Vector 4

Zilog Z80 and Intel 8088
Vector Graphic
Robert Harp

The Vector 4 was able to run both CP/M and DOS, being equipped with both Z80 and 8088 processors, and featured high resolution graphics. It had a hard sectored floppy. Later a soft sectored model became available so that it was more compatible with prevailing standards.

The Vector 4 was accidentally pre-announced in April 1982, the same month that founder and chief hardware designer Robert Harp left the company after a dispute with co-founder (and wife) Lore Harp over control of the company.

The early announcement of the Vector 4, which had a separate keyboard tethered to the computer (as opposed to a combined keyboard and terminal) resulted in a sharp decrease in sales of the Vector 3 as customers delayed purchases up to six months until the new product was available.

In addition, the company had decided to use the CP/M operating system in the Vector 4, which they considered a superior operating system than MDOS; management recognized the nature of their gamble, as IBM would move the market in a different direction if it elected to use the DOS operating system for their competing product, the IBM 8080.

The gamble did not pay off, and by the end of 1984 Lore Harp was gone and venture capital investors took over. By summer 1985 only three dozen employees remained, down from a peak of 425 workers in 1982.