Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bill Gates

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Chairman and co-Founder Microsoft - intensely competitive but he is the model for a super-billionaire with a public persona, which is the antithesis of the arrogance, that is so often the handmaiden of riches.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has an endowment of $30 billion and has provided billions of dollars for the funding of immunization programs in poor countries and research into diseases such as malaria that is not commercially attractive for Big Pharma.

In 2006, the legendary American investor Warren Buffett pledged$31 billion of his fortune to the only person in the world with more money, his good friend Bill Gates.

From a Time Magazine profile in 1997:

When Bill Gates was in the sixth grade, his parents decided he needed counseling. He was at war with his mother Mary, an outgoing woman who harbored the belief that he should do what she told him. She would call him to dinner from his basement bedroom, which she had given up trying to make him clean, and he wouldn't respond. "What are you doing?" she once demanded over the intercom

"I'm thinking," he shouted back

"You're thinking?"

"Yes, Mom, I'm thinking,"
he said fiercely. "Have you ever tried thinking?"

The psychologist they sent him to "was a really cool guy," Gates recalls. "He gave me books to read after each session, Freud stuff, and I really got into psychology theory." After a year of sessions and a battery of tests, the counselor reached his conclusion. "You're going to lose," he told Mary. "You had better just adjust to it because there's no use trying to beat him." Mary was strong-willed and intelligent herself, her husband recalls, "but she came around to accepting that it was futile trying to compete with him."

Bill Gates new life from July 2008

MICROSOFT 1978: Top row: Steve Wood (left), Bob Wallace, Jim Lane. Middle row: Bob O'Rear, Bob Greenberg, Marc McDonald, Gordon Letwin. Bottom row: Bill Gates, Andrea Lewis, Marla Wood, Paul Allen. December 7, 1978.

On June 15, 2006, Microsoft announced that effective July 2008 Gates will transition 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. After July 2008 Gates will continue to serve as Microsoft’s chairman and an advisor on key development projects. The two-year transition process is to ensure that there is a smooth and orderly transfer of Gates’ daily responsibilities.

Effective June 2006, Ray Ozzie had assumed Gates’ previous title as chief software architect and is working side by side with Gates on all technical architecture and product oversight responsibilities at Microsoft. Craig Mundie assumed the new title of chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft and is working closely with Gates to assume his responsibility 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 charity 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 inevery 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.

Bill Gates may not have invented the DOS operating system but he together with Steve Jobs of Apple, are the titans of the modern computer age.

At the end of May 2007, the two co-founders of the of the PC industry, Bill Gates of Microsoft and Steve Jobs of Apple, who have been fierce rivals for thirty years, appeared jointly at in a public forum for the first time in twenty years.

The forum was organised by Walter Mossberg and Katherine Boehret.

"Bill built the first software company in the industry," Apple co-founder Jobs said. "Bill focused on software before anyone."

Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, hailed Jobs for taking big risks and developing products with "incredible taste and elegance".

What Steve has done is quite phenomenal," Gates said in reference to Jobs' eye for design that resonates with the public . "The way he does things is just different. It's magical."

Steve Jobs said he admired Microsoft's ability to collaborate with other technology companies.

"They learned how to partner with people really well, and I think if Apple could have had a little more of that in its DNA, it would have served it extremely well," he said.

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates speaking at The Wall Street Journal’s D: All Things Digital conference in Carlsbad, California in May 2007