production of one of the world’s most secure x86-based PCs in the early 90s in Scotland? Who launched a truly portable computer in 1984 ?
Who owned up to 30% of the market share in the UK, extended its sales in the USA and was ahead of IBM in the mid-80s in Europe? Which brand is currently present in five continents, allowing a safe and widespread use in almost all IT fields ?
The answer to all the above is Apricot, a brand apart, a brand with smart designs and a long history of technical innovation.
Here is its awe-inspiring story…
In Europe, ACT commercialises the Sirius I, based on a microcomputer sold by the US firm Victor. 16-bit, 128k of memory, 2 twin high-capacity floppy disk drives, and an outstanding 800×400 resolution screen.
With “the largest software library, by far, of any similar computer of the day” the Sirius is a huge and instant hit in Europe.
The ACT Apricot is released. It comes with an amazing 800×400 resolution screen, a 3.5” floppy disk-drive (the first one available outside of Japan), and a range of other features that aren’t even found in machines costing twice its price.
To top it all off, it also has a remarkably stylish design. This PC is manufactured in the new factory of Glenrothes, Scotland, thanks to inspired engineers like M. Peter Horne.
Apricot F1 is destined for the home computer market, Apricot PC Xi is for corporate usage, and the Apricot Fle is geared towards the education market.
ACT provides PCs that are more powerful and more economical than their competitors; a winning combination that leads to tremendous success.
The revolutionary Apricot Portable: the first computer in the world to use the new generation of 80-column, 25-line displays with built-in speech recognition.
With its wireless keyboard and optional wireless mouse, which communicates with the computer via an infrared link, it is nothing less than revolutionary !
ACT renames itself “APRICOT COMPUTERS”. This is due to the success of the Apricot F1 and their desire to conquer the US market. They enjoy 30% of the UK market share and are a key European player in this new industry. They boast a 92m£ turnover and a 10.6m£ profit.
Massive advertising campaigns are launched all over Europe and in the USA. A star is born.
The XEN-I machine is introduced. It provides more power, and a larger number of features and facilities within a system that is smaller as well as cheaper than the IBM AT. The XEN is the first APRICOT that is100% compatible with an IBM PC.
It doesn’t use Windows 1.0 as its operating system but GEM, designed by Digital Research. Apricot is now truly synonymous with business computers.
Apricot is the 2nd largest PC maker in Britain. In April, Mitsubishi acquires the company for 10 billion ¥ (70 million USD).
A strategic move for Apricot, as it appears that the IBM clone industry and the Microsoft-Intel symbiosis have made it impossible for a fully integrated hardware company to exist independently in the main PC market.
The stylish Apricot NT386SL laptop is released. Featuring an Intel 25 MHz i386SL microprocessor and a VGA-compatible white LCD screen, the Apricot NT386SL packs the performance of a desktop into an A4-sized format.
Mobility remains an important aspect of Apricot’s DNA.
Apricot is Mitsubishi’s wing in Europe and is mainly dedicated to the corporate market (servers FT4200, networking PC LS550, multimedia MS540…).
The soundness of the Japanese company provides Apricot with a legacy of quality in the corporate field.
Around 50.000 Apricot PCs are sold in the UK. A price war is raging and the PC industry’s business model is evolving: Asian OEM-ODM factories are overtaking the European factories despite the latter’s globally superior quality. The European-based Apricot is suffering…
… and consequently, in June 1999, the Glenrothes factory stops production. The Apricot-Mitsubishi operations in Europe are closed down on the 8th of October. The Apricot Orchard is frozen.
2008. The newly established Apricot Computers Ltd acquires Apricot from Mitsubishi and launches the Picobook pro netbook.
The company eventually gives up competing against the PC giants in the highly competitive netbook market. But, the concept of reintroducing the Apricot brand clearly ‘bore fruit’.
The acquisition of the Apricot brand by the French-based BRAND ACCESS company represents the sowing of a new seed, harvested from the sturdy original tree, in fresh fertile soil.
Apricot has got what it takes to succeed and a promising future lies ahead for the brand. Let’s sow the seed and watch it bloom !