Acorn Computers are a manufacturer of IT hardware based, like Sinclair, in Cambridge.


Along with Sinclair, Acorn adopted IBM's Microprocessor chipset in 1979 and began to manufacture domestic computers. At first, Acorn's Atom computer competed well with Sinclair's Ambassador, but missed out on a number of opportunities. The Ambassador was chosen by the Post Office for rental out to subscribers, its successor the Ambassador II was chosen for the BBC's computer literacy programme and also for the Domesday Project. However, Acorn were able to recover from their difficulties by bringing out the portable Guide in collaboration with Douglas Adams in 1988. This technology was then adapted for use in embedded systems such as cash machines, railway timetable display boards and information kiosks, and Acorn's future is now secure. Sinclair and Acorn are no longer direct competitors and share technology.

Acorn also provide the NHS Expert System used to replace GPs by the NHDO.

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