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Bill Gates

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Bill Gates








1.6. WORKS 10

1.7. REFERENCES 111. Bill Gates

Bill Gates in Las Vegas at CES 2006

Born:October 28, 1955 Seattle, Washington

Occupation: Chairman and Chief Software Architect, Microsoft Corporation

Spouse:Melinda Gates

William Henry Gates III (born October 28, 1955) is the co-founder, chairman, and chief software architect of Microsoft Corporation, the world’s largest software company (as of April 2006). He is also the founder of Corbis, a digital image archiving company. Gates is the wealthiest individual in the world according to the Forbes 2006 list. WWhen family wealth is considered, he is second behind the Walton family, which The Sunday Times represents by Robson Walton.

Gates is one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution. He is widely respected for his intelligence, foresight, and ambition. He is also widely criticized as having built Microsoft’s business through unfair, illegal, or anticompetitive business practices. Government authorities in several countries have found some of Microsoft’s practices illegal, as in United States v. Microsoft.

Since amassing his fortune, Gates hhas pursued a number of philanthropic endeavors, donating large amounts of money (about 51% of his total fortune) to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, founded in 2000. He, his wife Melinda aand U2’s lead singer Bono were collectively named by Time as the 2005 Persons of the Year. That same year he was given the honor of Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II. In 2006, this Foundation has been awarded with the „Premio Príncipe de Asturias en Cooperación Internacional“.1.1. Early life

Bill Gates’ mug shot from 1977 when he was jailed for a stop-sign violation.

Bill Gates was born in Seattle, Washington to William H. Gates, Sr. and Mary Maxwell Gates. His family was wealthy; his father was a prominent lawyer, his mother was the first woman Regent of the University of Washington, and his maternal grandfather, J. W. Maxwell, was a national bank president. Gates has ttwo younger sisters, Kristanne and Libby.

According to the 1992 biography Hard Drive, Maxwell set up a million-dollar trust fund for Gates the year he was born. Gates commented on this claim in a 1994 interview with Playboy:

PLAYBOY: Did you have a million-dollar trust fund while you were at Harvard?

GATES: Not true. . . . . My parents are very successful, and I went to the nicest private school in the Seattle area. I was lucky. But I never had aany trust funds of any kind, though my dad did pay my tuition at Harvard, which was quite expensive.

Gates excelled in elementary school, particularly in mathematics and the sciences. Bill Gates went to Lakeside School, Seattle’s most exclusive preparatory school where tuition in 1967 was $5,000 (Harvard tuition that year was $1,760). Lakeside rented time on a DEC PDP-10, which Gates was able to use to pursue an interest in computers, a rare opportunity at the time. Gates was a member of the Boy Scouts of America and attained the rank of Life Scout. While in high school, he and Paul Allen founded Traf-O-Data, a company which sold traffic flow data systems to state governments. He also helped to create a payroll system in COBOL, for a company in Portland, Oregon.

According to a press inquiry he scored 1590 on his SATs, and was able to enroll in Harvard University prelaw program in 1973, where he met his future business partner, Steve Ballmer. During his second year at Harvard, Gates (along with Paul Allen and Monte Davidoff) co-wrote Altair BASIC for the Altair 8800. Gates dropped out of Harvard during his third year to pursue a career in software development. On DDecember 13, 1977, Gates was briefly jailed in Albuquerque for racing his Porsche 911 in the New Mexico desert.1.2. Microsoft

In 1984, Bill Gates appeared on the cover

of ‘TIME’ Magazine; he has appeared

seven more times.

After reading the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics that demonstrated the Altair 8800, Gates called MITS (Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems), the creators of the new microcomputer, to inform them that he and others had developed a version of the programming language BASIC for the platform. This was untrue, as Gates and Allen had never used an Altair previously nor developed any code for it. Within a period of eight weeks they developed an Altair emulator that ran on a minicomputer, and then the BASIC interpreter. Allen and Gates flew to MITS to unveil the new BASIC system. The demonstration was a success and resulted in a deal with MITS to buy the rights to Allen and Gates’s BASIC for the Altair platform. It was at this point that Gates left Harvard along with Allen to found Micro-Soft, which later became Microsoft Corporation.

In February 1976, Gates published his often-quoted „Open Letter to Hobbyists“. In the letter, Gates claimed that most users were using „stolen“ pirated ccopies of Altair BASIC and that no hobbyist could afford to produce, distribute, and maintain high-quality software without payment. This letter was unpopular with many amateur programmers, not just those few using copies of the software. In the ensuing years the letter gained significant support from Gates’ business partners and allies which gave rise to a movement that led to closed-source becoming the dominant model of software production. Despite Microsoft’s reliance on closed source, Gates has said that he collected discarded program listings at Harvard and learned programming techniques from them.

It has been pointed out that Microsoft often produces products that incorporate ideas developed outside Microsoft, such as GUIs, the BASIC programming language, or compressed file systems, without paying royalties to the companies that developed them. Some of these matters have gone to court. Apple v. Microsoft concluded that Microsoft had not infringed Apple’s intellectual property (partly because Apple had, apparently, licensed parts of the Macintosh user interface to Microsoft); Stac Electronics prevailed in its claim against the DoubleSpace file system. The BASIC question has not been litigated, but the trend in US law is that copyright does not extend to publicly documented programming languages.

Gates with Steve Jurvetson of

DFJ, Stratton Sclavos of Verisign and

Greg Papadopoulos of Sun Microsystems, October 1, 2004.

When IBM decided to build the hardware for a desktop personal computer in 1980, it needed to find an operating system. Microsoft did not have any operating system at this point. The most popular microcomputer operating system at the time was CP/M developed by Digital Research in Monterey. CP/M allowed software written for the Intel 8080/Zilog Z80 family of microprocessors to run on many different models of ccomputer from many different manufacturers. This device-independence feature was essential for the formation of the consumer software industry, as without it software had to be re-written for each different model of computer. Bill Gates referred IBM to Gary Kildall, the founder of Digital Research, but when they did not reach immediate agreement with him they went back to Gates, who offered to fill their need himself. He licensed a CP/M-compatible OS called QDOS („Quick and Dirty Operating System“) from Tim PPaterson of Seattle Computer Products for $56,000, and IBM shipped it as PC-DOS.

Later, after Compaq licensed Phoenix Technologies’ clone of the IBM BIOS, the market saw a flood of IBM PC clones. Microsoft was quick to license DOS to other mmanufacturers, calling it MS-DOS (for Microsoft Disk Operating System). By marketing MS-DOS aggressively to manufacturers of IBM-PC clones, Microsoft went from a small player to one of the major software vendors in the home computer industry. Microsoft continued. to develop operating systems as well as software applications. In the early 1980’s they created Microsoft Windows which was similar to Apple Computer’s Macintosh OS graphical user interface (GUI), both based on the human interface work at Xerox PARC. The first versions of the Windows OS did not sell well as stand-alone applications but started to be shipped pre-installed on many systems, reducing the incentive of users to buy competing products regardless of quality. Because of this, by the late-1980s Microsoft Windows hhad begun to make serious headway into the IBM-compatible PC software market. The release of Windows 3.0 in 1990 was a tremendous success, selling around 10 million copies in the first two years and cementing Microsoft’s dominance in operating systems.

By continuing to ensure, by various means, that most computers came with their software pre-installed, Microsoft eventually went on to become the largest software company in the world, earning Gates enough money that Forbes Magazine named him the wealthiest person in tthe world for several years. Gates served as the CEO of the company until 2000 when Steve Ballmer took the position. Gates continues to serve as a chairman of the board at the company and also as a position he created for himself entitled „Chief Software Architect“. Microsoft has thousands of patents, and Gates has nine patents to his name.

Bill Gates giving his deposition at Microsoft on August 27, 1998

Since Microsoft’s founding and as of 2006, Gates has had primary responsibility for Microsoft’s product strategy. He has aggressively broadened the company’s range of products, and wherever Microsoft has achieved a dominant position he has vigorously defended it. Many decisions that have led to antitrust litigation over Microsoft’s business practices have had Gates’s approval. In the 1998 United States v. Microsoft case, Gates gave deposition testimony that several journalists characterized as evasive. He argued over the definitions of words such as „compete“, „concerned“, „ask“, and „we.“ BusinessWeek reported, „early rounds of his deposition show him offering obfuscatory answers and saying ‘I don’t recall’ so many times that even the presiding judge had to chuckle. Worse, many of the technology chief’s denials and pleas of ignorance were directly refuted by prosecutors with ssnippets of e-mail Gates both sent and received.“

Gates meets regularly with Microsoft’s senior managers and program managers. By all accounts he can be extremely confrontational during these meetings, particularly when he believes that managers have not thought out their business strategy or have placed the company’s future at risk. He has been described shouting at length at employees before letting them continue, with such remarks as „That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard!“ and „Why don’t you just join the Peace Corps?“ However, he often backs down when the targets of his outbursts respond frankly and directly. When he is not impressed with the technical hurdles managers claim to be facing, he sometimes quips, „Do you want me to do it over the weekend?“

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