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Charles Ying, founder of Atex passes away at age 63

By Frank Romano

Charles Ying, a founder of Atex, died September 9th. He was 63, according to the MyFonts blog, which attributed his death to cancer and noted that he is survived by his wife, four children, three siblings and mother.

With brother Richard and Douglas Drane, a colleague from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ying started Atex in 1973 with the aim of developing a versatile composition system using a video display terminal. It would vastly improve the efficiency of publishing daily newspapers, with large quantities of constantly changing information. The Ying brothers worked for Hendrix and Drane worked with Computek.

Their ideas produced the editorial and classified advertising front ends for typeset material, predecessors of today's content management systems used for material to be paginated and information to be disseminated to all manner of digital devices. The first installation was at U.S. News and World Report.

Atex would become one of the largest worldwide suppliers of systems for newspapers and magazines. Its original owners sold Atex in 1981 to Eastman Kodak Co. for $77 million to enable them to benefit from Atex's initiatives in driving phototypesetters and also to provide access both to the commercial industry and the transition to computer-based technology. It subsequently passed through several owners, often under different names, before settling under its current ownership at its headquarters in Reading, England.

That sale sparked a large number of start-ups designed to be sold to larger companies and computer systems were applied in the printing industry.

From January 1992 to January 1996, he served as Chief Executive Officer of Information International Inc., a corporation engaged in the business of designing, manufacturing and marketing computer based systems that automate document production and publishing. He served as Chairman of Bitstream Inc. from April 1997 to August 2010. He also served as a Director of DiamondSoft, Inc. as its representative. He served as Director of Bitstream Inc. until August 2010. MyFonts.com was his brainchild. Mr. Ying had a B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

An engineer and Harvard Business school alum, he listed his residence as Hawaii and his title on LinkedIn as "ski bum."


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