Contributions of Bill Gates

Topics: Bill Gates, Microsoft, Personal computer Pages: 5 (1751 words) Published: July 23, 2010
Bill Gates was born on Oct. 28, 1955. He grew up in Seattle with his two sisters. Their father, William H. Gates II, is a Seattle attorney. Their late mother, Mary Gates, was a schoolteacher, University of Washington regent, and chairwoman of United Way International. Gates attended public elementary school and the private Lakeside School. There, he discovered his interest in software and began programming computers at age 13. In 1973, Gates entered Harvard University as a freshman, where he lived down the hall from Steve Ballmer, now Microsoft's chief executive officer. Gates dropped out of school for one year to work for TRW in computing, earning $30,000 (Microsoft, 2010).

In 1974, Bill was attending Harvard University when Allen spotted an advertisement for a $350 assemble-at-home computer called the Altair 8800, manufactured by MITS, a company headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Bill and Allen worked nonstop for six weeks to devise a simple version of BASIC, a programming language, for the Altair. They demonstrated their finished product to the company's engineers with great success, and the following year, Bill and Allen founded Microsoft Corporation. Microsoft had entered the personal computer (PC) industry at an opportune time. In 1980 Microsoft won a contract with IBM to operate personal computers using Microsoft's system, commonly known as MS-DOS. By 1983 the IBM PC had become the industry standard and MS-DOS was its operating system. In 1995, Microsoft introduced Windows 95 which again revolutionized the PC market, and became an industry standard (Master of Business, 2010). Bill Gates has accomplished so much beginning at age 13, starting with the creation of Traf-o-Data, then starting Microsoft, on to writing books, and finally becoming one of the richest and most giving philanthropist in the world.  

In 1970, Bill Gates and Paul Allen had been involved in some impressive software projects by then, most recently at TRW working on software to control the Northwest power grid. Traf-O-Data was a little different. Traf-O-Data was a computerized machine for processing paper tapes from traffic counters, those black hoses most of us have driven over on roads throughout the United States. It was an early example of a microprocessor-controlled “embedded system,” not really a computer as we know it, but computerized. It began with the idea of automating the processing of traffic tapes for the local road department, which a group of students at Gates’s and Allen’s Lakeside School was doing by hand at the time and it would also require special hardware. Neither of the two had much hardware experience, so they enlisted the help of a friend, Paul Gilbert, to construct the machine while they wrote the software. The plan was to manufacture the Traf-O-Data and sell it to state and local governments, but their one demo was a failure. The tape reader malfunctioned and the sale was lost. They repaired and debugged the machine, but it never became a product—which was fortunate. Success would have distracted Gates and Allen at a crucial moment. As it was, by the time the lone Traf-O-Data began processing traffic tapes in 1975, the two had turned the operation over to Gilbert and moved on to form Microsoft (Startup - Albuquerque and the Personal Computer Revolution, 2006). Gates eventually sold this system to the city for $20,000 when he was only fifteen years old (Master of Business, 2010).

Microsoft is founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975. With annual revenues of more than $32 billion, Microsoft Corporation is more than the largest software company in the world. The company's core business is based on developing, manufacturing, and licensing software products, including operating systems, server applications, business and consumer applications, and software development tools, as well as Internet software, technologies, and services. Led by Bill Gates, Microsoft has succeeded in placing at least one...

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