Henry Edward Roberts dies at 68; inventor of early personal computer that inspired Bill Gates. Roberts built the MITS Altair 8800, which had no display screen. Gates and childhood friend Paul Allen created BASIC code for the computers. Later in life, Roberts became a physician. Dr. Henry Edward Roberts, a developer of an early personal computer that inspired Bill Gates to found Microsoft, died Thursday in a hospital in Macon, Ga., after a long bout with pneumonia, according to his family. He was 68. Roberts, whose build-it-yourself kit concentrated thousands of dollars’ worth of computer capability in an affordable package, inspired Bill Gates and his childhood friend Paul Allen to come up with Microsoft in 1975 after they saw an article about the MITS Altair 8800 in Popular Electronics.