Bill Gates Before Microsoft

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Bill Gates: Before Microsoft

From his first business venture through his multi-billion dollar deals, Bill Gates has always been a ferocious and keen businessman. Bill Gates first started tinkering with computers when his high school, Lakeside Prep, wanted to acquaint its students with computers. In 1968 the school held a fund raiser to buy computer time on a DEC PDP-10 computer that was owned by General Electric. Lakeside was able to raise enough money for what they thought would be ample time to last throughout the entire year. Bill Gates, along with Paul Allen and a handful of friends, used all of the purchased computer time within a few weeks. Most of them were spending all day and night in the computer lab; some even began to skip class and failed to turn in homework because of the allure of the computer. After they were out of computer time the school had a lucky break as one of the student’s father worked for a company called Computer Center Corporation, a company that offered affordable computing time. A deal between the school and CCC gave Gates much more computer time than the original deal had. Immediately Gates and friends began pushing the boundaries of the machine they were given. They crashed the system several times, which also led to the security system on the computer breaking. However, they did not get into trouble until it was discovered that they had edited the files that tracked the amount of computer time they used. It was this exploit that got the group banned from the computer lab, but later was the reason that CCC hired the programmers.

Gates, Allen, and two other men were hired by CCC because they impressed the company with their assaults on its computer. Their new job was to exploit security weaknesses and bugs that were causing the computer company’s systems to crash. They excelled in this job, primarily because that is what they were already doing to the computer at school before they were banned from using...
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