Chuck Peddle

Chuck PeddleThis man helped develop the MC6800 microprocessor chipset at Motorola and later, together with Bill Mensch became the main force behind first sub $100 CPU (the $25 6502) at MOS Technologies.

He was also the team leader in the design of the KIM-1 and Commodore PET Micro Computers.

Beside Peddle's own designs many good things came from the 6502: the Apple II, the VIC20, the BBC Micro, the C=64 and the NES that revived Video Gaming after its '83 crash.

The PET, the Apple II and the Tandy TRS-80 (with a Zilog Z80) where 3 assembled micro computers that appeared in 1977 and really did changed the game.

Steve Wozniak, who engineered the Apple I and II, in his autobio "iWoz" claims that, compared to Peddle's PET, the Apple II was a superior design.

Still, without the availabilitiy and price of 6502 CPU the Apple I and II might have probably not happened. Or Woz could have failed with yet another Z80 machine. Woz also mentiones that Peddle himself was the person who had sold him samples of the CPU at the WestCon fair. Peddle says he sold them to Jobs. It seems he has more of a competitive problem with Wozniak than with Jobs. And any of these guys are welcome to their own nice memories.

We are not completely shure of all the claims: For shure a modern notebook with integrated display and storage is more similar to a PET and the average office PC is more like the Apple II. And no one should forget that all these guys worked in and with teams.

MOS 6502AD 4585

Now the Intel 8080 and the Motorola 6800 where announced at around $360 when bought individually. Of course Motorola's and Intel's large established customers could negotiate much lower bulk prices. But that would have meant nothing for a private person like Wozniak.

By pursuing the possibility of a 25$ CPU and leaving Motorola, Chuck Peddle and Bill Mensch might be just the greatest PANC pioneers ever.

The 6502 (along with the 6501) where ready for the market and shown at the Wescon tradshow in the fall of 1975. As Peddle was no bad marketeer and spokesperson they got quite extensive coverage in the trade press.

Peddle wanted every interested engineer and hobbyist to have access to the chips and documentation. Other semiconductor companies preferred to deal with "serious" customers only.

We'll write about the Z80 & CP/M one day. That would be about Mr. Faggin, Mr. Shima amd Mr. Kildall. Great pioneers by themselves. Surely in the same league as Mensch and Peddle.

Mr. Peddle believes that the worlds first microprocessors are not the famous Intel 4004 or 8008: "I am not trying to be negative about the guys that did it ... these are nothing more than calculator chips". He believes the worlds first real CPU is Tom Bennett's 8bit Motorola 6800 "... it's terrible that guy never got any credit."

The Victor Sirius was another design of Chuck Peddle.

It seems to be true that of the guys that "invented" the microprocessor at Intel at least Marcian Hoff, Stan Mazor, Frederico Faggin and Masatoshi Shima are widely credited and Tom Bennett is not even mentioned in Wikipedia's 6800 entry. though mentions him in its 1971 - Microprocessor Integrates CPU Function onto a Single Chip article.

Not true anymore, since Tom Bennett is now in the wikipedia article as the chief designer of the 6800. And no matter what you count, Intel's 8080 was available from April '74 and the 6800 from August of the same year. Never mind. Both were expensive anyhow. But Peddle, Mensch, Faggin and Shima would soon lower real micro-cpu prices by a factor of 5 or so, made them available for everybody and so forced the large companies to follow.

Now as a business person Mr. Peddle was not that sharp but still more apt than Mr. Wozniak. He seems to have also been a bit of an idealist freak: At MOS technology he got them to finance 200 research projects with the money earned. But like Mensch he wasn't that bad in business either.

Check out his deeds and life via his wikipedia entry and on the Commodore history pages.

More than any other person, Chuck Peddle deserves to be called the founder of the personal computer industry. (Byte Magazine)

Steve Wozniak built his computer from parts available on the market, but Chuck Peddle built his machines starting with raw sand.(Brian Bagnall)

last updated: 07.01.17 10:58

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