Bill Gates Biography

Biography by Published on Updated on 29 Nov, 2017
Facts of Bill Gates
Date of Birth: 1995 , October-28
Age: 23 years old
Birth Nation: United States of America
Name Bill Gates
Birth Name William Henry Gates
Nationality American
Birth Place/City Seattle
Ethnicity White
Profession BUSINESSMAN
Working For $87.9 billion
Married to Melinda Gates (m. 1994)
Children Jennifer Katharine Gates, Rory John Gates, Phoebe Adele Gates
View more / View Less Facts of Bill Gates

Synopsis

Bill Gates is a famous American business magnate, investor, author, as well as a philanthropist, who is also a Co-founder of Microsoft, one of the most successful companies in history. Forbes ranked him the wealthiest person in the world from 1995 to 2009.

Gates became one of the richest men in the world. In February 2014, Gates announced that he was stepping down as Microsoft's chairman to focus on charitable work from his foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  

Gates married Melinda Gates on 1st January 1994. They have two daughters, Phoebe & Jennifer and a son, Rory.

Early life and education

Bill Gates was born by his birth name William Henry Gates III on 28th October 1955, in Seattle, Washington, US. He belongs to White-American ethnicity and holds American nationality. His ancestry includes English, German, Irish, & Scots-Irish.

Gates grew up in an upper-middle-class family to William H. Gates Sr, a retired American attorney & philanthropist and Mary Maxwell Gates, an American businesswoman. The Microsoft owner has two sisters, Kristianne and Libby.

Around his age of 12, Gates's parents were concerned about his behavior. Gates was doing well in school. However, he seemed bored & withdrawn at times, & his parents worried he might become a loner.

When Gates turned thirteen, his parents enrolled him at the Seattle's exclusive preparatory Lakeside School. He blossomed in nearly all his subjects, excelling in science & math, also doing very well in drama & English.

During his days at Lakeside School, a Seattle computer company offered to provide computer time for the students. The Mother's Club used proceeds from the school's rummage sale to purchase a teletype terminal for students to use.

Gates became fascinated with what a computer could do & spent much of his free time working on the terminal. He wrote a tic-tac-toe program in a BASIC computer language that allowed users to play on the computer.

Gates graduated from the Lakeside in 1973. He scored 1590 out of 1600 on the college SAT test. Gates joined Harvard University in the fall of 1973, initially thinking of a career in law. However, his freshman year saw him spend more of his time in the computer lab than in class.

Career

During the period at Lakeside School, Gates met Paul Allen, who was his senior. They became fast friends, bonding over their common enthusiasm for computers, even though they were very different people.

Allen was more reserved & shy where Gates was feisty and at times combative. Regardless of their differences, they both spent much of their free time together working on programs.

At one point, Gates & Allen had their school computer privileges revoked for taking advantage of software glitches to obtain free computer time from a company that provided the computers.

After their probation, they were allowed working in a computer lab when they offered to debug the program. During the time, he developed a payroll program for the computer company.

In 1970, at the age of fifteen, Gates & Allen went into business together, developing "Traf-o-Data," a computer program that monitored traffic patterns in Seattle. They netted $20,000 for their efforts. The pair wanted to start their own company; however, Gates' parents wanted him to finish school and attend college. They hoped he would work to become a lawyer.

Allen went to the Washington State University, while Gates went to Harvard, though the duo stayed in touch. After visiting the college for two years, Allen dropped out & moved to Boston, Massachusetts, to work for Honeywell.

Around the time, Allen showed Gates an edition of Popular Electronics magazine featuring an article on the Altair 8800 mini-computer kit. They were fascinated with the possibilities of what this computer could create in a world of personal computing. 

The Altair was made by a small company in the Albuquerque, New Mexico, called Micro Instrumentation & Telemetry Systems (MITS). The two contacted the company, proclaiming that they were working on a BASIC software program that would run the Altair computer.

In reality, they didn't have an Altair to work with or the code to run it, however, they wanted to know if MITS was interested in someone developing such software. 

Gates & Allen scrambled, spending the next two months writing the software at Harvard's computer lab. Allen traveled to Albuquerque for a test run at MITS, never having tried it out on an Altair computer.

Allen remained with Microsoft until 1983, when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. Though his cancer went into remission the year later with intensive treatment, Allen resigned from the company.

There are several rumors regarding why Allen split Microsoft. Some say Gates pushed him out. However, many say it was a life-changing experience for Allen & he saw there were other opportunities that he could invest his time in.

In 1975, Gates & Paul Allen formed Micro-Soft, a blend of "micro-computer" & "software" (they dropped the hyphen to Microsoft within a year). Although a company started out on shaky footing, by 1979 Microsoft was grossing approximately $2.5 million, and at the age of twenty-three, Gates placed himself as the head of the company.

With his acumen for software development and a keen business sense, Gates led the company & worked as its spokesperson. He reviewed every line of code that a company shipped, often rewrote code himself when he saw it necessary. 

Following the development of software for IBM, between 1979 & 1981 Microsoft's growth exploded. Staff increased from 25 to 128, & revenue shot up from $2.5 million to $16 million.

In mid-1981, the two incorporated Microsoft, & Gates was appointed president & chairman of the board. Allen was named executive vice president.

Microsoft’s Software for IBM PCs

As the computer industry began to grow, with companies such as Apple, Intel & IBM developing hardware & components, Gates was continuously out on the road touting the merits of Microsoft software applications.

Gates often took his mother with him. Mary was highly respected & well connected with her membership on various corporate boards, including IBM's. It was through Mary that Gates met the CEO of IBM.

In November 1980, IBM was looking for software that would operate their upcoming personal computer (PC) & approached Microsoft. The company's first meeting with Gates someone at the IBM mistook him for an office assistant & asked him to serve coffee. 

Gates made a deal with the software's developer, making Microsoft the exclusive licensing agent & later full owner of the software but did not tell them of the IBM deal.

Gates had to adopt the newly purchased software to work on the IBM PC. He delivered it for a $50,000 fee, the same price he had paid for the software in its original form.

The IBM wanted to buy the source code, which would have given them the information to the operating system.

Gates refused, instead proposed IBM to pay a licensing fee for copies of the software sold with their computers. Doing this allowed Microsoft to license the software they called MS-DOS to any other PC manufacturer.

In the year 1983, Microsoft was going global with offices in Great Britain & Japan, & with 30 percent of the world's computers running on its software. 

Bill Gates & Steve Jobs

Though their rivalry is a legend, Microsoft & Apple shared many of their early innovations. Back 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 & the development of Microsoft applications for Macintosh. The collaboration could be seen in some shared names between the Microsoft & Macintosh systems. 

It was through this knowledge sharing that Microsoft was to develop Windows, a system that used a mouse to drive a graphic interface, displaying text & images on the screen.

The invention differed significantly from text-and-keyboard driven MS-DOS system where all text formatting showed on the screen as code & not what actually would be printed.

Gates quickly recognized the threat this kind of software might pose for MS-DOS & Microsoft overall.

Gates announced in an advertising campaign that a new Microsoft operating system was about to be developed that would use a graphic interface. It was to be called "Windows," and would be compatible with all PC software products developed on the MS-DOS system.

In November 1985, nearly two years after his announcement, Gates & Microsoft launched Windows. Visually the Windows system looked very similar to the Macintosh system that Apple Computer Corporation had introduced nearly two years earlier.

Apple had earlier given Microsoft full access to their technology while it was working on making Microsoft products compatible with Apple computers. Gates had advised Apple to license their software. However, they ignored the advice, being more interested in selling computers. 

Once again, Gates took full advantage of the situation & created a software format that was strikingly similar to the Macintosh. Apple threatened to sue, & Microsoft retaliated, saying it would delay shipment of its Microsoft-compatible software for Macintosh users.

In the end, Microsoft prevailed in the courts because it could prove that while there were similarities in how the two software systems operated, each function was distinctly different.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

In 1994, Bill Gates and Melinda Gates established the William H. Gates Foundation, which was dedicated to supporting education, world health & investment in low-income communities.

With Melinda's influence, Gates had taken an interest in becoming a civic leader in the footsteps of his mother, studying the philanthropic work of American industrial titans, John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie.

Gates realized that he had an obligation to give more of his wealth to charity. In 2000, the duo combined several family foundations & made a $28 billion contribution to form the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Personal life

Bill Gates married Melinda French who is nine years younger than him. They first met while Melinda was working at Microsoft and the duo tied the knot on January 1, 1994, in the Hawaiian island of Lanai.

Shortly after that, Melinda left Microsoft to focus on starting & raising her family. The couple has three children: Jennifer Katharine (b. 1996), Rory John (b. 1999), & Phoebe Adele (b. 2002).

Following the devastating death of his mother with breast cancer just a few months after their wedding, Gates & Melinda took some time off in 1995 to travel & get a new perspective on life & the world.

Net Worth & House

The Microsoft founder, Bill Gates has been busy since he stepped down as CEO, 17 years ago. Bill Gates is the richest man in the world with a net worth of $87.9 billion.

In March 1986, Gates took Microsoft public with an initial public offering (IPO) of $21 per share, making him an instant millionaire at age thirty-one. He held 45 percent of the company's 24.7 million shares, making his stake of $234 million from Microsoft's $520 million. 

In 1987, Gates became a billionaire when the stock hit $90.75 share. Since then, he has been at the top, or at least near the top as of Forbes' annual list of the top 400 wealthiest people in America.

In 1999, with stock prices at an all-time high & the stock splitting eight-fold since its IPO, Gates' wealth briefly topped $101 billion.

In 1997, Gates & his family moved into a 55,000-square-foot, $54-million house on the shore of Lake Washington. Though the house serves as a business center, it is said to be very cozy for the couple & their three children. 

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