The story of the team behind the chip that launched a revolution
Terry Holdt Product/Program Manager for Microcomputers & 6502 Process Development Manager
Terry Holdt was part of the team of eight Motorola employees and engineers who worked on the 6800 microprocessor and left the company in 1974 to work at MOS Technology along with Wil Mathys, Rod Orgill, Ray Hirt, Mike Janes, Harry Bawcom, Chuck Peddle, and Bill Mensch. At MOS, Terry served as the Product/Program Manager for Microcomputers at MOS as well as a Process Development Manager, focusing on the 6502 microprocessor.
The following biography was provided by his daughter, Jennifer:
Terry began working in the Semiconductor Products Division at Motorola after graduating from the University of Illinois in 1968 with a Masters in Engineering. Between the years 1968 through 1974, Terry worked his way from an engineering trainee to, at the time of his departure from Motorola, the Products Manager (MOS P/N Logic Products) overseeing P&L control over the 6800 family of microprocessors. This management position included responsibility for product engineering, test engineering, and test direct labor for MOS logic products, experience that would serve him as the Program/Product Manager for Microcomputers at MOS Technology from 1974-1976, a job that included managing the production of the 6502.
At MOS Technology, Terry reported to the company president, John Paivinen, and had responsibility for the overall program planning and execution of efforts surrounding microprocessors. He participated in decisions regarding the product definition, pricing, support activities (hardware and software), customer interface, advertising, factory planning, allocation of available resources, and process development. The latter responsibility included not only supervision of the labor force, but supervision and a portion of the engineering of the N Channel Silicon Gate Depletion Load 5 Volt Process. Thus while his primary function was to manage the overall microprocessor program, his primary effort was management and technical assistance in the process development area.
Shortly after the 1975 release of the 6502, Terry's wife, Sharon, accompanied him on a business trip to California where he met with Atari executives regarding the use of the 6502 as the CPU in the company's home video game console. It was on that trip that they fell in love with the San Francisco Bay Area. Shortly thereafter, Terry took a job at American Microsystems, Inc. (AMI) in Santa Clara, CA where he subsequently served as Director of Memory and Microprocessor Engineering for 3 years. Over the next 3 and half decades, Terry worked in a variety of positions at various semiconductor companies in California, including Director of Semiconductor Operations at Zilog, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Western Digital, and President and CEO of both Paradigm Technology and then, S3 Inc. (later, SonicBlue), the latter being the Valley's leading producer of graphic accelerator chips in the early 1990s. Terry retired in the mid-1990s, after serving as a Chief Executive for the chip-making start-up, Entridia. In 2018, Terry moved from San Juan Capistrano, CA, to Oakland, CA to be near his eldest daughter, Jennifer. When emptying the house Terry and his wife had lived in for more than 35 years, Jennifer discovered a cabinet full of MOS Technology documents that had not seen the light of day in decades. These documents are a treasure trove of information documenting various aspects of the 6502's production, including notes from brainstorming sessions, interoffice memos, annotated binders of engineering articles consulted by MOS engineers, 6502 testing procedures and results, marketing memos, public user manuals noting errata, and more. The public release of these documents, shared on this website as the "Holdt Archives," served as impetus for the creation of this website.
Terry Holdt (left) as CEO of S3, Inc. in 1994.
Terry with his young family in 1971.
Terry and his wife, Sharon, at an S3 event in Hawaii in the 1990s.
Press release announcing Terry's hire as President and CEO of S3 in 1992 (later, Sonic Blu).
Terry Holdt with eldest daughter, son-in-law, grandkids and granddog in 2018.
Terry's resume circa 1976. Click on image to view PDF of full document.
Terry's resume circa 1992. Click on image to view PDF of full document.