Forethought PowerPoint

201 words

2K on disk

April 1987

Forethought PowerPoint

Presentation software

Though well-known today as part of the Microsoft Office suite, PowerPoint started life in 1987 as a piece of software originally known as “Presenter”, from a company called Forethought.


Forethought updated the program to support color after the release of the Macintosh II, and Microsoft acquired them soon afterwards for $14,000.000. What justified that high price? According to the New York Times‘ coverage of the acquisition,

Some industry officials think such “desktop presentations” have the potential to be as big a market as “desktop publishing,” which involves using computers to lay out newsletters and other publications.

In his 2001 article about the software for The New Yorker, Ian Parker makes a point that many forget — this was the era where the end result of work in PowerPoint would be a set of physical slides or laser-printed transparencies, rather than anything that could be displayed on a LCD projector:

It generated text-and-graphics pages that a photocopier could turn into overhead transparencies. (This was before laptop computers and portable projectors made PowerPoint a tool for live electronic presentations. Gaskins thinks he may have been the first person to use the program in the modern way, in a Paris hotel in 1992…)

Forethought PowerPoint
Kind: Presentation software
Size: 2010 bytes, accounts for 2K on disk
Where:Software, internal drive
Created:Monday, April 20, 1987 at 5:18 PM
Modified:Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 5:46 PM