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" -- Bill Gates I selected Bill Gates because he is a very important person today, and I didn't know much about him other than he was the richest man in the world. I wanted to know how or why he became so successful. Also, I wanted to know why he is such a controversial person. Facts in Brief Birth: October 28th, 1955 in Seattle Washington Parents: William H. and Mary Gates Education: Lakeside, a private high school, and a major of Prelaw at Harvard Childhood Bill was the second of three children. His father was a lawyer. His mother was very active in business, education, public service, and was on the board of United Way. Growing up, school was very easy for him and he learned very quickly. Most people who knew him say that it was impossible to win an argument against him because he knew so much. Socially, he was an outcast; his interests were very different from others. School By 1970, he was sent to a private school in Seattle called Lakeside because he was gifted. There he discovered computers and fell in love with them. His school bought computer time for a year, but he used it up in a week. He was addicted. He became good friends with Paul Allen, another computer whiz. Pretty soon, they became very good programmers. To learn more about computers, they would sometimes climb into trash bins of local computer companies to find programmers' old notes. Finally, he got a job working out computer bugs. Soon, Paul and he also organized a company called the Traf-o-data; it recorded traffic data for his town and it was very profitable. He also developed some programs for his school. One kept track of pay roll, and the other kept track of class scheduling; it also put him in classes with pretty girls. In high school, he also became an eagle scout and was rewarded with a trip to Washington D.C. to become a page in the U.S. Senate. By 1973, though, he was offered a job to write a program to control electric power supply for the entire Pacific Northwest. It was a long ways away, and he would miss half of his senior year, but he took it. In 1974, he attended Harvard. His major was Prelaw. College was also very easy for him, so he tried to see how few classes he could attend and maintain A's. He spent a lot of free time playing poker or other leisure activities and programming as well. Microsoft
While at Harvard he created a programming code for Altair called BASIC. He dropped out of college and started Microsoft. It developed programs for several companies (including Apple and Radio Shack). In the '80's, their big break came. They were asked to make an operating system for IBM. So, Bill bought an existing one from a Seattle company. He improved it and licensed it to IBM. It was called MS-DOS. By 1985, Microsoft went public. That means that they split the company into shares for sale on the stock market. Before then the programmers working for Microsoft weren't paid very well and worked long hours. After it went public, everyone got rich. Bill is a very hard person to work for. He is often rude, sarcastic, and impatient when people don't catch on quickly. He has very few employees so he can keep in touch with all of them and so everyone is important. In the eighties came spreadsheets, word processing systems; Windows came out in '85 and was a huge success because it allowed multitasking, had more graphics, and was more user-friendly. In 1983, Paul Allen got cancer and left Microsoft. Bill hired Jon Shirley to handle all of the business so that he could take care of all of the programming. In the '90's, came several new updated versions of windows, new features included more CD technology, and computer networking. He created MSN (the second largest Internet service provider) and Internet Explorer and put them on all windows for free. Monopoly A lot of people say that Bill Gates is wrong in his ways of getting rich with a monopoly. He sells large quantities of products cheaply so that everyone is "hooked" and then raises the prices. If a competitor comes along he just lowers them until they are gone. He has always been smarter than his competition. When Microsoft was created, his dream was "to have a computer on every desk and home, all running windows and Microsoft software." He is very close to reaching that goal. It was ruled that Microsoft was a monopoly and was supposed to divide into two companies. Nothing ever happened, though, and no restrictions were set. Really, he is not doing anything illegal, but his way of business is unethical. In 1994, Bill Gates married an employee, Melinda French. They currently have two children. He also founded Corbis, which has the largest variety of graphics. Also, his wife and he created a foundation to support Global Health and learning. Impact on the 20th Century I feel that Bill Gates had a huge impact on life in the twentieth century. Who knows where the computer industry would be right now if Microsoft hadn't been formed. He made many routine jobs computerized, such as accounting, research, data management, and many more. This would have still taken place, but who knows how long.
Not only his programming skills and hard work, but also his business aggressiveness made him one of the leaders in developing computer technology. At the beginning of his career, he sped up development of computers greatly. But now, is he helping society to grow ... or is he holding us back? For example, he would force people to go his way with developing technology, or else he would force them out of business. Some of them did have good ideas though, that might have been better. So did that slow progress or not? We don't know.
Gates enrolled at Harvard University in the fall, originally thinking of a career in law. But his freshman year saw him spend more of his time in the computer lab than in class. Gates did not really have a study regimen. Instead, he could get by on a few hours of sleep, cram for a test, and pass with a reasonable grade. Gates remained in contact with Paul Allen who, after attending Washington State University for two years, dropped out and moved to Boston, Massachusetts, to work for Honeywell. In the summer of 1974, Gates joined Allen at Honeywell. During this time, Allen showed Gates an edition of Popular Electronics magazine featuring an article on the Altair 8800 mini-computer kit. Both boys were fascinated with the possibilities this computer could make toward personal computing. The Altair was made by a small company in Albuquerque, New Mexico, called Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS). Gates and Allen contacted the company proclaiming they were working on a BASIC software program that would run the Altair computer. In reality, they didn't have an Altair to work with or the code to run it. But they wanted to know if MITS was interested in someone developing such software. MITS was, and its president Ed Roberts asked the boys for a demonstration. Gates and Allen scrambled, and spent the next two months writing the software at Harvard's computer lab. Allen traveled to Albuquerque for a test run at MITS, never having tried it out on an Altair computer. It worked perfectly. Allen was hired at MITS and Gates soon left Harvard to work with him, much to his parents' dismay. In 1975, Gates and Allen formed a partnership they called Micro-Soft, a blend of "microcomputer" and "software." Microsoft (Gates and Allen dropped the hyphen in less than a year) started off on shaky footing. Though their BASIC software program for the Altair computer netted the company a fee and royalties, it wasn't meeting their overhead. Microsoft's BASIC software was popular with computer hobbyists who obtained pre-market copies and were reproducing and distributing them for free. According to Gates' later account, only about 10 percent of the people using BASIC in the Altair computer had actually paid for it. At this time, much of the personal computer enthusiasts were people not in it for the money. They felt the ease of reproduction and distribution allowed them to share software with friends and fellow computer enthusiasts. Bill Gates thought differently. He saw the free distribution of software as stealing, especially when it involved software that was created
to be sold. In February of 1976, Gates wrote an open letter to computer hobbyists saying that continued distribution and use of software without paying for it would "prevent good software from being written." In essence, pirating software would discourage developers from investing time and money into creating quality software. The letter was unpopular with computer enthusiasts, but Gates stuck to his beliefs and would use the threat of innovation as a defense when faced with charges of unfair business practices. Gates had a more acrimonious relationship with MITS president Ed Roberts, often resulting in shouting matches. The combative Gates clashed with Roberts on software development and the direction of the business. Roberts considered Gates spoiled and obnoxious. In 1977, Roberts sold MITS to another computer company, and went back to Georgia to enter medical school and become a country doctor. Gates and Allen were on their own. The pair had to sue the new owner of MITS to retain the software rights they had developed for Altair. Microsoft wrote software in different formats for other computer companies and, at the end of 1978, Gates moved the company's operations to Bellevue Washington, just east of Seattle. Bill Gates was glad to be home again in the Pacific Northwest, and threw himself into his work. All 25 employees of the young company had broad responsibilities for all aspects of the operation, product development, business development, and marketing. With his acumen for software development
Gates at the World Economic Forum in 2007 William Henry Gates III Born October 28, 1955 (age 56) Seattle, Washington, U.S. Residence Medina, Washington, U.S. Nationality American Alma mater Harvard University (dropped out) Co-founder and Chairman of Microsoft Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Occupation Gates Foundation CEO of Cascade Investment Chairman of Corbis Years active 1975–present Net worth US$ 61 billion (2012) Board member of Berkshire Hathaway Religion None (Agnostic) Spouse Melinda Gates (m. 1994) Children 3 William H. Gates, Sr. Parents Mary Maxwell Gates Signature
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