HP Fires Alan Kay

HP has been doing some “house cleaning” of late and it seems that among the casualties is Silicon Valley legend Alan Kay who was part of HP’s Advanced Software Research team, one of four research projects that HP cut in an effort to reduce its workforce by 14,500 employees.

Alan Kay is known for his work at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), from which sprang many landmark innovations such as: the world’s first personal computer (the Alto), the graphical user interface (GUI), the mouse, Ethernet, the laser printer, object oriented programming, and many others. A winner of the Turing Award, Kay created the first object oriented programming language, Smalltalk, conceived of the Dynabook concept which is the basis for the laptop/tablet computer of today, and is widely considered to be the father of the graphical user interface.

As a co-worker said to me today, regarding this move, “Guess they decided that Dell is their true competitor for research.” Sadly, it would seem so.

FYI: The next book on my list is Dealers of Lightning by Michael Hiltzik, an account of the glory days at Xerox PARC.

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