Philippe Kahn

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Not to be confused with Hong Kong businessman Phillip Khan.
Philippe Kahn
Philippe Kahn.JPG
Born (1952-03-16) March 16, 1952 (age 63)[1][2][3]
Paris, France
Occupation Inventor, Entrepreneur

Philippe Kahn (born March 16, 1952)[4] is a technology innovator and entrepreneur and founder of four technology companies: Fullpower Technologies, LightSurf Technologies, Starfish Software and Borland. Kahn is credited with creating the first camera phone[5], 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 technologies.[6][7]

Early life and education[edit]

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.[8]

Kahn was educated in mathematics at 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 MICRAL, which is credited by the Computer History Museum as the first ever microprocessor-based personal computer.[9]

Technology[edit]

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 Borland, founded in 1982 (acquired by Micro Focus in 2009).

Borland (1982–1994): compilers and tools[edit]

Kahn was CEO of Borland from 1982 to 1994,[10] when Borland was a competitor of Microsoft. Borland produced programming language compilers such as Turbo Pascal.[11] 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.[12]

Starfish Software (1994–1998): wireless synchronization[edit]

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[edit]

Kahn founded LightSurf in 1998 shortly after he had created the first camera phone solution sharing pictures instantly on public networks in 1997.[13][14] The impetus for this invention was the birth of Kahn's daughter; he jury-rigged a mobile phone with a digital camera and sent off photos in real time.[15][16][17]

In 2005, LightSurf was acquired by Verisign for US$300 million. Syniverse Technologies acquired Lightsurf from Verisign in 2009.

Fullpower Technologies (2003–present): wearable technology[edit]

Fullpower, founded in 2003, provides a patented ecosystem for wearable and 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.[18]

Gay rights advocacy[edit]

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.[19]

Sailing and sports[edit]

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.[20] Recent sailing achievements also include winning the double handed division of the 2009 Transpacific Yacht Race 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.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Kahn is married to Sonia Lee, who co-founded Fullpower Technologies, LightSurf and Starfish Software, and with whom he has a daughter. Kahn has three other children from a prior marriage.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Harry Henderson (2003). A to Z of computer scientists. Infobase Publishing. p. 127. ISBN 978-0-8160-4531-0. Retrieved January 14, 2012. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ Parks, Bob (October 2000). "The Big Picture". Wired Magazine. Retrieved February 7, 2012. 
  4. ^ Darrow, Barbara (November 10, 1999). "Phillipe Kahn". CRN (Computer Reseller News). Retrieved February 19, 2012. 
  5. ^ http://www.businessinsider.com/digital-photography-revolution-2015-4
  6. ^ iPhoneographers learn from the pros at 1197 conference, by Alexandra Chang (Posted Monday, October 24, 2011, at 5:30 AM) Macworld.com
  7. ^ memsjournal.com
  8. ^ Weber, Jonathan (February 23, 1992). "Kahn the Barbarian". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 7, 2012. 
  9. ^ computerhistory.org
  10. ^ Philippe Kahn (June 15, 2005). "Vision". Retrieved March 6, 2014. 
  11. ^ eWeek.com
  12. ^ Kellner, Krey, Jeffers, Parks
  13. ^ Parks, Maney, Agger, Krey
  14. ^ Kanellos
  15. ^ Kahn, NPR interview
  16. ^ When camera phones attack.- By Michael Agger(Posted Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2007, at 6:21 PM ET)Slate Magazine
  17. ^ Robert Sullivan (2011). 100 Photographs That Changed The World. LIFE Books. p. 19. ISBN 978-1-60320-176-6. 
  18. ^ a b "How an Obsessive Sailor and His Fitness Tracker Supercharged Yacht Racing". Wired. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  19. ^ Groves, Martha (October 19, 1993). "Advocates of Gay Rights Look to Technology to Further the Cause". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 6, 2012. 
  20. ^ Transpacific Yacht Race – The perfect ride? – By Kimball Livingston, 7:40 AM on Thu May 19, 2011

Further reading[edit]


External links[edit]