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Bill Gates Biography

Posted On December 15th, 2009 By Celebrity Biographies

Bill Gates

Bill Gates

The world famous entrepreneur Bill Gates was born as ‘William Henry Gates III’ in Seattle, Washington on October 28, 1955. Through amazing business strategies, technical innovations and aggressive competitive skills, he is accredited with building the world’s largest software company ‘Microsoft’. He also became the world’s richest man with his venture.

Early Life

He grew up in a middle-class family with two sisters. He was the middle one of the three children to his parents William H Gates and Mary Maxwell. His father was a lawyer, whereas his mother served as a teacher for a short time. His mother is now a prominent member in some of the important boards at Microsoft. He grew up in a family that encouraged competition and as a child, Bill usually excelled in the game of Monopoly. His family believed in charities and Bill would usually accompany his mother to various voluntary works in schools or community organisations.

Bill was an ardent reader as a child and spent hours with reference books such as ‘The Encyclopedia’. His behaviour became a huge concern to his parents at the age of 11 or 12. He used to be a very good student at school, however remained quite withdrawn at times. He started getting interested in computers at the age of 13 and read a lot of books related to technology. His parents encouraged community education and they enrolled him into ‘The Lakeside School’ in Seattle. He not only excelled in maths and science, but also topped with English and drama.

Introduction to Computers

A local computer company allotted some computer time for the students and the school eventually purchased the teletype terminal. Bill studied everything that a computer could do and he spent a lot of his time working on this terminal. He formulated the ‘tic-tac-toe’ program in the BASIC language of computers. At the Lakeside school, he befriended his senior Paul Allen since they had common interests in computers.

At the age of 15, in the year 1970, Bill Gates went into business with his friend Paul Allen and they developed a computer program called ‘Traf-o-Data’ that would monitor the traffic patters in Seattle. As a company, they got their first earnings in the form of $20,000 and the duo wanted to start their own company. However, Bill’s parents were against the idea since they wanted him to complete college and become a lawyer. He graduated from school in 1973 and he scored 1590 in the SAT test out of 1600. He kept boasting about this achievement while introducing himself. He then enrolled in the Harvard University in the fall, looking to make a career in law. However he was seen spending more time in the computer labs as compared to attending classes.

Micro-Soft

Bill had an amazing ability to cram the whole course in one night before the exam. In 1974, he joined his friend Allen to work at the Honeywell. They both worked on a software program for the MITS and Allen was hired there. Bill left the university to work with. In the year 1975, Bill and Paul set up a partnership by the name of ‘Micro-Soft’ derived from microcomputer and software. They later dropped the hyphen from the name. In 1976, Bill actually came up with a strategy to stop the free distribution of software since it would be a form of stealing, especially when the software was developed for commercial purposes. The duo had a lot of issues with the president of MITS and they sued the president to retain the software rights.

Microsoft continued to write software programs in several formats for computer companies till the end of 1978. The company’s operations were then moved to Bellevue, Washington. There were initially 25 employees in the company and they were all responsible for operations, product development, marketing and business development. With astonishing business sense, he became the head of Microsoft and the company grossed about $2.5 million in 1978. Bill Gates was only 23 years old then. His great business operation skills and software development skills made hum the head of the company and he also worked as its spokesperson.

As the owner of the company, he would review every line of the code and often used to rewrite it himself. As the computer industry began growing, Bill aggressively faced the competition and developed newer Microsoft software applications. In the year 1980, Microsoft was approached by IBM to develop an operating system for them and since Microsoft didn’t have a system, they bought it from someone else without revealing the IBM deal. IBM paid $50000 for the application, which was then called MS-Dos.

Microsoft’s growth exploded between 1978 and 1981 where the staff increased to 128 employees. The revenue went up to $16 million and by the year 1983, 30% of the world’s computers were running on Microsoft operating systems. They opened up offices all across the world including Japan and Great Britain. The same year, Paul Allen was diagnosed of Hodgkin’s disease and Microsoft launched Windows in 1985. Microsoft was pretty similar to the Macintosh operating systems launched by Apple.

The Billionaire

Microsoft went public in the year 1986 with a public offering of $21 per share. 45% of the shares were held by Bill Gates himself and he became an immediate millionaire at the age of 31. His stake alone was of $234 million out of the total $520 million. Gates became a billionaire in 1987 and the stock prices raised to $90.75 a share. He topped the Forbes list of richest men in the world and his wealth in 1999 grossed around $101 billion.

Personal Life

In the year 1989, Bill Gates started dating an executive from Microsoft called Melinda French. The couple got married in Hawaii in the year 1994 and his mother died of breast cancer in the same year. This was one of the saddest moments of his life and the couple decided to travel some countries in order to get new perspective in life. Their first daughter named ‘Jennifer’ was born in the year 1996 and the family moved into the 55000 sq. feet home in Washington. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations were formed in the year 2000 with a contribution of $28 billion.

Bill resigned from the day-to-day operations of Microsoft in the year 2000 and turned the job of a CEO to his college friend and long term employee, Steve Ballmer. He still remains to be a chairman of the board, but spent more time for charities. He announced that he was giving up his activities at Microsoft and was moving full-time to the work for the foundation. His last full day of work at Microsoft was on June 27, 2008.


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