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PowerPoint co-creator Dennis Austin is {dead} at 76

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Dennis Austin, who co-created PowerPoint, handed away at his house in Los Altos, California, on September 1st, studies The Washington Post. His son, Michael Austin, stated he’d had lung most cancers that had metastasized to his mind, in response to the Put up. He was 76 years {old}.

Austin studied engineering at a number of universities, together with MIT and UC Santa Barbara, earlier than going to work as a software program developer, ultimately becoming a member of the software program firm Forethought and co-developing PowerPoint. The corporate launched the software program in 1987, and Microsoft purchased the corporate only a few months later. Austin served as PowerPoint’s major developer from 1985 to 1996 when he retired.

The Washington Put up notes that Michael Gaskins, PowerPoint’s different co-creator, wrote in his e book Sweating Bullets: Notes about Inventing PowerPoint that Austin “got here up with at the least half of the key design concepts” and added that if he hadn’t been designing the software program, “nobody would ever have heard of it.”

Regardless of its 36-year historical past as essentially the most ubiquitous software program for displays, PowerPoint has its detractors; Jeff Bezos once said that “we outlawed PowerPoint displays at Amazon,” calling the transfer “most likely the neatest factor we ever did.” Steve Jobs was quoted in Walter Isaacson’s Jobs biography as saying, “Individuals who know what they’re speaking about don’t want PowerPoint.”

The Atlantic in August revealed a narrative about The Nice PowerPoint Panic of 2003,” saying that 20 years in the past, folks thought it might “corrode our minds, degrade communication, and waste our time.” Nonetheless, PowerPoint has had its followers, too, together with The Speaking Heads lead singer David Byrne, although he beloved it not for its supposed function however for its potential as an artistic tool.

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The software program stays a key a part of Microsoft’s suite of workplace instruments to this present day. Just lately, the corporate has begun including AI tooling to PowerPoint utilizing Copilot, a kind of modern-day Clippy AI assistant for Microsoft 365. It may be prompted to create displays or to generate images and regulate the tone or format of textual content inside a presentation.

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