SAN FRANCISCO - Doug Engelbart, 88, the inventor of the computer mouse and developer of early incarnations of e-mail, word processing programs and the Internet, died late Tuesday.
The Computer History Museum, where Engelbart had been a fellow since 2005, announced the death. The cause was not immediately known.
Engelbart said his work was about "augmenting human intellect," but it boiled down to making computers user-friendly. One of the biggest advances was the mouse, which he developed in the 1960s and patented in 1970. At the time, it was a wooden shell covering two metal wheels.
The mouse was not commercially available until 1984, with Apple's Macintosh. But the patent had a 17-year life span, and in 1987 the technology fell into the public domain - meaning Engelbart could not collect royalties as the mouse went into wide use. At least one billion have been sold since the mid-1980s.