Chuck Peddle, the Brain behind Personal Computers, Passes Away

Chuck Peddle
image via Wikipedia

The brain behind personal computers, Chuck Peddle, has passed away at the age of 82 due to pancreatic cancer. He was responsible for designing MOS Technology’s 6502, a low-cost processor used in Commodore PET and Apple II. These were some of the first personal computers to be manufactured in the world. The 6502 cost $25 back in 1975, and was an achievement as computers were mostly used by research and defense establishments until then. Variations of that processor were also used in manufacturing NES and Atari 2600.

What makes Chuck Peddle’s death so poignant?

Certainly, the world has lost one of the greatest contributors to modern computing. Chuck Peddle had been working at Motorola, which had been trying to sell its 6800 CPU design kits that were priced $300. When peddle forwarded his proposal to develop inexpensive processors, the company had rejected it. This was when he and six other team members switched to MOS Technology to develop the 6502.

What ensued was a lengthy legal battle fought by Motorola that tried to clamp down on 6502’s sales. Things brightened up for Peddle when Commodore purchased MOS and gave him the job of chief engineer. After a successful jaunt with Commodore, he worked on Sirius System’s Victor PC in 1980. In other words, without Peddle’s efforts, modern computers, tablets, consoles and smartphones wouldn’t have existed. His contributions were enormous and the world will greatly miss him.

Peddle’s contributions to the computing world were extraordinary

If one were to ask what Peddle’s greatest contribution to the world of computing is, it has to be his efforts at democratizing computers and bringing it to every home on the planet. In fact, every smartphone that we use today may have some sort of root in the technology that Peddle developed almost five decades ago.

As one discusses 5G technology and super-fast computers available for a very small amount of money, one needs to remember Chuck Peddle, as he was instrumental in making sure that everyone could one daydream about using a computer. Today, most of us carry computers in our pockets, all thanks to Mr. Peddle.