A scientist dubbed "the father of the IBM personal computer" will be the featured speaker at a keynote breakfast Wednesday kicking off the eighth annual Insight Arizona Technology Expo at Phoenix Civic Plaza.
William C. "Bill" Lowe, a Tucson resident, is credited with leading the industry in manufacturing computers with off-the-shelf parts, a move that reduced the cost of computer purchases and repairs. It also made it easier for IBM’s competitors to make PC clones.
Lowe began working for IBM in 1962 as a product test engineer and in 1975 became director of development and manufacturing operations for the company’s General Systems Division.
In 1980 IBM decided to enter the personal computing market, which was dominated by Apple, Commodore and Atari, and set a one-year timetable to introduce their first machine.
To meet the deadline, Lowe convinced the company to depart from its customary practice of building computers with proprietary parts. The IBM approach to open architecture changed the manufacturing practices of the industry and helped to make giants of Intel, Microsoft and other providers of computer components and software.
Lowe also influenced the company’s decision to sell its products through retail stores instead of through its own sales force, another first in the industry.
Today Lowe is involved with a Chicago-based software company that is developing alternative input sources for computing other than the keyboard.
The breakfast will begin at 7:30 a.m. in the Yuma Room at the Civic Plaza in downtown Phoenix. Individual tickets are $40 for Arizona Technology Council members and $55 for nonmembers.
The expo, which will feature more than 120 exhibitors, will be open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Hall D at the Civic Plaza.
There is no charge for attending the expo, and the public is invited.
Participating companies will include Insight, IBM, Xerox, Avnet, Verizon Wireless, NEC, Datasoft and Rhino Internet.
Exhibitor booths are still available.
A 10-by-10-foot booth costs $475 for technology council members and $575 to nonmembers.
Seminars will be given on subjects related to the Internet, telecommunications, computers, software and communications. Exhibitors are offered the opportunity to have a company representative present seminars on a selected subject.
For information, go to www.aztechexpo.com or call (480) 491-8373 or (602) 482-2738.