William Henry Gates, III was born October 28, 1955 in Seattle, Washington. He was the middle
child of three born to William and Mary Gates. ATrey,@ as he was called because of the III, was
sent to a private school by his father, a lawyer, and mother, a former teacher now on several
prestigous boards (Moritz, 238). At age 13, Bill had completely taught himself programming after
taking a computer studies class. After scoring a perfect 800 on the mathematics half of the SAT,
he graduated from Lakeside school and enrolled at Harvard University as a prelaw major.
student Gates was a wonder. He received an A in an economics class without attending and
cramming the night before the final exam. In June 1975, Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to
pursue a career in computers full time.
Later that year after dropping out of Harvard he moved to New Mexico. There he and Allen Kay
established Microsoft to produce their Basic for the MITS.
Eighteen months later they were a few
hundred thousand dollars richer and were hired by Tandy to develop software for its radio shack
computers. Gates and Allen then moved their headquarters to Seattle, Washington. In Seattle,
Gates re-wrote an operating system and called it MS-DOS, which stands for Microsoft Disk
Operating System. Microsoft would eventually sell the rights of MS-DOS to IBM, making it a major
computer corporation. Other computer companies wanted Microsoft to produce software for their
computers, including Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak of Apple computers. With the operating
system established, Gates and Microsoft set out to create applications software, for tasks such
as financial analysis or word processing. Microsoft has continued being successful through the
years and will be in the future as long as !
it keeps innovating new and exciting computer software.
Bill Gates has his eye on the future. He sees the world in a Apowerful, high-speed network-both
within companies and across the so called Information [email protected] (Brandt, 57). He hopes to
be on top of the Transformation from Personal Computers to nets. Gates predicts that an
explosion of low-cost, high-capacity, networks will radically alter how we use technology in the
Now before Bill Gates came onto the scene in the early seventies, the main focus in the computer
world was hardware. Chips, circuit boards, capacitors and controllers these were what
computers were all about at this time. Companies like IBM, Compaq and Apple were at the head
of the pack in the Aindustry that pushed hefty boxes of metal and plastic and silicon at thousands
ob bucks a [email protected](Manes, 4) No one had yet attempted to tap the software business, a market
that was inevitably going to grow as fast of faster than its complimentary hardware market. Bill
gates saw this opportunity and took advantage of it.
When William Henry Gates came into the world in the year 1955, the fledgling computer industry
was still trying to spread its wings and fly. AOn the day he was born in 1955, fewer then 500
electronic computers had existed in the entire world, their total retail value amounted to less then
on a computer in 1968 while in junior high school. The computer business was rapidly
transforming at this time, and so was Bill Gates. He saw the real profitable side of computers was
not their hardware. Rather it was the software end of the business. Good software is what makes
a computer exciting and easy to use. Bill Gates grabbed this concept and ran with it. The result:
As of 1993 AGates was personally worth more than $2 [email protected], and his company, Microsoft, was
Avalued at more than $7 [email protected](Manes, 2)
As Microsoft and the software industry grew, the computer hardware manufacturers no longer
saw the opportunity to exploit Bill Gates= company, as they had done initially with BASIC, one of
the first programs Microsoft produced. Rather, they saw Bill Gates and Microsoft as the Controller
of their destinies. Microsoft software had become so popular that if your hardware could not run it,
you were certain of defeat. Throughout the early 80’s, Bill was the ruler of the computer industry.
AHis decisions on which machines to back and which to ignore helped to make companies and
break them. Heads of firms that created computers and microprocessors regularly make
pilgrimages to Microsoft=s wooded headquarters in Redmond, Washington, to sit at the feet of the
[email protected](Manes, 4)
In 1986, Microsoft again revolutionized the computer industry and launched its first version of
Windows. Microsoft called Windows an Aoperating environment,@ meaning it was designed
mainly to run other programs. The difference between this system and the original BASIC
language was that Windows incorporated a Graphical user interface or [email protected], (pronounced as
[email protected]) as it was known in the industry. This interface gave a symbolic representation of a
desktop to every computer screen across the country, complete with little pictures called
[email protected] to signify different files and programs. Opening these files and programs was like
opening different [email protected], hence the name. Finally, non-Macintosh personal computers had
become user friendly; no longer was it seen by the majority of the consuming public as a cold,
high-tech piece of equipment whose secrets could only be unlocked by some alien script.
The first seven years after the announcement of windows, however, was not exactly smooth
sailing for Bill Gates and Microsoft. AOver those seven years, the windows story had been one of
tepid reviews, backhanding compliments, empty hype, sluggish [email protected](Manes, 7) If these
problems were not enough, in the same period, Apple computer, headed by Steve Jobs and Steve
Wozniak, had sued Microsoft accusing the company of stealing their Macintosh ideas for the
Despite all of these setbacks, Windows finally caught on and spread like wildfire. Since its
introduction, Microsoft has introduced numerous updated versions of the original windows
application software, the most recent being Windows 95. Like the introduction of the original
Windows program ; however, the Windows 95 version was anything but smooth. Microsoft again
found itself in another legal battle, but this time it was up against the U.S. Justice Department.
AAlthough the department will confirm only that it is conducting an unspecified investigation in the
computer industry, it appears to have launched three antitrust probes into Bill Gates [email protected]
reported the June 24, 1995 issue of the Economic magazine. (The Economist, 59) The basis
behind these probes was focused upon possible misuse of licensing agreements and royalty fees
by Microsoft with many personal computer makers.
Just as the operating software of Bill Gates and Microsoft become the standard of personal
computers, so would Mr. Gates like to dominate the software end of the up and coming
multimedia market. This market spans from virtual reality video games to interactive multimedia
programming on cable television. To begin its movement into this market, Gates now has a
contract to Asupply software to Sega, a Japanese video-games maker whose central character, a
hyperactive hedgehog called Sonic, is the industry=s hottest [email protected] In addition to Sega, AMr.
Gates has also been talking to Time Warner and TCI about forming a venture, to be known as
CableSoft, that should set standards for interactive [email protected](The Economist, 73)
Bill Gates and his company Microsoft have been at the head of the rapidly changing computer
industry for much of its existence. If profit margins and stock prices continue to grow and
Microsoft products continue to be household names, the duo will remain in this position will into
1. Manes, Stephen; Andrews, Paul; Gates – How Microsoft=s Mogul Reinvented An Industry – And
Made Himself The Richest Man In America. Doubleday 1993
2. AA Trojan [email protected], The Economist. January 22, 1994, p.73-74
3. AHigh noon for Billy the [email protected], The Economist. June 24, 1995, P.59-60
4. Bitter, Gary G. AWillian H. [email protected] Macmillan Encyclopedia of Computers. Macmillan
Publishing: New York, NY, 1992, P.409-410.
5. Brandt, Richard. ABill Gate=s [email protected] Business Week. June 27, 1994, P.56-62.
6. Moritz, Charles. AWilliam [email protected] Current Biography. H.W. Wilson Company: New York, NY,
Cite this Biographical Research Paper – Bill Gates
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