Henry Edward Roberts dies at 68

in General Discussion edited January 2014
If you don't know this name, you should.


Henry Edward Roberts dies at 68; inventor of early personal computer that inspired Bill Gates

Roberts built the MITS Altair 8800, which had no display screen. Gates and childhood friend Paul Allen created BASIC code for the computers. Later in life, Roberts became a physician.

Associated Press

April 2, 2010

Dr. Henry Edward Roberts, a developer of an early personal computer that inspired Bill Gates to found Microsoft, died Thursday in a hospital in Macon, Ga., after a long bout with pneumonia, according to his family. He was 68.

Roberts, whose build-it-yourself kit concentrated thousands of dollars' worth of computer capability in an affordable package, inspired Bill Gates and his childhood friend Paul Allen to come up with Microsoft in 1975 after they saw an article about the MITS Altair 8800 in Popular Electronics.

Roberts, an ex-military man, later went on to careers as a farmer and a physician.

"Ed was willing to take a chance on us -- two young guys interested in computers long before they were commonplace -- and we have always been grateful to him," Gates and Allen said in a joint statement released Thursday. "The day our first untested software worked on his Altair was the start of a lot of great things. We will always have many fond memories of working with Ed."

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