The Zilog Z80 is an 8-bit microprocessor designed and sold by Zilog from July 1976 onwards. It was widely used both in desktop and embedded computer designs as well as for military purposes. The Z80 and its derivatives and clones make up one of the most commonly used CPU families of all time, and, along with the MOS Technology 6502 family, dominated the 8-bit microcomputer market from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s.
Although Zilog made early attempts with advanced mini-computer like versions of the Z80-architecture (Z800 and Z280), these chips never caught on. The company was also trying hard in the workstation market with its Z8000 and 32-bit Z80000 (both unrelated to Z80). In recent decades Zilog has refocused on the ever-growing market for embedded systems (for which the original Z80 and the Z180 were designed) and the most recent Z80-compatible microcontroller family, the fully pipelined 24-bit eZ80 with a linear 16 MB address range, has been successfully introduced alongside the simpler Z180 and Z80 products.
Zilog licensed the Z80 core to any company wishing to make the device royalty free, though many East European and Russian manufacturers made unlicensed copies. This enabled a small company's product to gain acceptance in the world market since second sources from far larger companies such as Toshiba started to manufacture the device. Consequently Zilog has made less than 50% of the Z80s since its conception.