Alan Kay, HP research guru given the pink slip?


San Jose Mercury News reports that in order to get its house in order, HP is cutting research and letting go of Alan Kay, a Silicon Valley legend.

> Kay joined HP in 2002 as a senior fellow. A Silicon Valley pioneer, Kay led a team at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center in the 1970s that developed windows and a graphical interface for the Alto, a forerunner to the personal computer. The Alto influenced the development of the Apple Macintosh and Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

Dan Gillmor says, “HP hasn’t been a visionary leader in research for some time. But letting Alan Kay go is a penny-wise move, at best.” To me these are the kind of moves we saw at Bell Labs, and ironic that the focus is being shifted from basic research (that made US tech giants what they are) to counting nickels. PCs won’t save HP, research will.



Didn’t Alan also work for Atari in the design of the 800 and 400 computers? And then the chipset that Atari alumni walked to Commodore for the Amiga? Anyone remember the history here.

I still have my copy of De Re Atari!

For a company like HP, who dares to use the tagline INVENT, the bad publicity of letting Mr. Kay go not only goes against the grain, but also removes someone who should be mentoring young engineers at a time where it seriously needs true innovations.

Wes Felter

After PARC, Apple, Disney, and HP, Kay is probably used to it by now. He’s a famous visionary, but his work doesn’t make money, so he lives off the patronage of big tech companies. Next up, Google?

Comments are closed.