April 2, 2010

                   The "father of the personal computer" who kick-started the careers of Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen has died at the age of 68.Dr Henry Edward Roberts was the inventor of the Altair 8800, a machine that sparked the home computer era. Gates and Allen contacted Dr Roberts after seeing the machine on the front cover of a magazine and offered to write software for it. The program was known as Altair-Basic, the foundation of Microsoft's business.
                    "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," the Microsoft founders said in a statement. "The day our first untested software worked on his Altair was the start of a lot of great things."
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak told technology website CNET that Dr Roberts had taken " a critically important step that led to everything we have today".
         Dr Roberts was the founder of Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS), originally set up to sell electronics kits to model rocket hobbyists. The company went on to sell electronic calculator kits, but was soon overshadowed by bigger firms. In the mid-1970's, with the firm struggling with debt, Dr Roberts began to develop a computer kit for hobbyists. The result was the Altair 8800, a machine operated by switches and with no display.Dr Roberts sold his company in 1977.
           He died in hospital on 1 April after a long bout of pneumonia.Its time to pay homage to Dr.Roberts who changed the world with his computer kit just developed for hobbyists.


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