[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Bill Gates, Tandy Celebrity Spokesman

January 7th, 2008 by Benj Edwards

Bill Gates Tandy 2000 Ad“We were quite impressed with the speed of the Tandy 2000’s 80186 processor.”

In honor of this week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2008), I’ve prepared a special RSoTW that highlights the little-known side career of its keynote speaker, Bill Gates.

Product endorsement ads like this one for the Tandy 2000 computer weren’t unusual for the Gatesmeister back in the early 1980s. Of course, those were the days before Microsoft was insanely huge, rich, and unstoppable. I wonder how much he got paid for the gig?

(P.S. Take a look at the early version of Windows featured in the ad!)

[ Scanned from Popular Computing, November 1984 ]

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13 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Bill Gates, Tandy Celebrity Spokesman”

  1. bkahlich Says:

    I noticed the Tandy 2000 was only $2999 — I wonder what that would be in today’s dollars?

  2. Benj Edwards Says:

    According to the CPI inflation calculator, $2999 in 1984 dollars would be equivalent to $6,066.61 in 2007 dollars.

    That’s a really expensive computer.

  3. Jim Ulrich Says:

    Imagine what kind of computer you could get now for $6K. It’s incredible to think what the sub $1000 computer has done to the industry.

  4. Benj Edwards Says:

    Yeah, I don’t even know what you could buy with $6000 that would be useful to the average consumer these days. Whatever it is, it would probably be redundant in some fashion, with most of the money spent on multiple large HDs, displays, graphics cards, or processors.

  5. Kitsunexus Says:

    I’m taking a stab here, but I’m pretty sure $6K will get you dual quad-core processors, 2 of those new scalar-enabled NVidia cards, and a terrabyte HD and a terrabyte of RAM.

  6. Chris Says:

    A terrabyte of RAM? I don’t think so!!!!

  7. Layne Says:

    Ok, so I recognize Reversi and Calc. I assume that is some sort of Command Prompt (sorry, DOS Window) in the upper left — but I can’t really tell. Does anyone know what the one of the right with the colored boxes was? It doesn’t look like anything I remember from any version of Windows I’ve seen….


  8. Arlandi Says:

    I dont think Gates got paid for the ad. Maybe he made a deal to install MS Windows inside all Tandy 2000?

  9. Fred Garber Says:

    I think that’s probably some sort of color picker on the right. Either a paint program, or a “choose the colors of MS Windows?” That’s what it looks like to me.

    Of course, it could be a colorful bitmap, put there to look “computer like,” in order to make the computer more high tech.

  10. Moondog Says:

    After putting myself into early 1980’s mode, I can see why Bill Gates made a good spokesman for such ads. He was recognizeable for being a little guy that edged himself in among the big guys like IBM.

  11. mrnukem Says:

    The Tandy 2000 ended up being the computer that Radio Shack sent to all the retail stores to run the books on. The problem was it ran on a 80186 CPU and was only 70% DOS compatible so they were stuck with 1000’s of these units they could not sell and decided to use them for the retail stores. One thing I do remember was for the time the graphics were really clear and hi-res.

  12. Richard Says:

    The top left window on the screen in the ad is File Manager

  13. Cody Says:

    I’m starting to get a distinct impression over the past couple years of posts, that sweaters were all the rage in the past; and as someone who does not own any sweaters, I’m getting extreme sweater envy.

    BG’s sweater looks particularly comfy.

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