Life and Accomplishments of Bill Gates

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Bill Gates (full name: William Henry Gates III) was born on Oct. 28, 1955, in Seattle, Washington, the son of William H. Gates Sr. Bill Gate’s father was an attorney, and his mother, Mary Maxwell was a businesswoman as well as a bank executive who served on the University of Washington Board of Regents from 1975 to 1993. He is one of three children, two of which are his sisters.
Bill Gates’ first interaction with computers came while he was attending high school at the prestigious Lakeside School which is located in Seattle. A local Seattle company offered the use of its computer to the school through a Teletype link, and the young Bill Gates became intrigued by the vast amount of possibilities of the primitive computer. Gates along with fellow student and high school friend, Paul Allen, began to ditch class to work in the school’s computer room. All of their time and work would soon begin to pay off. When Gates was at the age of 15, both he and Allen decided to go into business together. The two high school teens would net $20,000 with the use of Traf-O-Data, a program they developed that would measure traffic flow in the local Seattle area. It was this love for technology and the endless possibilities that would determine his future and seal Bill Gates’ destiny for would come next.

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College Years

Gates enrolled at Harvard University in the fall of 1973, originally thinking about pursuing a career in law. But in his freshman year Bill reluctantly chose to spend more time in the computer lab than in class. Gates did not really have a usual study routine. Instead, he decided that he could get by on only minimal hours of sleep, cram for a test, and usually pass with a decent enough grade. Besides spending most of his time in the computer lab Bill would usually prefer to play video games and dabble with poker rather than go to class. Within the two years Gates was at Harvard, he dropped out of college in 1975 in order to pursue his soon to be iconic and successful business, Microsoft, with partner and long time friend Paul Allen.

Early Beginnings of Microsoft

In December of 1974, Paul Allen, who was attending Washington State University at this time, showed Gates a magazine called Popular Electronics which featured an article about the world’s first microcomputer, the Altair 8800. Seeing this as a possible opportunity, Gates and Allen contacted the manufacturer of the Altair, MITS, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They told the president of the company, Ed Roberts, that they had been working on a version of the computer language known as BASIC, which was very popular at the time, for the Altair. When Ed said that he would like to see it, Gates and Allen, who in reality, actually hadn’t written anything, began work on the software every day and night in Harvard’s computer lab. Due to the fact that they did not have an Altair to work with, they were forced to adapt and simulate it on other computers. When Allen traveled to Albuquerque to test the program out on the Altair, neither he nor Gates were confident that it would run. But to their satisfaction it ran. Gates would soon drop out of Harvard University and move with Allen to Albuquerque, New Mexico where the establishment of Microsoft began. Unfortunately, MITS collapsed shortly thereafter, but luckily Gates and Allen were already working on writing computerized software for other computer start-up businesses including Commodore, Apple and Tandy Corp.

The name Micro-soft is a combination of “micro-computer” and “software”. They would drop the hyphen within the year of the companies conception making it how we see the company Microsoft today. The founding of Microsoft was the very first major accomplishment of Bill Gates’ life but that major success did not come without hardships along the way. In the early stages of Microsoft not all was smooth as it should have been. While the BASIC software program for the Altair computer was netting the company a fee as well as royalties, it was not meeting their overall profit. According to Gates’, only about 10 percent of the consumers that were using BASIC in the Altair computer had actually paid for it. Microsoft’s BASIC software was mostly popular with casual computer hobbyists, who obtained the pre-market copies. They would then start reproducing and distributing those copies for no charge at all. At this time, most of the computer enthusiasts were not in it for the profits. The consumers felt that the ease of reproduction and distribution would allow them to share the software with their friends and also fellow computer enthusiasts. However, Gates thought about it differently. He saw that the free distribution of software was a form stealing, especially when the whole point of the software that was created was meant to be sold for profit.

After some legal battles ensued the two co-founders of Microsoft moved to Seattle, Washington in 1979. It would be there that Microsoft would take off and grow exponentially. As the computer industry began to grow and expand, with companies like Apple, Intel and IBM developing hardware and components, Bill was continuously moving around touting the merits of Microsoft’s software applications. He often took his mother with him as after all she was a business woman. Mary was highly renowned and respected for her service. She was also very well connected with her membership on several corporate boards, including IBM. It was through Mary that Bill Gates would fatefully meet the CEO of IBM. In November 1980, IBM was searching for software that would be able to operate their upcoming personal computer (PC) and approached Microsoft. While Gates did look very young at this time, he quickly impressed IBM, convincing them that both he and his company could meet and exceed their needs. There was only one problem, and it was that Microsoft had not developed the compatible operating system that could run IBM’s new computers. However, not to be denied, Gates bought an operating system that was developed and meant to run on computers similar to IBM’s. Gates successfully 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.

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Life and Accomplishments of Bill Gates. (2021, Feb 24). Retrieved November 28, 2022 , from
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