Philip Donald Estridge (June 23, 1937 - August 2, 1985), known as Don Estridge, led development of the original IBM Personal Computer (PC), and thus is known as "father of the IBM PC". His decisions dramatically changed the computer industry, resulting in a vast increase in the number of personal computers sold and bought, and creating an entire industry of hardware manufacturers of IBM PCs.
Estridge was born in Jacksonville, Florida. His father was a professional photographer. He graduated from Bishop Kenny High School in 1955, and from the University of Florida in 1959. He married Mary Ann Hellier in September, 1958. Three children would eventually be born from his marriage: Patricia Ann, Mary Evelyn and Sandra Marie.
He completed a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at the University of Florida, and worked at the Army, designing a radar system using computers, IBM and finally NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center until he moved to Boca Raton, Florida in 1969.
It was after this that he led the team which developed the IBM PC, and was responsible for choosing an open architecture and to buy parts and software outside of IBM. His choice of an open architecture and off-the-shelf components resulted in the IBM PC architecture becoming ubiquitous. His efforts began in at IBM Main Site in Boca Raton, Florida around 1980 with a team of just 14 people and a revenue base of zero. By the time he gave up leading IBM's PC division (known then as Entry Level Systems) in 1985, the division had 10,000 employees and annual revenue of $4.5 billion.
Don and Mary Ann Estridge perished in the crash of Delta Air Lines Flight 191 at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on August 2, 1985. He was 48 years old. The Estridges were survived by their three daughters.
Estridge has been honored many times. In 1999 he was identified in CIO magazine as one of the people who "invented the enterprise". The Don Estridge High-Tech Middle School--formerly IBM Facility Building 051--in Boca Raton, Florida, is named after him.
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