Computer magnet switches off

Max Palevsky who was the money man founder of Intel has croaked at aged 85.

He was a noted art collector and philanthropist who gained prominence in the 1960s when he turned Scientific Data Systems, a builder of mainframe computers, into a hugely lucrative business that he sold to Xerox in 1969 for $1 billion. He went on to serve as a director and chairman of Xerox’s executive committee before becoming a founder and director of Intel.

In the 1970s he turned his back on corporate America and produced movies, saved Rolling Stone and delved into Democratic politics.

In later years, Palevsky gave up on politics and concentrated more of his attention on art. He built important collections of arts and crafts movement furniture and Japanese woodblock prints.

In 2000 he shocked his old democratic chums by writing a $1-million cheque to the campaign finance reform initiative co-authored by Ron Unz, a conservative Silicon Valley tycoon.

Palevsky said he was sick of the “corruption of the electoral process,” and announced that he made the contribution “in hopes that I will never again legally be allowed to write huge cheques to California political candidates.”

Palevsky became fascinated by computers in the 1950s at a time when everyone else thought they were science fiction. He worked in the computer division of Bendix and for Packard Bell before launching Scientific Data Systems with 11 other scientists in 1961. Over the next several years, sales for the company, which focused on an untapped market for small mainframe machines, soared.

He was one of the first major investors in Intel.

In the last 15 years of his life he became a bit of a self confessed Luddite and refused to touch a computer, watch TV or use a credit card.

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