William Henry "Bill" Gates III
(born October 28, 1955) is the
co-founder, chairman, former chief software architect, and former CEO of
Microsoft Corporation. He is also the founder of Corbis, a digital image
archiving company. Forbes magazine's The World's Billionaires list has ranked
him as the richest person in the world for the last twelve consecutive years. In
1999, Gates' wealth briefly surpassed $100 billion making him America's first
According to the Forbes 2004 magazine, Bill Gates's net worth was approximately
$46.6 billion. When family wealth is considered, his family ranks second behind
the Walton family.
Gates is one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer
revolution. He is widely respected for his foresight and ambition.
He is also frequently criticized as having built Microsoft through unfair or
unlawful business practices. Since amassing his fortune, Gates has pursued a
number of philanthropic endeavors, donating large amounts of money (about 52% of
his total fortune) to various charitable organizations and scientific research
programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, founded in 2000. In June
2006 he announced that he would move to a part-time role with Microsoft (namely
surrendering the power of managing day-to-day operations) in 2008 to begin a
career in philanthropy, but will remain as chairman.
Comment "I'd like to invent a t.v. that you say on or off what channel and it does that stuff"
Have your say
Bill Gates, his wife Melinda and U2's lead singer Bono were collectively
named by Time as the 2005 Persons of the Year for their humanitarian
efforts. That same year he was made an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of
the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II, which would entitle him to be known as
Sir William Gates if he were a citizen of Britain or the Commonwealth. In 2006,
Gates Foundation was awarded the Premio Príncipe de Asturias en Cooperación
Internacional. In a list compiled by the magazine New Statesman in
2006, he was voted eighth in the list of "Heroes of our time".
Bill Gates III was born in Seattle, Washington to William H. Gates, Sr. and
Mary Maxwell Gates. His family was wealthy; his father was a prominent lawyer,
his mother served on the board of directors for First Interstate Bank and The
United Way, and his maternal grandfather, J. W. Maxwell, was a national bank
president. Gates has one older sister, Kristi (Kristianne), and one younger
According to the 1992 biography Hard Drive, Maxwell set up a
million-dollar trust fund for Gates the year he was born.
Gates commented on this claim in a 1994 interview with Playboy:
PLAYBOY: Did you have a million-dollar trust fund while you were at Harvard?
GATES: Not true. . . . . My parents are very successful, and I went to the
nicest private school in the Seattle area. I was lucky. But I never had any
trust funds of any kind, though my dad did pay my tuition at Harvard, which was
The 1993 biography Gates calls the trust fund claim one of the
"fictions" surrounding Gates' fortune.
Gates excelled in elementary school, particularly in mathematics and the
sciences. Bill Gates went to Lakeside School, Seattle's most exclusive
preparatory school where tuition in 1967 was $5,000 (Harvard tuition that year
was $1,760). He was known as "Blinker" on account of a chronic facial twitch,
which caused one of his eyes to "flash like a Navy signal lamp". Lakeside rented
time on a DEC PDP-10, which Gates was able to use to pursue an interest in
computers, a rare opportunity at the time. Gates was a member of the Boy Scouts
of America and attained the rank of Life Scout. While in high school, he and
Paul Allen founded Traf-O-Data, a company which sold traffic flow data systems
to state governments. He also helped to create a payroll system in COBOL, for a
company in Portland, Oregon.
speaking in 2004 at the IT-Forum in Copenhagen.
According to a press inquiry he scored 1590 on his SATs,
and was able to enrol at Harvard University in the fall of 1973 to pursue a
Bachelors of Science in Computer Science. It was there he met his future
business partner, Steve Ballmer. During his second year at Harvard, Gates (along
with Paul Allen and Monte Davidoff) co-wrote Altair BASIC for the Altair 8800.
Gates famously dropped out of Harvard during his third year to pursue a career
in software development. On April 29th, 1975, at the age of 19, he was arrested
by the Albuquerque Police department (arrest record #52090). The charges were
speeding and driving without a license.
After reading the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics that
demonstrated the Altair 8800, Gates called MITS (Micro Instrumentation and
Telemetry Systems), the creators of the new microcomputer, to inform them that
he and others had developed a version of the programming language BASIC for the
platform. This was untrue, as Gates and Allen had never used an Altair
previously nor developed any code for it. Within a period of eight weeks they
developed an Altair emulator that ran on a minicomputer, and then the BASIC
interpreter. Allen and Gates flew to MITS to unveil the new BASIC system. The
demonstration was a success and resulted in a deal with MITS to buy the rights
to Allen and Gates's BASIC for the Altair platform. It was at this point that
Gates left Harvard to found Micro-Soft, which later became Microsoft
Corporation, with Allen.
In February 1976, Gates published his often-quoted "Open Letter to
Hobbyists". In the letter, Gates claimed that most users were using "stolen"
pirated copies of Altair BASIC and that no hobbyist could afford to produce,
distribute, and maintain high-quality software without payment.
This letter was unpopular with many amateur programmers, not just those few
using copies of the software. In the ensuing years the letter gained significant
support from Gates' business partners and allies. Eventually, the closed source,
for-profit model Gates had envisioned would become the dominant model of
software production and distribution, largely displacing the hobbyist model of
open source software produced and distributed for free. Despite Microsoft's
reliance on closed source, Gates has said that he collected discarded program
listings at Harvard and learned programming techniques from them.
Microsoft and IBM
When IBM decided to build the hardware for a desktop personal computer in
1980, it needed to find an operating system. Microsoft did not have any
operating system at this point. The most popular microcomputer operating system
at the time was CP/M developed by Digital Research in Monterey. CP/M allowed
software written for the Intel 8080/Zilog Z80 family of microprocessors to run
on many different models of computer from many different manufacturers. This
device-independence feature was essential for the formation of the consumer
software industry, as without it software had to be re-written for each
different model of computer. Bill Gates referred IBM to Gary Kildall, the
founder of Digital Research, but when they did not reach immediate agreement
with him they went back to Gates, who offered to fill their need himself. He
licensed a CP/M-compatible OS called QDOS ("Quick and Dirty Operating System")
from Tim Paterson of Seattle Computer Products for $56,000, and IBM shipped it
Later, after Compaq licensed Phoenix Technologies' clone of the IBM BIOS, the
market saw a flood of IBM PC clones. Microsoft was quick to license DOS to other
manufacturers, calling it MS-DOS (for Microsoft Disk Operating System). By
marketing MS-DOS aggressively to manufacturers of IBM-PC clones, Microsoft went
from a small player to one of the major software vendors in the home computer
industry. Microsoft continued to develop operating systems as well as software
In the early 1980s Microsoft introduced its own version of the Graphical User
Interface (GUI), based on ideas originally pioneered by the Xerox corporation,
and later developed by Apple. Microsoft released "Windows" as an alternative to
their DOS command line, and to compete with other systems on the market that
employed a GUI. Early versions of Windows were less capable than other GUIs on
the market at the time, lacking features such as overlapping windows, and were
not received well by PC users. However, Microsoft continued to release new
versions and made deals with OEMs to have Windows pre-installed on many systems.
By the late 1980s Microsoft Windows had begun to make serious headway against
other DOS-based GUIs like GEM and GEOS. Opinions vary about whether the
evolution of the system or Microsoft's marketing was the greater factor in these
gains. The release of Windows 3.0 in 1990 was a tremendous success, selling
around 10 million copies in the first two years and cementing Microsoft's
dominance in operating systems. (See History of Microsoft Windows for more
By continuing to ensure, by various means, that most computers came with
their software pre-installed, Microsoft eventually went on to become the largest
software company in the world, earning Gates enough money that Forbes Magazine
named him the wealthiest person in the world for several years. Gates served as
the CEO of the company until 2000, when Steve Ballmer took the position, and
continues to serve as chairman of the board. Microsoft has thousands of patents,
and Gates has nine patents to his name.
Bill Gates' role
Since Microsoft's founding in 1975 and as of 2006, Gates has had primary
responsibility for Microsoft's product strategy. He has aggressively broadened
the company's range of products, and wherever Microsoft has achieved a dominant
position he has vigorously defended it. Many decisions that have led to
antitrust litigation over Microsoft's business practices have had Gates'
approval. In the 1998 United States v. Microsoft case, Gates gave
deposition testimony that several journalists characterized as evasive. He
argued over the definitions of words such as "compete", "concerned", "ask", and
"we."  BusinessWeek reported,
"early rounds of his deposition show him offering obfuscatory answers and saying
'I don't recall' so many times that even the presiding judge had to chuckle.
Worse, many of the technology chief's denials and pleas of ignorance were
directly refuted by prosecutors with snippets of e-mail Gates both sent and
Gates meets regularly with Microsoft's senior managers and program managers.
By all accounts he can be extremely confrontational during these meetings,
particularly when he believes that managers have not thought out their business
strategy or have placed the company's future at risk.
He has been described shouting at length at employees before letting them
continue, with such remarks as "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard!" and
"Why don't you just give up your options and join the Peace Corps?"
However, he often backs down when the targets of his outbursts respond frankly
and directly. When he is not
impressed with the technical hurdles managers claim to be facing, he sometimes
quips, "Do you want me to do it over the weekend?".
Gates' role at Microsoft for most of its history has been primarily a
management and executive role. However, he was an active software developer in
the early years, particularly on the company's programming language products. He
has not officially been on a development team since working on the TRS-80 Model
100 line, but he wrote code as late as 1989 that shipped in the company's
On June 15, 2006, Gates announced his plans to transition out of a day-to-day
role with Microsoft effective July 31, 2008,
to allow him to devote more time to working with the Bill and Melinda Gates
Foundation. During an interview with Fortune.com published on June 26 says his
recent decision to "shift priorities" his day-to-day role has changed to June
2008 instead of the original date of July 2008. After that date, Gates will
continue in his role as the company's chairman and act as an advisor on key
projects. His role as Chief Software Architect will be filled immediately by Ray
Ozzie who joined the company last year due to Microsoft taking over his company
Groove. One of his last initiatives before announcing his departure was the
creation of a robotics software group at Microsoft.
Bill Gates married Melinda French of Dallas, Texas on January 1, 1994. They
have three children: Jennifer Katharine Gates (1996), Rory John Gates (1999) and
Phoebe Adele Gates (2002). Bill Gates' house is one of the most expensive houses
in the world, and is a modern 21st century earth-sheltered home in the side of a
hill overlooking Lake Washington in Medina, Washington. According to King County
public records, as of 2006, the total assessed value of the property (land and
house) is $125 million, and the annual property tax is just under $1 million.
Also among Gates' private acquisitions are the Codex Leicester, a collection of
writings by Leonardo da Vinci which Gates bought for $30.8 million at an auction
in 1994, and a rare Gutenberg Bible.
In 2000, Gates founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a charitable
organization, with his wife. The foundation's grants have provided funds for
college scholarships for under-represented minorities, AIDS prevention, diseases
prevalent in third world countries, and other causes. In 2000, the Gates
Foundation endowed the University of Cambridge with $210 million for the Gates
Cambridge Scholarships. The Foundation has also pledged over $7 billion to its
various causes, including $1 billion to the United Negro College Fund; and as of
2005, had an estimated endowment of $29.0 billion. He has spent about a third of
his lifetime income on charity. However, some suggest that these donations have
Gates has received two honorary doctorates, from the Royal Institute of
Technology, Stockholm, Sweden in 2002 and Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan in
2005. Gates was also given an honorary KBE (Knighthood) from Queen Elizabeth II
of the United Kingdom in 2005, in
addition to having entomologists name the Bill Gates flower fly, Eristalis
gatesi, in his honor.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has stated that Gates is probably the most
"spammed" person in the world, receiving as many as 4,000,000 e-mails per day in
2004, most of which were junk. Gates has almost an entire department devoted to
filtering out junk emails. In an
article, Gates himself has said that most of this junk mail "offers to help
[him] get out of debt or get rich quick", which "would be funny (given his
financial state) if it weren't so irritating".
Influence and wealth
Gates is widely considered one of the world's most influential people. Time
Magazine named him one of the 100 people who most influenced the 20th century,
as well as one of the 100 most influential people of 2004, 2005 and again in
2006. Gates and Oprah Winfrey are the only two people in the world to make all
four lists. He was listed in the Sunday Times power list in 1999, named
CEO of the year by Chief Executive Officers magazine in 1994, ranked
number one in the "Top 50 Cyber Elite" by Time in 1998, ranked number two
in the Upside Elite 100 in 1999 and was included in The Guardian
as one of the "Top 100 influential people in media" in 2001. Gates has been
number one on the "Forbes 400" list from 1993 through to 2006 and number one on
Forbes list of "The World's Richest People" from 1995-2006 with 50
billion US dollars. In 2004, he became a director of Berkshire Hathaway, the
investment company headed by Warren Buffett, the second wealthiest person in the
world according to Forbes and a long time friend of Gates.
In 1999, Gates' wealth briefly surpassed $100 billion making him America's first
centibillionaire. Since 2000, Gates' wealth has declined due to a fall in
Microsoft's share price and the multi-billion dollar donations he has made to
his charitable foundations. According to a 2004 Forbes magazine article,
Gates gave away over $29 billion to charities from 2000 onwards. These donations
are usually cited as sparking a substantial change in attitudes towards
philanthropy among the very rich, as philanthropy eventually became the norm for
the very rich.  The Gates received
the Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation on May 4, 2006, in
recognition of their world impact through charity giving.
Gates owns a lavish home, with its gardens and art collection. Gates also
rents or leases a home on Mustique, an exclusive island in the Grenadines. In
contrast, his former associate Paul Allen has used his wealth in perhaps a more
typical manner—owning sports teams, vintage airplanes, and multiple residences.
Gates also claimed, in 2005, that he has gone to work every day since 1975,
which in recent years includes both his role at Microsoft, and his leadership
position at the Gates Foundation.
In May 2006, Gates said in an interview that he wished that he was not the
richest man in the world, stating that he disliked the attention it brought.
Gates is often characterized as the quintessential example of a
super-intelligent "nerd" with immense power and wealth. This has in turn led to
pop culture stereotypes of Gates as a tyrant or evil genius, often resorting to
ruthless business techniques. As such he has been the subject of numerous
parodies in film, television, and video games.
Gates has published several essays throughout the years based on his
theories, predictions and visions of the computing industry. In these
publications he often expresses his personal views on current topics, and
discusses Microsoft's plans. His writings have been published by BusinessWeek,
Newsweek, USA Today, The Economist and Time. Some of
his publications since 1997 include:
- Person of the Year, Time, December 2, 2005
- The New World of Work, Executive E-mail, May 19, 2005
- The PC Era Is Just Beginning, Business Week, March 22, 2005
- Building Software That Is Interoperable by Design, Executive E-Mail,
February 3, 2005
- The Enduring Magic of Software, InformationWeek, October 18, 2004
- Preserving and Enhancing the Benefits of E-mail: A Progress Report,
Executive E-mail, June 28, 2004
- Microsoft Progress Report: Security, Executive E-mail, March 31, 2004
- Losing Ground in the Innovation Race?, CNET News.com, February 25,
- A Spam-Free Future, The Washington Post, November 24, 2003
- Why I Hate Spam, The Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2003
- Building Trust in Technology, Global Agenda 2003 (World Economic
Forum), January 23, 2003
- Security in a Connected World, Executive E-Mail, January 23, 2003
- The Disappearing Computer, The World in 2003 (The Economist),
- Slowing the Spread of AIDS in India, The New York Times, November 9,
- Trustworthy Computing, Executive E-Mail, July 18, 2002
- Computing You Can Count on, April 2002
- Tech in a Time of Trouble, The World in 2002 (The Economist),
- Moving into the Digital Decade, October 29, 2001
- The PC: 20 Years Young, August 12, 2001
- Why We’re Building .NET Technology, June 18, 2001
- Shaping the Internet Age, Internet Policy Institute, December 2000
- Now for an Intelligent Internet, The World in 2001 (The Economist),
- Will Frankenfood Feed the World?, Time, June 19, 2000
- Yes, More Trade with China, Washington Post, May 23, 2000
- The Case for Microsoft, Time, May 7, 2000
- Enter "Generation i", Instructor, March 2000
- Product Distribution Goes Digital, IEEE Internet Computing, January
- Beyond Gutenberg, The World in 2000 (The Economist), November 1999
- Everyone, Anytime, Anywhere, Forbes ASAP, October 4, 1999
- The Second Wave, IEEE Internet Computing Magazine, August 18, 1999
- Microprocessors Upgraded the Way We Live, USA Today, June 22, 1999
- Why the PC Will Not Die, Newsweek, May 31, 1999
- The Wright Brothers: The 100 Most Important People of the Century,
Time, March 29, 1999
- Compete, Don't Delete, The Economist, June 13, 1998
- Who Decides What Innovations Go into Your PC?, 1997
I'd like to invent a TV that you say on or off
what channel and it does that stuff
Truly an amazing personality. Hats off.
he earned his money
wow,wow,wow,wow. i admire a person who has so much ambition,
but the nice thing is that he doesn't keep all his money for himself but is not
selfish and gives to the needy!!! EVERYBODY HAS WHAT THEY DESERVE!!!
YOU SO GENIUS
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