A Tribute to the Dick Smith System 80
(aka Video Genie and PMC-80/81)

System 80 - Other Guises - PMC-80, 81

U.S.A. (and Canada?)

The U.S.A saw Personal Micro Computers Inc, Mt. View, California selling the EACA machines through mail order from 1980 to 1981.   The PMC-80 was the standard version while the PMC-81 was the name for the business model with the numeric keyboard.  The same expansion options were sold as those in other countries.

Interestingly the PMC-81 advertisement below mentions the unit as having sound!  If this is the case, this is a special addition for the PMC-81.  EACA MkII business models sold and re-branded in other countries tended to be silent!  Only the "Blue-label" had sound.

There was something else.  An interesting derivative called the EPS-80 (Electric Pencil System), which was a PMC-80 with an EPROM chip containing the simple but well-known word processing program, Electric Pencil (see advertisement on the right).  A review of this system published in 80-Microcomputing appears here.

PC-80. Click to see a large image PC-81. Click to see a larger image EPS-80.  Click to see a larger image

Sometime in 1981, Tandy successfully took court action against PMC Inc for copyright infringement amongst other things, claiming that the PMC-80 used it's ROM I/O routines (the 12k of BASIC in ROM was perfectly legal...Bill Gates had licensed that to both Tandy and EACA).  The action, titled "Tandy Corp. v. Personal Micro Computers, Inc., 524 F. Supp. 171, (N.D. Cal. 1981)" was often cited as a precedent judgment in similar cases.  

The judge ruled in favour of Tandy but just what happened after that is not clear. Certainly, PMC advertising seemed to stop. At least one journal editorial reported sales of the the PMC-80 being temporarily suspended (Micro-80 1981, issue 22, pg 2) but later writings on PMC products (e.g. 80-Micro, Jan 1984, pg 187-188) make no mention of this?

Whatever the outcome, the court case did not seem to affect distribution in other parts of the world (or perhaps Tandy just didn't pursue it).  By this time, the TRS-80 Model 1 had ceased production and had been superseded by the Model 3 anyway.