IBM Typing Tutor

IBM executives thought their newest offering would dominate personal computing just as International Business Machines had dominated industrial computing. They realized that selling personal computers would only succeed if executives learned to type.

My Microsoft Typing Tutor was the obvious solution. Bill was all in favor of this idea and helped me develop a working relationship with IBM. As a result, I changed the name to IBM Typing Tutor and had another instant success.


In the final stages of our negotiation, a severe rift developed. I insisted that my name be associated with my work, as Microsoft had done. I maintained that I was an author and should be recognized as such. IBM considered "software" another component, like the keyboard or the disk drive, and refused to add my name. I told my chief negotiator to kill the product unless IBM acknowledged authorship. IBM finally agreed., and recognizing programmers as authors took a significant step forward as the new industry standard.

I now focused on creating software while Microsoft and IBM were marketing my products.

There's another chapter to the Ainsworth/IBM story. Much later, IBM decided to enter the business software market with the Bis-Ed-Pack, a combination training package that combined my latest typing software with the leading word processing and spreadsheet products.

The Bus-Ed-Pack software bundle released by IBM in the 1980s was designed to provide business and educational users with a suite of productivity tools. The package included three programs:

Lotus 1-2-3: a spreadsheet application that was widely used in the business world for financial modeling, budgeting, and data analysis.

WordPerfect: a word processing program that was popular for creating and formatting documents, such as reports, memos, and letters.

Ainsworth Keyboard Trainer: a software application that provided touch-typing instruction and training for users to improve their typing skills.

When selecting the typing product to include, IBM balked because they could purchase Mavis for just a few dollars while my program retailed for $120 per computer. The marketing division's extensive research showed conclusively that the fake teacher software was insulting to adults, while my product was the only solution that worked for the executive market.

The Bus-Ed-Pack was a popular choice for business and educational users during the 1980s and early 1990s, as it offered a comprehensive set of productivity tools at an affordable price.

Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In