Thomas A. Rudkin was a key software developer for PowerPoint from 1986 to 1995, particularly its versions for Microsoft Windows. Rudkin first encountered computers at the University of Kansas in the late 1960s and early 1970s as an undergraduate studying mathematics and philosophy. After earning a degree in computer science from the University of Wisconsin, Rudkin joined Intel Corporation in 1976 where he developed software for the microprocessor business. His career in software development continued at Bell Northern Research’s Palo Alto labs, and then at VisiCorp where he helped develop the graphical user interface operating system VisiOn. Rudkin joined Forethought Inc. where he, Robert Gaskins, and Dennis Austin created PowerPoint. After Microsoft’s purchase of Forethought, Rudkin remained a key developer for PowerPoint to 1995. This oral history of Rudkin focuses on his experiences in creating software, most especially PowerPoint.
Rudkin, Thomas; Software; software industry; Intel Corporation; Bell Northern Research; VisiCorp; VisiOn; presentation software; Forethought, Inc.; PowerPoint; Microsoft