Motorola M6800 Microprocessor History

There are some of the references I located while doing research on the origins of the Motorola MC6800 microprocessor and the MOS Technology MCS6502. I also included a few Intel 8080 and Zilog Z80 articles. Most of these are from my own magazine collection but a few are from extracting text from Google Books searches. These copies are intended for research on early microprocessors are made available under a claim of fair use. Other uses of these magazine excerpts may require copyright permission from the publishers. Please do not link directly to the articles.

Michael Holley

Electronics March 7, 1974 Vol. 47 No. 5 Published March 1, 1974
   "Motorola joins microprocessor race with 8-bit entry" Pages 29–30. "The microprocessor set is organized around the popular parallel data-bus concept introduced by Digital Equipment Co., Maynard, Mass., with its PDP-11 minicomputer."

Electronics April 18, 1974 Vol.47 No. 8 Published April 12, 1974
   Altman, Laurence "Single-chip microprocessors open up a new world of applications." Pages 81-87. Photo of the 451 TTL chip 6800 prototype on page 82.
   Young, Link; Tom Bennett, Jeff LaVell "N-channel MOS technology yields new generation of microprocessors." Pages 88–95.
   Shima, Masatoshi; Federico Faggin "In switch to n-MOS microprocessor gets a 2-μs cycle time." Pages 95–100.

Electronics November 14, 1974 Vol. 47 No. 23 Published November 8, 1974
   "Semiconductor makers delay expansion. Downturn in business causes companies to take second look at plans for new plants in this country and abroad." Pages 82-85

Control Engineering November 1974 Vol. 21 No. 11
   "News of Control : Motorola Microprocessor Set Is 1 MHz n-MOS" "The price of the 40 pin, ceramic dual-in-line packaged MC6800 is $360." Page 11.

Electronics November 28, 1974 Vol. 47 No. 24 Published November 22, 1974
   "News Briefs: Semiconductor makers continue to trim employment" Page 42.
   "News update: Motorola had feeling about watch module". Page 54. "The company has since decided to disband its centralized Timepiece Electronics Unit in Phoenix…" Gary Daniels was in the Timepiece unit at that time and landed in the 6800 microprocessor group. He became the microprocessor design manager.

Electronics December 26, 1974 Vol. 47 No. 26 Published December 20, 1974
   "Microcomputer system runs on one 5-V supply" Pages 114–115 "Motorola's M6800 microcomputer system, which can operate from a single 5-volt supply, is moving out of the sampling stage and into full production." The small-quantity price of the MC6800 is $360. The MC6820 PIA cost $28.

Electronics April 17, 1975 Vol. 48 No. 8 Published April 11, 1975
   "Motorola mounts M6800 drive" Page 25. "Distributors are being stocked with the M6800 family, and the division is also offering an introductory kit that includes the family's six initial parts, plus applications and programming manuals, for $300."

Electronics July 24, 1975 Vol. 48 No. 15 Published July 18, 1975
   "Electronics newsletter: Motorola sales drop In 2nd quarter." "third losing quarter in a row for the semiconductor operation." Page 26.
   "Microprocessor line offers 4, 8,16 bits" Page 118. The article covers the 6501 and 6502 plus the 28 pin versions that would only address 4K of memory. It also covered future devices such as "a design that Peddle calls a pseudo 16."

Electronics August 7, 1975 Vol. 48 No.16 Published August 1, 1975
   "MOS 6501 Microprocessor beats 'em all" Pages 60–61. First 6501 advertisement.

Electronics August 21, 1975 Vol. 48 No. 17 Published August 15, 1975
   "New products: Disk system is 'intelligent'" Page 129. "Called the IMSAI 108, the system can handle 54 megabytes of data with a single spindle or, according to IMS director of marketing William H. Millard, it could be expanded to handle up to 16 drives – 864 megabytes…"

EDN September 20, 1975 Vol.20 No. 17
   Cushman, Robert H. "2-1/2 Generation μP's -$10 Parts That Perform Like Low-End Mini's". Pages 36–42. About the MOS Technology 6502 on Page 40. "It measures just 168x183 mils now and will be shrunk 10% to 153x168 mils soon."

Electronics October 30, 1975 Vol. 48 No. 22
   "All this and unbundled $69 microprocessor". Page 11. Motorola advertisement. The quantity one price for the MC6800 was reduced from $175 to $69. The previous price for 50 to 99 units was $125.
   "Terminal Talks Basic" Page 120. A press release on the Tektronix 4051 Graphic Computing System.

BYTE November 1975 Vol. 1 No. 3 Published October 18, 1975
   Fylstra, Daniel "Son of Motorola (or the $20 CPU Chip)". Pages 56–62. Comparison of the 6502 and the 6800 microprocessors. Author visited MOS Technology in late August 1975. On page 57, "absence of a ROR (rotate right)" instruction.

Electronics November, 13 1975 Vol. 48 No. 23 Published November 7, 1975
   "News briefs: Motorola seeks to stop microprocessor foe" Page 38. "Motorola said last week it would seek an immediate injunction to stop MOS Technology Inc., Norristown, Pa., from making and selling microprocessor products, including its MCS6500." (The actual date was Monday November 3, 1975)
   Waller, Larry "Motorola seeks to end skid" Pages 96–98.Summary: Semiconductor Products split into two parts, integrated circuits and discrete components. Semiconductor losses for the last four quarters exceeded $30 million. The sales organization lost its sensitivity to customer needs, "delays in responding to price cuts meant that customers bought elsewhere." Technical problems plagued IC production. The troubles are "not in design, but in chip and die yields." Problems have been solved. The MC6800 microprocessor "arrived in November 1974."

Electronics November 27, 1975 Vol. 48 No. 24 Published November 21, 1975
   Santoni, Andy "Probing the news: Computers, Hobbyists create a new industry". Pages 86-87. "This. year, more than 8,000 Altair products have been sold" "Southwest Technical Products Corp., San Antonio, Texas, has introduced a 6800-based computer" "Sphere Corp. of Bountiful, Utah, has been putting together low-cost computer systems since it was founded in March."

Electronics December 11, 1975 Vol. 48 No. 25 Published December 5, 1975
   "News briefs: TI drops microprocessor prices". Page 39. "By slashing the prices on its version of the Intel 8-bit 8080 … to $34.25 , on 1 to 24 pieces …"
   "News briefs: Motorola and Hitachi sign microprocessor agreement". Page 39. "Hitachi joins American Microsystems Inc. in second-sourcing the M6800."
   Scrupski, Stephen E. "Coming: cheap, powerful computers". Pages 67-68 "IMS assembles the 8080s in a structure called a Hypercube"
    Wolff, Howard "Recession spurs infringement suits". Pages 77-78 Mentions Motorola and MOS Technology case.

Microcomputer Digest December 1975 Vol.2 No. 6
    "Motorola Sues MOS Technology" Page 11. "seven former employees of Motorola (Charles J. Peddle, Rodney H. Orgill, William D. Mensch, Wilbur L. Mattys, Terry N. Holdt, Ernie B. Hirt, and Harry E. Bawcom) left Motorola and joined MOS Technology"
    Microcomputer Digest is available on and was published by Microcomputer Associates Inc., the makers of the JOLT 6502 based computer board. See BYTE magazine December 1975.

Electronics March 4, 1976 Vol. 49 No. 5 Published February 27, 1976
   "Electronics Newsletter: 6800 gains speed, lower prices by summer" Page 25.

Electronics April 1, 1976 Vol. 49 No. 7 Published March 26, 1976 (Verified at the University of Washington Library.)
   "News Briefs: Motorola, MOS Technology settle patent suit" Page 39. "MOS Technology Inc. of Norristown, Pa. has agreed to withdraw its MCS6501 microprocessor from the market and to pay Motorola Inc. $200000 in damages as part of the settlement in the patent-infringement and unfair-competition litigation between the two companies. In addition, MOS Technology and eight former Motorola employees have given back, under court order documents that Motorola contends are confidential. Although MOS Technology is dropping the MCS6501, which was pin-compatible with Motorola’s MC6800, it will continue to produce and market five microprocessors in its 6500 family, which are not pin-compatible with Motorola's MC6800. Furthermore, both companies have agreed to a cross license relating to patents in the microprocessor field."

BYTE April 1976 Vol. 1 No. 8 Published March 15, 1976
   "What's New, KIM-o-sabee?" Pages 14-15 Review of MOS Technology's KIM-1 computer board and a full page ad.

SCCS Interface May 1976 Vol.1 No.6
   Teener, Mike "Politics and Intrigue" Pages 58 and 63."So Motorola sued and just recently won an out-of-court settlement that has MOS Technology paying $200,000 and stopping production on the 6501." New pricing for 6800, $35 for 1-9, $29.95 for 50-99.

Electronics August 19, 1976 Vol. 49 No. 17 Published August 13, 1976
   Shima, Masatoshi; Federico Faggin, Ralph Ungermann. "Z-80 chip set heralds third microprocessor generation." Pages 89–93.

Electronics November 24, 1977 Vol. 50 No. 24 Published November 18, 1977
   Altmen, Laurence "Micros ride high at Motorola", "Microcomputer division, once suffering from critical production woes, now is prepared to ship more parts in 1978 than anyone else." Pages 75-76.

Mini-Micro Systems November 1976 Vol. 9 No. 11
   "Mergers and Acquisitions" Page 19. "Commodore International Ltd., (formerly Commodore Business Machines) is buying MOS Technology (Norristown, PA). This saves the six-year old semiconductor house from impending disaster. MOS Technology recently lost a suit to Motorola with $200000 in damages and had to then withdraw its microprocessor from the market. Sales for the last fiscal year had dropped to $11 million from the previous year's $17 million. Commodore will continue with calculators and together the companies will go after the TV game market."

EDN October 27, 1988 Vol.33 No. 22A Annual microprocessor supplement.
Donohue, James F. "The microprocessor first two decades: the way it was" Pages 18-32.  "He hired me," Peddle says of Bennett, "to do the architectural support work for the product he'd already started." If Peddle has a hero, it's Bennett. "He shepherded that product [the 6800] through Motorola," Peddle says. "Motorola tried to kill it several times. Without Bennett, the 6800 would not have happened, and a lot of the industry would not have happened, either."
HighBeam Research has this EDN article on their website so I am only posting a small portion on Chuck Peddle.

IEEE Computer

The IEEE Computer magazine is a good source for product announcements of computers and components. Many of the articles in Computer are free. Some of the others are expensive if you don't have a membership.
IEEE Computer Society Digital Library

When was the Western Digital 1771 floppy disk controller released?
Computer November 1976. Page 100. Recent IC Announcements (This takes you to the article Abstract, then click on article title)
Answer: July 19, 1976.

Need more details?
Computer, October 1976 Contents (This takes you to the magazine Table of Contents)
 Page 64. New Products by Demetrios A. Michalopoulos

 Single-chip floppy disk formatter/controller

The FD1771 is a single-chip floppy disk formatter/controller that interfaces with most available disk drives and virtually all types of computers. On the computer interface side, the computer merely accesses and alters five on-chip 8-bit registers and looks at a data request and interrupt request signal. The five registers are the command, status, data, sector, and track registers. On the disk interface side, the FD1771 provides write gate and data outputs, a head load output, stepping motor outputs, and a low-current output. Inputs to the FD1771 include separated data, separated clock, index mark, track=0, write protect, format protect, and write fault. The chip is available from Western Digital Corporation for $80, single-piece price, or for $60 in quantities of 100.

Magazine advertisements on Wikipedia/Wikimedia

I upload a variety of subjects, here are all of my Wikimedia photographs and my scans.

I have been uploading advertisement from my magazine collection. Before March 1989, advertisements in collective works (magazines and newspapers) needed to have a their own copyright notice or they were public domain. A few companies (like Texas Instruments) always put a notice in their ads but most didn't.

Allen Bradley resistors April 1974
Intel 8080 Advertisement May 1974
JADE Computer Products Ad Oct 1977
KIM-1 Computer Ad May 1976
MOS 6501 6502 Ad Sept 1975
MOS 6501 Ad August 1975
MOS Technology ad April 26 1973
MOS Technology Calculator Chip Ad 1974
Motorola 6800 Total Product Family 1975
Motorola M6800 microcomputer ad April 1975
Motorola M6800 Training ad April 1976
Motorola MC6800 microprocessor ad 1975
Motorola MC6800 microprocessor ad August 1976
Motorola MC6870 ad April 1976
Shugart Minifloppy Ad Sept 1977
Signetics 2650 microprocessor April 1976
Signetics 2650 microprocessor October 1975
Tektronix 4051 ad April 1976
Teletype Model 33 Terminal April 1974
Teletype Model 33 Terminal June 1974
Wang System 2200 Computer 1974
Zilog Z-80 Microprocessor ad May 1976


This Page was last edited June 12, 2012