Bill Gates and Microsoft

October 28, 1955, the man who would revolutionize the
computer industry as we know it, was born. The son of Bill Jr.

and Mary Gates was named William Henry Gates III. The
computer super-genius was soon to take his place in history.

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Within the last fifteen years the company that he and Paul
Allan started, Microsoft, has become the largest software
corporation in the computer industry. What is Bill Gates
background, and how did he preserve his place in history
while amassing his fortune? Bill Gates grew up in a typical
wealthy family. His father, Bill Gates Jr., was a lawyer in
Seattle, Washington. His mother was a socialite housewife
and occasional teacher. Growing up, Bill Gates nickname
was “Trey.” This nickname was indicative of the III after his
name. This nickname has stayed with him throughout his life
to date (Wallace and Erikson 10). Bill also grew up as a
middle child between his two sisters. His older sister is named
Kirsti, and his younger sisters name is Libby (Sihvonen 3).

Bill Gates attended Lakeside School (an expensive private
school in Seattle) as a child. Bill Gates was first introduced to
computers as a student at Lakeside School. A company called
Computer Center Corporation (referred to as “C-cubed” by Bill
Gates) leased computers from Digital Equipment Corporation.

In 1968, the board of Lakeside School decided to provide a
computer (a GE PDP-10 connected via Teletype at the
school), and computer time for their students (Wallace and
Erikson 26). Almost instantly, Bill and a handful of fellow
students were addicted to the new computer. Within a year,
Bill Gates, Paul Allan, and two other students of Lakeside
School formed the Lakeside Programmers Group. At the age
of 13, Bill Gates had already constructed an application
(program) that played tic-tac-toe. Later, the Lakeside
Programmers Group developed an application called
Traf-O-Data. This was a program that would calculate the
number of cars traveling down a road, and would give the
best timing for a stop light. C-cubed used Gates and his
friends to try and hack items, but Gates was often scolded for
hacking too much. Unfortunately, in 1970, C-cubed went out
of business. Soon after C-cubed went out of business, Bills
parents made him give up computers. They stated that he
was becoming too addicted. With the same enthusiasm as he
had placed in computers, he dove into his high school
classes. He especially committed himself to reading. His
favorite books included Catcher in the Rye and A Separate
Peace. Even though Bill tried to be “normal” in high school, he
was still very much considered an outcast to those who did
not know him. Those who did not know him thought of him as
egotistical and nerdy. To the opposite, those who did know
him thought of him as energetic and a risk taker (Wallace and
Erikson 25-37). His best friend throughout life has been Paul
Allan. Later, it would be Gates and Allan that created
Microsoft. After a one year absence, Bill Gates once again
took up computers and associated with the Lakeside
Programmers Group. In 1971, the Lakeside Programmers
Group received an excellent opportunity. They had received a
call from Information Sciences Incorporated to create a
program that would deal with payrolls on a PDP-10 computer.

Paul Allan and a friend told Gates that there was not enough
work to go around, and not to worry about doing anything in
the project. In the end, it was Gates and a friend who did most
of the programming (Wallace and Erikson 42). Gates father
took care of the legal implications of the project throughout
this time. Gates and the fellow programmers went on a bus to
Portland, Oregon to deliver the product. When they met the
executives, they were given a sheet of paper and a pen to
write a resume for them, so they could be hired on the spot.

They agreed on a price for the product. It was ten percent of
the profit in royalties. They also received about ten thousand
dollars worth of computer time. In a joint effort between Bill
Gates and Kent Evans, they constructed an application to
computerize class schedules. In the 1972-73 school year, the
school used the program for a cost of two dollars per student.

To this day, the changes in the program have only been
minor, as it is still being used. In the fall of 1973, Bill Gates
began college at Harvard University. His major was in
pre-law, though he did not know what he wanted to do. In his
third year of college, Bill Gates dropped out to begin a
company called “Micro-Soft”( A combination of
“microcomputer software”), centered in Albuquerque, New
Mexico. While still at Harvard, Bill Gates had been working on
a new program called “BASIC”(Beginners All-purpose
Symbolic Instruction). This was a new programming language.

The first computer to use BASIC was the Altair. Gates told the
Altair executives that BASIC was done three weeks before it
was actually finished. This is an example of business-wise
Gates is. If would not have done this, he never would have
received the contract to create and own the language used on
the Altair, and Bill Gates company, Microsoft, would have
died. From then on, BASIC evolved along with Microsoft. Bill
Gates later purchased a product and rights to a revolutionary
new disk operating system called 86-QDOS from Seattle
Computer Products. He then changed the name to MS-DOS
and resold the product for a profit. Keeping the rights, he got
to receive royalties in addition to the sale price of MS-DOS.

Bill Gates and Microsoft still to this day receive royalties and
profits from the original 86-QDOS. Later in the life of
Microsoft, Bill Gates developed a new GUI (Graphical User
Interface), for a disk operating system. He called this new
style Windows. Windows versions 1-2 earned him a small
amount of money, but the major jackpot came from Windows
3.1, Windows 95, Windows NT, and soon, Windows 98. This
new approach to a graphical interface has often been
imitated, but no imitation has ever come close to the power
and friendliness of his Windows products. Recently, Microsoft
and Bill Gates have selected the Internet as the cutting edge.

They have focused their time and effort to create programs
that will work with “the web”. The United States Justice
Department has slapped Microsoft with an anti-trust lawsuit
on behalf of the American people. Generally, the American
people are happy with Microsoft because Microsofts products
run their computers. Bill Gates has not only left his mark in the
past, but is and will be in the present and future. With the
future release of Windows 98, Bill Gates has shown that he
has the staying power in the PC (Personal Computer) market
like no other individual or person in history. In addition to the
operating systems, Microsoft also has many other products
for PCs. Microsofts products include Word, Excel, Access,
PowerPoint, and Schedule+. With these products, Microsoft
has made life easier for all people who use PCs. Not only has
Bill Gates changed the computer market for individuals, but
with Windows NT, he has focused in on the business world
as well. Bill Gates to date is worth a total of 48.4 billion
dollars. The equivalent amount would be if everyone in
America were to give $179.54 (Greenspun 1). With this
money, he has the opportunity to change the world physically,
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.”
April 10, 1998 Microsoft, “Bill Gates- About Bill.”
Http:// April 10, 1998 Team Gates, “Bill
Gates.” Http:// April 10, 1998 Philip
Greenspun, “Bill Gates Personal Wealth Clock.”
Http:// May 10, 1998


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