When you log onto your computer and use Microsoft Word to write a class paper or open an Excel spreadsheet to organize your budget, you don't really think of how Microsoft came to be. For the products we just can't live without and which virtually dictate how we live and communicate, we have one person to thank – Bill Gates. A man that has made a tremendous difference in how we use technology today and how we will use it in the future.
Who Is Bill Gates?
An inventor, a multi-million-dollar businessman, a generous philanthropist, Bill Gates is all of these things and more. Born in 1955, Gates has retained the title as a leader in technology for the last 40 years due to his invention of Microsoft, the technology company that develops, licenses and manufactures software for computers. It also manufactures computers and other electronics. As technology evolved, Bill Gates has ensured that Microsoft has advanced with it.
At the behest of his father, after finishing high school at the Lakeside School in Seattle, Washington, Gates entered Harvard as a freshman in 1973, but soon dropped out in late 1974. He and classmate, Paul Allen, decided to write a computer language, BASIC, for the Altair 8800 system, the first microcomputer created by Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Upon the success of the language, Bill moved to Albuquerque where Microsoft was later created.
Innovations in Technology
Microsoft moved to Seattle in 1979. When the computer company, IBM, experienced difficulty obtaining an operating system for their computers, Bill Gates was savvy enough to purchase a system from Seattle Computer Products called 86-DOS and sell it to IBM while retaining the license. This entrepreneurial spirit netted sales of $16 million dollars for Microsoft in 1981, as every company releasing their own PC found it easier to use Microsoft's operating system.
Next, in an effort to compete with Apple, Gates worked with programmers to develop a new operating system called Windows. Working tirelessly to continuously improve Windows, while also combining additional computer applications that ran seamlessly with the operating system, Gates created the operating system of choice. Due to its popularity, not only did Windows positively impact the financial worth of Microsoft, but it made Bill Gates a billionaire.
Bill Gates and the Future
With his extreme wealth and the technological impact of Microsoft, Bill Gates now has free reign to focus on his other passions as a venture capitalist and a philanthropist. While no longer the chairman of Microsoft, he is still making a difference. Along with his wife Melinda, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of every individual on every continent. Through their foundation they support maternal, newborn and child health, tobacco control, education, economic mobility, gender equality, global health initiatives, nutrition and more. Gates' work is all-encompassing and seeks to touch people of all backgrounds in every corner of the world. His goal is to make the world a better place. Gates realizes that just as his creation of technology had the ability to change the world, so can his immense wealth.
- National Public Radio: Timeline, Bill Gates
- History: Invention of the PC
- The Independent: First He Reinvented Computers Now Bill Gates Wants to Reinvent the Toilet
- Washington Post: Gates Foundation Playing Pivotal Role in Changes for Education System
- Entrepreneur: Bill Gates
- Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: Who We Are