Monday, May 3, 2010

About Bill Gates

Thanks, Wikipedia.

William Henry Gates III (born October 28, 1955) is an American business magnate, philanthropist and chairman of Microsoft, the software company he founded with Paul Allen.

He is consistently ranked among the world's wealthiest people and was the wealthiest overall from 1995 to 2009.

During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of CEO and chief software architect and remains the largest individual shareholder with more than 8 percent of the common stock. He has also authored or co-authored several books.

Gates is one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution.

Gates has pursued a number of philanthropic endeavours, donating large amounts of money to various charitable organisations and scientific research programmes through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, established in 2000.

Gates stepped down as chief executive officer of Microsoft in 2000. He remained as chairman and created the position of chief software architect.

In 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, chief software architect and Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer.

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

Gates was born in Seattle, Washington, to William H Gates Sr and Mary Maxwell, of English, German, Irish and Native American descent.

His father was a prominent lawyer and his mother served on the board of directors of First Interstate BancSystem.

His maternal grandfather J W Maxwell was a National Bank president.

Gates is the second of three siblings.

At 13 he enrolled in the Lakeside School, an exclusive school. There he became interested in programming BASIC and wrote his first computer programme, an implementation of noughts and crosses that allowed users to play games against the computer.

It was here that he met and became close friends with Paul Allen.

After his administrators became aware of his programming abilities, Gates wrote the school's computer programme to schedule students in classes.

At 17, Gates formed Traf-O-Data to make traffic counters based on the Intel 8008 processor.

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

Gates graduated from Lakeside School in 1973. He enrolled at Harvard College in the autumn of 1973.

While at Harvard, he met Steve Ballmer (of Belarussian descent), who later succeeded Gates as CEO of Microsoft and computer scientist Christos Papadimitriou, with whom he wrote a paper about pancake sorting.

The following year saw the release of the MITS Altair 8800 based on the Intel 8080 CPU and Gates and Allen saw this as the opportunity to start their own computer software company.

He talked this decision over with his parents, who were supportive of him.

After reading the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics that demonstrated the Altair 8800, Gates contacted Micro Instrumentation And Telemetry Systems (MITS), the creators of the new microcomputer, to inform them that he and others were working on a BASIC interpreter for the platform.

MITS president Ed Roberts agreed to meet them for a demo.

The demonstration, held at MITS' offices in Albuquerque, was a success and resulted in a deal with MITS to distribute the interpreter as Altair BASIC.

Allen was hired into MITS and Gates took a leave of absence from Harvard to work with Allen in November 1975.

They named their partnership Microsoft and had their first office located in Albuquerque.

Gates never returned to Harvard to complete his studies.

Microsoft's BASIC was popular with computer hobbyists.

Microsoft became independent of MITS in late 1976.

The company moved from Albuquerque to Bellevue, 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, he personally reviewed every line of code the company shipped and often rewrote parts of it as he saw fit.

In 1980, IBM approached Microsoft to write the BASIC interpreter for its upcoming personal computer,the IBM PC.

After adapting the operating system for the PC, Microsoft delivered it to IBM as PC-DOS.

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

Microsoft launched its first retail version of Microsoft Windows on November 20, 1985.

From Microsoft's founding in 1975 until 2006, Gates had primary responsibility for the company's product strategy.

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.

Gates appeared in a series of ads to promote Microsoft in 2008. He appeared with Jerry Seinfeld.

Gates married Melinda French from Dallas, Texas on January 1, 1994. They have three children.

In 1994, Gates sold some of his Microsoft stock to create the William H. Gates Foundation which is the largest transparently operated charitable foundation in the world.

As of 2007, Bill and Melinda Gates were the second most generous philanthropists in America, having given over $28 billion to charity.

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 also named Gates, Melinda and U2's lead singer Bono (Paul Hewson) as the 2005 Persons Of The Year for their humanitarian efforts.

Gates has authored two books, The Road Ahead (1995) and Business @ The Speed Of Thought (1999).

He also starred in the film Waiting For Superman.