Gates, Bill


Gates, Bill
in full William Henry Gates III

born Oct. 28, 1955, Seattle, Wash., U.S.

U.S. computer programmer and businessman.

As a teenager, he helped computerize his high school's payroll system and founded a company that sold traffic-counting systems to local governments. At 19 he dropped out of Harvard University and cofounded Microsoft Corp. with Paul G. Allen (b. 1954). Microsoft began its domination of the fledgling microcomputer industry when Gates licensed the operating system MS-DOS to IBM in 1980 for use in IBM's first personal computer. As Microsoft's largest shareholder, Gates became a billionaire in 1986, and within a decade he was the world's richest private individual. Beginning in 1995, he refocused Microsoft on the development of software solutions for the Internet, and he also moved the company into the computer hardware and gaming markets with the Xbox video machine. In 1999 he and his wife created the largest charitable foundation in the U.S.

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▪ American computer programmer, businessman, and philanthropist
in full  William Henry Gates III 
born October 28, 1955, Seattle, Washington, U.S.
 
 American computer programmer and entrepreneur who cofounded Microsoft Corporation, the world's largest personal-computer software company.

      Gates wrote his first software program at the age of 13. In high school he helped form a group of programmers who computerized their school's payroll system and founded Traf-O-Data, a company that sold traffic-counting systems to local governments. In 1975 Gates, then a sophomore at Harvard University, joined his hometown friend Paul G. Allen to develop software for the first microcomputers (microcomputer). They began by adapting BASIC, a popular programming language used on large computers, for use on microcomputers. With the success of this project, Gates left Harvard during his junior year and, with Allen, formed Microsoft. Gates's sway over the infant microcomputer industry greatly increased when Microsoft licensed an operating system called MS-DOS to International Business Machines Corporation—then the world's biggest computer supplier and industry pacesetter—for use on its first microcomputer, the IBM PC (personal computer). After the machine's release in 1981, IBM quickly set the technical standard for the PC industry, and MS-DOS likewise pushed out competing operating systems. While Microsoft's independence strained relations with IBM, Gates deftly manipulated the larger company so that it became permanently dependent on him for crucial software. Makers of IBM-compatible PCs, or clones, also turned to Microsoft for their basic software. By the start of the 1990s he had become the PC industry's ultimate kingmaker.

 Largely on the strength of Microsoft's success, Gates amassed a huge paper fortune as the company's largest individual shareholder. He became a paper billionaire in 1986, and within a decade his net worth had reached into the tens of billions of dollars—making him by some estimates the world's richest private individual. With few interests beyond software and the potential of information technology (information system), Gates at first preferred to stay out of the public eye, handling civic and philanthropic affairs indirectly through one of his foundations. Nevertheless, as Microsoft's power and reputation grew, and especially as it attracted the attention of the U.S. Justice Department's antitrust division, Gates, with some reluctance, became a more public figure. Rivals (particularly in competing companies in Silicon Valley) portrayed him as driven, duplicitous, and determined to profit from virtually every electronic transaction in the world. His supporters, on the other hand, celebrated his uncanny business acumen, his flexibility, and his boundless appetite for finding new ways to make computers and electronics more useful through software.

      All of these qualities were evident in Gates's nimble response to the sudden public interest in the Internet. Beginning in 1995 and 1996, Gates feverishly refocused Microsoft on the development of consumer and enterprise software solutions for the Internet, developed the Windows (Windows OS) CE operating system platform for networking noncomputer devices such as home televisions and personal digital assistants, created the Microsoft Network to compete with America Online and other Internet providers, and, through Gates's company Corbis, acquired the huge Bettmann photo archives and other collections for use in electronic distribution.

      In addition to his work at Microsoft, Gates was also known for his charitable work. With his wife, Melinda (Gates, Melinda), he launched the William H. Gates Foundation (renamed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 1999) in 1994 to fund global health programs as well as projects in the Pacific Northwest. During the latter part of the 1990s, the couple also funded North American libraries through the Gates Library Foundation (renamed Gates Learning Foundation in 1999) and raised money for minority study grants through the Gates Millennium Scholars program. In June 2006 Warren Buffett (Buffett, Warren Edward) announced an ongoing gift to the foundation, which would allow its assets to total roughly $60 billion in the next 20 years. At the beginning of the 21st century, the foundation continued to focus on global health and global development, as well as community and education causes in the United States. After a short transition period, Gates relinquished day-to-day oversight of Microsoft in June 2008—although he remained chairman of the board—in order to devote more time to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

 It remains to be seen whether Gates's extraordinary success will guarantee him a lasting place in the pantheon of great Americans. At the very least, historians seem likely to view him as a business figure as important to computers as John D. Rockefeller (Rockefeller, John D.) was to oil. Gates himself displayed an acute awareness of the perils of prosperity in his 1995 best seller, The Road Ahead, where he observed, “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose.”
 

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Gates, Bill — p. ext. William Henry Gates III (n. 28 oct. 1955, Seattle, Wash., EE.UU.). Programador de computadoras y empresario estadounidense. Como adolescente ayudó a computarizar el sistema de pago de salarios de su escuela secundaria y fundó una compañía …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Gates, Bill — ● np. m. ►PERS Fondateur de Microsoft, ce qui lui a plutôt bien réussi jusqu à aujourd hui. Contrairement à ce que raconte la légende urbaine, Billou n a jamais développé le DOS (même s il a pu le modifier légèrement à l époque) …   Dictionnaire d'informatique francophone

  • Gates, Bill and Melinda — ▪ 2007       On May 4, 2006, the Prince of Asturias Foundation in Spain announced that the 2006 Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation would go to computer entrepreneur Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda French Gates. The… …   Universalium

  • Bill gates — Bill Gates au Medef en janvier 2008. Naissance 28 octobre  …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Bill — Bill, Max * * * (as used in expressions) Bill of Rights (Declaración de derechos) Bill, Max Blass, Bill Bradley, Bill Brandt, Bill Clinton, Bill Buffalo Bill Cosby, Bill …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Gates — Gates, Bill (1955 ) a US computer ↑programmer and businessman, who started the Microsoft computer company and is famous for being the richest man in the world …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Bill Gates — For other people named Bill Gates, see Bill Gates (disambiguation). Bill Gates …   Wikipedia

  • Bill Gates — Bill Gates …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Bill Gates — Para el mayista estadounidense, véase William Edmond Gates. Bill Gates Bill Gates en 2007 …   Wikipedia Español


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