Bill Gates is one of the most influential people in the world. He is cofounder of one of the most recognized brands in the computer industry with nearly every desk top computer using at least one software program from Microsoft. According to the Forbes magazine, Bill Gates is the richest man in the world and has held the number one position for many years. Gates was born on 28th October, 1955 and grew up in Seattle, Washington USA. His father, William H. Gates II was a Seattle attorney and his mother, Mary Maxwell Gates was a school teacher and chairperson of the United Way charity. Gates and his two sisters had a comfortable upbringing, with Gates being able to attend the exclusive secondary “Lakeside School”. Bill Gates started studying at Harvard University in 1973 where he spent time with Paul Allen. Gates and Allen worked on a version of the programming language BASIC, that was the basis for the MITS Altair (the first microcomputer available). He did not go on to graduate from Harvard University as he left in his junior year to start what was to become the largest computer software company in the world; Microsoft Corporation.After dropping out of Harvard Bill Gates and his partner Paul Allen set about revolutionizing the computer industry. Gates believed there should be a computer on every office desk and in every home. In 1975 the company Micro-soft was formed, which was an abbreviation of microcomputer software. It soon became simply “Microsoft”® and went on to completely change the way people use computers. Microsoft helped to make the computer easier to use with its developed and purchased software, and made it a commercial success. The success of Microsoft began with the MS-DOS computer operating system that Gates licensed to IBM. Gates also set about protecting the royalties that he could acquire from computer software by aggressively fighting against all forms of software piracy, effectively creating the retail software market that now exists today. This move was quite controversial at the time as it was the freedom of sharing that produced much innovation and advances in the newly forming software industry. But it was this stand against software piracy, that was to be central in the great commercial success that Microsoft went on to achieve. The Microsoft monopoly sets about completely dominating every market it enters through either acquisition, aggressive business tactics or a combination of them. Many of the largest technology companies have fought legally against the actions of Microsoft, including Apple Computer, Netscape, Opera, WordPerfect, and sun Microsystems.With an estimated wealth of $53 billion in 2006, Bill Gates is the richest man in the world and he should be starting to get used to the number spot as he has been there from the mid-ninties up until now. The famous investor Warren Buffett is gaining on Gates though with an estimated $46 billion in 2006. Microsoft hasn’t just made Bill Gates very wealthy though. According to the Forbes business magazine in 2004 Paul Allen, Microsoft cofounder was the 5th richest man in the world with an estimated $21 billion. While Bill Gates’ long time friend and Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer was the 19th richest man in the world at $12.4 billion. Being the richest man in the world has also enabled Gates to create one of the world’s largest charitable foundations. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has an endowment of more than $28 billion, with donations totaling more than $1 billion every year. The foundation was formed in 2000 after merging the “Gates Learning Foundation” and “William H. Gates Foundation”. Their aim is to “bring innovations in health and learning to the global community”.
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