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William Henry Gates III born October 28, is an American business magnate , software developer, investor, author, and philanthropist. He is a co-founder of Microsoft , along with his late childhood friend Paul Allen. Gates was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. It became the world’s largest personal computer software company.
This opinion has been upheld by numerous court rulings. Since , Gates has been included in the Forbes list of the world’s wealthiest people. Later in his career and since leaving day-to-day operations at Microsoft in , Gates has pursued many business and philanthropic endeavors.
Bill Gates was born in Seattle , Washington on October 28, Gates Sr. Gates’s maternal grandfather was J. Maxwell, a national bank president. Gates has an older sister Kristi Kristianne and a younger sister Libby. Early in his life, Gates observed that his parents wanted him to pursue a law career.
At 13, he enrolled in the private Lakeside prep school ,   where he wrote his first software program. He wrote his first computer program on this machine, an implementation of tic-tac-toe that allowed users to play games against the computer.
Gates was fascinated by the machine and how it would always execute software code perfectly. The four students formed the Lakeside Programmers Club to make money. Rather than using the system remotely via Teletype , Gates went to CCC’s offices and studied source code for various programs that ran on the system, including Fortran , Lisp , and machine language. The arrangement with CCC continued until when the company went out of business. The following year, a Lakeside teacher enlisted Gates and Evans to automate the school’s class-scheduling system, providing them computer time and royalties in return.
The duo worked diligently in order to have the program ready for their senior year. Towards the end of their junior year, Evans was killed in a mountain climbing accident, which Gates has described as one of the saddest days of his life. Gates then turned to Allen who helped him finish the system for Lakeside. At 17, Gates formed a venture with Allen called Traf-O-Data to make traffic counters based on the Intel processor. Gates left Harvard after two years while Ballmer stayed and graduated magna cum laude.
Years later, Ballmer succeeded Gates as Microsoft’s CEO and maintained that position from until his resignation in Gates devised an algorithm for pancake sorting as a solution to one of a series of unsolved problems  presented in a combinatorics class by professor Harry Lewis.
Gates remained in contact with Paul Allen and joined him at Honeywell during the summer of His parents were supportive of him after seeing how much he wanted to start his own company. I was officially on leave. Allen named their partnership “Micro-Soft”, a combination of “microcomputer” and “software”, and their first office was in Albuquerque.
The first employee Gates and Allen hired was their high school collaborator Ric Weiland. Microsoft ‘s Altair BASIC was popular with computer hobbyists, but Gates discovered that a pre-market copy had leaked out and was being widely copied and distributed.
Microsoft became independent of MITS in late , and it continued to develop programming language software for various systems. Gates said he personally reviewed and often rewrote every line of code that the company produced in its first five years.
As the company grew, he transitioned into a manager role, then an executive. It is a driving game in which the player must avoid hitting donkeys. The game was written by Gates and Neil Konzen. IBM representative Jack Sams mentioned the licensing difficulties during a subsequent meeting with Gates and asked if Microsoft could provide an operating system.
The contract itself only earned Microsoft a relatively small fee. It was the prestige brought to Microsoft by IBM’s adoption of their operating system that would be the origin of Microsoft’s transformation from a small business to the leading software company in the world.
Gates had not offered to transfer the copyright on the operating system to IBM because he believed that other personal computer makers would clone IBM’s PC hardware. PC Magazine asked if Gates was “the man behind the machine? Gates oversaw Microsoft’s company restructuring on June 25, , which re-incorporated the company in Washington state and made Gates the president and chairman of the board, with Paul Allen as vice president and vice chairman.
In early , Allen left the company after receiving a Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis, effectively ending the formal business partnership between Gates and Allen, which had been strained months prior due to a contentious dispute over Microsoft equity.
Microsoft and Gates launched their first retail version of Microsoft Windows on November 20, , in an attempt to fend off competition from Apple ‘s Macintosh GUI , which had bewitched consumers with its simplicity and ease of use. Although the two companies successfully developed the first version of the new system, the partnership deteriorated due to mounting creative differences.
Thompson on February 5, Gates had primary responsibility for Microsoft’s product strategy from the company’s founding from until He gained a reputation for being distant from others; an industry executive complained in that “Gates is notorious for not being reachable by phone and for not returning phone calls. When they met again a month later, Gates “won or tied every game. He had studied the game until he solved it. That is a competitor”.
In the early s, while business partner Paul Allen was undergoing treatments for cancer , Gates — according to Allen — conspired to reduce Allen’s share in Microsoft by issuing himself stock options. It was mercenary opportunism plain and simple”. Gates met regularly with Microsoft’s senior managers and program managers, and the managers described him as being verbally combative. He also berated them for perceived holes in their business strategies or proposals that placed the company’s long-term interests at risk.
During Microsoft’s early years, Gates was an active software developer, particularly in the company’s programming language products, but his primary role in most of the company’s history was as a manager and executive. He has not officially been on a development team since working on the TRS Model ,  but he wrote code that shipped with the company’s products as late as On June 15, , Gates announced that he would transition out of his role at Microsoft to dedicate more time to philanthropy.
He gradually divided his responsibilities between two successors when he placed Ray Ozzie in charge of management and Craig Mundie in charge of long-term product strategy. Gates approved of many decisions that led to antitrust litigation over Microsoft’s business practices. In the United States v. Microsoft case, Gates gave deposition testimony that several journalists characterized as evasive.
He argued with examiner David Boies over the contextual meaning of words such as “compete”, “concerned”, and “we”.
Later in the year, when portions of the videotaped deposition were played back in court, the judge was seen laughing and shaking his head. 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 that Gates both sent and received. Gates later said that he had simply resisted attempts by Boies to mischaracterize his words and actions.
I plead guilty Since leaving day-to-day operations at Microsoft, Gates has continued his philanthropy and works on other projects. Gates provided his perspective on a range of issues in a substantial interview that was published in the March 27, , issue of Rolling Stone magazine. In the interview, Gates provided his perspective on climate change, his charitable activities, various tech companies and people involved in them, and the state of America.
In response to a question about his greatest fear when he looks 50 years into the future, Gates stated: “there’ll be some really bad things that’ll happen in the next 50 or years, but hopefully none of them on the scale of, say, a million people that you didn’t expect to die from a pandemic , or nuclear or bioterrorism.
Gates has expressed concern about the potential harms of superintelligence ; in a Reddit “ask me anything”, he stated that:. First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern.
I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don’t understand why some people are not concerned. He stated that it was within their skill set of being the dominant player, but partially blames the antitrust litigation during the time. On March 13, , Microsoft announced Gates would be leaving his board positions at Berkshire Hathaway and Microsoft to dedicate his efforts in philanthropic endeavors such as climate change, global health and development, and education.
During the COVID pandemic, Gates has widely been looked at by media outlets as an expert on the issue, despite him not being a public official or having any prior medical training. Gates has a multi-billion dollar investment portfolio with stake in various sectors  and has participated in several entrepreneurial ventures beyond Microsoft, including:. Gates considers climate change and global access to energy to be critical, interrelated issues.
He has urged governments and the private sector to invest in research and development to make clean, reliable energy cheaper. Gates envisions that a breakthrough innovation in sustainable energy technology could drive down both greenhouse gas emissions and poverty, and bring economic benefits by stabilizing energy prices. In , he wrote about the challenge of transitioning the world’s energy system from one based primarily on fossil fuels to one based on sustainable energy sources.
Global energy transitions have historically taken decades. He wrote, “I believe we can make this transition faster, both because the pace of innovation is accelerating, and because we have never had such an urgent reason to move from one source of energy to another. One was Mission Innovation , in which 20 national governments pledged to double their spending on research and development for carbon-free energy in over five years’ time.
Gates has been criticised for holding a large stake in Signature Aviation , a company that services emissions-intensive private jets. He does not expect divestment itself to have much practical impact, but says that if his efforts to provide alternatives were to fail, he would not want to personally benefit from an increase in fossil fuel stock prices.
Wyoming Governor Mike Gordon hailed the project as a step toward carbon-negative nuclear power. Wyoming Senator John Barrasso also said that it could boost the state’s once-active uranium mining industry.
In , Gates rejected the need for regulation of the software industry in testimony before the United States Senate. According to one source:. Gates was vexed. On February 18, , after Facebook and Twitter had banned Donald Trump from their platforms as a result of the United States presidential election which led to the United States Capitol attack , Gates said a permanent ban of Trump “would be a shame” and would be an “extreme measure”. He warned that it would cause “polarization” if users with different political views divide up among various social networks, and said: “I don’t think banning somebody who actually did get a fair number of votes in the presidential election — well less than a majority — but I don’t think having him off forever would be that good.
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