Bill Gates & Microsoft

 
 

 

Pictured above; Bill Gates

 
 
 
 

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 who died in 1994, was a schoolteacher, and chairwoman of United Way International.

Gates attended public elementary school and the private Lakeside School. He was a strait A student who had an interest in maths. The school invested in a computer for the students, primitive by today's standards Gates was hooked and soon surpassed the computer teachers knowledge on the device. He basically ate and breathed computers and dedicated most of his spare time to them, His father thought he was wasting his time with them but Gates still managed to get top grades in all his school activities without trying.

While at Lakeside He met Paul Allen who held a similar interest in computers they teamed up to write software programs and one of their first was a traffic monitoring program called traf-o-data, it made them $20,000 and they later got a job offer from a computer company called TRW.

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 in 1975, Gates developed a version of the programming language BASIC for the first microcomputer - the MITS Altair. They signed a deal with MITS to gain office space in its headquarters, they called themselves Microsoft and by 1977 Gates dropped out of Harvard to put more effort into Microsoft.

In 1980 IBM asked Microsoft to advise them on software for their soon to be released computer the IBM PC, They advised IBM to try and get the rights to CP/M by Digital Research one of the most popular operating systems at the time, The IBM and Digital Research deal did not go ahead so IBM returned to gates to see if Microsoft could write their own version.

Microsoft had never done any operating system before so they contacted Tim Patterson of Seattle Computer products, Patterson had written his own OS (called Q-dos) in only 6 weeks he did it by studying the CP/M manual and then writing his own version. Microsoft offered $50000 to licence Q-DOS not telling them about their IBM deal.

Gates returned to IBM with their tweaked version of Q-DOS now called MS-DOS and forged a deal that let Microsoft licence the software separate to IBM's computer, This put Microsoft on the road to fortune.

Bill Gates had seen an early proto type of an Apple computer which used a GUI (graphic user interface) the first GUI was developed by Zerox in 1970 and Bill wanted to develop one for the PC. IBM didn't jump at the idea at first as they wanted to produce their own GUI and Microsoft was not the only company about to make a GUI. Digital Research had a GUI named GEM that was released with their own version of dos called DR-DOS.

The first version of Windows was announced in 1983 and was released in 1985, it was not a great success as a lot of what Bill wanted in the program had to be removed due to legal challenges by Apple .

Version 2 of Windows, release in 1987, had a lot more functionality Microsoft had written a license agreement with Apple to use some of their ideas, it also covered all future versions of Windows which squashed a later Apple legal case. Version 2 was the first to have GUI versions of excel and word available as well as other 3rd party companies writing programs for the GUI.

1990's Windows Version 3 was were the GUI started to become useful it could now multitask and handle memory better it was the first serious competitor to the Apple Mac. it also sold 10 million copies.

Around this time IBM wanted to create a new OS called OS/2 that could take advantage of the power of the 386, they called on Microsoft for help but the deal fell thought, fortunately Microsoft was able to keep the work they started on OS/2 and redesign it to create the 32 bit OS Windows NT. IBM continued work on OS/2 but it later was scraped once Windows 95 had killed off most of its sales.

Windows 3.1 was a minor fix up of Windows 3 it included true type fonts and a few other niceties while 3.11 gave windows improved networking abilities. both updates were designed to compete against OS/2, despite OS/2 being the better product, Windows sold like hot cakes.

In 1994 Gates married Melinda French. He built a house on the shores of Lake Washington that cost 97 million dollars and every year it gets hit with over a million in property taxes. it took seven years to build and a lot of it is built into a hill.

After Windows 3.11, Microsoft began to develop windows 95 that was to feature a new GUI to compete with OS/2. It needed to improve its stability as opposed to the very unstable 3.11. It also need to be a 32 bit OS although a lot of the old 16 bit OS were hidden underneath to improve compatibility at the cost of stability, a problem that stayed with windows up until Windows XP which got its basis from the more stable Windows NT line.

In 1995 gates published his fist book "The Road Ahead". his second book was published in 1999, called "Business @ the Speed of Thought" it was published in 25 languages and sold in 60 countries.

In addition to his love of computers and software, Gates is interested in biotechnology. He sits on the board of ICOS, a company that specializes in protein-based and small-molecule therapeutics, and he is an investor in a number of other biotechnology companies. Gates also 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.

Bill and Melinda Gates share their massive house with their 3 children their first child Jennifer was born in 1996, his second child, Rory was born in 1999 while the third child Phoebe was born in 2002.
 

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Did You Know?

In Bill Gates' home power points aren't visible, where stainless steal beams are used the bolts all face the same way and one existing tree was moved 6 inches as it was not in the right place.

 

 

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