Mentor to Microsoft Founders Dead at 68

MACON, Ga., April 2 (UPI) — Dr. Henry Edward Roberts, who designed the personal computer that inspired the founding of Microsoft, died in Georgia at age 68, friends and family said.

Roberts died Thursday of pneumonia at a hospital in Macon.

In the mid-1970s, Roberts designed the Altair 8800, a personal computer that attracted the attention of Bill Gates and Paul Allen, who were setting up Microsoft, then known as Micro-Soft.

Gates and Allen asked to write software for the Altair 8800, a build-it-yourself kit that sold for about $400, the equivalent of about $1,500 today, PC World reported Friday.

“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 statement.

Roberts founded Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems, a retailer of electronics kits for hobbyists. Roberts later sold his companies and moved to Georgia to study medicine and become a doctor, the BBC reported Friday.

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