Mr William (Bill) H. Gates is Chairman of Microsoft Corporation, the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
On June 27, 2008, Gates transitioned out of a day-to-day role in the company to spend more time on his global health and education work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He shares his thoughts about the foundation and other topics on Gates Notes, a Web site launched in January 2010. Gates continues to serve as Microsoft's chairman and as an advisor on key development projects. In June 2006, Craig Mundie assumed the new title of chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft and is responsible for the company's research and incubation efforts.
Born on Oct. 28, 1955, Gates grew up in Seattle with his two sisters. Their father, William H. Gates II, is a Seattle attorney. Their late mother, Mary Gates, was a schoolteacher, University of Washington regent, and chairwoman of United Way International.
Gates attended public elementary school and the private Lakeside School. There, he discovered his interest in software and began programming computers at age 13.
In 1973, Gates entered Harvard University as a freshman, where he lived down the hall from Steve Ballmer, now Microsoft's chief executive officer. While at Harvard, Gates developed a version of the programming language BASIC for the first microcomputer - the MITS Altair.
In his junior year, Gates left Harvard to devote his energies to Microsoft, a company he had begun in 1975 with his childhood friend Paul Allen. Guided by a belief that the computer would be a valuable tool on every office desktop and in every home, they began developing software for personal computers. Gates' foresight and his vision for personal computing have been central to the success of Microsoft and the software industry.
Under Gates' leadership, Microsoft's mission has been to continually advance and improve software technology, and to make it easier, more cost-effective and more enjoyable for people to use computers. The company is committed to a long-term view, reflected in its industry-leading investment in research and development each year.
In 1999, Gates wrote "Business @ the Speed of Thought", a book that shows how computer technology can solve business problems in fundamentally new ways. The book was published in 25 languages and is available in more than 60 countries. "Business @ the Speed of Thought" has received wide critical acclaim, and was listed on the best-seller lists of the "New York Times", "USA Today", "The Wall Street Journal" and on Amazon.com. Gates' previous book, "The Road Ahead", published in 1995, was at the top of the "New York Times" bestseller list for seven weeks.
Gates has donated the proceeds of both books to non-profit organizations that support the use of technology in education and skills development.
In addition to his love of computers and software, Gates founded Corbis, which is developing one of the world's largest resources of visual information - a comprehensive digital archive of art and photography from public and private collections around the globe. He is also a member of the board of directors of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which invests in companies engaged in diverse business activities.
Philanthropy is very important to Gates. He and his wife, Melinda, started a foundation in 2000 to help reduce inequities in the United States and around the world. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation supports philanthropic initiatives in the areas of global health and learning, with the hope that in the 21st century, advances in these critical areas will be available for all people. To learn more about the foundation, visit www.gatesfoundation.org
Gates was married on Jan. 1, 1994, to Melinda French Gates. They have three children. Gates is an avid reader, and enjoys playing golf, tennis and bridge
Bill Gates Biography
Bill Gates is one of the most influential people in the world. He is cofounder of one of the most recognized brands in the computer industry with nearly every desk top computer using at least one software program from Microsoft. According to the Forbes magazine, Bill Gates is the richest man in the world and has held the number one position for many years.
Gates was born and grew up in Seattle, Washington USA. His father, William H. Gates II was a Seattle attorney and his mother, Mary Maxwell Gates was a school teacher and chairperson of the United Way charity. Gates and his two sisters had a comfortable upbringing, with Gates being able to attend the exclusive secondary "Lakeside School".
Bill Gates started studying at Harvard University in 1973 where he spent time with Paul Allen. Gates and Allen worked on a version of the programming language BASIC, that was the basis for the MITS Altair (the first microcomputer available). He did not go on to graduate from Harvard University as he left in his junior year to start what was to become the largest computer software company in the world; Microsoft Corporation.
Bill Gates and the Microsoft Corporation
"To enable people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential." Microsoft Mission Statement
After dropping out of Harvard Bill Gates and his partner Paul Allen set about revolutionizing the computer industry. Gates believed there should be a computer on every office desk and in every home.
In 1975 the company Micro-soft was formed, which was an abbreviation of microcomputer software. It soon became simply "Microsoft"® and went on to completely change the way people use computers.
Microsoft helped to make the computer easier to use with its developed and purchased software, and made it a commercial success. The success of Microsoft began with the MS-DOS computer operating system that Gates licensed to IBM. Gates also set about protecting the royalties that he could acquire from computer software by aggressively fighting against all forms of software piracy, effectively creating the retail software market that now exists today. This move was quite controversial at the time as it was the freedom of sharing that produced much innovation and advances in the newly forming software industry. But it was this stand against software piracy, that was to be central in the great commercial success that Microsoft went on to achieve.
Bill Gates retired as Microsoft CEO in 2008.
Bill Gates Criticism
With his great success in the computer software industry also came many criticisms. With his ambitious and aggressive business philosophy, Gates or his Microsoft lawyers have been in and out of courtrooms fighting legal battles almost since Microsoft began.
The Microsoft monopoly sets about completely dominating every market it enters through either acquisition, aggressive business tactics or a combination of them. Many of the largest technology companies have fought legally against the actions of Microsoft, including Apple Computer, Netscape, Opera, WordPerfect, and sun Microsystems.
Bill Gates Net Worth
With an estimated wealth of $53 billion in 2006, Bill Gates is the richest man in the world and he should be starting to get used to the number spot as he has been there from the mid-ninties up until now. The famous investor Warren Buffett is gaining on Gates though with an estimated $46 billion in 2006.
Microsoft hasn't just made Bill Gates very wealthy though. According to the Forbes business magazine in 2004 Paul Allen, Microsoft cofounder was the 5th richest man in the world with an estimated $21 billion. While Bill Gates' long time friend and Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer was the 19th richest man in the world at $12.4 billion.
See more information the Bill Gates Net Worth page.
Bill Gates Philanthropy
Being the richest man in the world has also enabled Gates to create one of the world's largest charitable foundations. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has an endowment of more than $28 billion, with donations totaling more than $1 billion every year. The foundation was formed in 2000 after merging the "Gates Learning Foundation" and "William H. Gates Foundation". Their aim is to "bring innovations in health and learning to the global community".
Bill Gates continues to play a very active role in the workings of the Microsoft Company, but has handed the position of CEO over to Steve Ballmer. Gates now holds the positions of "Chairman" and "Chief Software Architect". He has started that he plans to take on fewer responsibilities at Microsoft and will eventually devote all his time to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
In 2006, the second richest man in the world, Warren Buffett pledged to give much of his vast fortune to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Bill Gates Receives a KBE
In March 2005 William H. Gates received an "honorary" knighthood from the queen of England. Gates was bestowed with the KBE Order (Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for his services in reducing poverty and improving health in the developing countries of the world.
After the privately held ceremony in Buckingham Palace with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Gates commented on the recognition..
"I am humbled and delighted. I am particularly pleased that this honor helps recognize the real heroes our foundation (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) supports to improve health in poor countries. Their incredible work is helping ensure that one day all people, no matter where they are born, will have the same opportunity for a healthy life, and I'm grateful to share this honor with them."
The KBE Order of the British Empire is the second highest Order given out, but it is only an honorary knighthood as only citizens that are British or a part of the Commonwealth receive the full Order. This means that Gates does not become Sir Bill Gates.
Bill Gates lives near Lake Washington with his wife Melinda French Gates and their three children. Interests of Gates include reading, golf and playing bridge.