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The meaning of «msx»

MSX is a standardized home computer architecture, announced by Microsoft and ASCII Corporation on June 16, 1983.[1][2] It was initially conceived by Microsoft as a product for the Eastern sector, and jointly marketed by Kazuhiko Nishi, then vice-president at Microsoft and director at ASCII Corporation.[3] Microsoft and Nishi conceived the project as an attempt to create unified standards among various home computing system manufacturers of the period, in the same fashion as the VHS standard for home video tape machines.[4][5]

MSX systems were popular in Japan and several other countries. Eventually 5 million MSX-based units were sold in Japan alone. Despite Microsoft’s involvement, few MSX-based machines were released in the United States.[6] The very first commercial MSX for the public was a Mitsubishi ML-8000, released on October 21 1983, thus marking its official "release date".[7]

The meaning of the acronym MSX remains a matter of debate. In 2001, Kazuhiko Nishi recalled that many assumed that it was derived from “Microsoft Extended”, referring to the built-in Microsoft Extended BASIC (MSX BASIC). Others believed that it stood for "Matsushita-Sony". Nishi said that the team’s original definition was "Machines with Software eXchangeability",[8] although in 1985 he said it was named after the MX missile.[9] According to his book in 2020, he considered the name of the new standard should consist of three letters like VHS. He felt "MSX" was fit because it means "the next of Microsoft", and it also contains first letters of Matsushita (Panasonic) and Sony.[10]

Before the success of Nintendo’s Family Computer, MSX was the platform for which major Japanese game studios such as Konami and Hudson Soft produced video games. The Metal Gear series, for example, was first written for MSX hardware.[11]

In the early 1980s, most home computers manufactured in Japan such as the NEC PC-6001 and PC-8000 series, Fujitsu's FM-7 and FM-8, and Hitachi's Basic Master featured a variant of the Microsoft BASIC interpreter integrated into their on-board ROMs. The hardware design of these computers and the various dialects of their BASICs were incompatible.[12] Other Japanese consumer electronics firms such as Panasonic, Canon, Casio, Yamaha, Pioneer, and Sanyo were searching for ways to enter the new home computer market.

Major Japanese electronics companies entered the computer market in the 1960s, and Panasonic (Matsushita Electric Industrial) was also developing mainframe computers. However, during the Japanese economy faced a recession after the 1964 Summer Olympics, Panasonic decided to exit the computer business, and focused on home appliances. The decision brought a huge success, and Panasonic grew to become one of the largest electronics companies. In the late 1970s, the company intended to open new business other than home appliances. Also, the microcomputer revolution let Panasonic interest in its potential. One of Panasonic's distributers, Yamagata National, told Panasonic's president, Toshihiko Yamashita, that "Recently, NEC's personal computers sell well in Yamagata too, and our dealers also request merchandise. However, we must purchase not only personal computers but also home appliances from NEC. I think Matsushita also need develop personal computers". Yamashita ordered the vice president, Shunkichi Kisaka, to develop a personal computer, and Kisaka called on Kazuyasu Maeda of Matsushita R&D Center.[13]

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