Data General was one of the first minicomputer firms of the late 1960s. Three of the four founders were former employees of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC).
Their first product, 1969's Data General Nova, was a 16-bit minicomputer intended to both outperform and cost less than the equivalent from DEC, the 12-bit PDP-8. A basic Nova system cost 2⁄3 or less than a similar PDP-8 while running faster, offering easy expandability, being significantly smaller, and proving more reliable in the field. Combined with Data General RDOS (DG/RDOS) and programming languages like Data General Business Basic, Novas provided a multi-user platform far ahead of many contemporary systems. A series of updated Nova machines were released through the early 1970s that kept the Nova line at the front of the 16-bit mini world.
In 1986 Data General entered into a master sponsorship agreement with the British F1 team Tyrrell on a 3-year contract. For 1987 the commitment is even stronger, naming the new car as DG016 (DG = Data General). The results were not bad, but modest, and the sponsorship quota decreased considerably in 1988.