Economy

PC Pioneer Ed Roberts Has Died; Gates & Allen Remember His Compassion

Saying he was "truly a pioneer in the personal computer revolution, and didn't always get the recognition he deserved," Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen are remembering their friend Ed Roberts, who died Thursday at the age of 68.

"The day our first untested software worked on his Altair was the start of a lot of great things," Gates and Allen say in a joint statement. "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."

And, they say:

"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."

As the Associated Press writes, Roberts was the "developer of an early personal computer" that inspired Gates and Allen "to come up with Microsoft in 1975 after they saw an article about the MITS Altair 8800 in Popular Electronics."

CNet News says Roberts' Altair computer "is widely credited as the first personal computer and for helping inspire the modern computer industry."

NPR's Laura Sydell says "Roberts believed some day everyone would have a computer":

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Roberts died in a Macon, Ga., hospital. He had been struggling with several bouts of pneumonia.

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