Bill Gates came from an upper-middle class family. His family encouraged a competitive nature from their children. Bill and his 2 sisters would play cards competitively often. At 13, he enrolled in Lakeside School, where he would meet Paul Allen. After scoring 1590 out of 1600 on the SATs, he was on his way to Harvard College.
Bill Gates followed the computer industry and learned that the Altair computer was coming out with the Intel 8080 processor. He saw this as the perfect opportunity to start a company. Him and Allen worked on a BASIC interpreter for the Altair. Computer hobbyists took the code they created and distributed it. Bill Gates unsuccessfully requested payment for this. At this point Bill Gates and Paul Allen decided to name their partnership Microsoft and they had earned the respect of the programming community. Bill Gates, had also decided to completely withdraw from Harvard University and give his company 100% attention.
In 1980, IBM was looking to revolutionize the computer industry with the creation of the personal computer. They reached out to Microsoft for the BASIC interpreter. IBM also needed an operating system and Bill Gates jumped at the opportunity. Most people probably believe that at that point Microsoft created DOS and the rest is history. That is partially true. Bill Gates and Paul Allen were smart enough to create their own Disk Operating System (DOS). However, IBM had a time-frame and Microsoft knew between creation, testing, and bringing it to market, there was no time. They reached out to Seattle Computer Products and bought their version of DOS for $50,000. Then, Bill Gates and Paul Allen fixed that operating system to IBM’s request and sold it to them under a licensing agreement. The gamble payed off as the PC became popular and other companies started cloning the machine. All the clones ran MS-DOS.
In 1985, he launched Microsoft Windows. The operating system had many similarities to Apple‘s Graphical User Interface (GUI) operating system. Apple took Microsoft to court for these similarities. The case went on for years until it was ruled that the GUI was a necessary and common to PC users and that no company owned the patent for GUI.
In 1986, the company would go public. Bill Gates owned 45% of the shares. By 1987, at the age of 31, Bill Gates would become the youngest Billionaire. By the age of 39, he was the wealthiest man in the United States.
Geroge Ilian, talks about the failure of Microsoft to take the Internet seriously. They were slow to react to the popularity and because of it companies like Google would lead the market. Even harder to digest was Apple’s success with iTunes internet sales and the creation of iPhone to utilize the internet. Microsoft realized this mistake and tried to make up for it by entering the video game console market. The XBox series of consoles have done an incredible job. They have a loyal following and are the only respectable competitors to the Sony Playstation.
One of the most important things that Bill Gates has created is the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. Influenced by Warren Buffett, this foundation has given away about $28 Billion to charitable causes.