The issue facing MITS was the computer was programmed with 8 on/off switches. This made programming a tedious effort at best.
The appearance of a solution showed up in a letter sent to MITS from a firm marketing a program called Traf-O-Data. This company was a part-time business for a couple of high school students named Bill Gates and Paul Allen.
They offered a computer language known as BASIC to MITS. Let's not forget the trivial point that neither of these individuals actually had this language for the Altair.
BASIC was available in the public domain for different CPUs (Central Processing Unit), which is considered the computers brain.
Their prior experience of using a simulator on a DEC computer for Traf-O-Data allowed them to work a few frantic weeks through which they were able to make BASIC work on an Altair without the experience of ever having seen one. (Emulators or simulators allow you to write programs on one system to run on another system.)
With the success of their efforts, Paul Allen went to work at MITS and Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard and moved to Albuquerque.
The two individuals granted a non-exclusive license to MITS, which made many hobbyists, resent them. Their point was that BASIC had come from the public domain and they had used government-funded computers to pirate BASIC for the Altair.
These young men founded a new firm to market BASIC to other firms making microcomputers. They called this firm Microsoft.
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