Co-creator of PowerPoint Dies at 76

Co-creator of Power Point, Dennis Austin reportedly dies at 76. The creator was the principal developer of PowerPoint from the year 1985 until 1996.

Co-creator of PowerPoint Dies at 76

Co-creator of PowerPoint Dies at 76

Dennis Austin, who reportedly co-created PowerPoint, has passed away at his home in Los Altos, California, on September 1st, The Washington Post reports. His son, Michael Austin, stated that he had had lung cancer that had metastasized to his brain, as per the Post. He was 76 years old at the time of his death.

Austin for those that don’t know studied engineering at several universities, and this is including MIT and UC Santa Barbara, just before going to work as a software developer, and eventually joining up with the software company Forethought and then co-developing PowerPoint. The firm released the software back in 1987, and Microsoft then purchased the company just a couple of months later. Austin however served as the primary developer of PowerPoint from 1985 to 1996 when he reportedly retired.

The Washington Post notes that Robert Gaskins, who is the other co-creator of PowerPoint, wrote in his book Sweating Bullets: Notes about Inventing PowerPoint that Austin “came up with at least half of the major design ideas” and then added that if he had not been designing the software, “no one would ever have heard of it.”

The Ups And Downs of PowerPoint

Despite its 36-year history as the most ubiquitous software for presentations in the industry, PowerPoint has its detractors; Jeff Bezos once stated that “we outlawed PowerPoint presentations at Amazon,” calling the move in question “probably the smartest thing we ever did.” Steve Jobs was even quoted in Walter Isaacson’s Jobs biography as saying, “People who know what they’re talking about don’t need PowerPoint.”

The Atlantic in August published also a story about “The Great PowerPoint Panic of 2003,” stating that 20 years ago, people thought it would “corrode our minds, degrade communication, and waste our time.” Still, PowerPoint has had and kept its fans, too, including the lead singer of The Talking Heads  David Byrne, though he loved it not for its intended and primary purpose but however for its potential as an artistic tool.

PowerPoint Remains a Key Part of Microsoft’s Suite of Office Tools

The software in question remains a key part of Microsoft’s suite of office tools to this very day. And just recently, the company has started adding AI tooling to PowerPoint making use of Copilot, which is a sort of modern-day Clippy AI assistant for Microsoft 365. It can be easily and effectively be prompted to create presentations or to generate images as well as adjust the tone or format of text within a presentation.



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