Man Behind IBM's First PC, William C. Lowe, Has Passed Away at 72

Man Behind IBM's First PC, William C. Lowe, Has Passed Away at 72

The man, who was the main driving force behind IBM's first personal computer, has passed away. Mr. William C. Lowe died of a heart attack on 19 October in the United States. He was 72.

William C. Lowe in 1987, unveiling IBM’s latest PC model. (Image Source: Richard Drew, Associated Press)

Mr. William C. Lowe supervised the project to build IBM 5150, which was IBM's first personal computer. The man was considered an iconoclast as personal computers weren't the forte of IBM at that time. The company's main business was building mainframe systems for corporate and government bodies. Typically, the turnaround time for its products and services was usually measured in years.

An IBM PC from the company's 5100 series. (Image Source; IBM)

According to the New York Times, Lowe felt that the IBM 5150 would have been left languishing, had it been subjected to the usual product development cycle. Instead, he took matter into his own hands and delivered IBM's first PC in a year's time. This was achieved mainly due to the usage of third-party components and software, bypassing IBM's proprietary development model. On 8th Aug 1981, IBM introduced the 5150 PC, and other manufacturers, like Compaq and Dell, followed suit. This inadvertently contributed to the rise of the PC industry.

In 1988, Lowe left IBM and joined Xerox where he worked on expanding the company's manufacturing process beyond its usual staple of copiers. In 1991, he became president of the Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation. Later, he also held executive positions in New England Business Services and the Moore Corporation respectively. He is survived by his wife, Cristina, four children, and ten grandchildren.

(Source: The New York Times)

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