Computer Pioneer Dies

ATLANTA (AP) - Dr. Henry Edward Roberts, an engineer who developed a precursor to the modern personal computer, has died in Georgia.

Son David Roberts tells The Associated Press that Roberts died Thursday afternoon after several months battling pneumonia.

The 68-year-old was best known for developing and marketing the MITS Altair 8800 in the 1970s.

The build-it-yourself kit was operated by switches and had no display screen, but it inspired Bill Gates and his childhood friend Paul Allen to found Microsoft in 1975 after they saw an article about the Altair in Popular Mechanics. Gates and Allen founded Microsoft in Albuquerque, N.M. to be based near MITS.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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