8086 Won In The End, But 8088 Ruled the Early 80’s
In the mad time of the late 70’s and early 80’s computers were expensive, much more so than today. Apple was making inroads, as was Commodore while IBM was a mainframe company with some interesting plans. They wanted to create an affordable workstation and to that end they realized that creating an 8bit version of their 8086 processor could save a huge amount of money. The 8088 was 16bit inside and compatible with 8-bit parts on the outside. Those parts were significantly more affordable and reliable than 16-bit parts, which helped keep costs down, adding extra general-purpose registers gave flexibility and the 8087 math co-processor was a compatible, albeit expensive, upgrade option.
This is a very cut down explanation of the market at that time, besides just after that everything changed for IBM and the market.
Ars Technica recently discovered a new product on AliExpress which hearkens back to that era, the Book 8088, an utterly bizarre $200-ish imported system that uses a processor from 1984, a custom motherboard design, and a bunch of cobbled-together parts to approximate the specs of the original IBM PC 5150 from 1981. If you missed the days of the IBM-compatible PC or want to relive it, check out that link for a look at a bizarre and curious machine.
If you want to torture yourself, apparently the Book 8088 costs just over $200.
They were written on a laptop that is technically brand new, in the sense that it was only released recently. But everything from the word processor this text was written in to the CPU that ran it is decades old.