At a tender age of 13 when Bill Gates developed a curiosity for computers, little did he know that his interest would let him soar to the peak of success one day. Today, when we are to give a list of the richest men in the world, the name Bill Gates invariably features at the top. His incredible technological inventions and his knack for strong business tactics paved the way for what he is widely known for today – the founder of the world’s largest software company, Microsoft.
Bill Gates’ enrollment at Seattle’s Lakeside School, and his meeting with Paul Allen are perhaps the biggest turning points in his life. While the former helped him establish a close contact with the computing world, it was through the latter’s collaboration that Microsoft came into existence. The two began to develop software for the ever-growing computer market. The pace of his growth in the business world is indeed commendable.
Much later, the former CEO, the chief executive, and the chief software architect of Microsoft, resorted to working part-time at Microsoft to dedicate his full time at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He stopped working full-time at Microsoft on 27 June, 2008. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is an organization, which aims to support philanthropic endeavors by eradicating poverty and improving the health status of the poor countries along the length and breadth of the world.
His Early Days:
The year 1955 saw the birth of this revolutionary pioneer. Born as William Henry Gates III in Seattle, Washington on 28th October, into an upper middle class family, he was the second of two sisters. His father William Henry Gates II, was a Seattle-based attorney, and his mother Mary Gates was a schoolteacher, a chairwoman of the United Way International and a regent of the University of Washington. Coming from a law background, his father always wanted him to pursue a career in law. His competitive frame of mind was apparent from the very beginning of his life when he partook in several family games.
Gates shared a very close relationship with his mother and he often accompanied her to various community and charitable organizations. An ardent lover of books he used to devote hours and hours of his time imbibing knowledge from various reference books particularly the encyclopedia. Concerned about his future, his parents decided to enroll him in an elite preparatory school, Seattle’s Lakeside School. As expected or as was evident he excelled in every subject, predominantly in math and science.
It was at Lakeside School that he got introduced to the world of computers. His curiosity got the better of him and he spent endless hours trying to figure out what a computer could do. Lakeside School also introduced him to Paul Allen and their common passion for computers cemented a friendship between them. His intense interest led him to write programs for various businesses in and around the Seattle area. At the age of 15, Gates, along with his friend Paul Allen, developed a unique computer program that could inspect the ongoing traffic in Seattle. There was no looking back ever since.
After graduating from Lakeside School in the year 1973 with a groundbreaking score of 1590 out of 1600 on the SATs he went on to fulfill his father’s wish of pursuing a career in law. He got himself admitted at Harvard College in 1973. His interest however, did not lie in spending time in the class but in spending time in the computer lab.
His steadfast friendship with Paul Allen helped him surface to the next phase of his life. A then student of the Washington State University, Paul Allen dropped out and switched base to Boston, Massachusetts to work at Honeywell. In the year 1974 Gates joined hands with Honeywell as well. Fascinated with the Altair 8800 mini-computer kit the duo went on to create the MITS Altair 8800, which was based on the Intel 8080 CPU. The pieces of their dreams started falling into place post this creation. Gates dropped out of Harvard and plunged into the idea of starting a company.
Foundation of Microsoft:
With their first office in Albuquerque and a partnership named ‘Micro-Soft’, Bill Gates and Paul Allen ventured into their dream journey. A year later the duo officially registered a partnership and ‘Micro-Soft’ removed its hyphen and became what we popularly know it today – Microsoft. Microsoft went on to produce cutting-edge software in numerous formats for computer companies. The company was eventually shifted to Bellevue Washington in the year 1978. Microsoft was then a young company of 25 employees. Gates then 23 years old, positioned himself as the head of Microsoft. He not only led the company but also worked as its spokesperson.
The Popularity of Microsoft:
In an era of rapid development of computer companies, IBM, a leading computer manufacturer proved to be the turning point in the rise of Microsoft. IBM in the late 1980s was on the lookout for software that could help operate their personal computer. They happened to seek the help of Microsoft. Gates’ killer business strategies made Microsoft reach its zenith. He proposed the use of 86-DOS, an operating system that was developed by Seattle Computer Products. Microsoft gradually bought all the licensing rights of SCP’s DOS and retitled it as MS-DOS. Gates made it compatible for the IBM PC and sold it at a price of $50,000. He forcibly retained the licensing rights to MS-DOS and incidentally when various IBM PC clones developed, Microsoft sought this opportunity to sell the operating system to the other companies that developed PCs similar to IBM’s. It opened new avenues for Microsoft, making it the most commanding contributor in the domain of computer software.
Microsoft bloomed drastically and from a young company of 25 employees it grew to encompass 128 employees between the years 1978 to 1981. Along with the rise of its employees, the revenue also saw a sharp surge. Gates was crowned the president and chairman of the board while Allen was appointed the executive vice-president. The popularity of Microsoft spread far and wide attaining global attention.
The Launch of Windows:
Another break for Microsoft came in the year 1985 with the release of Windows (first version) followed by the release of Windows 95 in the year 1995. Windows 95 became the medium through which all the future versions of Windows came into prominence.
At the age of 37, Bill Gates met 28-year-old Microsoft executive Melinda French. They developed a strong bond and on January 1, 1994 entered into wedlock. The death of Bill Gates’ mother in the same year shattered him. The couple ventured into a world tour the following year delving into the many aspects of life in the process. After the birth of his first daughter Jennifer in the year 1996, Bill Gates along with his family moved into a $54 million sprawling house beside Lake Washington.
In collaboration with wife Melinda, Bill Gates formed the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which focus to resolve various global issues that has so far been ignored by the government and other organizations. His inspiration to start a charitable organization mainly sprang from the work of Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, which he happened to read. The organization lends their relentless support to improving education standards and the healthcare systems of less privileged countries. Gates and his wife entrusted more than $28.8 billion to initiate the noble cause of eradicating poverty and of helping poor countries. In the year 2010 the “Gates-Buffet Giving Pledge” was signed by Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg, and by Gates himself in which the trio pledge to donate half of their wealth to charity.
Awards and Recognition:
It is but natural that a person of such stature be recognized for his undying contributions in various spheres. The name Bill Gates came into prominence in the year 1987 when it featured Forbes Magazine’s list of 400 Richest People in America. Recognized then for being the world’s youngest billionaire, Bill Gates continued to bask in the glory of fame every since. His name went on to feature in Time Magazine in the list of the 100 people who most influenced the 20th century. For three consecutive years 2004, 2005, and 2006 he featured in the list of 100 most influential people. He occupied a space in the list of “Heroes of our time” in the year 2006 and in the power list of Sunday Times in the year 1999. He was positioned in number one by Time in the 1998’s list of “Top 50 Cyber Elite” In the year 2012 Forbes ranked him fourth in the list of the most powerful persons.
Gates received honorary doctorates from a number of institutions which include: Nyenrode Business Universiteit, Breukelen, the Netherlands in 2000, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan in the year 2005, the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden in the year 2001, Harvard University in the year 2007, etc.
In recognition of their philanthropic work, Bill Gates and his wife were awarded the Order of the Aztec Eagle in the year 2006. For his umpteen achievements at Microsoft and for his immense contribution for various philanthropic works, Bill Gates was also awarded the Bower Award for Business Leadership from The Franklin Institute in the year 2010. The Boy Scouts of America honored him the Silver Buffalo Award in the year 2010. In recognition for the Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged, Bill Gates and Melinda Gates were awarded the Jefferson Award in the year 2002.
Other Works: Bill Gates went on to author two books: The Road Ahead and Business @ the Speed of Thought.
BILL GATES: FACTS AND INFORMATION
|Full Name||William Henry Bill Gates III|
|Born||28th October 1955|
|Residence||Medina, WA, US|
|Father||William Henry Gates Sr|
|Mother||Mary Maxwell Gates|
|Sisters||Kristi and Libby|
|Marriage||Married Melinda French on January 1st 1994|
|Daughters||Three children: daughters Jennifer Katharine (b. 1996) and Phoebe Adele (b. 2002), and son Rory John (b. 1999)|
|Teenage||As a teenager Bill Gates had a very competitive mind and was a brilliant student|
|Schooling||At the age of 13 he was admitted to Lakeside School. Graduated from Lakeside School in the year 1973.|
|Education||Enrolled himself at Harvard College in the autumn of 1973|
|Occupation||Founder of Microsoft|
|Software to Record Highway Traffic||In the year 1972 Gates along with Paul created the Traf-O-Data and also developed software to record highway traffic|
|First Computer Language||In the year 1975 the duo, Gates and Paul developed the first computer language BASIC|
|A Billionaire||In the year 1987 Bill Gates’ name featured in the Forbes Magazine as one of the 400 richest people in America.|
|Start of Microsoft||The duo Paul and Gates started their own company Microsoft on 4th April 1975 in Albuquerque.|
|Launch of Windows||The first version of Microsoft Windows was launched on 20th November 1985.|
|Philanthropic Efforts||Along with wife Melinda, Gates founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the year 2000 to support philanthropic activities|
|Awards||2002-Jefferson Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged
2010- Silver Buffalo Award for his service to the young generation
2010- Bower Award for Business Leadership for his contribution to Microsoft and his charitable work.
2006- Order of the Aztec Eagle for his charitable work.
|Books||Co-authored The Road Ahead with Nathan Myhrvold and Peter Rinearson. Authored another book Business @ the Speed of Thought.|
|Social Media||Gates joined LinkedIn in the year 2013.|