back to article Gates and Allen reshoot historic 1981 Microsoft photo

One of the most iconic photos from the history of Microsoft, featuring a lanky young Bill Gates perched next to his coding mentor (the way he tells it) Paul Allen, has been recreated at Seattle's Living Computing Museum. Bill Gates and Paul Allen 1981 Stand back ladies, form a line In a 1981 publicity shot for the then …

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HCV

The one in front of Allen appears to be a Heathkit/Zenith HP-89.

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Facepalm

I have a soft spot for one-piece designs such the Heathkit; I preferred the Commodore 4032 more over the Commodore PET 2001 shown @ front-right due to the larger screen, full keyboard and external cassette drive over the latter.

I remember wonderful integrated chassis stuffed with Z-80 cards on S-100 bus with a generous 16K of static RAM. Wonderful!

I also miss 'luggables' They were fun.

But no TRS-80 Model 1 with expansion module in the updated photo! How could you?!

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HCV

Proper name

Typo -- should've been Heathkit H89 / Zenith Z-89.

I built the "terminal only" version of this kit, the Heathkit H19, which could later be upgraded to a full-fledged CP/M computer, the H89.

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Headmaster

TRS-80 Model 1 in the lower right

I can't tell from the angle if it has the expansion box, but the monitor is elevated, so it probably does.

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Happy

Well of course the 4032 was an upgrade on the PET, but I missed that one. I learned BASIC on the PET 2001 at school and then learned Pascal on an 8032 at college, many fond memories re-ignited by this photo. Alongside this I was learning Z80 and 6502 machine code on home machines from Sinclair, Oric and Acorn (and yes I do mean machine code, I only moved from hand-coding to an actual assembler on the BBC Model B).

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Poor Bill...

...all those billions in the bank, and he still can't get a decent haircut !

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Re: Poor Bill...

Yes, I'm sure he lies awake at night worrying about your opinion of his hair. Actually, it looks like they've tried to sweep his fringe forward to imitate the 1981 'styling'.

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Happy

@Chris Miller RE:"Actually, it looks like they've tried to sweep his fringe forward........

........................to imitate the 1981 'styling'". Well they certainly couldn't wait for Paul Allen to regrow that beard!

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Facepalm

Entropy is winning...

I'm pretty sure the MS-DOS originator's company was "Seattle Computer Products", not "Seattle Computer Company."

The more interesting company names seemed to come from Silicon Valley: Apple, Intergalactic Digital Research, Dr. Dobb's Journal of Computer Calisthenics and Orthodontia and Cromemco to name a few.

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Re: Entropy is winning...

Personally I thought that Springfield produced the best company name... until it was "bought out" by Bill Gates....

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Re: Entropy is winning...

I used to think Cisco Systems was an imaginative company name referencing The Cisco Kid*, but then a friend told me he'd been there, and it was just the place where the company was based. Disappointing, but I should have realised that you get called "The X Kid" because X is the place you come from.

*For our younger readers, The Cisco Kid was a TV cowboy in the 1950s. Described in the opening credits as "O Henry's Robin Hood of the old west", he was in fact amazingly camp. He wore a skin-tight black (on b/w TV) outfit with sparkly arabesques all over the front. Every week he would jump off a rock on to a bandit as he rode past on his horse. Every episode ended with the Kid and his stereotype Mexican sidekick laughing like drains at nothing in particular: "Oh Cisco!", "Oh Pancho!", "Ha ha ha ha...".

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The one bottom left doesn't seem to be the same computer?

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B-D
Happy

Indeed

It isn't the same on used in the original, the new photo contains a Sanyo MBC-55x, my very first PC!.

That really brought a smile to my face... awesome.

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Coat

That first photo

Bill Gates was Paul Allen's ventriloquist dummy. Who knew?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That first photo

Paul: "Now Billy, what have you got to say?"

Billy: "640K ought to be enough for anybody."

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Re: That first photo

"I've said some stupid things and some wrong things, but not that."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: That first photo

His voice does sound like Kermit the frog after all.

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Happy

I can recognise a couple...I think

I think that next to Bill is a Superbrain

Looks like TRS-80 Model 1 at front right

Am I showing my age now?

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: I can recognise a couple...I think

Yup that's a Intertec Superbrain next to Bill, I remember lugging one of these from a skip @ Glasgow University many many moons ago

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Funny how the hair styles stayed the same—less the beard.

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Nonsense!

Who are they trying to fool? Did they think nobody would notice the Intertec Superbrain replacing the Datapoint 8200 or the Sanyo 555 (which didn't even exist in 1981!) taking the place of the very stylish NEC PC-8001?

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Re: Nonsense!

Excellent observation skills!

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Why would they go to the bother and not even attempt to match the camera angle ?

Raise yir camera up yir idgits! ... Gee, ... They really don't have any athestic sense at all do they?

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Trollface

and ...

What's with using color instead of black & white? :)

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@madestjohn

Agreed. Makes you want to climb into the photo and move the computers into the right position, get Bill semi-sitting and hands out of pockets etc.

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Coat

I know it's just me

But the new photo looks like computer donation day at the old folks home.

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Re: I know it's just me

I'd heard that they're back-porting Windows 10 to run on those old devices..

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Facepalm

Re: I know it's just me

Or what about old folk donation at the computer home.

Ba-doom tish.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Crime watch

Give it a rest - it is possible to not comment and go away, you know.

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Re: Crime watch

@Anonymous Coward

Now, kids, you should know better than to feed the Eadon by now.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Crime watch

You think a dominant Apple or IBM would have been nice instead?

The IBM PC brought affordable computing to the workplace. Before then computers were largely non-existent outside of a big mainframe building.

The Apple Lisa was stupidly expensive and FOSS wasn't really around until the 1990s.

Get a life.

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Re: Crime watch

I saw this as the highest rated comment without context and immediately knew who it was in response to.

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Re: Crime watch

As did I. Kind of sad really. I wonder if its employer (that is if it has a job, which I sort of doubt) knows how much time it spends trolling El Reg during business hours.

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Re: Crime watch

I assume his paper round is finished by then.

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MrT
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Just "a" follower?

Don't be so modest - there are more than a few with a follower or two, but I think you need to factor it up a notch though - you might be the only one with a queue of followers, a very long one at that, usually hanging around FOSS and/or MS threads waiting in anticipation for your next comment... ;-)

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Re: Just "a" follower?

There's a difference between the queue of people lining up to see a celebrity and the queue of people lining up to throw rotten vegetables at a bloke in the stocks...

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Happy

Re: Just "a" follower?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0GW0Vnr9Yc

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Bronze badge

Did they use a professional photographer opt was it more of an informal arrangement?

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Paris Hilton

"both participants look considerably more stylish than they did 32 years ago."

Styles were different 32 years ago.

Paris, cos she's always fashionable.

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Windows

Wooosshh!

And a picture of a red parrot required here. methinks

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Is the Apple II deliberately out of shot in the new picture? You can just see the logo on the disk drive...

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Windows

Optimally croppped.

so you can't say it's been removed.

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Mushroom

Who'd have guessed...

...in 1981 that those two would go on to do so much damage to the computer industry?

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Re: Who'd have guessed...

i disagree that they have caused damage. Whether you like it or not (and i guess not), they help bring computing to the masses. I have found Apple elitist - then and now, and most users need things to be simple so going UNIX in any way would be a no-no. Microsoft succeeded where others tried and failed, including Apple - a lot of their money comes from ipods and iphones rather than their computers. I also find those who hate Windows are often elitist in the computer industry as well, rather the masses never had them. There maybe a number of security flaws that have needed fixing over the years but that is the case for all OS's - you hear of Microsoft more Windows is used by so many, we are hearing more of the Android flaws as that gets more popular, and it's OS changes more often and rarely supports older devices - if Windows followed their model we would be on Windows 20 or so by now.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Who'd have guessed...

I would argue that the Amiga or Atari ST would have taken their place but I'm not going to. They were great machines for home use but they simply lacked the dull utilitarian aspects of the Wintel world.

It was really easy to crash an Amiga or ST due to their lack of memory protection. The 68000s didn't have an MMU unlike the 80286.

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Thumb Down

@ AE1962 - Re: Who'd have guessed...

AE1962 wrote :- "Whether you like it or not (and i guess not), they help bring computing to the masses. "

Rubbish. I remember the IBM PC with DOS coming out. Before that there were many small home and business "personal computers" around, cheap and rapidly gaining in popularity. All the other young techies I knew already had a home computer before the PC came along, and others (non-tech), were taking a keen interest. Even after the IBM PC came out, those others continued alongside for quite a while (Apple being a survivor). The Amstrad PCW (running CP/M) was aimed at business for example, and was cheaper than the PC.

Computing would have "reached the masses" with or without Microsoft.

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Re: Who'd have guessed...

"The 68000s didn't have an MMU unlike the 80286."

The ARM in the Acorn Archimedes did though :)

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"both participants look considerably more stylish than they did 32 years ago." Not sure about that Iain!!

Bill now looks like one of those perma-unemployed blokes that hangs out in the public library all day long for the free heating and newspapers.

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