Bill Gates

William Henry Gates III was born on October 28, 1955, in Seattle, Washington. Gates initially began to develop an interest in computing at around the age of 13, while at the Lakeside School. Through the use of technological innovation, aggressive tactics and clever tactics, he created the world's largest software company, Microsoft. In doing so, he became one of the richest men in the world.

Gates was part of an upper-class family, with both parents having attended university, his father studied law and his mother was a teacher. He had 2 sisters, one older, one younger and all were encouraged to be competitive and to aspire for excellence. As a child, gates showed many signs of competitiveness including coordinating the family's summer games and being extremely good at games such as Monopoly and Risk.

Gates was also an avid reader, especially in his pre-teens, spending hours gathering knowledge from varying encyclopedias and reference books. This prompted concern from Gates' parents. While he was doing well at school, he often appeared to be bored and rather withdrawn. This behavior lead to worries that he would become socially incompatible and have no friends.

During his this time, while Gates was at school, a teletype terminal was purchased by the Mother's Club, and a Seattle company offered to provide computer time for the students. Entranced in the abilities of a computer, Gates spent the majority of any available time using it. He even wrote a tic-tac-toe program which let users play versing the computer.

This school is where he met Paul Allen, with Allen being two years above Gates. The pair soon became friends, sharing their excitement for computers. This was one of their only mutual interests in their personalities. Gates was rather aggressive and occasionally combative, while Allen was a more shy figure. On one occasion, Gates and Allen had their computer access removed for using a software glitch to get free computer usage from the company of which the computers were provided, they were re-granted access when they offered to de-bug the software.

Gates began working in business at the age of 15, during 1970. Along with Allen, they developed a computer program that could monitor patterns in traffic throughout Seattle. They named this the "Traf-o-Data". From this program they netted $20,000, which adjusted for inflation is roughly $180,000. Thrilled with this success, Gates and Allen wanted to create their own company. However, Gates' parents decided it would be better for him to finish school and continue on to college, where they hoped his attention would be turned to the field of law. Bill did go on to finish school at Lakeside in 1973, scoring 1590/1600 on the college SAT test. Gates often boasted about this phenomenal feat for several years when introducing himself to people.

Fulfilling his parents' hopes, Gates did enroll at Harvard University, in a law course. however, he spent the majority of his freshman year in the computer lab rather than in class. He had no study schedule and only got a few hours sleep every night. When a test came by for his law class, he studied as much as he could for a small amount of time leading up to his tests and passed with a reasonable grade.

During his time at Harvard, Gates retained contact with Allen, and during the summer of 1974 went to work with him at the company Honeywell where Allen had begun to work since dropping out of school. They discovered a computer kit featured in an edition of Popular Electronics magazine called the Altair 8800 mini-computer kit. Gates and Allen contacted the company, Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS), that made this computer, stating that they had developed a program for this computer. In actuality, they possessed no such program, nor a Altair to test it on. They simply wanted to know whether MITS was interested in such software being developed. MITS showed great interest and company president Ed Roberts requested a demonstration. The boys, having nothing to show, spent the next two months at Harvard's computer lab writing the software. Having completed the software, but never having tested it on an Altair computer, Allen traveled to Albuquerque for a test run at MITS. Allen was hired immediately when the program ran perfectly and Gates eventually left Harvard to work alongside him, much to his parents' disapproval. In 1975 the pair formed a partnership, Micro-Soft. A mix of Micro-computer and software. The hyphen was removed in less than a year and the name became Microsoft.


Microsoft had quite the poor start, although their software program for the Altair did net them a fee and royalties, it was insubstantial to cover their overhead. The company's software was very popular amongst hobbyists who got pre-market copies and distributed reproductions for free. A rough 10% of people using the Altair program had actually paid for it. Gates saw this as stealing because it involved an item that was created to be sold, not to be shared among friends and family. He told the computer using community that pirating software would discourage developers from writing decent programs, in an attempt to encourage more people to pay for their software. In 1977, Ed Roberts, head of MITS sold the company which resulted in Gates and Allen having to sue the new owner for the software rights that they had developed for Altair.

In late 1978, Gates moved Microsoft's operations to Bellevue, Washington. The 25 employees that worked at Microsoft, had many responsibilities ranging from product development, business development and marketing. Gates placed himself a the head of the company which grossed $2.5 million in 1978, Gates was only 23.

Between 1978 and 1981, Microsoft staff increaded from 25 to 128, and their revenue quadrupled to a staggering $16 million, and by 1983 30% of the worlds computers were running on Microsoft software. Although this was a very good year financially for Microsoft, it also had a terrible upset. Paul Allen was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. Even though through intensive treatment his cancer left, Allen resiged from Microsoft. Rumours claim that Gates pushed Allen out of the company but the general concensus is that Allen realised his time was limited and better spent elsewhere.

Microsoft is currently one of the largest organisation internationally. Their logo is recognised world-wide. Microsoft has a net worth of roughly $70 billion.



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