BLOGGING FROM A TO Z
A 1970’s Time Capsule
NEWS AND NOTEWORTHY
Be sure to visit my Pop Culture post today as well.
The A to Z Challenge has dueling decades going on. Check out the 1980s theme from a fellow blogger HERE
GATES, ALLEN AND MICROSOFT
Most people would agree that one of the most important if not the most important invention since World War II has been for personal computing. At the forefront of personal computing has been a corporation that started in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Paul Allen showed Bill Gates the January 1, 1975 issue of the magazine, Popular Electronics.
In that issue, the Altair 8800 was demonstrated. Allen and Gates saw potential to develop an implementation of the programming language BASIC interpreter for the system. Bill Gates called the creators of the new microcomputer, Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS), offering to demonstrate the implementation in order to win a contract with the company. This was a bluff as Allen and Gates had neither an interpreter nor an Altair system. In the eight weeks time that they had before the date of the demo, they did developed an interpreter. When Allen flew to Albuquerque, New Mexico to meet with MITS, the interpreter worked and MITS agreed to distribute Altair BASIC. Allen and Gates left Boston, where Allen worked for Honeywell and Gates was enrolled in Harvard, moved to Albuquerque (where MITS was located), and co-founded Microsoft there.
Allen came up with the original name of Micro-Soft, a portmanteau of microcomputer and software. Interesting that the word portmanteau would come up when I was getting information for this post. One of our fellow A to Z Bloggers has it as a theme this year. Check it out. Hyphenated in its early incarnations, on November 26, 1976 the company was registered under that name with the Secretary of State of New Mexico. The company’s first international office was founded on November 1, 1978, in Japan, entitled “ASCII Microsoft” (now called “Microsoft Japan”), and on November 29, 1979, the term, “Microsoft” was first used by Bill Gates.
On January 1, 1979, the company moved from Albuquerque to a new home in Bellevue, Washington, since it was hard to recruit top programmers to Albuquerque.
The debate today is over whether you are a PC or a MAC (Apple Computers) (also founded in the 1970s). Regardless of your choice, Bill Gates, Paul Allen and Microsoft had significant influences on our world and it all started in the 1970s.