The choice was made because Microsoft's cofounder, Paul Allen, was
offered a job in Albuquerque with MITS (Micro Instrumentation
Telemetry Systems), the manufacturer of the Altair computer. Bill
Gates followed Allen to Albuquerque, and soon Allen was splitting his
time between MITS and the newly-born "Micro Soft":
"Remember that Bill [Gates] wasn't always Microsoft's CEO. That job
originally went to Paul Allen. It was Allen, not Gates, who made that
fateful flight to Albuquerque to sell Microsoft BASIC to MITs. It was
Allen, not Gates, who pulled Bill away from that dorm room poker game
to read the issue of Popular Electronics introducing the Altair."
PBS: Good Cop, Bad Cop
"Allen and Gates write the first microcomputer BASIC for the Altair, a
computer kit based on Intel's new 8080 chip. They move to Albuquerque,
N.M., where Altair's producer MITS makes Allen its associate director
of software. Allen divides his time between MITS and a new company he
and Gates have started to develop and market microcomputer languages:
The History of Computing Project: Paul Allen
"Bill Gates was a student at Harvard at the time, and the development
of their BASIC was done on borrowed time on the large PDP-10 computer
system in the school's Aiken Computer Lab, late at night. Not many
weeks later, Paul Allen took a paper tape to Albuquerque and loaded
into an Altair at MITS and demonstrated the first version of what
would come to be known as Altair BASIC, and later Microsoft BASIC.
Gates and Allen made a deal for MITS to distribute their BASIC, Allen
went to work for MITS and Gates soon moved to Albuquerque, where
Microsoft was born. Originally they spelled it Micro-Soft, but
probably changed the spelling because it sounded like they sold small
ice cream cones."
Online Ethics Center: Bill Gates
"When first starting out Microsoft, he [Bill Gates] moved the
operation to Albuquerque. This was where the company that was making
the Altair personal computer was based. This place was the center of
creativity for personal computer software at the time because that was
the company making them. However, after the company was bought out, he
relocated the business to Seattle."
Miami University: Bill Gates
"Finally there was usable software to make this computer really
useful, and to change the world. Paul Allen quit his job and went to
work at MITS. Bill Gates soon dropped out of Harvard and moved to
Albuquerque too. They authorized MITS to sell their Basic as part of
the Altair kit. They also retained the rights to market it
Gates and Allen eventually formed their own company, Micro Soft -
originally spelled as two words - there in Albuquerque. Within months,
they were modifying their Basic to run on other early microcomputers."
Virtual Altair Museum: What good is a computer without Software?
My Google search strategy:
Google Web Search: gates microsoft "to albuquerque"
I hope this information is useful. Please let me know if anything is
in need of clarification, or if a link doesn't work for you.