Gates, William H. (1955 - )
William Henry Gates III was the founder and chief software architect of Microsoft, the world’s leading provider of personal computer software. He is the second son of an illustrious Seattle family.
The world’s richest man, whom his family has always called “Trey”, was born on 28 October 1955. He was the son of a prominent lawyer and a teacher at Washington University, president of United Way International and director of the First Interstate Bank.
He studied at Lakeside School, where he first took an interest in computers and he spent his free time learning about programming.
In 1971, he founded the Traf-O-Data company with Paul Allen, which was responsible for providing hardware and software for Seattle traffic counters.
In 1973, he started his studies at Harvard University, dropping out two years later to move with Allen to Albuquerque, New Mexico.
In 1975, Allen and Gates founded Microsoft (originally called Micro-Soft) and presented their first programming language, Basic, for the Altair computer manufactured by MITS. Microsoft had one employee, Ric Weiland, at the time, and a revenues of $ 16,005.
In 1976, Microsoft had seven employees, expanding to nine a year later when it developed the Applesoft Basic program. They made a profit selling each copy at a price of 2 cents, as the manufacturer who bought the program sold over a million computers with this system installed. In 1977, Microsoft developed its second programming language, called Microsoft Fortran
In 1979, Gates received the IPC Million Dollard Award.
I n 1980, IBM chose Gates to create an operating system for the computers that it was to launch that year. Gates bought QDOS from Tim Paterson for $ 75,000, renamed the product MS-DOS and licensed it to IBM, after making sure that he and Allen would have the final say on granting MS-DOS licences.
In 1981, Microsoft started to develop a program based on a graphical environment, which was released as Windows 1.0 in 1985.
In 1982, they began to build DOS applications and they released Multiplan. Multiplan could not compete with Lotus 1-2-3. In 1983, Microsoft launched its word processor, called Word.
In 1986, Microsoft shares went on sale on the stock exchange, and Bill Gates became the youngest US multimillionaire.
In 1988, Apple brought a lawsuit against Microsoft and Hewlett Packard, claiming copyright violations by the interface used in Windows, which Apple lost when sentence was passed in 1993.
In 1989, Microsoft, which by then had a workforce of over 4000, launched Word for Windows.
In 1990, Windows 3.0 was launched, selling over 100,000 copies in just two weeks. In that same year, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) began to investigate Microsoft about alleged anticompetitive practices, but was ultimately unable to deliver judgment and closed the case. The US Justice Department continued the investigation, which, in 1994, resulted in an agreement which required Microsoft to modify the way in which it sold and granted its operating systems licenses to computer manufacturers. In February 1995, however, a US district judge refused to approve the agreement. Both Microsoft and the Justice Department appealed against that sentence.
The personal computers invasion began in 1991, and four million copies of Windows 3.0 were shipped to 24 countries in 12 different languages in just one year. Windows became manufacturers’ standard program manager.
I n 1992, Gates received the National Medal of Technology from President Bush.
In 1994, Microsoft software had become a household name. Office was the biggest-selling program for Windows. Also, in 1994, Bill Gates married Melinda French Gates, with whom he has two children, born in 1996 and 1999. The couple run several charity organizations in different areas..
In 1995, Gates strengthened Microsoft’s multimedia and interactive divisions in partnership with Dreamworks SKG. In mid-1995, the Windows 95 operating system was released, and sales exceeded all expectations. The final and free version of Internet Explorer 2.0 and the Microsoft Network online service was announced. Also in 1995, Bill published his first book The road ahead with Nathan Myhrvold and Peter Rinearson, discussing his vision of the Information Society.
In 1996, Microsoft, which by then had over 20,000 employees, launched MSNBC, a news and information company. MSN was reorganized to provide online services.
In 1997, with sales of over 11,000 million dollars, Microsoft announced Office 97 and Internet Explorer 4.0. Gates invested $ 150 million in Apple. The Gates Library Foundation was set up. Allegations were filed with the District Federal Court about the violation of the 1994 Windows licensing agreement to computer manufacturers. Microsoft announced its strategy for handheld devices and an abridged version of Windows for laptops, called Windows CE.
In 1998, Gates left Microsoft’s presidency to Steve Ballmer, an old university friend, and became CEO, a position he again left to Ballmer in 2000. Office 98 was released for Mac and Windows 98, which was the operating system recommended for home users. Windows NT championed business installations.
In 1999, Gates wrote the book Business @ the speed of thought with Collins Hemingway, illustrating different ideas about how digital processes can solve business problems. He donated the proceeds from this and the previous book to nonprofit organizations that support the use of technology in education.
Again in 1999, he announced that Windows NT was to be replaced by Windows 2000 and Windows 98 by Windows ME. Explorer 5.0, a browser version for mobile devices, was released. By the end of the year, Microsoft had 32,000 employees in 60 countries and profits of $ 19,000 million.
In 2000, Pocket PC and Office 2000 were released. T1MSN portal was launched and the MiPad prototype was demonstrated. MiPad was a device that recognized voice commands and learned the instructions that it was given. Net vision, which was to revolutionize the Microsoft’s business was explained. Gates received the title of Doctor Honoris Causa from the Japanese Rikkyo University in Tokyo.
In 2001, Microsoft unified its operating systems for the home and professional markets into a single product, called Windows XP.
Today, Gates is actively involved in Microsoft decision making and strategies and plays an important role in the technical development of new products.
His interest in biotechnology has led him to found Corbis Corporation.
He participates in different companies such as Teledesic, a telecommunications company intended to establish a network of low orbit satellites to provide wideband communication lines.
He is a partner of Steven Spielberg in DreamWorks Interactive and Emilio Botin in house bank, among other initiatives.
His hobbies include reading, puzzles, philanthropy and golf.