Ashton-Tate: The dBase Creators


Ashton-Tate was a software company that was best known for developing the popular dBASE database application. It was founded in 1980 by Hal Lashlee and George Tate, and it grew from a small garage-based company to become a multinational corporation.

In addition to dBASE, Ashton-Tate also developed the Framework suite of productivity software and the MultiMate word processor. The company was one of the “Big Three” software companies in the early 1980s, along with Microsoft and Lotus.

Ashton-Tate - history of dBase creators

Ashton-Tate was acquired by Borland in 1991. The acquisition was controversial, and it led to the departure of many key Ashton-Tate employees. Borland eventually discontinued the dBASE product line, and Ashton-Tate is now a defunct company.

Products developed by Ashton-Tate

Here are some of the notable products developed by Ashton-Tate:

  • dBASE: A relational database management system (RDBMS) that was first released in 1981. dBASE was one of the most popular RDBMSs on the market in the early 1980s, and it helped to popularize the use of databases on microcomputers.
  • Framework: A suite of productivity software that was first released in 1984. The framework included a word processor, spreadsheet, database, and communications program. It was a popular alternative to Microsoft Office in the early 1990s.
  • MultiMate: A word processor that was first released in 1981. MultiMate was one of the most popular word processors on the market in the early 1980s. It was known for its powerful features and its ability to work with large documents.

Ashton-Tate was a major player in the software industry in the early 1980s. Its products helped to popularize the use of databases and productivity software on microcomputers. The company is now defunct, but its products continue to be used by many people around the world.

Ashton-Tate foundation

Ashton-Tate was founded in 1980 by George Tate and Hal Lashlee. Tate was a computer programmer who had previously worked for IBM and Prime Computer. Lashlee was a business executive who had previously worked for Datapoint Corporation.

The two men met in 1979 when they were both working for a small software company called Software Plus, Inc. They quickly realized that they shared a vision for a new kind of software company that would focus on developing high-quality, user-friendly software for microcomputers.

In January 1980, Tate and Lashlee left Software Plus, Inc. to start their own company. They called it Ashton-Tate, after Tate’s pet parrot.

The company’s first product was dBASE, a relational database management system (RDBMS) that was released in 1981. dBASE was an immediate success, and it quickly became one of the most popular RDBMSs on the market.

Ashton-Tate went on to release a number of other successful products, including Framework, a suite of productivity software, and MultiMate, a word processor. The company became one of the leading software companies in the world, and it was known for its innovative products and its aggressive marketing campaigns.

Ashton-Tate was acquired by Borland in 1991. The acquisition was controversial, and it led to the departure of many key Ashton-Tate employees. Borland eventually discontinued the dBASE product line, and this company is now defunct.

Despite its short lifespan, Ashton-Tate had a major impact on the software industry. The company’s products helped to popularize the use of databases and productivity software on microcomputers. Ashton-Tate was also one of the first software companies to successfully market its products to a mass audience.

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