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Bill Gates – Biography, Net Worth And Quotes Of The Principal Founder Of Microsoft

Bill Gates

Bill Gates is a business magnate, technologist and humanitarian. He is the principal founder of Microsoft, an avid philanthropist interested in making the world a better place. Bill together with his wife, Melinda established the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation in 2000. Today, the foundation is the world largest private charitable organisation with over $50 billion in asset as at December, 2017.

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Bill Gates
Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don't Have An Idea
Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don’t Have An Idea

Bill Gates Background

William Henry Gates III was born on October 28, 1955, in Seattle, Washington. He was born to William H. Gates II, an attorney and Mary Maxwell Gates. Mary Maxwell was a School Teacher, a Chairwoman for the United Way and daughter to J.W Maxwell, a National Bank President. Bill Gates has English, German, Irish, and a Scots-Irish origin. He has two sisters, Kristianne (elder) and Libby (Younger).

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Bill Gates Early Life

Gates enrolled in a private preparatory school, the Lakeside School in 1967. It was at this stage that he wrote his first software program. Also, at age 17, Bill gates formed the Traf-O-Data with Paul Allen. Traf-O-Data is a partnership business created with the aim to read raw data from roadway traffic counters, and create report for traffic engineers.

Before Bill graduated from the Lakeside School, he was already a National Merit Scholar. He then enrolled in 1973 at the Harvard college after scoring 1590/1600 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test. At Harvard, Gates devised an algorithm for pancake sorting as a solution to one of the unsolved problems presented by Harry Lewis, one of his Professors in a combinatorics class.

This algorithm was seen as the fastest version for more than thirty years. However, Gates dropped out of the Harvard university to start his own company after the advent of a microcomputer, Altair 8800 by MITS. He had the support of his parents.

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Bill Gates


Bill contacted MITS (Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry System), the creators of the new micro computer – Altair 8800. He informed them that he and others were working on a BASIC interpreter for the platform. Although, Bill and Paul had not written any code, they only wanted to gauge the company’s interest. Luckily, The MITS President, Ed Roberts met them for a demo and after some time, an Altair emulator was developed. This success led to the distribution of the interpreters as Altair Basic by MITS. Allen was eventually hired, and Gates left Harvard with a leave of absence to work with him at MITS in Albuquerque, but he never returned to school again.

In April 4, 1975, Bill Gates and Paul Allen launched Micro-soft in Albuquerque, New Mexico, US. Microsoft is now a multinational technology company that develop, license and sell computer software and hardware, consumer electronics, cloud computing and other related services. Gates and Allen started Microsoft with the vision of “a computer on every desktop in every home”.  

Micro-soft changed its name to Microsoft in 1976 and moved to Washington in 1979. Since then, Microsoft has been a huge success. For example: it launched the windows 1.0 in 1985, Windows 95 in 1995 and released the Original Xbox in 2001 e.t.c The corporation is ranked 30 in the 2018 Fortune 50 rankings of the largest United States corporations by total revenue, and it is the world largest PC software company.

Bill Gates remained the largest individual shareholder in Microsoft until 2014. He stepped down as the CEO of Microsoft in 2000, but retained the Chairman position. He stepped down as chairman and assumed the position of a technology adviser in February, 2014. Bill now works part time at Microsoft after taking a full-time position at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

See Also: Biography and business lessons from an investment guru: Warren Buffett.

Bill Gates

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days
Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days

The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is a private foundation founded by Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda. It was launched in 2000 in Seattle, Washington. The goal of the charity is to improve healthcare, reduce poverty, provide access to information technology and to increase educational opportunities across the globe. The foundation is regarded as a leader in philanthropic ventures because they apply business techniques to charity.

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Some of the activities of the foundation:

  • In 2002 after it establishment, the foundation completed efforts to install 47,000 computers in 11,000 libraries in 50 states.
  • In 2007, Bill along with his wife Melinda ranked second most generous philanthropists in United States. The family plans to donate 99.96% of their wealth to charity.
  • Bill Gates through his foundation donated $20 million to Carnegie Melon University for the Gates Centre computer science building, a new building that opened in 2009.
  • The foundation also supports the International Rice Research Institute in developing Golden Rice, a genetically modified rice variant used to combat Vitamin A deficiency.
  • The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation operates an open policy where its financial papers are accessible to benefactors.
  • It has also enhanced education developments with the establishment of the Gates Cambridge scholarships at Cambridge University.
  • The Bill and Melinda Foundation is organised into four program areas; united states division, global development division, global health division, global policy and advocacy.

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Bill Gates Philanthropy

Although Bill Gates co-founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) with his wife, he also contributes personally to institutions and society at large. Some of his personal philanthropic endeavours are:

  • A $20 million donation to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the construction of the William H. Gates building, a computer laboratory.
  • In 2010, Bill Gates, Melinda and Warren Buffett signed ‘The Giving Pledge’ commitment to give at least half of their wealth to charity with invitation to other billionaires to follow suit.
  • 2010, Bill and Melinda Gates pledged $10 million for 10 years of research development and delivery of vaccines for the world poorest countries.
  • 2013, Bill helped launch a $5.5 billion fund in an effort to eradicate polio by 2018. According to WHO, it has been successful in India with only three countries suffering from the disease.
  • He also donated fund to the Maxwell Dworkin laboratory of the Harvard John A. Paulson school of engineering and applied sciences (SEAS).
  • Bill donated $6 million to the construction of Gates Computer Science Building in Stanford University.
  • He performed the Ice bucket challenge in order to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis on August 15, 2014.
  • Gates sees ‘greener’ technologies as a way to deal with global warming, therefore he donated $1 billion to a clean energy project.
  • On August 25 2018, Gates distributed $600,000 through BMGF via UNICEF in order to assist flood victims in Kerala, India.

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Bill Gates Net worth

According to Forbes, Bill Gates real time net worth is $102.9 billion ranking second after Jeff Bezos.

Awards and Recognition

Bill Gates has received numerous awards for his contribution to the society. Some of which include:

  • 1987 – One of the 400 Richest people in America issue
  • 1987 – Youngest Self-made Billionaire with $1.25 billion according to Forbes, and till date, he remains one of the World Billionaires
  • 1993-2007 Number 1 on the Forbes 400
  • 1994 – CEO Of the Year by Chief Executive Officers Magazine
  • 1994 – 20th Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society
  • 1995 – 1996 Wealthiest in the world
  • 1996 – Member of the United States National Academy of Engineering for contributions to founding and development of personal computing
  • 1998 – Number 1 Top 50 Cyber Elite by Times
  • 1998- 2007 Wealthiest in the world
  • 1999 – Listed in the Sunday Times Power, and No. 2 Upside Elite 100
  • 1999 – New York Institute of Technology’s President’s Medal
  • 2001 – Top 100 Influential People in the Media by The Guardian
  • 2002 –The Jefferson Award, presented to Bill and Melinda Gates for their Greatest public service benefiting the disadvantaged.
  • 2004-2006 One of the 100 People Who Most Influenced The 20th Century according to Times
  • 2004-2006 One of the most Influential People
  • 2005 – Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II
  • 2005 – Persons Of The Year along with Melinda Gates and Bono, U2’s Lead Singer for their humanitarian efforts
  • 2006 –Awarded the Placard of the Order of the Aztec Eagle along with his wife, Melinda Gates
  • 2006 – Eight Position on the Heroes of Our Time Listicle, and James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award from the Tech Awards
  • 2009 – Number 1 on the Forbes 400
  • 2009-2014 Wealthiest in the world
  • 2010 – Bower Award for Business Leadership from the Franklin Institute
  • 2010- Silver Buffalo Award by the Boy Scouts of America
  • 2012- 4th Most Powerful Person in World by Forbes from the 5th position in 2011
  • 2014 – 2017 Number 1 on the Forbes 400
  • 2015 – Padma Bhushan award, the India’s third highest civilian award for his social work in the country together with Melinda Gates.
  • 2016 – Presidential Medal of Freedom honour by Barrack Obama to Bill and Melinda Gates.
  • 2017 – Richest in Tech in Forbes ranking
  • 2017 – The legion of Honour, France’s highest national award to Bill and Melinda for their charity efforts and foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering
  • 2018 – 2nd on the Forbes 400 listicle
  • 2018 – 7th most Powerful person in the World according to Forbes
  • 2019 –  2nd Billionaire in the World after Jeff Bezos and family

See Also: Biography of the richest man in Africa.

Bill Gates honorary doctorates from several universities include;

  • Nyenrode Business Universiteit
  • KTIT Royal Institute of Technology
  • Nesada University
  • Tsinghua University
  • Harvard University
  • Karolinska Institute
  • Cambridge University
  • Honourary Trustee of Perking University- 2007
Bill Gates

Bill Gates Personal Life

Bill Gates is married to Melinda French. They tied the knot on the 1st of January, 1994 on a golf course on the Hawaiian Island of Lanal. He currently lives with his wife and three children in Xanadu 2.0, Medina, Washington.

Bill Gates is an avid reader. He loves sport and enjoys playing bridge, tennis and golf.

Other Investments

Bill Gates have founded other companies and is also an astute investor, investing in companies he believes in. In 2006, his other investments apart from Microsoft earned him a total salary of $966.667. Some of these companies include;


In 1989, Bill Gates founded Corbis, a digital imaging company of arts and photography.

Cascade Investment LLC.

Cascade investment is an American private holding and investment company. It was founded in 1995 in Kirkland, Washington, United States by Bill Gates.

Terra Power

In 2006, Terra Power was launched by Bill Gates. Terra power is an innovation company striving to improve the world through nuclear energy and science.


In 2008, Gates established Bill Gates Catalyst 3 (Bgc3). An American research company that cover area such as; scientific and technological series, industrial analysis and research, design and development of computer hardware and software to combat poverty.

Bill Gates

Bill Gates invested in Research Gate, and he is a major stake holder in Eclipse Aviation.

He has authored several books, featured in several documentaries, video and film clips. Additionally, Bill Gates has made several appearances on the radio as well as Television. 

Bill Gates Quotes

“Research shows that there is only half as much variation in student achievement between schools as there is among classrooms in the same school. If you want your child to get the best education possible, it is actually more important to get him assigned to a great teacher than to a great school.”

“Money has no utility to me beyond a certain point. Its utility is entirely in building an organization and getting the resources out to the poorest in the world”.

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”

“Success is a lousy teacher, it seduces smart people in thinking they can’t lose”.

“Its fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

“Life is not fair, get used to it.”

“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating, them, the teacher is the most important.”

“Technology is unlocking the innate compassion we have for our own fellow human beings.”

“The internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.”

“I believe in innovation and that the way you get innovation is you find research and you learn the basic facts.”

“Headlines, in a way, are what mislead you because bad news is a headline and gradual improvement is not.”

“Everyone needs a coach. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a basket ball player, a tennis player, a gymnast or a bridge player.”

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