Good Samaritan

With his acumen, technical prowess and business insight, he was at the helm of the revolution in information technology.

He is a usual suspect in the list of the richest man in the world— 15 times out of the last 20 years.

The author has also pursued a number of philanthropic endeavors, donating large amounts of money to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through his foundation established in 2000.

 

Childhood

William Henry “Bill” Gates III was born on October 28, 1955 in Seattle in a family having rich business, political and community service background. His grandfather was vice president of national bank and his father was a lawyer.

As a child, he was very competitive and curious. He began to show an interest in computer programming at the age of 13 at the Lakeside School. 

In 1973, Gates entered Harvard University and developed a version of the programming language BASIC for the first microcomputer – the MITS Altair. Gates due to the success of Altair decided to drop out of Harvard and never returned to complete his studies.

 

Career

In 1975, Gates and Paul Allen (his schoolmate) formed a partnership they called Micro-Soft, a blend of “micro-computer” and “software.” Within a year, the hyphen was removed, and the trade name “Microsoft” was registered.  Gates oversaw the business details and wrote codes for programs as well.

IBM approached Microsoft in July 1980. Gates bought an operating system in which he renamed, MS-DOS for IBM. He received profit from IBM for every MS-DOS product made, as IBM didn’t own the licensing fee, and Gates refused to give it to them.  In 1985, Microsoft had generated 140 million dollars in sales in just that year alone.

The following year, Gates introduced Microsoft Windows which would become the most used operating systems in history. Apple came up with ingenious software without a copyright as they were focused on selling computers. Gates took advantage of the open opportunity. At the age of 31, Gates became a billionaire owning 45% of his stock.

With Windows 3.0 out, Microsoft became a monopoly and Gates was accused for practicing unfair marketing practices, resulting in a case with the Department Of Justice Division Anti Trust Department.  The case was dropped when Microsoft agreed to drop royalty fees.  Gates continued to run the company and weather the federal investigations through the 1990s.

He stepped down from the day-to-day operations of Microsoft in 2000 positioned himself as chief software architect. His last full day at Microsoft was June 27, 2008.

 

Philanthropy

With wife Melinda’s influence, Gates took an interest in filling his mother’s role as a civic leader.  They created the “Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation”. As of 2007, Bill and Melinda Gates were the second-most generous philanthropists in America, having given over US$28 billion to charity; the couple plan to eventually donate 95% of their wealth to charity.

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