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“Gone are the glory days for Apple. Because Europe most successful business computer company is now doing business in America.”

 

With such a teasing, Apricot Computers was proudly claming its specificity in a 1985 newspaper ads. And in 2015 it could be true again, thanks to the amazing qualities of the Apricot legacy:

Apricot, a technical maverick

Who was the first to launch speech recognition system for PC… in 1984? Who introduced the first 3.5’’ floppy drive, the infrared trackball, the keyboard with programmable functions keys along with a built-in LCD screen?

Apricot, a Design Master

Who decided to deliver stylish designs, high resolution screens (800×400 in 1983), through a fully integrated conception in Scotland, allowing to manufacture in the early 90s one of the world’s most secure x86-based PCs? Who launched in 1984 a truly portable computer?

Apricot, a global presence:

Who owned up to 30% market share in the UK, extended its sales in the USA and was ahead of IBM in the mid-80s in Europe? Whose brand is currently covering the five continents, allowing a safe and broad use in almost all IT fields?

The answer is Apricot

The answer is Apricot, a brand apart, a brand with smart designs and a long running pattern of technical innovation.

a is for apple

So don’t always think “A” this way :-)
And discover the story… and the possibilities of this amazing fruit!

1965: The ACT seed

ACT « Applied Computer Techniques » is founded in the UK as a “computer bureau”. Its main activity is to rent working time of its own computers to external companies.

1982: the hardware take-off

ACT sells in Europe the Sirius I, based on a microcomputer provided by the US firm Victor. 16-bit, 128k of memory, 2 twin high capacity floppy disk drives, and outstanding 800×400 resolution screen.

With “the largest software library, by far, of any similar computer of the day”, a great success in Europe.

1983: born to be Apricot

ACT Apricot is released, with the amazing 800×400 resolution screen, plus a 3.5” floppy disk (the first available outside Japan), and a range of other features which weren’t found even in machines costing twice the price.

And a remarkably stylish design too. This PC is created in the new factory of Glenrothes, Scotland, thanks to inspired engineers like M. Peter Horne.

1984: Apricot everywhere

Apricot F1 for the Home computer market; Apricot PC Xi, for corporate uses; Apricot Fle aimed for the educational market.

ACT provides more powerful PC at lowest prices than the competition, a perfect mix and a consequent success.

1984: An Apricot in your pocket… almost

The revolutionary Apricot Portable: the first computer in the world to use the new generation of 80-column, 25-line displays with a speech recognition built in.

It had a wireless keyboard and optional wireless mouse, which communicated with the computer using an infrared link. Revolutionary, no doubt…

1985: Seeding the world

ACT becomes “APRICOT COMPUTERS” due to the success of the Apricot F1 and the willingness to conquer the US market. 30% UK market share and a main European actor of this new industry. 92m£ turnover, 10.6m£ profit.

Massive advertising campaigns in Europe and the USA. A star is born.

1986: like IBM… but smarter

The XEN-I machine is launched. It provides more power, features and facilities in a system which is both smaller and cheaper than the IBM AT. The XEN is the first APRICOT 100% compatible with IBM PC.

The operating system is not Windows 1.0 but GEM, by Digital Research. Apricot means now truly business computers.

1989: burning priorities

Release of the APRICOT VX. The first PC in the world with an intel 486 chip, burning priority to anyone else!

1990: Apricot and Ikebana

Apricot is the 2nd 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 do not allow a fully integrated hardware company to live independently in the main PC market.

1992: Modern Mobility

Release of the Apricot NT386SL, a stylish laptop. Featuring an Intel 25 MHz i386SL microprocessor and a VGA-compatible white LCD screen, the Apricot NT386SL packed the performance of a desktop into an A4 form factor.

Mobility remains part of the DNA of Apricot.

1995: the Business Orchard

Apricot is the arm of Mitsubishi in Europe, mainly dedicated to the corporate market (servers FT4200, networking PC LS550, multimedia MS540…).

The seriousness of the Japanese company offers to Apricot a legacy of Quality in the corporate field.

1998: European troubles

50.000 Apricot PCs are sold in the UK. War price, the business model in the PC industry is evolving: Asian OEM-ODM factories are overtaking the European factories despite their globally superior quality. The European-based Apricot is suffering…

1999: Winter is coming

… and consequently in June 1999, the Glenrothes factory stops production. The 8th of October, the Apricot-Mitsubishi operations in Europe are closed. The Apricot Orchard is frozen.

2008: global temperature is warming

2008. The newly established Apricot Computers Ltd acquires Apricot from Mitsubishi and launches a netbook, the Picobook pro.

The company finally gives up competition versus the PC giants in the highly competitive netbook market. But the concept of reintroducing the brand has been successfully checked.

2015: Spring is back!

 

After the acquisition of the Apricot brands by the French-based company BRAND ACCESS, a new seed, coming from the old good tree, is ready to be planted in a fertile soil.

 

And Apricot has everything inside to promise a successful future.

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