Bill Gates? When most people hear that name they think of money, power, and computers. These thoughts aren’t necessarily incorrect, but rather insufficient. Sure, Bill Gates has money, thirty-two billion and growing to be exact, and yes he has power, being the CEO of Microsoft as well as the wealthiest man in the country. But people can’t look through their jealousy and envy to see what Mr. Gates actually stands for. He has influences the way businesses, schools, and organizations operate, with the creations his programs, and operating systems (Windows). As well Bill along with his wife, Melinda; have spent numerous hours in press conferences and funding campaigns. Together they have founded educational charity organizations. Nevertheless, hard work and dedication led him to his wealthy state, and positive effects.
Bill, his full name: William H. Gates III, was born on October 28, 1955, and grew up in Seattle Washington. His father, William H. Gates II, was a prominent lawyer and was rather wealthy. His mother, Mary Gates was a schoolteacher, and served on many charitable boards, and also, was chairwoman of United Way International. Bill showed a lot of talent for math and logic.
Bill Gates’ accomplishments began when he was at the age of 13. His father enrolled him in the private Lakeside school. This is where his career in personal computer software started. Having an interest in computers was extremely rare, especially for a young teenage boy. For computers back then were still the size of a room, and only run by sophisticated scientists. Bill met Paul Allen, a fellow classmate with an interest in computers also. These two along with others formed a group called the Lakeside Programmers.
Paul and Bill became very close friends, as well as programmers. They created a scheduling program for the school. This aided the administration in filling slots for classes each semester. Then a couple months afterwards, the duo founded a company called Traf-O-Data. This machine generated statistics on traffic flow from a rubber tube strung across a highway. Unfortunately Traf-O-Data was not a huge success, but gained Paul and Bill experience for their future endeavors.
In 1973, Gates entered Harvard University with a major in law, pressed on him by his father. During his freshmen year his long time friend Paul Allen showed him Altair 8800. Made by M.I.T.S., a computer engineering company, it lacked a monitor and keyboard, but most important it lacked software. Gates and Allen teamed up once again and signed a contract with M.I.T.S. A year or so later the creation of BASIC arrived. BASIC is a simple, but commonly used programming language used by many high schools and small scale businesses worldwide. With the creation of this new language, more and more people began taking interest in the computer world.
Bill was now in his junior year at Harvard. He decided to drop out to start a company with Paul Allen. This company is called the now famous Microsoft. In a span of a couple of years Microsoft wrote a bunch of software. Then in 1980 came an event that changed Gate’s life around. IBM wanted all of Microsoft’s programming languages. IBM asked Bill if he would provide an operating system for its first personal computer. He introduced to them MS-DOS, the first operating system to be distributed. It was software that enabled the computer to carry out commands. It was very user-friendly so even children could use it, making it very popular. He licensed it to IBM. The markets exploded as the computer age erupted. This made it possible for businesses to use IBM’s computers, gaining them enormous profits. Along with this great achievement, Microsoft was set financially for the next couple years due to licensing agreements with IBM.
Microsoft continued on making consumer applications. One of these applications was Microsoft Word. This program is used in almost every personal computer, school, and business. In 1993, Gate’s and his associates introduced Windows, a widespread operating system that contained graphics in its interface. Windows 95 followed this prototype, then followed by Windows 98. Windows is used on virtually all personal computers across the world. People can use computers now with little or no experience or lessons. From my knowledge, I think that if Bill hadn’t created Windows, I wouldn’t be sitting here typing this paper on my advanced gateway computer. I would probably be sitting in front of an Apple or Macintosh, using some lame, clunky, text-based program.
Along with the creation of Windows, came ideas for other computer applications. Such as MSIE, or Microsoft Internet Explorer. MSIE became an important weapon in the way users control the interface of the Internet. Since so many people were using and content with Windows, MSIE was a shoo-in for buyers. Of the other applications, Microsoft Office, MSN, Visual BASIC, Outlook Express. All of these programs were a big hit with businesses and families. It made email and the Internet easy and user-friendly.
By now Bill and his family were extremely wealthy. They decided to invest money in various organizations. With an interest in biotechnology, Bill invested in Darwin Molecular, a company who is developing vaccines for malaria, tuberculosis, and AIDS. He also founded Corbin Corporation, a corporation that is developing a resource for digital art and photography around the world. Another investment, in cellular technology, was with Teledesic. This company has a plan to launch hundreds of orbital satellites around the globe to provide worldwide telecommunications service.
Bill and Melinda have also founded the William H. Gates foundation. The foundation supports education, global health, and community giving in the Pacific Northwest. He has over seventeen billion dollars endowed in the William H Gates Foundation. One of the chief aims of this foundation though is to expand the services to enable women to carry babies, increase access to voluntary family planning services, and the prevention of cervical cancer. All very important issues in life today. In some developing countries, a woman’s chance of dying from pregnancy is more than one in twenty; life expectancy is below 60 years, and more than 10 percent of newborns don’t survive past their first year.
Another foundation started by Bill and Melinda is the Gates Learning Foundation. This is a program that wanted to bridge the “digital divide” between those who have access to computers and the Internet and those who do not have such access. One of the preliminary goals was to provide computers and Internet accesses in libraries of low-income communities. This program has also funded technology and training to teachers working with 5th, 6th and 7th graders. An advantage to the kids because they were getting exposed to computers at the most influential time of their lives.
There is a lot more to Bill Gates then Microsoft. For instance, he has written a book called The Road Ahead. This book talks about where the future of computers and the Internet is headed. He also has his own newspaper column, in which he writes once a week. He also makes television infomercials, and appears on several talk shows. He is pro-NAFTA, which is a trade agreement that could bring him millions more in profit. A trade agreement that is important to many companies who export goods. In closing William H. Gates III is an all-around good guy, and should be looked upon as a model not a figure of jealousy.
2.http://ruku.com/billgates.htm. Letoyia Brooks, 10/9/9
3.http://search.biography.com/print_record.pl?id=15061 , 10/10/99
4.http://belle.tie.net/school/bths/bgates/indusry.html , 10/10/99