Bill Gates, The Genius of The Century
Entrepreneur Bill Gates founded the world’s largest software business, Microsoft, with Paul Allen, and subsequently became one of the richest men in the world.
In March 1986, Bill Gates took Microsoft public with an initial public offering (IPO) of $21 per share, making him an instant millionaire at age 31.
Gates held 45 percent of the company’s 24.7 million shares. Making his stake at that time $234 million of Microsoft’s $520 million.
In 20/may/2019 he has a rank of second on billionaires Forbes ranking and also he has a rank of 7th on most powerful people by Forbes. Recent estimates of his wealth put it at US$96.5 billion (may. 2019)
Who is Bill Gates?
Bill Gates (full name: William Henry Gates III) was born on Oct. 28, 1955, in Seattle, Washington, the son of William H. Gates Sr., an attorney, and Mary Maxwell, a businesswoman and bank executive who served on the University of Washington Board of Regents from 1975 to 1993.
Bill Gates wrote his first software program at 13 and in high school was part of a group. Which also included childhood friend Paul Allen. Who computerized their school’s payroll system and developed Traf-O-Data, a traffic-counting system that they sold to local governments.
Gates and Allen wanted to start their own company immediately, but Gates’ parents wanted him to finish high school and go on to college, hoping he eventually would become a lawyer.
Bill Gates foundation of Microsoft
Bill Gates founded Microsoft in 1976 when he formed a contract with MITS (Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems) to develop a basic operating system for their new microcomputers.
In the early days, Bill Gates would review every line of code. He was also involved in several aspects of Microsoft’s business such as packing and sending off orders.
The big break for Microsoft came in 1980 when IBM approached them for a new BASIC operating system for its new computers. In the early 1980s, IBM was by far the leading PC manufacturer.
However, increasingly, there developed many IBM PC clones; (PCs produced by other companies compatible with IBM’s). Microsoft worked hard to sell its operating system to these other companies.
Thus Microsoft was able to gain the dominant position of software manufacture just as the personal computer market started to boom. Since its early dominance, other companies have struggled to displace Microsoft as the dominant provider of computer operating software. Programs like Microsoft Word and Excel have become the industry standard.
Early Years at Microsoft
At first, all was not smooth sailing. Although Microsoft’s BASIC software program for the Altair computer netted the company a fee and royalties, it wasn’t meeting their overhead. According to Gates’ later account, only about 10 percent of the people using BASIC in the Altair computer had actually paid for it.
Microsoft’s BASIC software was popular with computer hobbyists, who obtained pre-market copies and were reproducing and distributing them for free. At this time, much of the personal computer enthusiasts were people not in it for the money.
They felt the ease of reproduction and distribution allowed them to share software with friends and fellow computer enthusiasts. Bill Gates thought differently. He saw the free distribution of software as stealing, especially when it involved software that was created to be sold.
Bill Gates and Steve Jobs
Though their rivalry is a legend, Microsoft and Apple shared many of their early innovations. In 1981, Apple, at the time led by Steve Jobs, invited Microsoft to help develop software for Macintosh computers.
Some developers were involved in both Microsoft development and the development of Microsoft applications for Macintosh. The collaboration could be seen in some shared names between the Microsoft and Macintosh systems.
It was through this knowledge sharing that Microsoft was to develop Windows, a system that used a mouse to drive a graphic interface, displaying text and images on the screen. This differed greatly from the text-and-keyboard driven MS-DOS system where all text formatting showed on the screen as code and not what actually would be printed.
Bill Gates quickly recognized the threat this kind of software might pose for MS-DOS and Microsoft overall. For the unsophisticated user—which was most of the buying public—the graphic imagery of the competing VisiCorp software used in a Macintosh system would be so much easier to use.
Gates announced in an advertising campaign that a new Microsoft operating system was about to be developed that would use a graphic interface. It was to be called “Windows,” and would be compatible with all PC software products developed on the MS-DOS system.
The announcement was a bluff, in that Microsoft had no such program under development. But as a marketing tactic, it was a sheer genius, as nearly 30 percent of the computer market was using the MS-DOS system and would wait for Windows software rather than change to a new system.
Without people willing to change formats, software developers were unwilling to write programs for the VisiCorp system and it lost momentum by early 1985.
In November 1985, nearly two years after his announcement, Bill Gates and Microsoft launched Windows. Visually the Windows system looked very similar to the Macintosh system Apple Computer Corporation had introduced nearly two years earlier.
Apple had earlier given Microsoft full access to its technology. While it was working on making Microsoft products compatible with Apple computers. Gates had advised Apple to license their software but they ignored the advice, being more interested in selling computers.
Once again, Gates took full advantage of the situation and created a software format that was strikingly similar to the Macintosh. Apple threatened to sue, and Microsoft retaliated, saying it would delay shipment of its Microsoft-compatible software for Macintosh users.
In the end, Microsoft prevailed in the courts because it could prove that while there were similarities in how the two software systems operated, each individual function was distinctly different.
Rise of Windows
In 1990 Microsoft released its first version of Windows. This was a breakthrough in operating software as it replaced text interfaces with graphical interfaces. It soon became a best seller and was able to capture the majority of the operating system market share.
In 1995 Windows 95 released, setting new standards and features for operating systems. This version of Windows has been the backbone of all future releases from Windows 2000 to the latest XP and Vista.
Throughout his time in office, Bill Gates has been keen to diversify the business of Microsoft. For example, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer became the dominant web browser, although this was primarily because it came pre-installed on most new computers. In recent years, Internet Explorer has seen its market share slip.
One area where Microsoft has never been successful is in the area of search engines. MSN live search has struggled to gain more than 5% of market share. In this respect, Microsoft was dwarfed by Google.
Nevertheless, the success of Microsoft in cornering various aspects of the software market has led to several anti-trust cases. In 1998 US v Microsoft, Microsoft came close to being broken up into three smaller firms. However, on appeal, Microsoft was able to survive as a single firm.
Although Microsoft was the dominant computer firm of the 1980s, and 1990s, they are now seen as an aging and declining company – compared to the more dynamic Google and Apple.
Marriage and Family
On Jan 1, 1994, Gates married Melinda French. Who has an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in computer science and met him while she was working at Microsoft. They have three children—Jennifer, Rory, and Phoebe—and live in Xanadu 2.0, a 66,000-square-foot mansion overlooking Lake Washington in Medina, Washington.
By the way, we have gathered the top 7 quotes by Bill Gates. I suggest you read them for your Entrepreneurship way.
Most of us assume that Bill Gates has the worlds highest IQ, but it’s wrong. He is an ordinary man with belief.
Do you believe in yourself?