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14 COMPUTERLAND STORES ALREADY OPENED (AUGUST 1977)   



The fate of Computerland is the fate of its leader William Millard. He is president of the IMSAI company in 1976 and sells ready to order computer kits based on the Intel 8080 microprocessor by mail. Sales are good and Millard wants to move beyond kits and sell a pre-assembled computer for better profits. To help sales, he decides to create chain stores specialized in computer sales and mostly IMSAI 8080's.

In February of 1977, the first Computer Shack store opens in Morristown, New Jersey and in March the first advert appears.

After litigation from Radio Shack, the chain is renamed ComputerLand. In August 1977, 14 stores are opened, 23 in November and several hundreds eventually open worldwide in the following years.

Unfortunately, Millard then makes the same mistake as Adam Osborne: he announces a new version of the IMSAI computer before it is ready at all. Customers massively return their IMSAI, sales collapse and ComputerLand is almost bankrupt.

Fortunately, Apple at the time is seeking distributors to increase sales of its Apple II. Success follows suit for ComputerLand as it will again for IBM's PC's eventually. Profits will rise each year and reach one billion dollars in 1984.

After that extraordinary year, trouble comes, resellers rebel and create an association to defend their interests, and several employees sue Millard for broken promises. The spirit of the company gone, Millard sells ComputerLand for 200 million dollars and leaves for good to an island in the Pacific Ocean. ComputerLand still exists as a company, and nowadays has about 200 resellers in the US.





  
  
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