Heinz Nixdorf (April 9, 1925 – March 17, 1986) was a German computing pioneer and businessman.
Nixdorf was born in Paderborn.
In 1942, Nixdorf was drafted by the German forces and could only finish his education in 1946, after the end of World War II.
He studied Physics in Frankfurt from 1947 to 1952. In 1951 he was first exposed to computer technology whilst working at Remington Rand. In 1952, Nixdorf interrupted his studies and founded the Labor für Impulstechnik in Essen. He started building machines for RWE and soon became a contractor to Wanderer-Werke and Compagnie des Machines Bull. In 1964, Nixdorf produced the System 820, his first small computer, which he sold to small and medium-sized businesses with great success. In 1968, he bought his largest customer, the Wanderer-Werke, and incorporated them into the newly founded Nixdorf Computer AG with its head office in Paderborn.
In the 1970s, Nixdorf Computer AG was the market leader in West Germany and the fourth-largest computer manufacturer worldwide. By 1986, Nixdorf Computer AG had 25,500 employees in 44 countries and had a net cash flow of 4.5 billion DM per year. The same year Nixdorf died in Hanover, during the first CeBIT computer fair.
With a donation, he created the world's biggest computer museum in Paderborn called the Heinz Nixdorf Museum.
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