As the Washington Post reported Thursday, computer scientist Dennis Austin, one of the inventors of the PowerPoint program, died last week at his home in Los Altos, California.
His son Michael Austin revealed that the famous developer, 76, was suffering from lung cancer that had metastasized to the brain.
Austin was the lead developer of PowerPoint from 1985 until 1996, when he retired.
Dennis Austin, one of the co-creators of PowerPoint, died on September 1 at the age of 76 at his home in Los Altos, California, after a battle with lung cancer that had spread to his brain. as the Washington Post reports.
Austin began his journey to becoming a software developer with his engineering education at institutions such as MIT and the University of California, Santa Barbara. He eventually moved to Forethought, a software company, where he played a key role in the development of PowerPoint. The software was released in 1987 and a few months later Microsoft acquired Forethought. Austin was the lead developer of PowerPoint from 1985 until his retirement in 1996.
In his book “Sweating Bullets: Notes about Inventing PowerPoint,” Michael Gaskins, PowerPoint’s other co-creator, credits Austin with developing at least half of the software’s key design ideas. Gaskins also stated that without Austin’s contributions, PowerPoint would not have had the success it has.
Despite its popularity as the preferred presentation software for more than three decades, PowerPoint has also had its critics. Jeff Bezos even banned PowerPoint presentations at Amazon, saying it was the company’s smartest decision. Steve Jobs also expressed skepticism and said that people who know what they are talking about don’t need PowerPoint.
However, PowerPoint has built a loyal following over the years. Even artists like David Byrne have praised its potential as a creative tool. Microsoft continues to integrate modern technologies into PowerPoint with the launch of the Copilot AI tool, an AI assistant that can help create presentations, generate images, and adjust text formatting and tone.
Dennis Austin’s contributions to PowerPoint have profoundly influenced the way people present information. Their legacy lives on as the software continues to be an integral part of Microsoft’s Office tools.