WHO IS BILL GATES? - Welcome to My Woven Words


On October 28, 1955, shortly after 9:00 p.m., William Henry Gates III was born.
He was born into a family with a rich history in business, politics, and
community service. His great-grandfather had been a state legislator and mayor,
 his grandfather was the vice president of a national bank, and his father was a
prominent lawyer. [Wallace, 1992, p. 8-9] Early on in life, it was apparent that
Bill Gates inherited the ambition, intelligence, and competitive spirit that had
helped his progenitors rise to the top in their chosen professions. In
elementary school he quickly surpassed all of his peer's abilities in nearly all
subjects, especially math and science. His parents recognized his intelligence
and decided to enroll him in Lakeside, a private school known for its intense
academic environment. This decision had far reaching effects on Bill Gates's
life. For at Lakeside, Bill Gates was first introduced to computers.

First computing Experience
In the Spring of 1968, the Lakeside prep school decided that it should acquaint
the student body with the world of computers [Teamgates.com, 9/29/96]. Computers
were still too large and costly for the school to purchase its own. Instead, the
school had a fund raiser and bought computer time on a DEC PDP-10 owned by
General Electric. A few thousand dollars were raised which the school figured
would buy more than enough time to last into the next school year. However,
Lakeside had drastically underestimated the allure this machine would have for a
hand full of young students.
 Bill Gates, Paul Allen, and a few other Lakeside students (many of whom were
the first programmers hired at Microsoft) immediately became inseparable from
the computer. They would stay in the computer room all day and night, writing
programs, reading computer literature and anything else they could to learn
about computing. Soon Gates and the others started running into problems with
the faculty. Their homework was being turned in late (if at all), they were
skipping classes to be in the computer room and worst of all, they had used up
all of the schools computer time in just a few weeks. [Wallace, 1992, p. 24]
In the fall of 1968, Computer Center Corporation opened for business in Seattle.
It was offering computing time at good rates, and one of the chief programmers
working for the corporation had a child attending Lakeside. A deal was struck
between Lakeside Prep School and the Computer Center Corporation that allowed
the school to continue providing it's students with computer time. [Wallace,
1992, p. 27] Gates and his comrades immediately began exploring the contents of
this new machine. It was not long before the young hackers started causing
problems. They caused the system to crash several times and broke the computers
security system. They even altered the files that recorded the amount of
computer time they were using. They were caught and the Computer Center
Corporation banned them from the system for several weeks.
Bill Gates, Paul Allen and, two other hackers from Lakeside formed the Lakeside
Programmers Group in late 1968. They were determined to find a way to apply
their computer skills in the real world. The first opportunity to do this was a
direct result of their mischievous activity with the school's computer time. The
Computer Center Corporation's business was beginning to suffer due to the
systems weak security and the frequency that it crashed. Impressed with Gates
and the other Lakeside computer addicts' previous assaults on their computer,
the Computer Center Corporation decided to hire the students to find bugs and
expose weaknesses in the computer system. In return for the Lakeside Programming
Group's help, the Computer Center Corporation would give them unlimited computer
time [Wallace, 1992, p. 27]. The boys could not refuse. Gates is quoted as
saying "It was when we got free time at C-cubed (Computer Center Corporation)
that we really got into computers. I mean, then I became hardcore. It was day
and night" [Wallace, 1992, p. 30]. Although the group was hired just to find
bugs, they also read any computer related material that the day shift had left
behind. The young hackers would even pick employees for new information. It was
here that Gates and Allen really began to develop the talents that would lead to
the formation of Microsoft seven years later.

Roots of Business Career
Computer Center Corporation began to experience financial problems late in 1969.
The company finally went out of business in March of 1970. The Lakeside
Programmers Group had to find a new way to get computer time. Eventually they
found a few computers on the University of Washington's campus where Allen's dad
worked. The Lakeside Programmers Group began searching for new chances to apply
their computer skills. Their first opportunity came early the next year when
Information Sciences Inc. hired them to program a payroll program. Once again
the group was given free computer time and for the first time, a source of
income. ISI had agreed to give them royalties whenever it made money from any of
the groups programs. As a result of the business deal signed with Information
Sciences Inc., the group also had to become a legal business [Wallace, 1992, p.
42-43]. Gates and Allen's next project involved starting another company
entirely on their own, Traf-O-Data. They produced a small computer which was
used to help measure traffic flow. From the project they grossed around $20,000.
The Traf-O-Data company lasted until Gates left for college. During Bill Gates'
junior year at Lakeside, the administration offered him a job computerizing the
school's scheduling system. Gates asked Allen to help with the project. He
agreed and the following summer, they wrote the program. In his senior year,
Gates and Allen continued looking for opportunities to use their skills and make
some money. It was not long until they found this opportunity. The defense
contractor TRW was having trouble with a bug infested computer similar to the
one at Computer Center Corporation. TRW had learned of the experience the two
had working on the Computer Center Corporation's system and offered Gates and
Allen jobs. However thing would be different at TRW they would not be finding
the bugs they would be in charge of fixing them. "It was at TRW that Gates began
to develop as a serious programer," and it was there that Allen and Gates first
started talking seriously about forming their own software company [Wallace,
1992, p. 49-51].
In the fall of 1973, Bill Gates left home for Harvard University [Teamgates.com,
9/29/96]. He had no idea what he wanted to study, so he enrolled as prelaw.
Gates took the standard freshman courses with the exception of signing up for
one of Harvard's toughest math courses. He did well but just as in high school,
his heart was not in his studies. After locating the school's computer center,
he lost himself in the world of computers once again. Gates would spend many
long nights in front of the school's computer and the next days asleep in class.
Paul Allen and Gates remained in close contact even with Bill away at school.
They would often discuss ideas for future projects and the possibility of one
day starting a business. At the end of Gates's first year at Harvard, the two
decided that Allen should move closer to him so that they may be able to follow
up on some of their ideas. That summer they both got jobs working for Honeywell
[Wallace, 1992, p. 59]. As the summer dragged on, Allen began to push Bill
harder with the idea that they should open a software company. Gates was still
not sure enough to drop out of school. The following year, however, that would
all change.

William (Bill) H. Gates is chairman of Microsoft Corporation, the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Microsoft had revenues of US$51.12 billion for the fiscal year ending June 2007, and employs more than 78,000 people in 105 countries and regions.

On June 15, 2006, Microsoft announced that effective July 2008 Gates will transition out of a day-to-day role in the company to spend more time on his global health and education work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. After July 2008 Gates will continue to serve as Microsoft’s chairman and an advisor on key development projects. The two-year transition process is to ensure that there is a smooth and orderly transfer of Gates’ daily responsibilities. Effective June 2006, Ray Ozzie has assumed Gates’ previous title as chief software architect and is working side by side with Gates on all technical architecture and product oversight responsibilities at Microsoft.

Craig Mundie has assumed the new title of chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft and is working closely with Gates to assume his responsibility for the company’s research and incubation efforts. Born on Oct. 28, 1955, Gates grew up in Seattle with his two sisters. Their father, William H. Gates II, is a Seattle attorney. Their late mother, Mary Gates, was a schoolteacher, University of Washington regent, and chairwoman of United Way International. Gates attended public elementary school and the private Lakeside School. There, he discovered his interest in software and began programming computers at age 13.

In 1973, Gates entered Harvard University as a freshman, where he lived down the hall from Steve Ballmer, now Microsoft's chief executive officer. While at Harvard, Gates developed a version of the programming language BASIC for the first microcomputer - the MITS Altair. In his junior year, Gates left Harvard to devote his energies to Microsoft, a company he had begun in 1975 with his childhood friend Paul Allen. Guided by a belief that the computer would be a valuable tool on every office desktop and in every home, they began developing software for personal computers. Gates' foresight and his vision for personal computing have been central to the success of Microsoft and the software industry.

Under Gates' leadership, Microsoft's mission has been to continually advance and improve software technology, and to make it easier, more cost-effective and more enjoyable for people to use computers. The company is committed to a long-term view, reflected in its investment of approximately $7.1 billion on research and development in the 2007 fiscal year.

In 1999, Gates wrote Business @ the Speed of Thought, a book that shows how computer technology can solve business problems in fundamentally new ways. The book was published in 25 languages and is available in more than 60 countries. Business @ the Speed of Thought has received wide critical acclaim, and was listed on the best-seller lists of the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and Amazon.com. Gates' previous book, The Road Ahead, published in 1995, held the No. 1 spot on the New York Times' bestseller list for seven weeks.
Top row: Steve Wood (left), Bob Wallace, Jim Lane. Middle row: Bob O'Rear, Bob Greenberg, Marc McDonald, Gordon Letwin. Bottom row: Bill Gates, Andrea Lewis, Marla Wood, Paul Allen. December 7, 1978. Gates has donated the proceeds of both books to non-profit organizations that support the use of technology in education and skills development.

In addition to his love of computers and software, Gates founded Corbis, which is developing one of the world's largest resources of visual information - a comprehensive digital archive of art and photography from public and private collections around the globe. He is also a member of the board of directors of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which invests in companies engaged in diverse business activities.

Philanthropy is also important to Gates. He and his wife, Melinda, have endowed a foundation with more than $28.8 billion (as of January 2005) to support philanthropic initiatives in the areas of global health and learning, with the hope that in the 21st century, advances in these critical areas will be available for all people. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed more than $3.6 billion to organizations working in global health; more than $2 billion to improve learning opportunities, including the Gates Library Initiative to bring computers, Internet Access and training to public libraries in low-income communities in the United States and Canada; more than $477 million to community projects in the Pacific Northwest; and more than $488 million to special projects and annual giving campaigns.

Gates was married on Jan. 1, 1994, to Melinda French Gates. They have three children. Gates is an avid reader, and enjoys playing golf and bridge.

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