PHILIPPE KAHN (born March 16, 1952) is a mathematician, technology
innovator, entrepreneur and founder of four technology companies:
Fullpower Technologies ,
LightSurf Technologies , Starfish Software
Borland . Kahn is credited with creating the first camera phone ,
being a pioneer for wearable technology intellectual property , and is
the author of dozens of technology patents covering wearable, eyewear,
smartphone, mobile, imaging, wireless, synchronization and medical
* 1 Early life and education
* 2 Technology
Borland (1982–1994): compilers and tools
Starfish Software (1994–1998): wireless synchronization
LightSurf Technologies (1997–2005): camera-phone
Fullpower Technologies (2003–present): wearable technology
* 3 Gay rights advocacy
* 4 Sailing and sports
* 5 Personal life
* 6 References
* 7 Further reading
* 8 External links
EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION
Kahn grew up in Paris, France. He was born to Jewish immigrants of
modest means. His mother was an
Auschwitz survivor, violinist and
lieutenant in the French resistance. His father was a self-educated
mechanical engineer with a socialist bent.
Kahn was educated in mathematics at the
ETH Zurich , Switzerland
(Swiss Federal Polytechnic Institute), on a full scholarship and
University of Nice Sophia Antipolis,
France . He received a masters in
mathematics . He also received a masters in musicology composition and
classical flute performance at the Zurich Music Conservatory in
Switzerland. As a student, Kahn developed software for the
which is credited by the
Computer History Museum
Computer History Museum as the first ever
microprocessor-based personal computer.
Philippe Kahn working on the first camera phones June
11th, 1997, Santa Cruz, CA: Image taken by
Philippe Kahn after his
daughter's birth. July 1st, 2010, Double Jeopardy question
Kahn has founded four software companies:
Fullpower Technologies ,
founded in 2003,
LightSurf Technologies , founded in 1998 (acquired by
Verisign in 2005),
Starfish Software , founded in 1994 (acquired by
Motorola in 1998, and subsequently Google in 2011), and
founded in 1982 (acquired by Micro Focus in 2009).
BORLAND (1982–1994): COMPILERS AND TOOLS
Kahn was CEO of
Borland from 1982 to 1994, when
Borland was a
Microsoft , and produced programming language compilers
and software development tools. Its first product,
Turbo Pascal ,
sold for $49.95 at a time when programming tools cost hundreds or
thousands of dollars. Kahn was President, CEO, and Chairman of Borland
and, without venture capital, took
Borland from no revenues to a
US$500 million run-rate. Kahn and the
Borland board came to a
disagreement on how to focus the company and in January 1995, Kahn was
forced by the board to resign from his position as CEO.
STARFISH SOFTWARE (1994–1998): WIRELESS SYNCHRONIZATION
Starfish Software was founded in 1994 by
Philippe Kahn as a spin-off
from the Simplify business unit from
Borland and Kahn's severance from
Borland. TrueSync was the first Over-The-Air (OTA) synchronization
system. Starfish was successfully acquired by
Motorola for US$325
million in 1998.
LIGHTSURF TECHNOLOGIES (1997–2005): CAMERA-PHONE
LightSurf in 1998 shortly after he had created the first
camera phone solution sharing pictures instantly on public networks in
1997. The impetus for this invention was the birth of Kahn's
daughter; he jerry-rigged a mobile phone with a digital camera and
sent off photos in real time. Kahn later said "I had always
wanted to have this all working in time to share my daughter’s birth
photo, but I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. It’s always the
case that if it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would ever get
In 2016 Time Magazine included Kahn's first camera phone photo in
their list of the 100 most influential photos of all time. In 2017,
Conscious Minds created a short film recreating the day that Philippe
instantly shared the first camera-phone photo of the birth of his
LightSurf was acquired by
Verisign for US$300 million.
Syniverse Technologies acquired Lightsurf from
Verisign in 2009.
FULLPOWER TECHNOLOGIES (2003–PRESENT): WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY
Fullpower , founded in 2003, provides a patented ecosystem for
Internet of Things
Internet of Things sensor-fusion solutions supporting
networks of sensors. The inspiration behind some of the key Fullpower
technology stems from Kahn's passion for sailing. During a demanding
race requiring sailors to sleep less than an hour every 24-hour
period, Kahn began experimenting with biosensors and three-axis linear
accelerometers that could detect micromovements and provide meaningful
recommendations. Kahn created prototype sleep trackers using
biosensors that optimized 26-minute power naps to maximize sleep
benefits and sail time.
GAY RIGHTS ADVOCACY
Under Kahn's direction,
Borland became the first software company to
offer domestic partners full benefits and a pioneer for gay rights in
Silicon Valley. Kahn was a key speaker at the pivotal gay rights
conference on the Apple campus on October 19, 1993.
SAILING AND SPORTS
Kahn's focus on the environment and the outdoors led him to the sport
of sailing. Kahn's sailing team, Pegasus Racing, competes in many
world championships each year around the world. An offshore sailor
with over 10 trans-Pacific crossings, Kahn holds the Transpac double
handed record from San Francisco to Oahu, Hawaii. Recent sailing
achievements also include winning the double handed division of the
Transpacific Yacht Race from Los Angeles to Hawaii, and setting
the Transpac record at 7 days, 19 hours, beating the previous time of
10 days, 4 hours.
Kahn is married to
Sonia Lee , who co-founded Fullpower Technologies
Starfish Software , and with whom he has a daughter.
Kahn has three other children from a prior marriage.
* ^ Harry Henderson (2003). A to Z of computer scientists. Infobase
Publishing. p. 127. ISBN 978-0-8160-4531-0 . Retrieved January 14,
* ^ Lewis, Peter H. (August 18, 1991). "The Executive Computer;
Philippe Kahn of Borland, in His Own Words". The New York Times.
Retrieved January 16, 2012.
* ^ Parks, Bob (October 2000). "The Big Picture". Wired Magazine.
Retrieved February 7, 2012.
* ^ Darrow, Barbara (November 10, 1999). "Phillipe Kahn". CRN.
Computer Reseller News. Retrieved February 19, 2012.
* ^ "iPhoneographers learn from the pros at 1197 conference".
Macworld. 24 October 2011.
* ^ "MEMS Journal -- The Largest MEMS Publication in the World".
* ^ Weber, Jonathan (February 23, 1992). "Kahn the Barbarian". Los
Angeles Times. Retrieved February 7, 2012.
* ^ computerhistory.org
Philippe Kahn (June 15, 2005). "Vision". Retrieved March 6,
* ^ "30 Years Ago: Turbo Pascal, BASIC Turn PCs Into Programming
* ^ Kellner, Krey, Jeffers, Parks
* ^ Parks, Maney, Agger, Krey
* ^ Kanellos
* ^ Kahn, NPR interview
* ^ Michael Agger (17 January 2007). "When camera phones attack.".
* ^ Robert Sullivan (2011). 100 Photographs That Changed The World.
LIFE Books. p. 19. ISBN 978-1-60320-176-6 .
* ^ Larry Magid (9 June 2017). "A baby girl and the camera phone
were born 20 years ago". Mercury News.
* ^ Tekla S. Perry (11 June 2017). "Happy Birthday, Camera Phone!
Your Papa Is Very Proud of You.". IEEE Spectrum.
* ^ 1997: The Birth of the Camera Phone,
* ^ A B "How an Obsessive Sailor and His Fitness Tracker
Supercharged Yacht Racing". Wired. Retrieved February 19, 2015.
* ^ Groves, Martha (October 19, 1993). "Advocates of Gay Rights
Look to Technology to Further the Cause". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved
June 6, 2012.
Transpacific Yacht Race – The perfect ride? – By Kimball
Livingston, 7:40 AM on Thu May 19, 2011
* Erickson, Jonathan (November 20, 2008). "Turbo Pascal\'s Unsung
Hero". Dr. Dobb's Portal: The World of Software Development. Retrieved
* Maney, Kevin (January 23, 2007). "Baby\'s arrival inspires birth
of cellphone camera – and societal evolution". USA Today. Retrieved
* Kellner, Tomas (September 7, 2001). "Survivor". Fortune .
Retrieved August 30, 2005.
* Johnson, Colin (November 12, 2007). "MEMS breed a new batch of
consumer-pleasing devices". EE Times. Retrieved 2007-11-12.