October 28, 1955, the man who would revolutionize thecomputer industry as we know it, was born.
The son of Bill Jr.and Mary Gates was named William Henry Gates III. Thecomputer super-genius was soon to take his place in history.
Within the last fifteen years the company that he and PaulAllan started, Microsoft, has become the largest softwarecorporation in the computer industry. What is Bill Gatesbackground, and how did he preserve his place in historywhile amassing his fortune? Bill Gates grew up in a typicalwealthy family. His father, Bill Gates Jr., was a lawyer inSeattle, Washington. His mother was a socialite housewifeand occasional teacher. Growing up, Bill Gates nicknamewas “Trey.
” This nickname was indicative of the III after hisname. This nickname has stayed with him throughout his lifeto date (Wallace and Erikson 10). Bill also grew up as amiddle child between his two sisters. His older sister is namedKirsti, and his younger sisters name is Libby (Sihvonen 3).Bill Gates attended Lakeside School (an expensive privateschool in Seattle) as a child.
Bill Gates was first introduced tocomputers as a student at Lakeside School. A company calledComputer Center Corporation (referred to as “C-cubed” by BillGates) leased computers from Digital Equipment Corporation.In 1968, the board of Lakeside School decided to provide acomputer (a GE PDP-10 connected via Teletype at theschool), and computer time for their students (Wallace andErikson 26). Almost instantly, Bill and a handful of fellowstudents were addicted to the new computer.
Within a year,Bill Gates, Paul Allan, and two other students of LakesideSchool formed the Lakeside Programmers Group. At the ageof 13, Bill Gates had already constructed an application(program) that played tic-tac-toe. Later, the LakesideProgrammers Group developed an application calledTraf-O-Data.
This was a program that would calculate thenumber of cars traveling down a road, and would give thebest timing for a stop light. C-cubed used Gates and hisfriends to try and hack items, but Gates was often scolded forhacking too much. Unfortunately, in 1970, C-cubed went outof business. Soon after C-cubed went out of business, Billsparents made him give up computers.
They stated that hewas becoming too addicted. With the same enthusiasm as hehad placed in computers, he dove into his high schoolclasses. He especially committed himself to reading. Hisfavorite books included Catcher in the Rye and A SeparatePeace.
Even though Bill tried to be “normal” in high school, hewas still very much considered an outcast to those who didnot know him. Those who did not know him thought of him asegotistical and nerdy. To the opposite, those who did knowhim thought of him as energetic and a risk taker (Wallace andErikson 25-37).
His best friend throughout life has been PaulAllan. Later, it would be Gates and Allan that createdMicrosoft. After a one year absence, Bill Gates once againtook up computers and associated with the LakesideProgrammers Group. In 1971, the Lakeside ProgrammersGroup received an excellent opportunity. They had received acall from Information Sciences Incorporated to create aprogram that would deal with payrolls on a PDP-10 computer.Paul Allan and a friend told Gates that there was not enoughwork to go around, and not to worry about doing anything inthe project. In the end, it was Gates and a friend who did mostof the programming (Wallace and Erikson 42).
Gates fathertook care of the legal implications of the project throughoutthis time. Gates and the fellow programmers went on a bus toPortland, Oregon to deliver the product. When they met theexecutives, they were given a sheet of paper and a pen towrite a resume for them, so they could be hired on the spot.They agreed on a price for the product. It was ten percent ofthe profit in royalties. They also received about ten thousanddollars worth of computer time.
In a joint effort between BillGates and Kent Evans, they constructed an application tocomputerize class schedules. In the 1972-73 school year, theschool used the program for a cost of two dollars per student.To this day, the changes in the program have only beenminor, as it is still being used. In the fall of 1973, Bill Gatesbegan college at Harvard University. His major was inpre-law, though he did not know what he wanted to do. In histhird year of college, Bill Gates dropped out to begin acompany called “Micro-Soft”( A combination of”microcomputer software”), centered in Albuquerque, NewMexico.
While still at Harvard, Bill Gates had been working ona new program called “BASIC”(Beginners All-purposeSymbolic Instruction). This was a new programming language.The first computer to use BASIC was the Altair. Gates told theAltair executives that BASIC was done three weeks before itwas actually finished. This is an example of business-wiseGates is. If would not have done this, he never would havereceived the contract to create and own the language used onthe Altair, and Bill Gates company, Microsoft, would havedied.
From then on, BASIC evolved along with Microsoft. BillGates later purchased a product and rights to a revolutionarynew disk operating system called 86-QDOS from SeattleComputer Products. He then changed the name to MS-DOSand resold the product for a profit. Keeping the rights, he gotto receive royalties in addition to the sale price of MS-DOS.Bill Gates and Microsoft still to this day receive royalties andprofits from the original 86-QDOS.
Later in the life ofMicrosoft, Bill Gates developed a new GUI (Graphical UserInterface), for a disk operating system. He called this newstyle Windows. Windows versions 1-2 earned him a smallamount of money, but the major jackpot came from Windows3.1, Windows 95, Windows NT, and soon, Windows 98.
Thisnew approach to a graphical interface has often beenimitated, but no imitation has ever come close to the powerand friendliness of his Windows products. Recently, Microsoftand Bill Gates have selected the Internet as the cutting edge.They have focused their time and effort to create programsthat will work with “the web”.
The United States JusticeDepartment has slapped Microsoft with an anti-trust lawsuiton behalf of the American people. Generally, the Americanpeople are happy with Microsoft because Microsofts productsrun their computers. Bill Gates has not only left his mark in thepast, but is and will be in the present and future. With thefuture release of Windows 98, Bill Gates has shown that hehas the staying power in the PC (Personal Computer) marketlike no other individual or person in history.
In addition to theoperating systems, Microsoft also has many other productsfor PCs. Microsofts products include Word, Excel, Access,PowerPoint, and Schedule+. With these products, Microsofthas made life easier for all people who use PCs. Not only hasBill Gates changed the computer market for individuals, butwith Windows NT, he has focused in on the business worldas well.
Bill Gates to date is worth a total of 48.4 billiondollars. The equivalent amount would be if everyone inAmerica were to give $179.54 (Greenspun 1). With thismoney, he has the opportunity to change the world physically,Bibliography:James Wallace, and Jim Erickson. Hard Drive.
New York, New York: HarperBusiness, 1993. “In Search of the Real Bill Gates.” Time 13 January 1997.
Sami Sihvonen, “Bill Gates FAQ.” Http://www.geocities.com/BourbonStreet/4211/bill-faq.htm April 10, 1998 Microsoft, “Bill Gates- About Bill.” Http://www.microsoft.com April 10, 1998 Team Gates, “Bill Gates.” Http://www.teamgates.com April 10, 1998 Philip Greenspun, “Bill Gates Personal Wealth Clock.” Http://webho.com/WealthClock May 10, 1998