You already know New Mexico is famous for its beauty and cultural features, but did you know it is also the birthplace of electronic and tech powerhouses?
Silicon Valley of the Southwest
New Mexico has been the home of many world-famous tech companies. First and foremost none other than Microsoft! The idea that would spawn Microsoft was initiated when Paul Allen showed Bill Gates the first of January, 1975 issue of Popular Electronics that demonstrated the Altair 8800. Allen and Gates saw potential to develop an implementation of the programming language BASIC interpreter for the system. Bill Gates called the creators of the new microcomputer, Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS), offering to demonstrate the implementation in order to win a contract with the company. Allen and Gates had neither an interpreter nor an Altair system, yet in the eight weeks before the demo, they developed an interpreter. When Allen flew to Albuquerque to meet with MITS, the interpreter worked and MITS agreed to distribute Altair BASIC. Allen and Gates left Boston, where Allen worked for Honeywell and Gates was enrolled in Harvard, moved to Albuquerque (where MITS was located), and co-founded Microsoft there.
Allen came up with the original name of Micro-Soft, a portmanteau of microcomputer and software. Hyphenated in its early incarnations, on November 26, 1976 the company was registered under that name with the Secretary of State of New Mexico. However, on January 1, 1979, the company moved from Albuquerque to a new home in Bellevue, Washington, since it was hard to recruit top programmers to Albuquerque. But that doesn’t change the southwest origins that inspired one of the most influential tech companies in history!
Birthplace of Tech
Microsoft isn’t the only thing born in New Mexico. In addition to Bill Gates, other notable New Mexican natives include Forrest Mims, founder of the aforementioned MITS, and Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. When we think of New Mexico, we often like to think about unplugging and enjoying the beauty of the natural landscape, but who knew that New Mexico could be so instrumental in the tech landscape? New Mexico certainly strikes a happy medium with its place it tech history alongside its natural wonder!
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