Bill Gates

Bill Gates

Overview
William Henry "Bill" Gates III (born October 28, 1955) is an American business magnate
Business magnate
A business magnate, sometimes referred to as a capitalist, czar, mogul, tycoon, baron, oligarch, or industrialist, is an informal term used to refer to an entrepreneur who has reached prominence and derived a notable amount of wealth from a particular industry .-Etymology:The word magnate itself...

, investor
Investor
An investor is a party that makes an investment into one or more categories of assets --- equity, debt securities, real estate, currency, commodity, derivatives such as put and call options, etc...

, philanthropist, and author. Gates is the former CEO and current chairman of Microsoft
Microsoft
Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

, the software company he founded with Paul Allen
Paul Allen
Paul Gardner Allen is an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. Allen co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates...

. He is consistently ranked among the world's wealthiest people
Forbes list of billionaires
Forbes list of billionaires is based on an annual assessment of wealth and assets compiled and published by Forbes magazine on March 10, 2011.-Forbes list of billionaires :...

 and was the wealthiest overall from 1995 to 2009, excluding 2008, when he was ranked third.
During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of CEO and chief software architect
Software architect
Software architect is a general term with many accepted definitions, which refers to a broad range of roles. Generally accepted terminology and certifications began appearing in connection with this role near the beginning of the 21st century.-History:...

, and remains the largest individual shareholder, with 6.4 percent of the common stock
Common stock
Common stock is a form of corporate equity ownership, a type of security. It is called "common" to distinguish it from preferred stock. In the event of bankruptcy, common stock investors receive their funds after preferred stock holders, bondholders, creditors, etc...

.
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Quotations

That's OK, I'm the same when I talk to Steve Jobs.

On being told, during a 1996 interview for the now-defunct magazine Windows_Sources|Windows Sources that the writer was "a little starstruck" at finding himself talking to Gates in person.

It's not manufacturers trying to rip anybody off or anything like that. There's nobody getting rich writing software that I know of.

Interview with Dennis Bathory-Kitsz in 80 Microcomputing (1980)

Instead of buying airplanes and playing around like some of our competitors, we've rolled almost everything back into the company.

Comment to reporters during the IBM PC launch (1981), interpreted as a jab at Gary Kildall|Gary Kildall

The next generation of interesting software will be done on the Macintosh, not the IBM PC.

BusinessWeek, 26 November 1984

I believe OS/2|OS/2 is destined to be the most important operating system, and possibly program, of all time.

OS/2 Programmers Guide, November 1987
Encyclopedia
William Henry "Bill" Gates III (born October 28, 1955) is an American business magnate
Business magnate
A business magnate, sometimes referred to as a capitalist, czar, mogul, tycoon, baron, oligarch, or industrialist, is an informal term used to refer to an entrepreneur who has reached prominence and derived a notable amount of wealth from a particular industry .-Etymology:The word magnate itself...

, investor
Investor
An investor is a party that makes an investment into one or more categories of assets --- equity, debt securities, real estate, currency, commodity, derivatives such as put and call options, etc...

, philanthropist, and author. Gates is the former CEO and current chairman of Microsoft
Microsoft
Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

, the software company he founded with Paul Allen
Paul Allen
Paul Gardner Allen is an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. Allen co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates...

. He is consistently ranked among the world's wealthiest people
Forbes list of billionaires
Forbes list of billionaires is based on an annual assessment of wealth and assets compiled and published by Forbes magazine on March 10, 2011.-Forbes list of billionaires :...

 and was the wealthiest overall from 1995 to 2009, excluding 2008, when he was ranked third.
During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of CEO and chief software architect
Software architect
Software architect is a general term with many accepted definitions, which refers to a broad range of roles. Generally accepted terminology and certifications began appearing in connection with this role near the beginning of the 21st century.-History:...

, and remains the largest individual shareholder, with 6.4 percent of the common stock
Common stock
Common stock is a form of corporate equity ownership, a type of security. It is called "common" to distinguish it from preferred stock. In the event of bankruptcy, common stock investors receive their funds after preferred stock holders, bondholders, creditors, etc...

. He has also authored or co-authored several books.

Gates is one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution. Gates has been criticized for his business tactics
Criticism of Microsoft
Criticism of Microsoft has followed various aspects of its products and business practices. Issues with ease of use, stability, and security of the company's software are common targets for critics. In the 2000s, a number of malware attacks have targeted security flaws in Microsoft Windows and...

, which have been considered anti-competitive, an opinion which has in some cases been upheld by the courts. In the later stages of his career, Gates has pursued a number of philanthropic endeavors, donating large amounts of money to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest transparently operated private foundation in the world, founded by Bill and Melinda Gates. It is "driven by the interests and passions of the Gates family"...

, established in 2000.

Gates stepped down as chief executive officer of Microsoft in January 2000. He remained as chairman and created the position of chief software architect. In June 2006, Gates announced that he would be transitioning from full-time work at Microsoft to part-time work, and full-time work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He gradually transferred his duties to Ray Ozzie
Ray Ozzie
Raymond "Ray" Ozzie is an American software industry entrepreneur who held the positions of Chief Technical Officer and Chief Software Architect at Microsoft between 2005 and 2010...

, chief software architect, and Craig Mundie
Craig Mundie
Craig James Mundie is chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft. He started in its consumer platforms division in 1992, managing the production of Windows CE for hand-held and automotive systems and early console games. In 1997, Mundie oversaw the acquisition of WebTV Networks...

, chief research and strategy officer. Gates' last full-time day at Microsoft was June 27, 2008. He remains at Microsoft as non-executive chairman.

Early life



Gates was born in Seattle, Washington, to William H. Gates, Sr.
William H. Gates, Sr.
William Henry Gates, Sr. is a retired American attorney and philanthropist and author of the book Showing Up for Life: Thoughts on the Gifts of a Lifetime. He is the father of Microsoft founder Bill Gates.-Life and career:Gates was born in Bremerton, Washington, to William Henry Gates I or Sr...

 and Mary Maxwell Gates
Mary Maxwell Gates
Mary Maxwell Gates was an American businessperson. Gates served 18 years on the University of Washington board of regents...

. His parents are of English, German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

, and Scotch-Irish descent. His father was a prominent lawyer, and his mother served on the board of directors for First Interstate BancSystem
First Interstate BancSystem
First Interstate BancSystem, Inc., a financial holding company, and its primary banking subsidiary First Interstate Bank are based in Billings, Montana, USA....

 and the United Way. Gates's maternal grandfather was J. W. Maxwell, a national bank president. Gates has one elder sister, Kristi (Kristianne), and one younger sister, Libby. He was the fourth of his name in his family, but was known as William Gates III or "Trey
Trey
Trey is the anglicized spelling of "tre", the Italian word for the number "three".It can refer to a nickname for those who are the third of their name...

" because his father had the "II" suffix. Early on in his life, Gates' parents had a law career in mind for him. When Gates was young, his family regularly attended a Congregational
Congregational Christian Churches
The Congregational Christian Churches were a Protestant Christian denomination that operated in the U.S. from 1931 through 1957. On the latter date, most of its churches joined the Evangelical and Reformed Church in a merger to become the United Church of Christ. Others created the National...

 church.

At 13 he enrolled in the Lakeside School
Lakeside School
Lakeside School is a private/independent school located in the Haller Lake neighborhood at the north city limits of Seattle, Washington, USA, for grades 5–12....

, an exclusive preparatory school. When he was in the eighth grade, the Mothers Club at the school used proceeds from Lakeside School's rummage sale to buy an Teletype Model 33 ASR terminal and a block of computer time on a General Electric
General Electric
General Electric Company , or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States...

 (GE) computer for the school's students. Gates took an interest in programming the GE system in BASIC, and was excused from math classes to pursue his interest. He wrote his first computer program on this machine: an implementation of tic-tac-toe
Tic-tac-toe
Tic-tac-toe, also called wick wack woe and noughts and crosses , is a pencil-and-paper game for two players, X and O, who take turns marking the spaces in a 3×3 grid. The X player usually goes first...

 that allowed users to play games against the computer. Gates was fascinated by the machine and how it would always execute software code perfectly. When he reflected back on that moment, he said, "There was just something neat about the machine." After the Mothers Club donation was exhausted, he and other students sought time on systems including DEC
Digital Equipment Corporation
Digital Equipment Corporation was a major American company in the computer industry and a leading vendor of computer systems, software and peripherals from the 1960s to the 1990s...

 PDP
Programmed Data Processor
Programmed Data Processor was the name of a series of minicomputers made by Digital Equipment Corporation. The name 'PDP' intentionally avoided the use of the term 'computer' because, at the time of the first PDPs, computers had a reputation of being large, complicated, and expensive machines, and...

 minicomputers. One of these systems was a PDP-10
PDP-10
The PDP-10 was a mainframe computer family manufactured by Digital Equipment Corporation from the late 1960s on; the name stands for "Programmed Data Processor model 10". The first model was delivered in 1966...

 belonging to Computer Center Corporation (CCC), which banned four Lakeside students—Gates, Paul Allen
Paul Allen
Paul Gardner Allen is an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. Allen co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates...

, Ric Weiland
Ric Weiland
Richard W. 'Ric' Weiland was a computer software pioneer and philanthropist. He was one of the first five employees of Microsoft Corp.- Early life :...

, and Kent Evans—for the summer after it caught them exploiting bugs in the operating system
Operating system
An operating system is a set of programs that manage computer hardware resources and provide common services for application software. The operating system is the most important type of system software in a computer system...

 to obtain free computer time.

At the end of the ban, the four students offered to find bugs in CCC's software in exchange for computer time. Rather than use the system via Teletype, Gates went to CCC's offices and studied source code
Source code
In computer science, source code is text written using the format and syntax of the programming language that it is being written in. Such a language is specially designed to facilitate the work of computer programmers, who specify the actions to be performed by a computer mostly by writing source...

 for various programs that ran on the system, including programs in FORTRAN
Fortran
Fortran is a general-purpose, procedural, imperative programming language that is especially suited to numeric computation and scientific computing...

, LISP
Lisp
A lisp is a speech impediment, historically also known as sigmatism. Stereotypically, people with a lisp are unable to pronounce sibilants , and replace them with interdentals , though there are actually several kinds of lisp...

, and machine language. The arrangement with CCC continued until 1970, when the company went out of business. The following year, Information Sciences, Inc. hired the four Lakeside students to write a payroll program in COBOL
COBOL
COBOL is one of the oldest programming languages. Its name is an acronym for COmmon Business-Oriented Language, defining its primary domain in business, finance, and administrative systems for companies and governments....

, providing them computer time and royalties. After his administrators became aware of his programming abilities, Gates wrote the school's computer program to schedule students in classes. He modified the code so that he was placed in classes with mostly female students. He later stated that "it was hard to tear myself away from a machine at which I could so unambiguously demonstrate success." At age 17, Gates formed a venture with Allen, called Traf-O-Data
Traf-O-Data
Traf-O-Data was a partnership between Bill Gates, Paul Allen, and Paul Gilbert. The objective was to read the raw data from roadway traffic counters and create reports for traffic engineers...

, to make traffic counters based on the Intel 8008
Intel 8008
The Intel 8008 was an early byte-oriented microprocessor designed and manufactured by Intel and introduced in April 1972. It was an 8-bit CPU with an external 14-bit address bus that could address 16KB of memory...

 processor. In early 1973, Bill Gates served as a congressional page in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Gates graduated from Lakeside School in 1973. He scored 1590 out of 1600 on the SAT
SAT
The SAT Reasoning Test is a standardized test for college admissions in the United States. The SAT is owned, published, and developed by the College Board, a nonprofit organization in the United States. It was formerly developed, published, and scored by the Educational Testing Service which still...

 and enrolled at Harvard College
Harvard College
Harvard College, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is one of two schools within Harvard University granting undergraduate degrees...

 in the autumn of 1973. While at Harvard, he met Steve Ballmer
Steve Ballmer
Steven Anthony "Steve" Ballmer is an American business magnate. He is the chief executive officer of Microsoft, having held that post since January 2000. , his personal wealth is estimated at US$13.9 billion, ranking number 19 on the Forbes 400.-Early life:Ballmer was born in Detroit, Michigan to...

, who later succeeded Gates as CEO of Microsoft.

In his sophomore year, Gates devised an algorithm for pancake sorting
Pancake sorting
Pancake sorting is a variation of the sorting problem in which the only allowed operation is to reverse the elements of some prefix of the sequence. Unlike a traditional sorting algorithm, which attempts to sort with the fewest comparisons possible, the goal is to sort the sequence in as few...

 as a solution to one of a series of unsolved problems presented in a combinatorics
Combinatorics
Combinatorics is a branch of mathematics concerning the study of finite or countable discrete structures. Aspects of combinatorics include counting the structures of a given kind and size , deciding when certain criteria can be met, and constructing and analyzing objects meeting the criteria ,...

 class by Harry Lewis
Harry R. Lewis
Harry Roy Lewis is a Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science and the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Computer Science at Harvard University. He is also a Faculty Associate of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard...

, one of his professors. Gates' solution held the record as the fastest version for over thirty years; its successor is faster by only one percent. His solution was later formalized in a published paper in collaboration with Harvard computer scientist Christos Papadimitriou
Christos Papadimitriou
Christos Harilaos Papadimitriou is a Professor in the Computer Science Division at the University of California, Berkeley, United States...

.

Gates did not have a definite study plan while a student at Harvard and spent a lot of time using the school's computers. Gates remained in contact with Paul Allen, and he joined him at Honeywell during the summer of 1974. The following year saw the release of the MITS Altair 8800 based on the Intel 8080 CPU
Intel 8080
The Intel 8080 was the second 8-bit microprocessor designed and manufactured by Intel and was released in April 1974. It was an extended and enhanced variant of the earlier 8008 design, although without binary compatibility...

, and Gates and Allen saw this as the opportunity to start their own computer software company. He had talked this decision over with his parents, who were supportive of him after seeing how much Gates wanted to start a company.

BASIC



After reading the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics
Popular Electronics
Popular Electronics was an American magazine started by Ziff-Davis Publishing in October 1954 for electronics hobbyists and experimenters. It soon became the "World's Largest-Selling Electronics Magazine". The circulation was 240,151 in April 1957 and 400,000 by 1963. Ziff-Davis published Popular...

that demonstrated the Altair 8800
Altair 8800
The MITS Altair 8800 was a microcomputer design from 1975 based on the Intel 8080 CPU and sold by mail order through advertisements in Popular Electronics, Radio-Electronics and other hobbyist magazines. The designers hoped to sell only a few hundred build-it-yourself kits to hobbyists, and were...

, Gates contacted Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems
Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems
Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems was an American electronics company founded in Albuquerque, New Mexico that began manufacturing electronic calculators in 1971 and personal computers in 1975. Ed Roberts and Forrest Mims founded MITS in December 1969 to produce miniaturized telemetry...

 (MITS), the creators of the new microcomputer, to inform them that he and others were working on a BASIC
BASIC
BASIC is a family of general-purpose, high-level programming languages whose design philosophy emphasizes ease of use - the name is an acronym from Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code....

 interpreter for the platform. In reality, Gates and Allen did not have an Altair and had not written code for it; they merely wanted to gauge MITS's interest. MITS president Ed Roberts
Ed Roberts (computers)
Henry Edward "Ed" Roberts was an American engineer, entrepreneur and medical doctor who designed the first commercially successful personal computer in 1975. He is most often known as "the father of the personal computer"...

 agreed to meet them for a demo, and over the course of a few weeks they developed an Altair emulator
Emulator
In computing, an emulator is hardware or software or both that duplicates the functions of a first computer system in a different second computer system, so that the behavior of the second system closely resembles the behavior of the first system...

 that ran on a minicomputer, and then the BASIC interpreter. The demonstration, held at MITS's offices in Albuquerque, was a success and resulted in a deal with MITS to distribute the interpreter as Altair BASIC
Altair BASIC
Altair BASIC was an interpreter for the BASIC programming language that ran on the MITS Altair 8800 and subsequent S-100 bus computers. It was Microsoft's first product , distributed by MITS under a contract...

. Paul Allen was hired into MITS, and Gates took a leave of absence from Harvard to work with Allen at MITS in Albuquerque in November 1975. They named their partnership "Micro-Soft" and had their first office located in Albuquerque. Within a year, the hyphen was dropped, and on November 26, 1976, the trade name "Microsoft" was registered with the Office of the Secretary of the State of New Mexico. Gates never returned to Harvard to complete his studies.

Microsoft's BASIC was popular with computer hobbyists, but Gates discovered that a pre-market copy had leaked into the community and was being widely copied and distributed. In February 1976, Gates wrote an Open Letter to Hobbyists
Open Letter to Hobbyists
The Open Letter to Hobbyists was an open letter written by Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, to early personal computer hobbyists, in which Gates expresses dismay at the rampant copyright infringement taking place in the hobbyist community, particularly with regard to his company's...

 in the MITS newsletter saying that MITS could not continue to produce, distribute, and maintain high-quality software without payment. This letter was unpopular with many computer hobbyists, but Gates persisted in his belief that software developers should be able to demand payment. Microsoft became independent of MITS in late 1976, and it continued to develop programming language software for various systems. The company moved from Albuquerque to its new home in Bellevue
Bellevue, Washington
Bellevue is a city in the Eastside region of King County, Washington, United States, across Lake Washington from Seattle. Long known as a suburb or satellite city of Seattle, it is now categorized as an edge city or a boomburb. The population was 122,363 at the 2010 census.Downtown Bellevue is...

, Washington on January 1, 1979.

During Microsoft's early years, all employees had broad responsibility for the company's business. Gates oversaw the business details, but continued to write code as well. In the first five years, Gates personally reviewed every line of code the company shipped, and often rewrote parts of it as he saw fit.

IBM partnership


In 1980, IBM
IBM
International Business Machines Corporation or IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas...

 approached Microsoft to write the BASIC interpreter for its upcoming personal computer, the IBM PC
IBM PC
The IBM Personal Computer, commonly known as the IBM PC, is the original version and progenitor of the IBM PC compatible hardware platform. It is IBM model number 5150, and was introduced on August 12, 1981...

. When IBM's representatives mentioned that they needed an operating system, Gates referred them to Digital Research
Digital Research
Digital Research, Inc. was the company created by Dr. Gary Kildall to market and develop his CP/M operating system and related products. It was the first large software company in the microcomputer world...

 (DRI), makers of the widely used CP/M
CP/M
CP/M was a mass-market operating system created for Intel 8080/85 based microcomputers by Gary Kildall of Digital Research, Inc...

 operating system.
IBM's discussions with Digital Research went poorly, and they did not reach a licensing agreement. IBM representative Jack Sams mentioned the licensing difficulties during a subsequent meeting with Gates and told him to get an acceptable operating system. A few weeks later Gates proposed using 86-DOS (QDOS), an operating system similar to CP/M that Tim Paterson
Tim Paterson
Tim Paterson is an American computer programmer, best known as the original author of MS-DOS, the most widely used personal computer operating system in the 1980s....

 of Seattle Computer Products
Seattle Computer Products
Seattle Computer Products was a Seattle, Washington microcomputer hardware company which was one of the first manufacturers of computer systems based on the 16-bit Intel 8086 processor...

 (SCP) had made for hardware similar to the PC. Microsoft made a deal with SCP to become the exclusive licensing agent, and later the full owner, of 86-DOS. After adapting the operating system for the PC, Microsoft delivered it to IBM as PC-DOS in exchange for a one-time fee of $50,000. Gates did not offer to transfer the copyright
Copyright
Copyright is a legal concept, enacted by most governments, giving the creator of an original work exclusive rights to it, usually for a limited time...

 on the operating system, because he believed that other hardware vendors would clone IBM's system. They did, and the sales of MS-DOS
MS-DOS
MS-DOS is an operating system for x86-based personal computers. It was the most commonly used member of the DOS family of operating systems, and was the main operating system for IBM PC compatible personal computers during the 1980s to the mid 1990s, until it was gradually superseded by operating...

 made Microsoft a major player in the industry.

Gates oversaw Microsoft's company restructuring on June 25, 1981, which re-incorporated the company in Washington state and made Gates President of Microsoft and the
Chairman of the Board.

Windows


Microsoft launched its first retail version of Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Windows is a series of operating systems produced by Microsoft.Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985 as an add-on to MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces . Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal...

 on November 20, 1985, and in August, the company struck a deal with IBM
IBM
International Business Machines Corporation or IBM is an American multinational technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States. IBM manufactures and sells computer hardware and software, and it offers infrastructure, hosting and consulting services in areas...

 to develop a separate operating system called OS/2
OS/2
OS/2 is a computer operating system, initially created by Microsoft and IBM, then later developed by IBM exclusively. The name stands for "Operating System/2," because it was introduced as part of the same generation change release as IBM's "Personal System/2 " line of second-generation personal...

. Although the two companies successfully developed the first version of the new system, mounting creative differences caused the partnership to deteriorate. It ended in 1991 when Gates led Microsoft to develop a version of OS/2 independently from IBM.

Management style


From Microsoft's founding in 1975 until 2006, Gates had primary responsibility for the company's product strategy. He aggressively broadened the company's range of products, and wherever Microsoft achieved a dominant position he vigorously defended it. He gained a reputation for being distant to others; as early as 1981 an industry executive complained in public that "Gates is notorious for not being reachable by phone and for not returning phone calls."

As an executive, Gates met regularly with Microsoft's senior managers and program managers. Firsthand accounts of these meetings describe him as verbally combative, berating managers for perceived holes in their business strategies or proposals that placed the company's long-term interests at risk.
He often interrupted presentations with such comments as, "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard!" and, "Why don't you just give up your options
Option (finance)
In finance, an option is a derivative financial instrument that specifies a contract between two parties for a future transaction on an asset at a reference price. The buyer of the option gains the right, but not the obligation, to engage in that transaction, while the seller incurs the...

 and join the Peace Corps
Peace Corps
The Peace Corps is an American volunteer program run by the United States Government, as well as a government agency of the same name. The mission of the Peace Corps includes three goals: providing technical assistance, helping people outside the United States to understand US culture, and helping...

?" The target of his outburst then had to defend the proposal in detail until, hopefully, Gates was fully convinced. When subordinates appeared to be procrastinating, he was known to remark sarcastically, "I'll do it over the weekend."

Gates' role at Microsoft for most of its history was primarily a management and executive role. However, he was an active software developer in the early years, particularly on the company's programming language
Programming language
A programming language is an artificial language designed to communicate instructions to a machine, particularly a computer. Programming languages can be used to create programs that control the behavior of a machine and/or to express algorithms precisely....

 products. He has not officially been on a development team since working on the TRS-80 Model 100, but wrote code as late as 1989 that shipped in the company's products. On June 15, 2006, Gates announced that he would transition out of his day-to-day role over the next two years to dedicate more time to philanthropy. He divided his responsibilities between two successors, placing Ray Ozzie
Ray Ozzie
Raymond "Ray" Ozzie is an American software industry entrepreneur who held the positions of Chief Technical Officer and Chief Software Architect at Microsoft between 2005 and 2010...

 in charge of day-to-day management and Craig Mundie
Craig Mundie
Craig James Mundie is chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft. He started in its consumer platforms division in 1992, managing the production of Windows CE for hand-held and automotive systems and early console games. In 1997, Mundie oversaw the acquisition of WebTV Networks...

 in charge of long-term product strategy.

Antitrust litigation



Many decisions that led to antitrust litigation over Microsoft's business practices have had Gates' approval. In the 1998 United States v. Microsoft
United States v. Microsoft
United States v. Microsoft was a set of civil actions filed against Microsoft Corporation pursuant to the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 Section 1 and 2 on May 8, 1998 by the United States Department of Justice and 20 U.S. states. Joel I. Klein was the lead prosecutor...

case, Gates gave deposition testimony that several journalists characterized as evasive. He argued with examiner David Boies
David Boies
David Boies is an American lawyer and chairman of the law firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner. He has been involved in various high-profile cases in the United States.-Early life and education:...

 over the contextual meaning of words like "compete", "concerned" and "we". BusinessWeek reported:
Gates later said he had simply resisted attempts by Boies to mischaracterize his words and actions. As to his demeanor during the deposition, he said, "Did I fence with Boies? ... I plead guilty. Whatever that penalty is should be levied against me: rudeness to Boies in the first degree." Despite Gates's denials, the judge ruled that Microsoft had committed monopolization
Monopolization
The term monopolization refers to an offense under Section 2 of the American Sherman Antitrust Act, passed in 1890. Section 2 states that any person "who shall monopolize . ....

 and tying, and blocking competition, both in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act
Sherman Antitrust Act
The Sherman Antitrust Act requires the United States federal government to investigate and pursue trusts, companies, and organizations suspected of violating the Act. It was the first Federal statute to limit cartels and monopolies, and today still forms the basis for most antitrust litigation by...

.

Appearance in ads


Gates appeared in a series of ads to promote Microsoft in 2008. The first commercial, co-starring Jerry Seinfeld
Jerry Seinfeld
Jerome Allen "Jerry" Seinfeld is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and television and film producer, known for playing a semi-fictional version of himself in the situation comedy Seinfeld , which he co-created and co-wrote with Larry David, and, in the show's final two seasons,...

, is a 90-second talk between strangers as Seinfeld walks up on a discount shoe store (Shoe Circus) in a mall and notices Gates buying shoes inside. The salesman is trying to sell Mr. Gates shoes that are a size too big. As Gates is buying the shoes, he holds up his discount card, which uses a slightly altered version of his own mugshot of his arrest in New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

 in 1977 for a traffic violation. As they are walking out of the mall, Seinfeld asks Gates if he has melded his mind to other developers, after getting a yes, he then asks if they are working on a way to make computers edible, again getting a yes. Some say that this is an homage to Seinfeld's own show about "nothing" (Seinfeld
Seinfeld
Seinfeld is an American television sitcom that originally aired on NBC from July 5, 1989, to May 14, 1998, lasting nine seasons, and is now in syndication. It was created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, the latter starring as a fictionalized version of himself...

). In a second commercial in the series, Gates and Seinfeld are at the home of an average family trying to fit in with normal people.

Post-Microsoft


Since leaving Microsoft, Gates continues his philanthropy and, among other projects, purchased the video rights to the Messenger Lectures
Messenger Lectures
The Messenger Lectures are a prestigious series of talks given by leading scholars and public figures at Cornell University. They were founded in 1924 by a gift from Hiram Messenger and are regarded as one of the most important of Cornell's extracurricular activities.There were initially "twelve...

 series called The Character of Physical Law
The Character of Physical Law
The Character of Physical Law are a series of seven lectures by physicist Richard Feynman concerning the nature of the laws of physics. The talks were delivered by Feynman in 1964 at Cornell University, as part of the Messenger Lectures series...

, given at Cornell University
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

 by Richard Feynman
Richard Feynman
Richard Phillips Feynman was an American physicist known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as in particle physics...

 in 1964 and recorded by the BBC. The videos are available online to the public at Microsoft's Project Tuva
Project Tuva
Project Tuva is an enhanced video player platform released by Microsoft Research to host the Messenger Lectures series titled The Character of Physical Law given at Cornell University by Richard Feynman in 1964 and recorded by the BBC...

.

In April 2010, Gates was invited to visit and speak at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a private research university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT has five schools and one college, containing a total of 32 academic departments, with a strong emphasis on scientific and technological education and research.Founded in 1861 in...

 where he asked the students to take on the hard problems of the world in their futures.

Personal life



Gates married Melinda French on January 1, 1994. They have two daughters, Jennifer Katharine (1996) and Phoebe Adele (2002), and one son, Rory John (1999).

The Gates's home
Bill Gates' house
Bill Gates' house is a large mansion in the side of a hill overlooking Lake Washington in Medina, Washington. The house is noted for its design and the technology it incorporates...

 is an earth-sheltered house
Earth sheltering
Earth sheltering is the architectural practice of using earth against building walls for external thermal mass, to reduce heat loss, and to easily maintain a steady indoor air temperature...

 in the side of a hill overlooking Lake Washington
Lake Washington
Lake Washington is a large freshwater lake adjacent to the city of Seattle. It is the largest lake in King County and the second largest in the state of Washington, after Lake Chelan. It is bordered by the cities of Seattle on the west, Bellevue and Kirkland on the east, Renton on the south and...

 in Medina. According to King County
King County, Washington
King County is a county located in the U.S. state of Washington. The population in the 2010 census was 1,931,249. King is the most populous county in Washington, and the 14th most populous in the United States....

 public records, as of 2006 the total assessed value of the property (land and house) is $125 million, and the annual property tax is $991,000.

His 66000 sq ft (6,131.6 m²) estate has a 60 feet (18.3 m) swimming pool with an underwater music system, as well as a 2500 sq ft (232.3 m²) gym and a 1000 sq ft (92.9 m²) dining room.

Also among Gates' private acquisitions is the Codex Leicester
Codex Leicester
The Codex Leicester is a collection of largely scientific writings by Leonardo da Vinci. The codex is named after Thomas Coke, later created Earl of Leicester, who purchased it in 1717...

, a collection of writings by Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

, which Gates bought for $30.8 million at an auction in 1994. Gates is also known as an avid reader, and the ceiling of his large home library is engraved with a quotation from The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby is a novel by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald. First published in1925, it is set on Long Island's North Shore and in New York City from spring to autumn of 1922....

. He also enjoys playing bridge, tennis, and golf.

Gates was number one on the Forbes 400
Forbes 400
The Forbes 400 or 400 Richest Americans is a list published by Forbes Magazine magazine of the wealthiest 400 Americans, ranked by net worth. The list is published annually in September, and 2010 marks the 29th issue. The 400 was started by Malcom Forbes in 1982 and treats those in the list like...

 list from 1993 through to 2007 and number one on Forbes list of The World's Richest People from 1995 to 2007 and 2009. In 1999, Gates's wealth briefly surpassed $101 billion, causing the media to call him a "centibillionaire". Since 2000, the nominal value of his Microsoft holdings has declined due to a fall in Microsoft's stock price after the dot-com bubble
Dot-com bubble
The dot-com bubble was a speculative bubble covering roughly 1995–2000 during which stock markets in industrialized nations saw their equity value rise rapidly from growth in the more...

 burst and the multi-billion dollar donations he has made to his charitable foundations. In a May 2006 interview, Gates commented that he wished that he were not the richest man in the world because he disliked the attention it brought. Gates has several investments outside Microsoft, which in 2006 paid him a salary of $616,667 and $350,000 bonus totalling $966,667. He founded Corbis
Corbis
Corbis Corporation is an American company, based in Seattle, Washington, that licenses the rights to photographs, footage and other visual media...

, a digital imaging company, in 1989. In 2004 he became a director of Berkshire Hathaway
Berkshire Hathaway
Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is an American multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, United States, that oversees and manages a number of subsidiary companies. The company averaged an annual growth in book value of 20.3% to its shareholders for the last 44 years,...

, the investment company headed by long-time friend Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett
Warren Edward Buffett is an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. He is widely regarded as one of the most successful investors in the world. Often introduced as "legendary investor, Warren Buffett", he is the primary shareholder, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. He is...

. In March 2010 Bill Gates was bumped down to the second wealthiest man behind Carlos Slim.

Philanthropy



Gates began to appreciate the expectations others had of him when public opinion mounted suggesting that he could give more of his wealth to charity. Gates studied the work of Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie was a Scottish-American industrialist, businessman, and entrepreneur who led the enormous expansion of the American steel industry in the late 19th century...

 and John D. Rockefeller
John D. Rockefeller
John Davison Rockefeller was an American oil industrialist, investor, and philanthropist. He was the founder of the Standard Oil Company, which dominated the oil industry and was the first great U.S. business trust. Rockefeller revolutionized the petroleum industry and defined the structure of...

, and in 1994 sold some of his Microsoft stock to create the William H. Gates Foundation. In 2000, Gates and his wife combined three family foundations into one to create the charitable Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest transparently operated private foundation in the world, founded by Bill and Melinda Gates. It is "driven by the interests and passions of the Gates family"...

, which is the largest transparently operated charitable foundation in the world. The foundation allows benefactors access to information regarding how its money is being spent, unlike other major charitable organizations such as the Wellcome Trust
Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust was established in 1936 as an independent charity funding research to improve human and animal health. With an endowment of around £13.9 billion, it is the United Kingdom's largest non-governmental source of funds for biomedical research...

. The generosity and extensive philanthropy of David Rockefeller
David Rockefeller
David Rockefeller, Sr. is the current patriarch of the Rockefeller family. He is the youngest and only surviving child of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, and the only surviving grandchild of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil. His five siblings were...

 has been credited as a major influence. Gates and his father met with Rockefeller several times, and modeled their giving in part on the Rockefeller family
Rockefeller family
The Rockefeller family , the Cleveland family of John D. Rockefeller and his brother William Rockefeller , is an American industrial, banking, and political family of German origin that made one of the world's largest private fortunes in the oil business during the late 19th and early 20th...

's philanthropic focus, namely those global problems that are ignored by governments and other organizations. As of 2007, Bill and Melinda Gates were the second-most generous philanthropists in America, having given over $28 billion to charity. They plan to eventually give 95% of their wealth to charity.

The foundation was at the same time criticized because it invests assets that it has not yet distributed with the exclusive goal of maximizing return on investment
Return on investment
Return on investment is one way of considering profits in relation to capital invested. Return on assets , return on net assets , return on capital and return on invested capital are similar measures with variations on how “investment” is defined.Marketing not only influences net profits but also...

. As a result, its investments include companies that have been charged with worsening poverty in the same developing countries where the Foundation is attempting to relieve poverty. These include companies that pollute heavily, and pharmaceutical companies that do not sell into the developing world.
In response to press criticism, the foundation announced in 2007 a review of its investments, to assess social responsibility. It subsequently canceled the review and stood by its policy of investing for maximum return, while using voting rights to influence company practices.

Gates's wife urged people to learn a lesson from the philanthropic efforts of the Salwen family, which had sold its home and given away half of its value, as detailed in The Power of Half. Gates and his wife invited Joan Salwen to Seattle to speak about what the family had done, and on December 9, 2010, Gates, investor Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett
Warren Edward Buffett is an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. He is widely regarded as one of the most successful investors in the world. Often introduced as "legendary investor, Warren Buffett", he is the primary shareholder, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. He is...

, and Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Elliot Zuckerberg is an American computer programmer and Internet entrepreneur. He is best known for co-creating the social networking site Facebook, of which he is chief executive and president...

 (Facebook's CEO) signed a promise they called the "Gates-Buffet Giving Pledge", in which they promised to donate to charity at least half of their wealth over the course of time.

Recognition


In 1987, Gates was officially declared a billionaire in the pages of Forbes' 400 Richest People in America issue, just days before his 32nd birthday. As the world's youngest self-made billionaire, he was worth $1.25 billion, over $900 million more than he'd been worth the year before, when he'd debuted on the list.

Time magazine named Gates 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 2006
Time 100
Time 100 is an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, as assembled by Time. First published in 1999 as a result of a debate among several academics, the list has become an annual event.-History and format:...

. Time also collectively named Gates, his wife Melinda and U2's lead singer Bono
Bono
Paul David Hewson , most commonly known by his stage name Bono , is an Irish singer, musician, and humanitarian best known for being the main vocalist of the Dublin-based rock band U2. Bono was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, and attended Mount Temple Comprehensive School where he met his...

 as the 2005 Persons of the Year
Person of the Year
Person of the Year is an annual issue of the United States newsmagazine Time that features and profiles a person, couple, group, idea, place, or machine that "for better or for worse, ...has done the most to influence the events of the year."- History :The tradition of selecting a Man of the Year...

 for their humanitarian efforts. In 2006, he was voted eighth in the list of "Heroes of our time". Gates was listed in the Sunday Times
The Sunday Times (UK)
The Sunday Times is a Sunday broadsheet newspaper, distributed in the United Kingdom. The Sunday Times is published by Times Newspapers Ltd, a subsidiary of News International, which is in turn owned by News Corporation. Times Newspapers also owns The Times, but the two papers were founded...

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
Upside (magazine)
Upside was a San Francisco-based business and technology magazine for venture capitalists. It was published from 1989 to 2002. It had a circulation above 300,000.-Beginnings:Upside was started by banker Anthony B...

Elite 100 in 1999 and was included in The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

as one of the "Top 100 influential people in media" in 2001.

In 1994, he was honoured as the twentieth Distinguished Fellow
DFBCS
DFBCS is an abbreviation for Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society .From time to time, BCS considers the award of a Distinguished Fellowship to members of the computing profession who have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of computing.The Distinguished Fellowship...

 of the British Computer Society
British Computer Society
The British Computer Society, is a professional body and a learned society that represents those working in Information Technology in the United Kingdom and internationally...

. Gates has received honorary doctorates from Nyenrode Business Universiteit
Nyenrode Business Universiteit
Nyenrode Business Universiteit, also spelled as Nijenrode, is a Dutch business school and the only private university in the Netherlands. Founded in 1946, it is located on a large estate in the town of Breukelen, between Amsterdam and Utrecht.-History:...

, Breukelen
Breukelen
Breukelen is a town and former municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of Utrecht. It is situated to the north west of Utrecht, along the river Vecht and close to the lakes of the Loosdrechtse Plassen, an area of natural and touristic interest...

, The Netherlands, in 2000; the Royal Institute of Technology
Royal Institute of Technology
The Royal Institute of Technology is a university in Stockholm, Sweden. KTH was founded in 1827 as Sweden's first polytechnic and is one of Scandinavia's largest institutions of higher education in technology. KTH accounts for one-third of Sweden’s technical research and engineering education...

, Stockholm, Sweden, in 2002; invited in 2003 to deliver the keynote address of the Golden Jubilee of the Indian Institute of Technology  ,held in San Jose, California; Waseda University
Waseda University
, abbreviated as , is one of the most prestigious private universities in Japan and Asia. Its main campuses are located in the northern part of Shinjuku, Tokyo. Founded in 1882 as Tokyo Senmon Gakko, the institution was renamed "Waseda University" in 1902. It is known for its liberal climate...

, Tokyo, Japan, in 2005; Tsinghua University
Tsinghua University
Tsinghua University , colloquially known in Chinese as Qinghua, is a university in Beijing, China. The school is one of the nine universities of the C9 League. It was established in 1911 under the name "Tsinghua Xuetang" or "Tsinghua College" and was renamed the "Tsinghua School" one year later...

, Beijing, China, in April 2007; Harvard University in June 2007; the Karolinska Institutet
Karolinska Institutet
Karolinska institutet is a medical university in Solna within the Stockholm urban area, Sweden, and one of Europe's largest medical universities...

, Stockholm, in January 2008, and Cambridge University in June 2009. He was also made an honorary trustee of Peking University
Peking University
Peking University , colloquially known in Chinese as Beida , is a major research university located in Beijing, China, and a member of the C9 League. It is the first established modern national university of China. It was founded as Imperial University of Peking in 1898 as a replacement of the...

 in 2007. Gates was also made an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is an order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by George V of the United Kingdom. The Order comprises five classes in civil and military divisions...

 (KBE) by Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the Commonwealth realms: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize,...

 in 2005, in addition to having entomologists
Entomology
Entomology is the scientific study of insects, a branch of arthropodology...

 name the Bill Gates flower fly, Eristalis gatesi
Bill Gates' flower fly
Bill Gates' flower fly is a flower fly found only in Costa Rican high montane cloud forests and named after Bill Gates...

, in his honor.

In November 2006, he and his wife were awarded the Order of the Aztec Eagle
Order of the Aztec Eagle
The Order of the Aztec Eagle is a Mexican order and is the highest decoration awarded to foreigners in the country.It was created by decree on December 29, 1933 by President Abelardo L. Rodríguez as a reward to services given to Mexico or humankind by foreigners...

 for their philanthropic work around the world in the areas of health and education, particularly in Mexico, and specifically in the program "Un país de lectores". In October 2009, it was announced that Gates will be awarded the 2010 Bower Award for Business Leadership of The Franklin Institute for his achievements in business and for his philanthropic work. In 2010 he was honored with the Silver Buffalo Award
Silver Buffalo Award
The Silver Buffalo Award is the national-level distinguished service award of the Boy Scouts of America. It is presented for noteworthy and extraordinary service to youth on a national basis, either as part of, or independent of the Scouting program...

 by the Boy Scouts of America
Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts of America is one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with over 4.5 million youth members in its age-related divisions...

, its highest award for adults, for his service to youth.

In 2011, Bill Gates was ranked as the fifth most powerful person in the world, according to rankings by Forbes magazine.

Investments

  • Cascade Investments LLC, a private investment and holding company, incorporated in United States, is controlled by Bill Gates, and is headquartered in the city of Kirkland, Washington
    Kirkland, Washington
    Kirkland is a city in King County, Washington, United States. It is a suburb of Seattle on the Eastside . The population was 48,787 at the 2010 census makes it the 9th largest city in King County and the 20th largest city in the state...

    .
  • bgC3
    BgC3
    bgC3 LLC is a company founded by Microsoft's co-founder, Bill Gates in 2008.The name is an acronym for Bill Gates Catalyst 3, with the appended number pointing to a third endeavor beyond Microsoft and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.According to the company's federal trademark registration, it...

    , a new think-tank company founded by Bill Gates.
  • Corbis
    Corbis
    Corbis Corporation is an American company, based in Seattle, Washington, that licenses the rights to photographs, footage and other visual media...

    , a digital image licensing and rights services company.
  • TerraPower
    TerraPower
    TerraPower is a nuclear reactor design spin-off company of Intellectual Ventures that is headquartered in Bellevue, Washington in the United States. TerraPower is investigating a class of nuclear fast reactors called the traveling wave reactor...

    , a nuclear reactor design company.

Filmography


Gates has appeared in at least one film:
  • Waiting For Superman
    Waiting for Superman
    Waiting for "Superman" is a 2010 documentary film from director Davis Guggenheim and producer Lesley Chilcott. The film analyzes the failures of American public education by following several students through the educational system, hoping to be selected in a lottery for acceptance into charter...



Gates was prominently featured in a film about the history of the personal computing industry:
  • Pirates of Silicon Valley
    Pirates of Silicon Valley
    Pirates of Silicon Valley is a 1999 made-for-television film directed by Martyn Burke and based on the book Fire in the Valley: The Making of The Personal Computer by Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine. The film documents the impact on the development of the personal computer of the rivalry between...

    – a 1999 TNT film which chronicles the rise of Apple and Microsoft
    Microsoft
    Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

     from the early 1970s to 1997. He was portrayed by Anthony Michael Hall
    Anthony Michael Hall
    Michael Anthony Hall , known professionally as Anthony Michael Hall, is an American actor, film producer and director who starred in several teen-oriented films of the 1980s. Hall began his career in commercials and on stage as a child, and made his screen debut in 1980...

    .

See also

  • List of billionaires (also see List of college dropout billionaires and List of wealthiest non-inflated historical figures)
  • Paul Allen
    Paul Allen
    Paul Gardner Allen is an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. Allen co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates...

     – Microsoft's co-founder, friend, and fellow billionaire

Further reading


External links



  • The Gates Notes official site
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Profile at Microsoft
    Microsoft
    Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

  • Profile at Forbes
    Forbes
    Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

  • How I Work: Bill Gates, Fortune, March 30, 2006