The most significant innovation in personal computing over the last 30 years has been the evolution of natural interfaces, with the GUI, speech recognition, gestures and touch receiving equal weight, according to Bill Gates, a co-founder and the former chief executive of Microsoft.
As the PC turns 30, we asked Gates, as well as other industry leaders, for their thoughts on the most significant innovation in personal computing, and how PCs have changed people's lives for the better – or worse. Finally, we wanted to know what the future holds for personal computing – and maybe whether the "Personal Computer" would exist in its current form.
While Apple's Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak arguably invented and popularized the personal computer, Bill Gates, Paul Allen and later Steve Ballmer at Microsoft crafted and shaped the Windows operating system which became synonomous with the term "PC". The Apple Macintosh and Windows pushed the graphical user interface into the mainstream, driven by the increasing performance of microprocessors from Intel Corp., and later from chips designed by Advanced Micro Devices, Cyrix, Via Technology, and others.