What a year 1988 was

Easily the most important event in 1988 was the founding of managed IT services provider Quiss Technology, but what else happened in this momentous year?

Believe it or not, in February of this year, Lenny Henry went to Ethiopia as the centrepiece of the very first Red Nose Day telethon. More than 150 celebrities and comedians participated in the event, which raised £15 million for UK charities, with 30 million viewers watching on the BBC.

This was also the year that we said goodbye to the pound note, which ceased to be legal tender in March and saw the average house price approach £60,000.

Before we get on to our favourite subject of technology, we’ll have a look out on the roads. Iconic models launched the same year as Quiss, include the Alfa 165, Lancia Delta 8v Integrale and the Aston Martin Virage.

Rover Group was sold to British Aerospace, the third incarnation of Vauxhall’s Cavalier appeared in showrooms, VW built it’s 50 millionth car and petrol heads everywhere mourned¬†the passing of Enzo Ferrari, aged 90. It was also sad to lose another motoring legend, Alec Issigonis, who played such a huge part in the creation of Britain’s most recognised car, the mini.

And on the technology front, just four years since its launch, Dell completed its initial public offering and increased market capitalisation from $1,000 to $85 million.

Creative Labs introduced the SoundBlaster sound card for the PC and Intel released the 80386SX processor, a low-cost alternative to the original 386 processor. Although the 80386SX chip lacked a maths coprocessor, it still featured 32-bit architecture and built-in multitasking, available with clock speeds of 16MHz, 20MHz, 25MHz and 33MHz – now that’s impressive. Not.

The mighty NTS XT130 launched this year, offering state-of-the-art computing with a 30MB hard disk, a monochrome monitor, MsDos 3.3 and eight expansion slots, for just £995!

Portable computing took a leap forward thanks to the Amstrad ALT-386SX Laptop, which offered 16MHz speed, 1Mb of RAM and a 40Mb hard disk. But with a tiny 640 x 480-pixel screen and a weight of 7kg it could only really be considered portable by the truly dedicated.

Other big IT names to appear in this year alongside Quiss were: memory card manufacturer Archos; network equipment manufacturer Linksys; scanner maker Mustek and sound card specialists Digital Audio Labs – yes, we’re that old.

In sport, it was a fascinating year,¬†with underdogs Wimbledon FC, inspired by the ‘Crazy Gang’ in their 1-0 defeat of League Champions and favourites Liverpool. The 1988 UEFA European Football Championship’s, held in West Germany saw the Netherlands crowned as European Champions.

Stefan Edberg won the Wimbledon men’ title and Steffi Graf was the ladies champion, whilst Seve won the¬†Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes.¬†Rhyme¬†‘n’ Reason won the Grand National and the Formula One World Champion was the incomparable Ayrton Senna.

Kylie Minogue enjoyed five weeks at number one with ‘I Should Be SO Lucky’ and ‘The Only Way Is Up’ by Yazz and the Plastic Population was the year’s other big hit. The biggest hit at the box office was Rain Man, which secured Dustin Hoffman the second of his Oscars, with Jodie Foster winning the Best Actress Oscar for her role in ‘The Accused’.

We know it was also a terrible year of tragedy and loss, but we hope this gentle trip down memory lane has brought back some good times for our older readers and shed some light on the mythical 80s for those who were not fortunate enough to live through this glorious decade.

Andy Michael, Managing Director, Quiss Technology plc

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