Seymour I. Rubinstein - Business Ventures

Business Ventures

Rubinstein founded MicroPro International Inc. in June 1978. Subsequently, Rubinstein made an arrangement with Robb Barnaby, a programmer Rubinstein met at IMSAI. While at IMSAI, Barnaby wrote a screen editor which was called NED. Rubinstein had Barnaby totally rewrite NED into a new product, WordMaster. MicroPro was officially launched in September, 1978 using Barnaby’s first two programs, WordMaster and SuperSort. Feedback from the computer store dealers, who were MicroPro’s first customers, said they wanted a program with integrated printing.

Rubinstein developed the specifications for the new program including many innovations unavailable in commercial word processing at the time, such as showing page breaks, providing an integrated help system and a keyboard design specifically for touch typists. Barnaby did the initial foundation for MailMerge, which was finished by others.

In mid-1979 was born the Wordstar word processor. A year and a half later, several IMSAI employees joined Rubinstein at Micropro, including Bruce Van Natta, Joe Killian, Dianne Hajicek, and Glen Ewing.

In 1982, WordStar was ported to MS-DOS.

"So while WordMaster, SuperSort, and WordStar were developed on IMSAIs (I used mine til I got an IBM PC), few customers used them."
-- Rob Barnaby in email to Mike Petrie 2 May 2000

In 1987 Rubinstein became involved with a spreadsheet he called Surpass. This spreadsheet was later sold to Borland International. Borland renamed it Quattro Pro.

In 1990 Rubinstein was sued by Bill Millard, former CEO of IMSAI, regarding theft of trade secrets regarding WordStar. Rubinstein was successfully defended by Davis Wright Tremaine .

In a Video History Interview with the David Allison of the Smithsonian Institution, Bill Gates referred to Rubinstein as starting one of the first software companies .

In 1992 he founded UDICO Holdings, a company which—using a "surveillance engine" licensed from a French company—sought to create an interactive context sensitive help engine which would intercept "F1" calls for help within Microsoft Word and direct users at that point to an interactive training session for the feature which they sought help with. Though this product (Developed by T. Lindgren and A. Bennedsen) was never released, the company did release a WinHelp authoring tool called W.Y.S.I. Help Composer.

In 1995 he founded a company called Prompt Software to investigate document management, internet research, and worked with Garnet R. Chaney to patent a series of discoveries regarding Content Discovery. This software connected to multiple search sites and used complex word algorithms to refine searches.

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