William Henry Gates III was born on October 28, 1955, in Seattle, Washington. His nickname was Trey because he was the 3rd. He is the son of William Gates Sr. and Mary Maxwell Gates. His father was a very well known lawyer. His mother worked for First Interstate BancSystem and United Way. She was on the board of directors. Gates has 2 sisters, one older and one younger. His family attended a Protestant Church regularly. His family said competition was good. They said it didn’t matter what the competition was about, a simple card game or swimming back to the dock, there is always a reward for winning and if you lost there would be a penalty. Bill liked school a lot and his favorite subject was Math. He used to get in trouble a lot in school because he was bored most of the time.
When Bill Gates was 13 he went to a private preparatory school. The school was called Lakeside. He knew his parents wanted him to be a lawyer but he loved computers. While he was at Lakeside, he wrote his 1st computer software program. The 1st program he wrote was a version of the game tic tac toe. The program made it possible for the person playing the game to play against the computer. People did not have personal computers in their homes; they were only used for business purposes. The students only had a certain amount of time on the computer. The schools had to pay for time. Gates and his friends were banned from the computer because they hacked into it to get extra time. Gates and his friends made a deal with the school in order to get time back they would search the computer software for bugs and the school let them back on the computer. While Bill was in high school he and his 3 other Lakeside friends wrote a payroll program for a company and in return the boys got computer time. The school administrators became aware of Bill’s abilities and asked him to build software to make the students schedules for their classes. Gates arranged the computer-scheduling program so that he would have classes with girls that he had an interest in. At the age if 17 Gates and his friend Allen created a program called Traf-O-Data. Traf-O-Data was a program that helped track traffic patterns in Seattle.
Gates graduated Lakeside in 1973. He graduated as a National Merit Scholar and had almost a perfect score on his Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). After high school he went to Harvard as a pre law student but he also took mathematics and computer science classes. Bill stayed friends with Paul Allen, his friend from Lakeside. In 1974, Altair came out with a personal computer. Bill and Paul called the president of Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) and said that they could write a BASIC computer program for their computers. The truth was, they did not even have an Altair computer but wanted to see if the president was interested in their offer. Gates and Allen wrote the program in a couple of weeks. They met with Altair and the program that they wrote worked exactly as planned the very 1st time. Gates became friends with a guy named Steve Ballmer while he was at Harvard. Gates took a leave of absence from Harvard after his 2nd year. Ballmer stayed and graduated Magna Cum Laude.
In 1975 Allen got a job with MITS in Albuquerque. Gates dropped out of Harvard, to work with Allen. The two named their partnership micro-soft. This was a combination of microcomputer from Altair and software from the programs that they wrote. November 26, 1976 they trademarked the name Microsoft and made it one name.
In 1980 IBM met with Microsoft to ask them to write an operating system for their new, not yet released personal computer, called IBM-PC. Microsoft came up with an operating system called MS-DOS. They sold the operating system to IBM for $50,000.00. Microsoft kept the copy write because he did not want other people to reproduce it. Microsoft sold copies to other computer companies making them a large competitor. In 1981, Gates was named the president of Microsoft and also became the board chairman.
Microsoft introduced its 1st version of windows on November 20, 1985. A lot of computer people compared it to Apple. The war began and Microsoft won because Windows was able to run on many operating systems where Apple only was able to run on Apple products. Microsoft Windows was run on over 90% of personal computers around the world. Gates kept growing Windows, inventing Windows for office work. He developed Microsoft Office and Excel.
Gates became the richest man in the world when he took Microsoft to the public. In 1986, the company’s stock was worth $520 million. Gates owned 45% of the stock himself. At one point the stock grew and was worth over 100 billion.
In 1994, Bill Gates married Melinda French. They had 3 children, 2 daughters and 1 son. In 2000, Gates and his wife formed the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This foundation is one of largest foundations in the world. Gates, himself has donated over $28 billion to charity. Bill Gates’ last day at Microsoft was on June 27, 2008 to dedicate more time to his foundation.
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