Bill Gates: Iconic computer entrepreneur

An American business magnate, software developer, investor and philanthropist, he is best known for co-founding Microsoft Corporation, the world’s largest PC software company.
Bill Gates in January 2000 stepped down as Microsoft CEO and over the next few years he gradually transferred his duties to others and started spending more of his time in several philanthropic work and endeavours.(Illustration: Gajanan Nirphale)
Bill Gates in January 2000 stepped down as Microsoft CEO and over the next few years he gradually transferred his duties to others and started spending more of his time in several philanthropic work and endeavours.(Illustration: Gajanan Nirphale)
Updated on Dec 09, 2019 03:49 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent

Born as William Henry Bill Gates on October 28, 1955 in Seattle, Washington, he is the son of William H. Gates Senior, who is now a retired lawyer, and Mary Maxwell Gates, a businesswoman. He studied at the Lakeside School in Seattle where he developed an interest in computing. When he was in the eighth grade, the Mothers’ Club at the school used proceeds from Lakeside School’s rummage sale to buy a Teletype Model 33 ASR terminal and a block of computer time on a General Electric computer for the students. Gates became entranced with what a computer could do and spent much of his free time working on the terminal. He was a National Merit Scholar when he graduated from Lakeside School in 1973. He scored 1590 out of 1600 on the college SAT test, a feat of intellectual achievement and enrolled at Harvard College. He chose a pre-law major but took mathematics and graduate level computer science courses. As a college student he spent a lot of time on the computers. His friend, Paul Allen suggested that Bill drop out of college to start a business.

Career

In 1975, Gates and Allen collaborated to found Microsoft (initially called Micro-Soft), a blend of ‘micro-computer’ and ‘software’. The company’s first product was BASIC software, a popular programming language for use on microcomputers. In 1980, the duo created the PC DOS operating system for International Business Machine (IBM) in exchange for a one-time fee of $50,000. Then they introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985, as a graphical operating system shell for MS-DOS. By 1983, Microsoft was going global with offices in Great Britain and Japan. Microsoft introduced Microsoft Office in 1989 and in the mid 1990s when the use of the internet spread throughout the world at an alarming speed, Microsoft focused on the development of consumer and enterprise software solutions for the internet. In January 2000, Gates stepped down as Microsoft CEO and over the next few years he gradually transferred his duties to others and started spending more of his time in several philanthropic work and endeavours.

Philanthropy

In 2000, Gates and his wife Melinda Gates combined three family foundations and Gates donated stock valued at $5 billion to create the charitable Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s wealthiest charitable foundation. In 2010, Gates along with fellow billionaire investors Warren Buffett, and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg signed the ‘Gates-Buffet Giving Pledge’, committing to donate at least half of their wealth over the course of time to charity.

Personal life & achievements

In 1987, he began dating 23-year-old Microsoft product manager, Melinda Ann French. On January 1, 1994, they got married in Hawaii. They are blessed with three children - Jennifer, Rory and Phoebe. In 2002, the couple received the Jefferson Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged. Gates also received the Bower Award for Business Leadership from The Franklin Institute in 2010 in recognition of his feats of achievements at Microsoft and his philanthropic work.

INTERESTING FACTS

1. When he was just 13, he wrote his first software program. By the time he was in high school he had computerized his school’s payroll system. The first computer program that Bill Gates wrote was a tic-tac-toe game.

2. As a school student he used to brag that he would be a millionaire by the time he was 30—he actually became one by the time he was 31. His favourite business book is ‘Business Adventures’ by John Brooks, 1969.

3. Bill was interested in becoming a civic leader like his mother, studied the philanthropic work of American industrial titans Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller. He realized that he had an obligation to charity.

4. Microsoft and Apple shared many of their early innovations. In 1981, Apple, at the time led by Steve Jobs, invited Microsoft to help develop software for Macintosh computers. Some developers were involved in both Microsoft development and the development of Microsoft applications for Macintosh. The collaboration could be seen in some shared names between the two systems, Microsoft and Macintosh.

SOURCE: Wikipedia, Biography.com, Gatesnotes.com

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