Full Name: William Henry ‘Bill’ Gates III
Current Role: Non-executive chairman of Microsoft and co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Education: Lakeside School, Seattle
Bio: Born in Seattle, Washington, William Henry Gates III is best known as the founder of software giant Microsoft. During his early years at Lakeside School in Seattle, Gates and a number of other students became enamoured by the Schools ASR-32, a teleprinter donated by the school’s Mothers Club.
In 1973 Gates enrolled at Harvard University. During his first year Bill developed an algorithm for pancake sorting that remains one of the fastest versions for over thirty years, while in his first year Bill also met Steve Ballmer who would later become CEO of Microsoft.
In 1975 Gates and Paul Allen developed a BASIC software system for the Altair 8800; the collaboration with the company in Albuquerque led to the formation of Micro-soft, which later led to the trade name Microsoft.
In 1980 IBM approached Microsoft to develop a new BASIC OS for the IBM PC. To complete the deal Gates and Microsoft purchased 86-DOS from Tim Paterson, this was later adapted into MS-DOS and sold to IBM for $50,000. The new operating system would later become the cornerstone of Microsoft’s success. In 1985 the landmark Windows operating system was released cementing Microsoft’s place at the forefront of the computing industry.
After a successful 25 years in the industry Gates finally stepped down as CEO and chief software architect of Microsoft in 2006 to concentrate on his philanthropy through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.