Altos Advert - August 1978
From Byte - The Small Systems Journal
Announcing the IMSAI VDP-40 - Microcomputer System Solution
Here is an advert for IMSAI's less well-known VDP-40, the VDP bit standing for "Video Data Processing" and IMSAI being a contraction of IMS Associates, Inc, itself standing for "Information Management Sciences". It marks something of a departure from the previous (and famous) IMSAI 8080, which was a switches-and-lights interface machine. Presumably taking on board the new all-in-one competition in the form of the Commodore PET, Tandy TRS-80 and Apple II that had launched in 1977, it was an integrated unit comprising a 9" monitor (the same size as that built-in to the PET) with 32 or 64K RAM on an S-100 bus, as well as two integrated PerSci 5.25" floppy drives. It came in three versions - the VDP-40 (with 180K disk storage), VDP-42 (400K) and VDP-44 (780K). All used a 3MHz Intel 8085 CPU (a second-generation 8080 with a single 5V supply requirement), ran IMSAI's "IMDOS" multi-disk operating system and weighed in at 65lbs (about 30Kg)IMSAI filed for bankruptcy in October 1979, after an attempt to diversify in to computer retailing via its "ComputerLand" outlets. Computerland was eventually taken over by the Fischer-Freitas Company, which had originally started out as a support outfit for IMSAI's computers.
IMSAI seemed to also have been something of a poisoned chalice amongst UK computer dealers. About the same time as it was going bankrupt, one of its UK suppliers - Corner Computing Store in Epsom - was closing down and turning in to a consultancy. It became at least the third company to "fail to make a profit handling [the IMSAI] franchise", although it blamed its closure on the fact that other retailers would "cut the price and run". The otherwise-profitable Comart was another that had to abandon IMSAI, returning to Cromemco and North Star instead.
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