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Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Biography

An Introduction To Bill Gates

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Biography

William Henry Gates III is an American businessman, Software Developer and philanthropist. Bill Gates was born on October 28, 1955. Bill is most popularly known for founding The Microsoft Cooperation and has a net worth of around 129 billion USD. He was born in Seattle , Washington. Bill Gates was born to William H. Gates Sr. who was a lawyer and Mary Maxwell Gates who was a member of the board of directors for First Interstate BancSystem and The United Way Of America.

Bill had realized from an early age that his family wanted him to pursue a law career. When he was smaller his parents regularly attended church. Bill Gates was small for his age and got regularly bullied. His family was very competitive and would always have a penalty for losing and a reward for winning whenever anyone competed in things such as, swimming or even pinball.

He enrolled in the private Lakeside Prep School , where he wrote his first computer program at the age of 13. Gates was regularly excused from Math classes in order to take part in his programming pursuits. At the age of 15 years old her entered into a partnership with one of his close friends at the time creating a computer program which they went on to earn $20,000 from it. He then matriculated to Harvard due to his parents wanting him to finish his education and still wanting him to become a lawyer.

Microsoft

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Biography

Bill Gates started The Microsoft Cooperation in the year 1975 from the Poker Room of his Harvard dorm. Microsoft launched it’s first version of Windows on November 20 in the year 1985. The multi-national technology company is said to have a value of over a trillion USD. Bill Gates is no longer involved in the day to day operations at Microsoft but still is the company’s owner. He is now focused on his philanthropic endeavours and other business pursuits.

Bill Gates Meeting and Partnering With Paul Allen

Gates met Allen, who was two years his senior, in high school at Lakeside School. The pair became fast friends, bonding over their common enthusiasm for computers, even though they were very different people. Allen was more reserved and shy. Gates was feisty and at times

Regardless of their differences, Allen and Gates spent much of their free time together working on programs. Occasionally, the two disagreed and would clash over who was right or who should run the computer lab. On one occasion, their argument escalated to the point where Allen banned Gates from the computer lab.

At one point, Gates and Allen had their school computer privileges revoked for taking advantage of software glitches to obtain free computer time from the company that provided the computers. After their probation, they were allowed back in the computer lab when they offered to debug the program. During this time, Gates developed a payroll program for the computer company the boys had hacked into and a scheduling program for the school.

In 1970, at the age of 15, Gates and 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. Gates and Allen wanted to start their own company, but Gates’ parents wanted him to finish school and go on to college, where they hoped he would work to become a lawyer.

Allen went to Washington State University, while Gates went to Harvard, though the pair stayed in touch. After attending college for two years, Allen dropped out and moved to Boston, Massachusetts, to work for Honeywell. Around this time, he showed Gates an edition of Popular Electronics magazine featuring an article on the Altair 8800 mini-computer kit. Both young men were fascinated with the possibilities of what this computer could create in the world of personal computing.

The Altair was made by a small company in Albuquerque, New Mexico, called Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS). Gates and Allen 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, but they wanted to know if MITS was interested in someone developing such software.

MITS was, and its president, Ed Roberts, asked the boys for a demonstration. Gates and Allen scrambled, spending the next two months writing the BASIC 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. It worked perfectly. Allen was hired at MITS, and Gates soon left Harvard to work with him. Together they founded Microsoft.

Allen remained with Microsoft until 1983, when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. Though his cancer went into remission a year later with intensive treatment, Allen resigned from the company. Rumors abound as to why Allen left Microsoft. Some say Gates pushed him out, but many say it was a life-changing experience for Allen and he saw there were other opportunities that he could invest his time in.

Founding Microsoft

In 1975, Gates and Allen formed Micro-Soft, a blend of “micro-computer” and “software” (they dropped the hyphen within a year). The company’s first product was BASIC software that ran on the Altair computer.

At first, all was not smooth sailing. Although Microsoft’s BASIC software program for the Altair computer netted the company a fee and royalties, it wasn’t meeting their overhead. According to Gates’ later account, only about 10 percent of the people using BASIC in the Altair computer had actually paid for it.

Microsoft’s BASIC software was popular with computer hobbyists, who obtained pre-market copies and were reproducing and distributing them for free. At this time, many personal computer enthusiasts were not in it for the money. They felt the ease of reproduction and distribution allowed them to share software with friends and fellow computer enthusiasts. Gates thought differently. He saw the free distribution of software as stealing, especially when it involved software that was created to be sold.

In February 1976, Gates wrote an open letter to computer hobbyists, saying that continued distribution and use of software without paying for it would “prevent good software from being written.” In essence, pirating software would discourage developers from investing time and money into creating quality software. The letter was unpopular with computer enthusiasts, but Gates stuck to his beliefs and would use the threat of innovation as a defense when faced with charges of unfair business practices.

Gates had an acrimonious relationship with MITS president Ed Roberts, often resulting in shouting matches. The combative Gates clashed with Roberts on software development and the direction of the business. Roberts considered Gates spoiled and obnoxious. 

In 1977, Roberts sold MITS to another computer company and went back to Georgia to enter medical school and become a doctor.

Gates and Allen were on their own. The pair had to sue the new owner of MITS to retain the software rights they had developed for Altair. Microsoft wrote software in different formats for other computer companies, and, at the beginning of 1979, Gates moved the company’s operations to Bellevue, Washington, just east of Seattle.

Gates was glad to be home again in the Pacific Northwest and threw himself into his work. All 25 employees of the young company had broad responsibilities for all aspects of the operation, product development, business development and marketing.

Although the company started out on shaky footing, by 1979 Microsoft was grossing approximately $2.5 million. At the age of 23, Gates placed himself as the head of the company. With his acumen for software development and a keen business sense, he led the company and worked as its spokesperson. Gates personally reviewed every line of code the company shipped, often rewriting code himself when he saw it

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Biography

Microsoft’s Software for IBM PCs

As the computer industry grew, with companies like Apple, Intel and IBM developing hardware and components, Gates was continuously on the road touting the merits of Microsoft software applications. He often took his mother with him. Mary was highly respected and well connected with her membership on several 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) and approached Microsoft. Legend has it that at the first meeting with Gates someone at IBM mistook him for an office assistant and asked him to serve coffee.

Gates did look very young, but he quickly impressed IBM, convincing them that he and his company could meet their needs. The only problem was that Microsoft had not developed the basic operating system that would run IBM’s new computers.

Not to be stopped, Gates bought an operating system that was developed to run on computers similar to IBM’s PC. He made a deal with the software’s developer, making Microsoft the exclusive licensing agent and later full owner of the software but not telling them of the IBM deal.

The company later sued Microsoft and Gates for withholding important information. Microsoft settled out of court for an undisclosed amount, but neither Gates nor Microsoft admitted to any wrongdoing.

Gates had to adapt the newly purchased software to work for the IBM PC. He delivered it for a $50,000 fee, the same price he had paid for the software in its original form. IBM wanted to buy the source code, which would have given them the information to the operating system. 

Gates refused, instead proposing that IBM 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, should other computer companies clone the IBM PC, which they soon did. Microsoft also released software called Softcard, which allowed Microsoft BASIC to operate on Apple II machines.

Following the development of software for IBM, between 1979 and 1981 Microsoft’s growth exploded. Staff increased from 25 to 128, and revenue shot up from $2.5 million to $16 million. In mid-1981, Gates and Allen incorporated Microsoft, and Gates was appointed president and chairman of the board. Allen was named executive vice president. By 1983, Microsoft was going global with offices in Great Britain and Japan. An estimated 30 percent of the world’s computers ran on its software.

Rivalry With Steve Jobs

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

It was through this knowledge sharing that Microsoft developed Windows, a system that used a mouse to drive a graphic interface, displaying text and images on the screen. This differed greatly from the text-and-keyboard driven MS-DOS system where all text formatting showed on the screen as code and not what actually would be printed. 

Gates quickly recognized the threat this kind of software might pose for MS-DOS and Microsoft overall. For the unsophisticated user—which was most of the buying public—the graphic imagery of the competing VisiCorp software used in a Macintosh system would be so much easier to use.

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. The announcement was a bluff, in that Microsoft had no such program under development.

As a marketing tactic, it was sheer genius. Nearly 30 percent of the computer market was using the MS-DOS system and would wait for Windows software rather than change to a new system. Without people willing to change formats, software developers were unwilling to write programs for the VisiCorp system and it lost momentum by early 1985.

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

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

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

Bill’s Philanthropic beliefs

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Biography

Bill Gates is a avid giver to many forms of charity. He donated some of his Microsoft stock in order to setup a charitable foundation called the “William. H. Gates Foundation” in the year 2000. He has since gone on to collaborate with many others to create many charities and charity funds including his wife and business partners.

Written by odanemorgan

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