03 April 2010 ~ 0 Comments

H. Edward Roberts

I was reading the NY Times this morning, and learned about H. Edward Roberts.

“Not many people in the computer world remembered H. Edward Roberts, not after he walked away from the industry more than three decades ago to become a country doctor in Georgia. Bill Gates remembered him, though.” Starts off the NY Times story.

Roberts died last Tuesday, he was only 69 when he passed away, but at 34, Edward Roberts came up with what is believed to be the world’s first PC, “The Altair 8800.”  Bill Gates and his partner, Paul Allen, joined MITS, Roberts company back then, and wrote the software for The Altair.   Years later, they would fight over licensing ownership.  That software would eventually become Microsoft’s first product.  Roberts  sold off his company, left a millionaire, and became a small town Doctor in Georgia.  Gates and Allen went on to be billionaires many times over.  Recently, according to the Times, Roberts, Gates and Allen made amends.  Here’s the full story “H. Edward Roberts, PC Pioneer, Dies at 68″

I looked into the Altair 8800, and found this really cool 1975 ad.  It sold as a Kit for $439, or assembled for only $621.  You could also buy two types of memory cards called back then “1000 or 4000 words memory cards.”  They were actually 1k and 4k memory cards.

So here it is, the original ad.  And just for fun, below Apple’s iPad released this week starting at $499 with 16GB of memory, Wi-Fi and 3G internet access… How time goes by 🙂 May H. Edward Roberts rest in peace, and may history remember his deed.  I will.

Read and Print the full 1975 Ad: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Altair_Computer_Ad_May_1975.jpg

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