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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

July 24, 2009 at 11:07 AM

Bill Gates chimes in on Gizmodo’s ’79 celebration

Bill Gates apparently has time to cruise the gadget blogs, now that he’s largely retired from Microsoft.

Including Gizmodo, where Gates provided a long response to the site’s smirky retrospective of circa 1979 technology, “a weeklong celebration of gadgets and geekdom 30 years ago, as the analog age gave way to the digital, and most of our favorite toys were just being born.”

It struck a chord with Gates, whose little software company was just getting rolling, moving from Albuquerque, N.M., to Bellevue that year. An excerpt:

By the middle of 1979, BASIC was running on more than 200,000 Z-80 and 8080 machines and we were just releasing a new version for the 8086 16-bit microprocessor. As the numbers grew, we were starting to think beyond programming languages, too, and about the possibility of creating applications that would have real mass appeal to consumers. That led to the creation of the Consumer Products Division in 1979. One of our first consumer products was called Microsoft Adventure, which was a home version of the first mainframe adventure game. It didn’t have all the bells and whistles of, say, Halo, but it was pretty interesting for its time.

Comments | Topics: 1979, Bill Gates, Billionaire techies

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