Firebird Software was a label created by Telecomsoft, the former software division of British Telecom in 1984.
During the 1980s it developed and published a wide variety of games for the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and other systems.
The labels unusual origins evolved from some forward thinking executives at British Telecom speculating that the future of network services would be as content providers. They wanted to create a software publishing company that was capable of delivering downloadable content through modems to Sinclair Spectrums. It would be accompanied by a network service called Gamestar which would also operate in conjunction with regular retail outlets creating hubs where people could purchase downloadable software from modem equipped shops. This grand (and prescient) vision was unrealised due to a number of factors including the slow take up of cable TV in the UK. TelecomSoft Entertainment division, however, created to address the need for content in this new networked delivery system swiftly got into the business of publishing games which retailed on conventional tape storage. Firebird was created to publish both premium (Firebird Gold) and budget games (Firebird Silver) both were recognised as strong markets for home computing.
In 1984 Firebird secured rights to convert Ian Bell and David Braben’s celebrated BBC Micro game “Elite” to other platforms ensuring they could not be ignored.
Toward the end of the 1980s 8bit publishing started to dwindle and even though Telecomsoft was making successful inroads with their 16bit publishing British Telecoms interests had turned elsewhere. In 1989 British Telecom put Firebird up for sale with its other Telecomsoft business including game publishing brands Rainbird and SilverBird. Telecomsoft was sold to Microprose in May 1989