Phil Goldman

Silicon Valley engineer, WebTV co-founder

Phil Goldman, a Silicon Valley engineer who co-founded WebTV before launching an email service that promised to block unwanted spam, died Friday Dec. 26 at home in Los Altos Hills, Calif. He was 39. Cause is under investigation.

Over the course of his career, Goldman worked at companies including Apple Computer, General Magic and Microsoft Corp.

In 1995, along with former Apple colleagues Steve Perlman and Bruce Leak, Goldman co-founded WebTV Networks, which allowed users to surf the Internet via their TVs.

Microsoft bought WebTV in 1997 for $425 million and today the service is called MSN TV.

In 2002, Goldman founded Mailblocks, which sells an email system that promises to eliminate spam. Earlier this year, it sued competing companies using similar technology, claiming patent infringement.

Susan Bratton, VP of sales and marketing for Mailblocks, said the company will go forward despite Goldman’s death.

Raised in Hillsborough, Calif., Goldman attended San Mateo High School and graduated from Princeton in 1986 at the top of his class in the school of engineering. He remained an active alum, endowing an engineering professorship.

Goldman held 19 U.S. patents for inventions. He served on the board of directors of BraveKids, a charity that helps families with severely ill children remain connected through the Internet.

Goldman is survived by his wife, Susan, and two young children.

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