The Gates Bill
When one thinks of computer software, one must think of Microsoft. In fact if you use a computer, chances are that you will have some type of program on there that is developed by Microsoft. The CEO, chairman, cofounder, and owner of 147 billion shares of Microsoft is Bill Gates.
William Henry Gates III was born in the midst of a scenic Seattle on Thursday, October 28, 1995 to his parents Mary and William Henry Gates Jr. His childhood was uneventful and was well raised. He went to Sunday school at the Congregational church and sang in the choir. He was a Boy Scout but never showed interest for either of these activities. Gates was an unusual child who spent long periods in his room in deep thought. He loved science and showed great skill in the area of math. In fact he scored a perfect on the math section of the SAT. His high school English teacher Anne Stephens was amazed at Gates’ memory. She commented on how Gates had remembered a 3-page soliloquy for a school play in one reading. He read often, tried to take up the trombone, had no interest in philosophy but rather thought of himself as a “scientist.” His science teacher, William Dougall, remembers if the teacher wasn’t going fast enough, “Bill always seemed on the verge of saying, ‘But that’s obvious.'” Gates once said to a teacher that some day he would be a millionaire. A grossly underestimated statement. Today Gates is one of the richest men in the world.
In the fall of 1968, Bill Gates was entering the 8th grade at lakeside School, and his best friend Paul Allen, entered the 10th grade. Lakeside invested $3,000 into a Teletype machine which could connect to the business computer via a phone line. When the computer courses began in January 1969, both Gates and Allen discovered their passion for programming. Since very few teachers knew anything about computers, the boys taught themselves with every manual they could get their hands on. Some days both would cut gym to gain extra time on the terminal. Gates first program was a ticktacktoe game. Gates and Allen would soon be restricted to time on the terminal because the school’s electric bill was ever increasing.
In a long series of mishaps Gates and Allen would soon be programming away at Lakeside. The math teacher that had been assigned to do class scheduling, manually, died in an airplane accident. Gates and Allen were offered $2,400 worth of computer time in exchange for a class scheduling program. The boys (Gates now 16 and Allen already graduating high school) worked day and night. Gates soon found out that he could put himself in an all girls classes in every period.
Soon Gates and Allen would found a company called Traf-O-Data. The two made a program that would regulate traffic data generated by the gray boxes on Seattle streets. After entering Harvard with a major in law, Gates and Allen contemplated the idea of starting a company. Their vision soon expanded into the multi-billion dollar empire.
“Gates is to the software what Edison was to the light bulb- part innovator, part entrepreneur, part salesman and full-time genius.” Gates is the “Edison” of software. If it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t have Windows 95, Winword, Microsoft Internet Explorer, or countless others. In August, 24, 1995, Microsoft announces the availability of Microsoft Windows 95, worldwide. This new operating system would change the world’s view of computers drastically. The computer would become a toy and using it would be much easier than before. Four days after the release, Microsoft announces that it estimates that more than 1 million copies of Microsoft Windows 95 were obtained by customers at retail stores in North America. By October, 17, 1995, 7 million copies were purchased. That means at least 7 million people were becoming more computer literate.
Although the practices of Microsoft have been investigated by the Justice Department for monopolistic practices, it has been the leading company for new ventures. On November 20, 1995, Microsoft announced that MSN: The Microsoft Network, has enrolled more than 525,000 members in its first three months of service. With the majority of members using
MSN’s full Internet access, this makes it one of the largest Internet service providers. With this development, half a million people were connect on-line and into the new era of computers. Recently Microsoft as tried to eliminate Netscape, the leading developer of Internet exploration tools. I do not believe in this move that Microsoft is trying to implement because smaller companies might have a fresh outlook on the world than the weathered Microsoft.
I consider Bill Gates a genius. I don’t believe in his companies practices like eating small software companies for lunch, but I do believe that it has effected society as a whole. Gates’ vision of “A personal computer on every desk, in every home” was the foundation of Microsoft and I believe should be the foundation of the future. I predict that Microsoft will be the leading software developer going into the 21st century. I believe by the year 2005, that there will be a computer in every house and that Microsoft software will be running on that computer.
With Gates’ leadership, Microsoft is on a mission is to continually advance and improve software technology and they make it easier and more enjoyable for people to use software. That is The Gates Bill.
1. Microsoft History, Microsoft, http://library.microsoft.com/msinfo/mshist/histdoc.htm?
2. William H. Gates: Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft http://www.microsoft.com/corpinfo/bill-g.htm
3. Ichbiah, Daniel and Knepper, Susan L.. The making of Microsoft: How Bill Gates and His Team Created the World’s Most Successful Software Company. Rockline, CA: Prima Publishing.