AST Research, Inc. was a personal computer manufacturer, founded in Irvine, California in 1980 by Albert Wong, Safi Qureshey and Thomas Yuen. (The name comes from the initials of their first names.) AST's original business was the manufacture and marketing of a broad range of microcomputer expansion cards, later focusing on higher-density replacements for IBM's standard I/O cards in the IBM PC. A typical AST card of the mid-1980s would have two RS-232 serial ports, a parallel printer port, a battery-backed clock/calendar (the original IBM PC did not have one), perhaps a bus mouse port, and 384 KB of DRAM (added to the 256 KB on the motherboard to reach the full complement of 640 KB).
AST Research also produced the Mac286, a pair of NuBus cards containing an Intel 80286 and RAM, allowing a Macintosh to run MS-DOS side by side with its existing operating system. The product line was eventually sold to Orange Micro, who developed the concept further.
As PC manufacturers improved the integration of peripheral controllers on their motherboards, AST's original business began to dry up, and the company developed its own line of PCs, for the desktop, mobile, and server markets. In 1991 AST became a Fortune 500 company.
The failure of AST to recognize the movement towards the commoditization of the PC contributed to its downturn. AST insisted on developing and using its own components in the PC's it produced, instead of those of specialized OEM's. One oft used saying at AST, in an attempt to dismiss competitors who did so was, "the best technology they have (i.e. Dell, Compaq, etc.) is a screwdriver."
AST Computers disappeared from the market in 2001.