Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bill Gates, the Entrepreneur

Today I am going to do a post on the great Bill Gates. I think he is a real  good person to look up to. Here is his story.

Bill Gates the Entrepreneur

Bill Gates Growing Up

William H. Gates was born on October 28th, 1955 in Seattle to Bill Gates II and Mary Gates. Bill was one of the smartest boys in elementary school so at age eight he decided to read the entire World Book Encyclopedia, and made it to letter P before he stopped. Gates got into many arguments with everyone, including his parents. They wondered if something was wrong with Gates. Young Gates was sent to a child psychiatrist. The psychiatrist quickly figured out that nothing was wrong with him. He was just a strong-willed, very smart boy who loved to compete. After sixth grade was finished, Gates’ parents took him out of public school and enrolled him in a private school with high academic standards. Sending him there turned out to be the best move his parents could do. In 1968, the school became one of the first schools to have computer time for the students there. Computers in 1968 were bulky and expensive; the school couldn’t afford to buy one. So they rented it from a company called General Electric. The school could only manage to rent it for a few hours a week. Gates and his friends, Paul Allen and Kent Evans, were more than happy with that. They all spent as much time as they could at the computer. Sometimes they forgot about going to class.

:A Computer is a machine. It is also called hardware since the compute in solid. Like any machine, it can’t do anything without programs. Programs are instructions, or software since programs aren’t solid.:

Six months after the school made the computer available to the students, another company called Computer Center Corporation provided computer time at a lower priced and on a better machine. Gates and his friends were delighted. Their explorations and experiments with this new computer caused it to crash several times, they even managed to change some file to make it look like they weren’t spending so much time there. Someone noticed the changed files and they were banned for several depressing weeks. In 1968 Gates, Allen, and Kent formed their own company, the Lakeside Programmers Group; taking the name after their school. They found a customer right away, Computer Center Corporation, or as Gates called it “C-Cubed”. “C-Cubed” hired the Lakeside Programmers Group to fix its problems. The computers the Computer Center Corporation made were crashing too often. In exchange for fixing the problem, the boys were given unlimited computer time. When Computer Center Corporation went out of business in 1970, the Lakeside Programmers Group had to look for another employer. They found their first paying job. A company called Information Sciences Inc. hired them to create a payroll program. Now the Lakeside Programmers Group was a real business. Then Kent Evans died in a mountain climbing accident. Gates was so sad he said quote “For two weeks, I couldn’t do anything” Then the two them went back to work. Kent’s death might have made them work harder. Allen, who was a year older than Gates, went to college in Pullman, Washington, but the friends stayed close. They formed a new company called Traf-O-Data and began working summers on computer programming jobs. They earned $20,000 while still in school. One summer job was with a military company called TWR. The job was to find ways to crash its systems which was fun for the two eager, young programmers. During that job, did Gates and Allen come up with the idea to start a software company, but it would have to wait till Gates finished college.

Bill Gates’ College Years

In 1973, Gates left his home town of Seattle to attend Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts and just like he did in elementary school and in high school, Gates quickly lost interest in what he was supposed to study. Instead he spent as much time as he could in the computer lab. Sometimes he could be there until late night and would fall asleep in class the next day. Allen had found a job near Harvard. That summer Gates got one there too. They continued to talk about their soon-to-be software company. If they did start a company, Gates would need to quit college. In the 1975 issue of a popular electronic magazine, Paul Allen saw an ad for the Altair 8800. The cover page read “Project Breakthrough! World’s First Microcomputer Kit to Rival Commercial Models”. The Altair wasn’t very fast or powerful, but it was the very first personal computer. Other companies would surely begin making their own personal computer brands. Gates and Allen knew this was a better time than any to start their software company. Gates called MITS, the company who created the Altair 8800. HE told them he knew they had no software for the Altair 8800. He lied and said that Gates and Allen had created a new form of BASIC. The BASIC stands for Beginner’s All Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. It’s a language of numbers, no words, a code used in programming computers. But Bill and Paul hadn’t created a BASIC for the Altair. They didn’t even own an Altair! Gates did his best to make a use able BASIC, while Paul tried to make the school’s computer act like an Altair so Gates could test his BASIC program. The Basic worked! February 1975, MITS bought Gates and Allen’s BASIC program. Then in June, Gates finally dropped out of college, and started their software company.


Gates and Allen wanted to call their company something that would make people think of microcomputers and software. Around December of 1975, they came up with “Micro-soft”. “Micro” for microcomputers, personal computers like the Altair 8800, and the “soft” for software. Ultimately, they condensed it to Microsoft. A year later Gates and Allen decided where they would put their brand new company. In Albuquerque, New Mexico, this was where MITS had also set up its headquarters. The added advantage was the low living cost. Also Gates loved to race his car out in the open desert. They started up Microsoft right at the nick of time. There were many new computer companies sprouting up. All Microsoft needed was a software and Gates spent long days and nights designing the software. Sometimes he even spent 18 hours at the office. Some nights he didn’t even bother going home and slept curled under his desk. He was having fun, and Microsoft was making money. But it was too much work even for Gates. Microsoft hired their first workers. They were eager young people that didn’t mind working long and hard. In 1977 Gates and Allen had a little trouble with MITS over the BASIC program. MITS had agreed to license it out to other companies. That meant renting it out so both Microsoft and MITS would make profit every time the BASIC was used. But, Microsoft didn’t think MITS was doing a good job getting the program to other companies. A judge ruled in Microsoft’s favor, so Gates could freely market his own BASIC. Other companies wanted it, and money started coming into Microsoft on a regular basis. New computer companies started over the next few years. Many failed just as quickly as they started, and some became successful, like Radio Shack and Commodore. The most successful was Apple Computer. This company was co founded by two young men named Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. In 1987 Apple made a successful new computer called Apple II. MITS and the Altair were soon out of date. Gates knew the computer rush was only in the US, so in 1987 he made Microsoft’s first international deal, opening a Microsoft partner office in Tokyo, Japan. By December that year, Microsoft had so much business that it had out grown the space in Albuquerque and Gates moved too Bellevue, Washington. As personal computer became more advanced and powerful during 1979, Microsoft created a more powerful version of BASIC for the computers. Gates also made a European deal, a partner office in Belgium. But Gates knew Microsoft had to keep making new products and finding new markets to sell them in. In 1980, a company called IBM entered the personal computer field. IBM wanted a new operating system for their new computers. Gates told them that he had what they wanted. Gates knew a small business that had invented a good new computer operating system they called Q-DOS. The name DOS meant (Computer) Disk Operating System. The company didn’t know IBM wanted their product. So Gates bought it for $50,000 and renamed it MS-DOS. Gates only let IBM license the product. Since Gates hadn’t sold it to IBM, he could license it to other companies as well. Gates earned his first million. His MS-DOS was going to be the most popular program in computing – with the exception of Apple computers. Gates decided Apple should use his company’s software as well. Gates and Jobs met in 1981. By this point, both young men were very wealthy. Jobs wanted Microsoft to devise programs for his Macintosh, nicknamed the Mac. To win Gates over Jobs had a Mac delivered to Microsoft’s offices before the Macintosh was available to the public. Gates and Jobs agreed that Microsoft would design programs for the Mac. With the MS-DOS program, the user had to type long lines of letters and symbols. To open programs on the Mac, the user used a gooey, after GUI- graphic user interface. The main part of the gooey is the screen, which allowed the user to point and click to open a program or file. The pointing and clicking was done by using a mouse. Apple didn’t invent the mouse or the gooey. The mouse and the gooey were invented by Xerox Corporation. Suddenly there was a major change in Microsoft’s ownership and Gates’ personal life. Paul Allen was diagnosed with cancer but he made a full recovery. However he no longer wanted all the stress of business. So Allen left Microsoft in 1983. Allen donates a great deal to charity. In November 1983, Microsoft announced a new product: Microsoft Windows. This was a new form of operating system, using icons on the screen rather than the MS-DOS method of typing in commands. Microsoft Windows used a mouse. The Mac also used icons and a mouse. Lawyers at Apple threatened to sue. They accused Microsoft of stealing their ideas. Gates countered that Apple had already borrowed the idea of the mouse, and possibly the idea of icon from Xerox. Besides, Microsoft had legally agreed that Microsoft would write software for Apple. Gates licensed the right to keep his Windows program looking like that of the Mac. Microsoft did make software for the Mac. Now Windows could advance at the same time he was designing software for his rival. Microsoft celebrated its tenth anniversary in 1985. In ten years the company had grown 1,000 employees. That year Microsoft products earned more than $140 million. But, Microsoft Windows was doing poorly. Most software programs were still being written for the MS-DOS or the Mac. There were only a few software programs that would work with the Windows. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s programmers were busy creating the first version of Microsoft Works for the Mac. This was a combination of software programs, including one for word processing and several for business. Microsoft was rapidly outgrowing the office in Bellevue and in 1986 Microsoft moved to Redmond, Washington, about 15 miles from Seattle. This headquarters was made up of 4 buildings. That year Gates opened a Microsoft branch in Mexico. Now he had branches in Mexico, Europe, and Asia. That was also the year in which Bill Gates became a billionaire and he was only 31! Gates decided, now that he had so much money, to be like his father and give money to charity. With Paul Allen he gave over two million to his school for a new science and mathematics building. In 1987, Gates met a young woman named Melinda French and they started dating. The next step for Gates was to get Microsoft Windows upgraded. The new version was called Windows 2.0. It was better than the first, but still wasn’t very successful. Microsoft continued to make money. By 1987, it was #1 seller of computer software. The Corporate Campus soon wasn’t big enough! It expanded from 4 to 8 buildings. Today there are 49 building in a 29 acre park that even has its own basketball court and a baseball field. IBM was still a problem for Microsoft and Gates. IMB insisted than OS/2, not Windows, would be its main computer operating system. The arguments were too much for Gates to handle. In 1989 he broke off all Microsoft deals with IBM. Meanwhile Gates issued a newer version of Windows called Windows 3.0. It still wasn’t very popular. Gates launched a gigantic advertising campaign. It was largest advertising campaign in Microsoft’s history. It cost over $10 million. People started to really notice Windows. The Federal Trade Commission also noticed them. This branch of the United States government looks out for any breaking of business laws. One of those laws is the Anti-Trust Law; it means no one company can unfairly dominate its rivals. This was the first time that Microsoft and Gates were question by the Federal Trade Commission. The Federal Trade Commission ruled that Gates and Microsoft were doing nothing wrong. In 1992 the final papers were signature marking the break between Microsoft and IBM. Everyone at Microsoft was nervous. Gates seemed to be gambling the company on the newest version of Windows, Microsoft Windows 3.1. They were wrong, people paid attention to the ad and they wanted it. It was installed in 70 million programs in 1992. Software companies began writing programs for Microsoft Windows. Microsoft was still writing its own programs. Microsoft Encarta, which first appeared in 1993, was the first encyclopedia designed for the computer. Gates had another victory in 1993. The last law suit filed by Apple Computer against Microsoft was settled and Microsoft and Microsoft won. By 1994, Microsoft Windows 3.1 was operating system on 90% of the computers people bought. But Gates knew it could be better. He scheduled a new version, Windows 94, for 1994, but the program was too big and complicated to be ready that year. In 1994 Gates’ mother died because of cancer. There was joy in this year too. Gates and Melinda French, who had been dating for 6 years, were married January in 1994. Microsoft 95 finally appeared in 1995. It was a best-seller. Windows 95 sold more than a million copied in the first 4 days. By October 1995 there were about 7 million copies of the program around the world. In 1996 Bill and Melinda Gates became parents. They named their baby girl Jennifer. He loved being a daddy. Gates saw Internet as a source of profit and learning. So Microsoft made its own Internet browser. Microsoft’s rival, Netscape, has its own browser called the Netscape Navigator. A lawsuit was filed in 1996. The owners claimed that Microsoft included Microsoft Explorer with every copy of Windows. They also claimed that Microsoft wanted to force Netscape out of business. Eventually Netscape lost. Meanwhile, Microsoft and NBC news teamed up to create MSNBC, a 24/7 new network on the Internet. Microsoft also bought WebTV networks, their televisions. Microsoft’s website was also expanded. Apple’s Steve Jobs wasn’t doing as well as Gates. His company had made a series of bad choices, such as the Newton, which was a handheld computer which didn’t do very well. Jobs were fired from his own company. Jobs and Apple saw Gates as an enemy. But when Jobs was hired back in 1997, the only way for Apple to exist was to allow Gates to buy a part of Apple.

Bill Gates the Philanthropist

By 1998, Gates was the wealthiest man in the world. He is now retired lives in Seattle on Lake Washington. In 1999 he had a son named Rory John. Bill Gates is a philanthropist and has given over $6 billion dollars to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the William H. Gates Foundation.

Source: Bill Gates, the Computer King by Josepha Sherman.

1 comment:

Thanks for reading my posts! Be nice, no spam, and make sure it's on topic (don't write King Tut on a post about monkeys).