Lifeboat Associates was a New York City company that was one of the largest microcomputer software distributors in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Lifeboat acted as an independent software broker marketing software to major hardware vendors such as Xerox, HP and Altos. As such Lifeboat Associates was instrumental in the founding of Autodesk and also financed the creation of PC Magazine.
Lifeboat was founded in 1976 or 1977 by Larry Alkoff and Tony Gold. By mid-1981 the company had same-name affiliates in England, Switzerland, France, Germany, Japan and Oakland, California. PC Magazine in 1982 wrote that Lifeboat "has published and marketed more CP/M application programs on more 8-bit machines than anyone in the world", and in 1983 InfoWorld said that Lifeboat was the largest publisher of microcomputer software in the world.
The company distributed T/Maker (written by Peter Roizen), one of the first spreadsheet programs designed for the personal computer user, which went a step beyond the similar VisiCalc program by offering text-processing capability., and The Boss Financial Accounting System (written by John Burns), a $2495 package for CP/M users. It was one of the first accounting programs for micro-computers. In addition Lifeboat Associates started collecting and distributing user-written "free" software, initially for the CP/M operating system. One of the first was XMODEM, which allowed reliable communication via modem and phone line.
In June 1986, Voyager Software Corp acquired Lifeboat Associates. Later in 1986, Programmer's Paradise was started by Voyager Software as a catalog marketer of technical software. In 1988, Voyager acquired Corsoft Inc., a corporate reseller founded in 1983, and combined it with the operations of the Programmer's Paradise catalog and Lifeboat Associates, both of which marketed technical software for microcomputers. In May 1995, Voyager Software Corp. changed its name to "Programmers Paradise, Inc." and consolidated its U.S. catalog and software publishing operations in a new subsidiary, Programmers Paradise Catalogs, Inc. and its wholesale distribution operations in a new subsidiary, Lifeboat Distribution, Inc. In July 1995, Programmer's Paradise completed an initial public offering of its common stock. Programmer’s Paradise, Inc. changed its name to Wayside Technology Group, Inc. in August 2006.
- Walker, John. (February, 1994). "The Autodesk File". Fourmi Lab. Retrieved 2013-08-27
- Programmers Paradise Inc., Form 10-K, for the fiscal year ended December 31, 1996 
- Lifeboat Associates Rescues Alien Hardware, Intelligent Machines Journal, December 11, 1978
- Lifeboat Launches Offices in CA, Japan, InfoWorld, May 25, 1981
- "The Microsoft/Lifeboat Battle Cry". PC Magazine. June–July 1982. pp. 159–162. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
- Does corporate America need CP/M?, InfoWorld, August 15, 1983
- A New Factor in Software Distribution, Computerworld, Sep 27, 1982
- As an author this might be your most important line., Lifeboat Associates advertisement, InfoWorld, Feb 1, 1982
- Lifeboat Distributes T/MAKER, InfoWorld, Nov 10, 1980
- InfoNews/Software, InfoWorld, Sept 14, 1981
- Computerize your bookkeeping without terrifying your bookkeeper., Lifeboat Associates advertisement, InfoWorld, Oct 5, 1981
- "The Birth of PC Software". pc-history.org. 2008. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
One company Lifeboat Associates made a big business out of providing application software versions that ran under CP/M in almost any type of 8080 or Z-80 computer.
- "Programmer's Paradise Form 10-Q First Quarter 1996".
- "Programmer's Paradise, Inc.: Information from Answers.com". answers.com. 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
Programmer's Paradise was incorporated in 1982 as Voyager Software Corporation and started out as a wholesaler and reseller of educational software. Backed by the venture capital firm of Hudson Technologies and other investors, the company expanded in 1986 when it acquired Lifeboat Associates, which had been founded a decade earlier to publish software and act as a wholesale distributor.
- Wayside Technology Group, Inc., Form 10-K, for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2006