PowerPoint was not started by Microsoft. It was in fact developed by a company called Forethought Inc, which was later acquired by Microsoft.
Rob Campbell and Taylor Pohlman founded Forethought Inc., in 1983. Their aim was to develop a object oriented bit-mapped application software. Bob Gaskins, a former Ph.D. student at the University of California, Berkeley was hired for a large percentage of company's stock. He along with Dennis Austin led the development of a program called Presenter. Presenter was later renamed as PowerPoint.
Rob Campbell holds the distinction of working both for Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Forethought was his third venture, before that he started Dakin5 and the Denver Software Company – two software companies that lead the way in the use of Apple Computers in business applications. Dakin5’s products were acquired by Apple in 1979 and Rob was hired as Manager of Application Software and reported to Steve Jobs directly. Apple had planned to spin out this department and when this plan was delayed, Rob quit apple to start Forethought.
The First Shipment
The first shipment of PowerPoint application (PowerPoint 1.0) was released in 1987 for Apple Macintosh. It had a monochrome output. So everything was just black and white. It used to generate text and graphic transparencies for overhead slides. The color version was shipped a year later in 1988 and it was just not coincidence that it came with the first color Macintosh machine.
Microsoft Corporation acquired Forethought Inc., in 1987 for $14 million. In 1990, the first version of Microsoft Windows was released in 1990 and since 1990, PowerPoint has been a standard part of the Microsoft Office suite of applications.
PowerPoint today is widely used by business people, educators, students, and trainers and among the most prevalent forms of persuasive technology.