Acorn Computers Ltd. was a British computer company established in Cambridge, England, in 1978. The company produced a number of computers which were especially popular in the UK, including the Acorn Electron and the Acorn Archimedes.
Acorn's BBC Micro computer dominated the UK educational computer market during the 1980s. It is more known for its BBC Micro model B computer than for its other products.
Though the company was broken up into several independent operations in 1998, its legacy includes the development of reduced instruction set computing (RISC) personal computers.
One of its operating systems, RISC OS, continues to be developed by RISC OS Open. Some of Acorn's former subsidiaries lived on: ARM Holdings technology is dominant in the mobile phone and personal digital assistant (PDA) microprocessor market.
Acorn is sometimes referred to as the "British Apple" and has been compared to Fairchild Semiconductor for being a catalyst for start-ups.
In 2010, the company was listed by David Meyer in ZDNet as number nine in a feature of top ten "Dead IT giants".
Many British IT professionals gained their early experiences on Acorns, which were often more technically advanced than commercially successful US hardware.