West Coast Computer Faire

West Coast Computer Faire
Status Defunct
Genre Conference, exhibition
Frequency Annually
Location(s) San Francisco
Inaugurated April 16, 1977 (1977-04-16)
Most recent 1991

The West Coast Computer Faire was an annual computer industry conference and exposition most often associated with San Francisco, its first and most frequent venue. The first fair was held in 1977 and was organized by Jim Warren and Bob Reiling. At the time, it was the biggest computer show in the world, intended to popularize the personal computer in the home. The West Coast PC Faire was formed to provide a more specialized show. However, Apple stopped exhibiting at the West Coast Computer Faire, refusing to exhibit at any show other than COMDEX that also had PC-based exhibits. In 1983, Warren sold the rights to the Faire for US$3 million to Prentice Hall, who later sold it to Sheldon Adelson, the owner of Interface Group and COMDEX. In total, sixteen shows were held, with the last in 1991. After Warren sold the show, it had a few more good years, and then declined rapidly.


Some people refer to the first fair as the birth of the personal computer industry. It took place on April 16–17, 1977, in San Francisco Civic Auditorium and Brooks Hall, and saw the debut of the Commodore PET, presented by Chuck Peddle, and the Apple II, presented by then-21-year-old Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. At the exhibition, Jobs introduced the Apple II to Japanese textile maker Mizushima Satoshi, who became the first authorized Apple dealer in Japan.[1] Other visitors included Tomio Gotō who developed the TK-80 and PC-8001, and Kazuhiko Nishi who produced the MSX.[2] There were about 180 exhibitors, among them Intel, MITS, and Digital Research. More than 12,000 people visited the fair.

The 2nd West Coast Computer Faire was held March 3–5, 1978, at the San Jose Convention Center. This event had the first-ever microcomputer chess tournament, won by Sargon.

The 3rd West Coast Computer Faire was held on November 3–5, 1978, at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

The 4th West Coast Computer Faire returned to San Francisco in May 1979 at Brooks Hall and Civic Auditorium. Dan Bricklin demonstrated VisiCalc, the first spreadsheet program for personal computers.

At the 5th West Coast Computer Faire, held in March 1980, Microsoft announced their first hardware product, the Z-80 SoftCard, which gave the Apple II CP/M capabilities.

The 6th West Coast Computer Faire was held in April 1981, when Adam Osborne introduced the Osborne 1.

The 7th West Coast Computer Faire saw the introduction of the 5 MB Winchester disk drive for IBM PCs by Davong Systems. It was held on March 19–21, 1982, in San Francisco. That year's conference also featured a Saturday breakout session, titled "THE IBM PERSONAL COMPUTER", with eight talks delivered in a three-hour period. One of these was (as listed in the program):

P.C. — It's Impact on the MicroComputer Industry 
Bill Gates, President
10800 N.E. 8th #819
Bellevue, WA 98004

At its peak, all available spaces for exhibits were rented out, including the balcony of Civic Auditorium, and the hallway to the restrooms in Brooks Hall (where Bob Wallace ("Quicksoft") introduced "PC Write").

The 8th West Coast Computer Faire was held March 18–20, 1983.

Subsequent West Coast Computer Faires were held in Moscone Center in San Francisco. After the 10th Faire, Bruce Webster wrote that "Warren sold out just in time. The Faire is shrinking. It may not be dying, but it is no longer the important trade show it was two short years ago. Without the giant booths from IBM, Apple, and AT&T, the Faire would have looked like any other small, local, end-user show. The move to the Moscone Center didn't help that impression; a large chunk of the main floor was unused, adding to the impression of the Faire's shrunken size".[3]

The 16th West Coast Computer Faire was held from May 30 to June 2, 1991, at Moscone Center.


  1. Walter Isaacson: Steve Jobs, Chapter Six – "The Apple II" pp. 144. Simon & Schuster (October 24, 2011) ISBN 1-4516-4855-3
  2. 富田, 倫生 (1985). パソコン創世記 [The Book of Personal Computer Genesis] (in Japanese). 旺文社. ISBN 401009897X via Aozora Bunko.
  3. Webster, Bruce (September 1985). "West Coast Faire, Mac Stuff, and the Amiga". BYTE. p. 401. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
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