Osborne, Adam

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b. 6 February 1939 Bangkok, Thailand
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British computer pioneer, producer of the first practical portable microcomputer.
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Born of British parents, Osborne spent some time in India before moving to the UK. He obtained a BSc in chemical engineering at Birmingham University in 1961, then worked for a number of companies in the USA before obtaining a PhD at the University of Delaware. He was then employed by the Shell Oil Company, near San Francisco, California, but he resigned in 1971 to write and to study computing. In 1975 he published a book on microcomputers that sold 20,000 copies in less than a year. He then set up a publishing firm, Osborne and Associates, which he sold to McGraw-Hill in 1979. Subsequently, he formed the Osborne Computer Company and in March 1981 he introduced the Osborne I, the first portable microcomputer. Features of this innovative machine, which sold for under US$2,000, were a full-size keyboard, a CRT (cathode ray tube) display, dual floppy-disk drives, a CP/M operating system, Wordstar word-processing, SuperCalc (a financial-analysis package) and interpretive and compiled BASIC. By late 1982 the company had over 1,000 employees and sales had reached US$70 million, but within a year the company was bankrupt, a débâcle that Osborne later described in a book. Following this he returned to publishing with the formation of Paperback Software International.
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Bibliography
1975, An Introduction to Microcomputers : Adam Osborne \& Associates. 1984, Hypergrowth: The Rise and Fall of the Osborne Computer Co.
KF

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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