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Computer History

What is the Xerox Alto?


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January 10, 2010 4:29PM

The Xerox Alto was an experimental form of what would now be called a "networked desktop computer." It was developed in the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center before the IMB PC or Apple I hit the market. Xerox deployed the Alto in many of its manufacturing and research locations, as well as within Ginn and Company, a book publisher that was then a Xerox subsidiary. However, the Alto was never offered in the commercial market.

The Xerox 6085 (Xerox Star), using using a graphical user interface and operating system ultimately called GlobalView, was derived from the Alto and was eventually offered in the commercial market. It was unable to compete with the less costly PC and Apple Macintosh and was eventually discontinued.