Henry Roberts, PC Innovator, Is Remembered by Gates, Allen
The death of Henry Roberts, widely credited as the creator of the world's first personal computer, prompted a heartfelt response from Microsoft co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen, who called Roberts a pioneer and early mentor.Henry Edward Roberts, known as the "father of the personal computer" and designer of the MITS Altair 8800, died of pneumonia April 1 in Georgia at the age of 68, the Associated Press reported. Roberts, who founded Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) in 1970, designed the Altair 8800 in 1975. The computer kit, which employed Intel's 8080 microprocessor, sold for $375 and inspired future Microsoft co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen to offer to work for Roberts writing code for the computer. Gates and Allen soon wound up moving to Albuquerque, N.M., where MITS was located, to found Microsoft (then known as Micro-Soft). In 1977, Roberts sold the company and became a doctor in the small town of Cochran, Ga.
The Altair 8800, featured on the cover of technology magazine "Popular Electronics" in 1975, bears little resemblance to the compact, design-conscious computers of today.
"We will always have many fond memories of working with Ed in Albuquerque, in the MITS office right on Route 66-where so many exciting things happened that none of us could have imagined back then," the statement continued. "More than anything, what we will always remember about Ed was how deeply compassionate he was-and that was never more true than when he decided to spend the second half of his life going to medical school and working as a country doctor making house calls. He will be missed by many and we were lucky to have known him."