IBM Typing Tutor

IBM thought their newest offering would dominate personal computing just as their 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 both Microsoft and IBM were marketing my products.

There's another chapter to the Ainsworth/IBM story. Much later, IBM would decide 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.

When selecting the typing product to include, IBM balked because they could purchase Mavis for just a few dollars while my program cost them $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 Bis Ed Pack was launched with considerable fanfare. Fortunately, I had learned from my mentor Bill and had locked a minimum guarantee in the contract. I was sad when IBM's venture failed but delighted with the money.

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