Who Is Bill Gates?

Bill Gates
Bill Gates

Entrepreneur Bill Gates founded the world’s largest software business, Microsoft, with Paul Allen, and subsequently became one of the richest men in the world.

He is best known as the co-founder of Microsoft Corporation. During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of chairman, chief executive officer (CEO), president and chief software architect, while also being the largest individual shareholder until May 2014. He is one of the best-known entrepreneurs and pioneers of the microcomputer revolution of the 1970s and 1980s.

Also read, Bill Gates’s Wife and net worth.

Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Gates co-founded Microsoft with childhood friend Paul Allen in 1975, in Albuquerque, New Mexico; it went on to become the world’s largest personal computer software company. Gates led the company as chairman and CEO until stepping down as CEO in January 2000, but he remained chairman and became chief software architect. During the late 1990s, Gates had been criticized for his business tactics, which have been considered anti-competitive.

This opinion has been upheld by numerous court rulings. In June 2006, Gates announced that he would be transitioning to a part-time role at Microsoft and full-time work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the private charitable foundation that he and his wife, Melinda Gates, established in 2000. He gradually transferred his duties to Ray Ozzie and Craig Mundie. He stepped down as chairman of Microsoft in February 2014 and assumed a new post as technology adviser to support the newly appointed CEO Satya Nadella.

Since 1987, he has been included in the Forbes list of the world’s wealthiest people. From 1995 to 2017, he held the Forbes title of the richest person in the world all but four of those years. In October 2017, he was surpassed by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who had an estimated net worth of US$90.6 billion compared to Gates’s net worth of US$89.9 billion at the time. As of July 2020, Gates had an estimated net worth of US$111.8 billion, making him the second-wealthiest person in the world, behind Bezos.

Later in his career and since leaving day-to-day operations at Microsoft in 2008, Gates has pursued a number of philanthropic endeavors. He has given sizable amounts of money to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, reported to be the world’s largest private charity. In 2009, Gates and Warren Buffett founded The Giving Pledge, whereby they and other billionaires pledge to give at least half of their wealth to philanthropy.

Early Life

Gates was born William Henry Gates III on October 28, 1955, in Seattle, Washington. Gates grew up in an upper-middle-class family with his older sister, Kristianne, and younger sister, Libby. Their father, William H. Gates Sr., was a promising, if somewhat shy, law student when he met his future wife, Mary Maxwell. She was an athletic, outgoing student at the University of Washington, actively involved in student affairs and leadership.

The Gates family atmosphere was warm and close, and all three children were encouraged to be competitive and strive for excellence. Gates showed early signs of competitiveness when he coordinated family athletic games at their summer house on Puget Sound. He also relished in playing board games (Risk was his favorite) and excelled at Monopoly.

Gates had a very close relationship with his mother, Mary, who after a brief career as a teacher devoted her time to helping raise the children and working on civic affairs and with charities. She also served on several corporate boards, including those of the First Interstate Bank in Seattle (founded by her grandfather), the United Way and International Business Machines (IBM). She would often take Gates along when she volunteered in schools and at community organizations.

Bill Gates’s Education

Bill Gates was a voracious reader as a child, spending many hours poring over reference books such as the encyclopedia. Around the age of 11 or 12, Gates’s parents began to have concerns about his behavior. He was doing well in school, but he seemed bored and withdrawn at times, and his parents worried he might become a loner.

Though they were strong believers in public education, when Gates turned 13, his parents enrolled him at Seattle’s exclusive preparatory Lakeside School. He blossomed in nearly all his subjects, excelling in math and science, but also doing very well in drama and English.

While at Lakeside School, a Seattle computer company offered to provide computer time for the students. The Mother’s Club used proceeds from the school’s rummage sale to purchase a teletype terminal for students to use. Gates became entranced with what a computer could do and spent much of his free time working on the terminal. He wrote a tic-tac-toe program in BASIC computer language that allowed users to play against the computer.

Gates graduated from Lakeside in 1973. He scored 1590 out of 1600 on the college SAT test, a feat of intellectual achievement that he boasted about for several years when introducing himself to new people.

Did Bill Gates Go to College?

Gates enrolled at Harvard University in the fall of 1973, originally thinking of a career in law. Much to his parents’ dismay, Gates dropped out of college in 1975 to pursue his business, Microsoft, with partner Allen. 

Gates spent more of his time in the computer lab than in class. He did not really have a study regimen; he got by on a few hours of sleep, crammed for a test, and passed with a reasonable grade.