William Henry Gates was born on 28 October 1955, in Seattle, Washington. As the principal founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates is one of the most influential and richest people on the planet. Recent estimates of his wealth put it at US$84.2 billion (Jan. 2017); this is the equivalent of the combined GDP of several African economies. In recent years he has retired from working full time at Microsoft, and has instead concentrated on working with his charitable foundation “The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.”
Early life of Bill Gates
His father William Gates Sr was a senior lawyer, and his mother, Mary, served as an executive for a major bank. The family were wealthy but, remembering the challenges of the Great Depression, they encouraged their children to work hard and take nothing for granted.
Aged 13, Gates attended the private Lakeside school. It was here that Gates had his first introduction to computers. He taught himself to programme in Basic, making a simple ‘Tic-Tac-Toe’ game. Gates enjoyed the process of working with computers and arranged with a company Computer Center Corporation (CCC) to spend time on their computers – learning source code, such as Fortran, Machine Code and Lisp.
In 1973, Gates enrolled at Harvard, where he studied mathematics and computer science. However, Gates was more interested in pursuing his own coding, and when he saw an opportunity to found his own company, he dropped out of Harvard without finishing his course.
Bill Gates foundation of Microsoft
Altair 8800 computer
Bill Gates founded Microsoft in 1976 when he formed a contract with MITS (Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems) to develop a basic operating system for their new microcomputers. In the early days, Bill Gates would review every line of code. He was also involved in several aspects of Microsoft’s business such as packing and sending off orders.
Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1981
The big break for Microsoft came in 1980 when IBM approached them for a new BASIC operating system for its new computers. In the early 1980s, IBM was by far the leading PC manufacturer. However, increasingly, there developed many IBM PC clones; (PCs produced by other companies compatible with IBM’s). Microsoft worked hard to sell its operating system to these other companies. Thus Microsoft was able to gain the dominant position of software manufacture just as the personal computer market started to boom. Since its early dominance, other companies have struggled to displace Microsoft as the dominant provider of computer operating software. Programs like Microsoft Word and Excel have become the industry standard.
Bill Gates – Windows
In 1990 Microsoft released its first version of Windows. This was a breakthrough in operating software as it replaced text interfaces with graphical interfaces. It soon became a best seller and was able to capture the majority of the operating system market share. In 1995 Windows 95 was released, setting new standards and features for operating systems. This version of Windows has been the backbone of all future releases from Windows 2000 to the latest XP and Vista.
Throughout his time in office, Bill Gates has been keen to diversify the business of Microsoft. For example, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer became the dominant web browser, although this was primarily because it came pre-installed on most new computers. In recent years, Internet Explorer has seen its market share slip.
One area where Microsoft has never been successful is in the area of search engines. MSN live search has struggled to gain more than 5% of market share. In this respect, Microsoft has been dwarfed by Google. Nevertheless, the success of Microsoft in cornering various aspects of the software market has led to several anti-trust cases. In 1998 US v Microsoft, Microsoft came close to being broken up into three smaller firms. However, on appeal, Microsoft was able to survive as a single firm. Although Microsoft was the dominant computer firm of the 1980s, and 1990s, they are now seen as an ageing and declining company – compared to the more dynamic Google and Apple.
Philanthropic Activities – Bill Gates
Bill Gates is married to Melinda French (married in 1992). They have three children Jennifer (1996), Rory (1999) and Phoebe (2002). With his wife, Bill Gates formed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Bill Gates says much of the inspiration came from the example of David Rockefeller. Like Rockefeller, Gates has sought to focus on global issues ignored by the government; he also expressed an interest in improving the standards of public school education in the US. He has appeared with Oprah Winfrey to promote this objective. In respect to charitable, philanthropic activities Gates has also received encouragement from investor Warren Buffet, who has given away $17 billion, through the Gates Foundation.
From 2008 Gates has worked full time on his philanthropic interests. It is estimated Gates and his wife Melinda have given away $28 billion via their charitable foundation – including $8 billion to improve global health.
Gates has said that he has no use for money, and will only leave a small percentage of his wealth to his children. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Gates states:
“I’m certainly well taken care of in terms of food and clothes,” he says, redundantly. “Money has no utility to me beyond a certain point. Its utility is entirely in building an organisation and getting the resources out to the poorest in the world.” (1)
His main areas of interest in philanthropy have been improving health, and in particular helping to reduce diseases, such as polio which affect young children. He has also given more focus to environmental issues. In 2015, he gave $1 billion to a clean energy project, as he sees supporting new ‘greener’ technologies as a way to help deal with global warming. Asked about the motivation of his giving, Gates replies:
“It doesn’t relate to any particular religion; it’s about human dignity and equality,” he says. “The golden rule that all lives have equal value and we should treat people as we would like to be treated.”
Citation: Pettinger, Tejvan. “Biography of Bill Gates”, Oxford, UK. www.biographyonline.net, 25th Feb. 2015. Updated 10th February 2018.
Bill Gates: The Life and Business Lessons of Bill Gates
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Who is Bill Gates?
Who is Bill Gates? at Amazon
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For other people named Bill Gates, see Bill Gates (disambiguation).
William Henry Gates III (born October 28, 1955) is an American business magnate, investor, author, philanthropist, humanitarian, and principal founder of the Microsoft Corporation. During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of chairman, CEO and chief software architect, while also being the largest individual shareholder until May 2014.
In 1975, Gates and Paul Allen launched Microsoft, which became the world's largest PC software company.[a] Gates led the company as chief executive officer until stepping down in January 2000, but he remained as chairman and created the position of chief software architect for himself.
In June 2006, Gates announced that he would be transitioning from full-time work at Microsoft to part-time work and full-time work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which was established in 2000. He gradually transferred his duties to Ray Ozzie and Craig Mundie. He stepped down as chairman of Microsoft in February 2014 and assumed a new post as technology adviser to support the newly appointed CEO Satya Nadella.
Gates is one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution. He has been criticized for his business tactics, which have been considered anti-competitive. This opinion has been upheld by numerous court rulings. Later in his career, Gates pursued a number of philanthropic endeavors. He donated large amounts of money to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Since 1987, Gates has been included in the Forbes list of the world's wealthiest people, an index of the wealthiest documented individuals, excluding and ranking against those with wealth that is not able to be completely ascertained.
From 1995 to 2017, he held the Forbes title of the richest person in the world all but four of those years, and held it consistently from March 2014 – July 2017, with an estimated net worth of US$89.9 billion as of October 2017. However, on July 27, 2017, and since October 27, 2017, he has been surpassed by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, who had an estimated net worth of US$90.6 billion at the time.
In 2009, Gates and Warren Buffett founded The Giving Pledge, whereby they and other billionaires pledge to give at least half of their wealth to philanthropy. The foundation works to save lives and improve global health, and is working with Rotary International to eliminate polio. As of February 17, 2018, Gates had a net worth of $91.7 billion, making him the second richest person in the world, behind Bezos.
Gates was born in Seattle, Washington on October 28, 1955. He is the son of William H. Gates Sr.[b] (b. 1925) and Mary Maxwell Gates (1929–1994). His ancestry includes English, German, Irish, and Scots-Irish. His father was a prominent lawyer, and his mother served on the board of directors for First Interstate BancSystem and the United Way. Gates' maternal grandfather was JW Maxwell, a national bank president. Gates has one elder sister, Kristi (Kristianne), and one younger sister, Libby. He is the fourth of his name in his family, but is known as William Gates III or "Trey" because his father had the "II" suffix. Early on in his life, Gates' parents had a law career in mind for him. When Gates was young, his family regularly attended a church of the Congregational Christian Churches, a ProtestantReformed denomination. The family encouraged competition; one visitor reported that "it didn't matter whether it was hearts or pickleball or swimming to the dock ... there was always a reward for winning and there was always a penalty for losing".
At 13, he enrolled in the Lakeside School, a private preparatory school. When he was in the eighth grade, the Mothers' Club at the school used proceeds from Lakeside School's rummage sale to buy a Teletype Model 33 ASR terminal and a block of computer time on a General Electric (GE) computer for the school's students. Gates took an interest in programming the GE system in BASIC, and was excused from math classes to pursue his interest. He wrote his first computer program on this machine: an implementation of tic-tac-toe that allowed users to play games against the computer. Gates was fascinated by the machine and how it would always execute software code perfectly. When he reflected back on that moment, he said, "There was just something neat about the machine." After the Mothers Club donation was exhausted, he and other students sought time on systems including DECPDP minicomputers. One of these systems was a PDP-10 belonging to Computer Center Corporation (CCC), which banned four Lakeside students – Gates, Paul Allen, Ric Weiland, and Kent Evans – for the summer after it caught them exploiting bugs in the operating system to obtain free computer time.
At the end of the ban, the four students offered to find bugs in CCC's software in exchange for extra computer time. Rather than use the system via Teletype. Subsequently, Gates went to CCC's offices and studied source code for various programs that ran on the system, including programs in Fortran, Lisp, and machine language. The arrangement with CCC continued until 1970, when the company went out of business. The following year, Information Sciences, Inc. hired the four Lakeside students to write a payroll program in COBOL, providing them computer time and royalties. After his administrators became aware of his programming abilities, Gates wrote the school's computer program to schedule students in classes. He modified the code so that he was placed in classes with "a disproportionate number of interesting girls." He later stated that "it was hard to tear myself away from a machine at which I could so unambiguously demonstrate success." At age 17, Gates formed a venture with Allen, called Traf-O-Data, to make traffic counters based on the Intel 8008 processor. In early 1973, Bill Gates served as a congressional page in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Gates was a National Merit Scholar when he graduated from Lakeside School in 1973. He scored 1590 out of 1600 on the Scholastic Aptitude Tests (SAT) and enrolled at Harvard College in the autumn of 1973. He chose a pre-law major but took mathematics and graduate level computer science courses. While at Harvard, he met fellow student Steve Ballmer. Gates left Harvard after two years while Ballmer would stay and graduate magna cum laude. Years later, Ballmer succeeded Gates as Microsoft's CEO. He maintained that position from 2000 until his resignation from the company in 2014.
In his second year, Gates devised an algorithm for pancake sorting as a solution to one of a series of unsolved problems presented in a combinatorics class by Harry Lewis, one of his professors. Gates' solution held the record as the fastest version for over thirty years; its successor is faster by only one percent. His solution was later formalized in a published paper in collaboration with Harvard computer scientist Christos Papadimitriou.
Gates did not have a definite study plan while he was a student at Harvard, and he spent a lot of time using the school's computers. Gates remained in contact with Paul Allen, and he joined him at Honeywell during the summer of 1974. The MITS Altair 8800 was released the following year. The new computer was based on the Intel 8080 CPU, and Gates and Allen saw this as the opportunity to start their own computer software company. Gates dropped out of Harvard at this time. He had talked over this decision with his parents, who were supportive of him after seeing how much their son wanted to start his own company. Gates explained his decision to leave Harvard, saying "...if things [Microsoft] hadn't worked out, I could always go back to school. I was officially on [a] leave [of absence]."
Main articles: History of Microsoft and Microsoft
After Gates read the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics, which demonstrated the Altair 8800, he contacted Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS), the creators of the new microcomputer, to inform them that he and others were working on a BASIC interpreter for the platform. In reality, Gates and Allen did not have an Altair and had not written code for it; they merely wanted to gauge MITS's interest. MITS president Ed Roberts agreed to meet them for a demo, and over the course of a few weeks they developed an Altair emulator that ran on a minicomputer, and then the BASIC interpreter. The demonstration, held at MITS's offices in Albuquerque, was a success and resulted in a deal with MITS to distribute the interpreter as Altair BASIC. Paul Allen was hired into MITS, and Gates took a leave of absence from Harvard to work with Allen at MITS in Albuquerque in November 1975. They named their partnership "Micro-Soft" and had their first office located in Albuquerque. Within a year, the hyphen was dropped, and on November 26, 1976, the trade name "Microsoft" was registered with the Office of the Secretary of the State of New Mexico. Gates never returned to Harvard to complete his studies.
Microsoft's Altair BASIC was popular with computer hobbyists, but Gates discovered that a pre-market copy had leaked into the community and was being widely copied and distributed. In February 1976, Gates wrote an Open Letter to Hobbyists in the MITS newsletter in which he asserted that more than 90 percent of the users of Microsoft Altair BASIC had not paid Microsoft for it and by doing so the Altair "hobby market" was in danger of eliminating the incentive for any professional developers to produce, distribute, and maintain high-quality software. This letter was unpopular with many computer hobbyists, but Gates persisted in his belief that software developers should be able to demand payment. Microsoft became independent of MITS in late 1976, and it continued to develop programming language software for various systems. The company moved from Albuquerque to its new home in Bellevue, Washington, on January 1, 1979.
During Microsoft's early years, all employees had broad responsibility for the company's business. Gates oversaw the business details, but continued to write code as well. In the first five years, according to Bill Gates' own claims, he personally reviewed every line of code the company shipped, and often rewrote parts of it as he saw fit.[unreliable source?]
IBM approached Microsoft in July 1980 in reference to an operating system for its upcoming personal computer, the IBM PC. IBM first proposed that Microsoft write the BASIC interpreter. When IBM's representatives mentioned that they needed an operating system, Gates referred them to Digital Research (DRI), makers of the widely used CP/M operating system. IBM's discussions with Digital Research went poorly, and they did not reach a licensing agreement. IBM representative Jack Sams mentioned the licensing difficulties during a subsequent meeting with Gates and told him to get an acceptable operating system. A few weeks later, Gates proposed using 86-DOS (QDOS), an operating system similar to CP/M that Tim Paterson of Seattle Computer Products (SCP) had made for hardware similar to the PC. Microsoft made a deal with SCP to become the exclusive licensing agent, and later the full owner, of 86-DOS. After adapting the operating system for the PC, Microsoft delivered it to IBM as PC DOS in exchange for a one-time fee of $50,000.
Gates did not offer to transfer the copyright on the operating system, because he believed that other hardware vendors would clone IBM's system. They did, and the sales of MS-DOS made Microsoft a major player in the industry. Despite IBM's name on the operating system, the press quickly identified Microsoft as being very influential on the new computer. PC Magazine asked if Gates were "the man behind the machine?", and InfoWorld quoted an expert as stating "it's Gates' computer". Gates oversaw Microsoft's company restructuring on June 25, 1981, which re-incorporated the company in Washington state and made Gates the president of Microsoft and its board chairman.
Microsoft launched its first retail version of Microsoft Windows on November 20, 1985. In August of the following year, the company struck a deal with IBM to develop a separate operating system called OS/2. Although the two companies successfully developed the first version of the new system, the partnership deteriorated due to mounting creative differences.
From Microsoft's founding in 1975 until 2006, Gates had primary responsibility for the company's product strategy. He gained a reputation for being distant from others; as early as 1981 an industry executive complained in public that "Gates is notorious for not being reachable by phone and for not returning phone calls." Another executive recalled that he showed Gates a game and defeated him 35 of 37 times. When they met again a month later, Gates "won or tied every game. He had studied the game until he solved it. That is a competitor."
Gates was an executive who met regularly with Microsoft's senior managers and program managers. In firsthand accounts of these meetings, the managers described him being verbally combative. He also berated managers for perceived holes in their business strategies or proposals that placed the company's long-term interests at risk. He interrupted presentations with such comments as "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard!" and "Why don't you just give up your options and join the Peace Corps?" The target of his outburst then had to defend the proposal in detail until, hopefully, Gates was fully convinced. When subordinates appeared to be procrastinating, he was known to remark sarcastically, "I'll do it over the weekend."
During Microsoft's early history, Gates was an active software developer, particularly in the company's programming language products, but his basic role in most of the company's history was primarily as a manager and executive. Gates has not officially been on a development team since working on the TRS-80 Model 100, but as late as 1989 he wrote code that shipped with the company's products. He remained interested in technical details; in 1985, Jerry Pournelle wrote that when he watched Gates announce Microsoft Excel, "Something else impressed me. Bill Gates likes the program, not because it's going to make him a lot of money (although I'm sure it will do that), but because it's a neat hack."
On June 15, 2006, Gates announced that over the next two years he would transition out of his day-to-day role to dedicate more time to philanthropy. He divided his responsibilities between two successors when he placed Ray Ozzie in charge of day-to-day management and Craig Mundie in charge of long-term product strategy.
Further information: United States Microsoft antitrust case and European Union Microsoft competition case
Many decisions that led to antitrust litigation over Microsoft's business practices have had Gates' approval. In the 1998 United States v. Microsoft case, Gates gave deposition testimony that several journalists characterized as evasive. He argued with examiner David Boies over the contextual meaning of words such as, "compete", "concerned", and "we". The judge and other observers in the court room were seen laughing at various points during the deposition.BusinessWeek reported:
Early rounds of his deposition show him offering obfuscatory answers and saying 'I don't recall,' so many times that even the presiding judge had to chuckle. Worse, many of the technology chief's denials and pleas of ignorance were directly refuted by prosecutors with snippets of e-mail that Gates both sent and received.
Gates later said he had simply resisted attempts by Boies to mischaracterize his words and actions. As to his demeanor during the deposition, he said, "Did I fence with Boies? ... I plead guilty. Whatever that penalty is should be levied against me: rudeness to Boies in the first degree." Despite Gates' denials, the judge ruled that Microsoft had committed monopolization and tying, and blocking competition, both in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.
Appearance in ads
In 2008, Gates appeared in a series of ads to promote Microsoft. The first commercial, co-starring Jerry Seinfeld, is a 90-second talk between strangers as Seinfeld walks up on a discount shoe store (Shoe Circus) in a mall and notices Gates buying shoes inside. The salesman is trying to sell Mr. Gates shoes that are a size too big. As Gates is buying the shoes, he holds up his discount card, which uses a slightly altered version of his own mugshot of his arrest in New Mexico in 1977, for a traffic violation. As they are walking out of the mall, Seinfeld asks Gates if he has melded his mind to other developers, after getting a "Yes", he then asks if they are working on a way to make computers edible, again getting a "Yes". Some say that this is an homage to Seinfeld's own show about "nothing" (Seinfeld). In a second commercial in the series, Gates and Seinfeld are at the home of an average family trying to fit in with normal people.
Since leaving day-to-day operations at Microsoft, Gates has continued his philanthropy and works on other projects.
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Gates was the world's highest-earning billionaire in 2013, as his net worth increased by US$15.8 billion to US$78.5 billion. As of January 2014, most of Gates' assets are held in Cascade Investment LLC, an entity through which he owns stakes in numerous businesses, including Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, and Corbis Corp. On February 4, 2014, Gates stepped down as chairman of Microsoft to become Technology Advisor alongside new CEO Satya Nadella.
Gates provided his perspective on a range of issues in a substantial interview that was published in the March 27, 2014 issue of Rolling Stone magazine. In the interview, Gates provided his perspective on climate change, his charitable activities, various tech companies and people involved in them, and the state of America. In response to a question about his greatest fear when he looks 50 years into the future, Gates stated: "... there'll be some really bad things that'll happen in the next 50 or 100 years, but hopefully none of them on the scale of, say, a million people that you didn't expect to die from a pandemic, or nuclear or bioterrorism." Gates also identified innovation as the "real driver of progress" and pronounced that "America's way better today than it's ever been."
Gates has recently expressed concern about the existential threats of superintelligence; in a Reddit "ask me anything", he stated that
First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don't understand why some people are not concerned.
In a March 2015 interview, with Baidu's CEO, Robin Li, Gates claimed he would "highly recommend" Nick Bostrom's recent work, Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies.
Gates' days are planned for him, similar to the US President's schedule, on a minute-by-minute basis.
Gates married Melinda French on a golf course on the Hawaiian island of Lanai on January 1, 1994; he was 38 and she was 29. They have three children: Jennifer Katharine (b. 1996), Rory John (b. 1999), and Phoebe Adele (b. 2002). The family resides in a modern design mansion, which is an earth-sheltered house in the side of a hill overlooking Lake Washington in Medina near Seattle in Washington state, United States. According to 2007 King County public records, the total assessed value of the property (land and house) is $125 million, and the annual property taxes are $991,000. The 66,000 sq ft (6,100 m2) estate has a 60-foot (18 m) swimming pool with an underwater music system, as well as a 2,500 sq ft (230 m2) gym and a 1,000 sq ft (93 m2) dining room.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Gates stated in regard to his faith:
The moral systems of religion, I think, are super important. We've raised our kids in a religious way; they've gone to the Catholic church that Melinda goes to and I participate in. I've been very lucky, and therefore I owe it to try and reduce the inequity in the world. And that's kind of a religious belief. I mean, it's at least a moral belief.
In the same interview, Gates said:
I agree with people like Richard Dawkins that mankind felt the need for creation myths. Before we really began to understand disease and the weather and things like that, we sought false explanations for them. Now science has filled in some of the realm – not all – that religion used to fill. But the mystery and the beauty of the world is overwhelmingly amazing, and there's no scientific explanation of how it came about. To say that it was generated by random numbers, that does seem, you know, sort of an uncharitable view [laughs]. I think it makes sense to believe in God, but exactly what decision in your life you make differently because of it, I don't know."
The Codex Leicester is one of Gates' private acquisitions. He purchased the collection of famous scientific writings by Leonardo da Vinci for $30.8 million at an auction in 1994. Gates is also known for being an avid reader, and the ceiling of his large home library is engraved with a quotation from The Great Gatsby. He also enjoys playing bridge, tennis, and golf.
In 1999, his wealth briefly surpassed $101 billion. Despite his wealth and extensive business travel, Gates usually flew coach in commercial aircraft until 1997, when he bought a private jet. Since 2000, the nominal value of his Microsoft holdings has declined due to a fall in Microsoft's stock price after the dot-com bubble burst and the multibillion-dollar donations he has made to his charitable foundations. In a May 2006 interview, Gates commented that he wished that he were not the richest man in the world because he disliked the attention it brought. In March 2010, Gates was the second wealthiest person behind Carlos Slim, but regained the top position in 2013, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires List. Carlos Slim retook the position again in June 2014 (but then lost the top position back to Gates). Between 2009 and 2014, his wealth doubled from US$40 billion to more than US$82 billion. Since October 2017, Gates was surpassed by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos as the richest person in the world.
Bill Gates has held the top spot on the list of The World's Billionaires for 18 out of the past 23 years.
Gates has several investments outside Microsoft, which in 2006 paid him a salary of $616,667 and $350,000 bonus totalling $966,667. In 1989, he founded Corbis, a digital imaging company. In 2004, he became a director of Berkshire Hathaway, the investment company headed by long-time friend Warren Buffett. In 2016, he was discussing his gaming habits when he revealed that he was color-blind.
In a BBC interview, Gates claimed "I've paid more tax than any individual ever, and gladly so... I've paid over $6 billion in taxes." He is a proponent of higher taxes, particularly for the rich.
In 2009, Gates and Warren Buffett founded The Giving Pledge, whereby they and other billionaires pledge to give at least half of their wealth to philanthropy.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Main article: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Gates studied the work of Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, and donated some of his Microsoft stock in 1994 to create the "William H. Gates Foundation." In 2000, Gates and his wife combined three family foundations and Gates donated stock valued at $5 billion to create the charitable Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which was identified by the Funds for NGOs company in 2013, as the world's wealthiest charitable foundation, with assets reportedly valued at more than $34.6 billion. The Foundation allows benefactors to access information that shows how its money is being spent, unlike other major charitable organizations such as the Wellcome Trust.
Gates has credited the generosity and extensive philanthropy of David Rockefeller as a major influence. Gates and his father met with Rockefeller several times, and their charity work is partly modeled on the Rockefeller family's philanthropic focus, whereby they are interested in tackling the global problems that are ignored by governments and other organizations. As of 2007, Bill and Melinda Gates were the second-most generous philanthropists in America, having given over $28 billion to charity; the couple plan to eventually donate 95 percent of their wealth to charity.
The foundation is organized into four program areas: Global Development Division, Global Health Division, United States Division, and Global Policy & Advocacy Division. The foundation supports the use of genetically modified organisms in agricultural development. Specifically, the foundation is supporting the International Rice Research Institute in developing Golden Rice, a genetically modified rice variant used to combat Vitamin A deficiency.
Melinda Gates suggested that people should emulate the philanthropic efforts of the Salwen family, which had sold its home and given away half of its value, as detailed in The Power of Half. Gates and his wife invited Joan Salwen to Seattle to speak about what the family had done, and on December 9, 2010, Gates, investor Warren Buffett, and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg signed a commitment they called the "Gates-Buffet Giving Pledge." The pledge is a commitment by all three to donate at least half of their wealth over the course of time to charity.
Gates has also provided personal donations to educational institutions. In 1999, Gates donated $20 million to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for the construction of a computer laboratory named the "William H. Gates Building" that was designed by architect Frank Gehry. While Microsoft had previously given financial support to the institution, this was the first personal donation received from Gates.
The Maxwell Dworkin Laboratory of the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences is named after the mothers of both Gates and Microsoft President Steven A. Ballmer, both of whom were students (Ballmer was a member of the School's graduating class of 1977, while Gates left his studies for Microsoft), and donated funds for the laboratory's construction. Gates also donated $6 million to the construction of the Gates Computer Science Building, completed in January 1996, on the campus of Stanford University. The building contains the Computer Science Department (CSD) and the Computer Systems Laboratory (CSL) of Stanford's Engineering department.
On August 15, 2014, Bill Gates posted a video of himself on Facebook in which he is seen dumping a bucket of ice water on his head. Gates posted the video after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg challenged him to do so in order to raise awareness for the disease ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).
Since about 2005, Bill Gates and his foundation have taken an interest in solving global sanitation problems. For example, they announced the "Reinvent the Toilet Challenge", which has received considerable media interest. To raise awareness for the topic of sanitation and possible solutions, Gates drank water that was "produced from human feces" in 2014 – in fact it was produced from a sewage sludge treatment process called the Omni-processor. In early 2015, he also appeared with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show and challenged him to see if he could taste the difference between this reclaimed water or bottled water.
In November 2017, Gates said he would give $50 million to the Dementia Discovery Fund, a venture capital that seeks treatment for Alzheimer's disease. He also pledged an additional $50 million to start-up ventures working in Alzheimer’s research.
Bill and Melinda Gates have said that they intend to leave their three children $10 million each as their inheritance. With only $30 million kept in the family, they appear to be on a course to give away about 99.96 percent of their wealth.
In 2007, the Los Angeles Times criticized the foundation for investing its assets in companies that have been accused of worsening poverty, polluting heavily, and pharmaceutical companies that do not sell to the developing world. In response to press criticism, the foundation announced a review of its investments to assess social responsibility. It subsequently canceled the review and stood by its policy of investing for maximum return, while using voting rights to influence company practices. The Gates Millennium Scholars program has been criticized by Ernest W. Lefever for its exclusion of Caucasian students. The scholarship program is administered by the United Negro College Fund. In 2014, Bill Gates sparked a protest in Vancouver when he decided to donate $50 million to UNAIDS through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the purpose of mass circumcision in Zambia and Swaziland.
Charity sports events
On April 29, 2017, Bill Gates partnered with Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer in playing a noncompetitive tennis match to a packed house at Key Arena in Seattle. The event was in support of Roger Federer Foundation's charity efforts in Africa. Federer and Gates played against John Isner and Pearl Jam lead guitarist Mike McReady. Gates and Federer won the game 6–4.
In 1987, Gates was listed as a billionaire in Forbes magazine's 400 Richest People in America issue. He was worth $1.25 billion and was the world's youngest self-made billionaire. Since 1987, Gates has been included in the ForbesThe World's Billionaires list and was the wealthiest from 1995 to 1996, 1998 to 2007, 2009, and has been since 2014. Gates was number one on Forbes'400 Richest Americans list from 1993 through to 2007, 2009, and 2014 through 2017.
Time magazine named Gates one of the 100 people who most influenced the 20th century, as well as one of the 100 most influential people of 2004, 2005, and 2006. Time also collectively named Gates, his wife Melinda and U2's lead singer Bono as the 2005 Persons of the Year for their humanitarian efforts. In 2006, he was voted eighth in the list of "Heroes of our time". Gates was listed in the Sunday Times power list in 1999, named CEO of the year by Chief Executive Officers magazine in 1994, ranked number one in the "Top 50 Cyber Elite" by Time in 1998, ranked number two in the Upside Elite 100 in 1999, and was included in The Guardian as one of the "Top 100 influential people in media" in 2001.
According to Forbes, Gates was ranked as the fourth most powerful person in the world in 2012, up from fifth in 2011.
In 1994, he was honored as the twentieth Distinguished Fellow of the British Computer Society. In 1999, Gates received New York Institute of Technology's President's Medal. Gates has received honorary doctorates from Nyenrode Business Universiteit, Breukelen, The Netherlands, in 2000; the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, in 2002;Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan, in 2005; Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, in April 2007; Harvard University in June 2007; the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, in 2007, and Cambridge University in June 2009. He was also made an honorary trustee of Peking University in 2007.
Gates was made an HonoraryKnight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in 2005. In November 2006, he was awarded the Placard of the Order of the Aztec Eagle, together with his wife Melinda who was awarded the Insignia of the same order, both for their philanthropic work around the world in the areas of health and education, particularly in Mexico, and specifically in the program "Un país de lectores". Gates received the 2010 Bower Award for Business Leadership from The Franklin Institute for his achievements at Microsoft and his philanthropic work. Also in 2010, he was honored with the Silver Buffalo Award by the Boy Scouts of America, its highest award for adults, for his service to youth.
Entomologists named Bill Gates' flower fly, Eristalis gatesi, in his honor in 1997.
In 2002, Bill and Melinda Gates received the Jefferson Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged.
In 2006, Gates received the James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award from The Tech Awards.
In 2015, Gates, along with his wife Melinda, received the Padma Bhushan, India's third-highest civilian award for their social work in the country.
In 2016, PresidentBarack Obama honored Gates and his wife Melinda with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for their philanthropic efforts.
In 2017, PresidentFrançois Hollande awarded Bill and Melinda with the France's highest national award – Legion of Honour in Paris for their charity efforts.
External business ventures and investments
- Cascade Investments LLC, a private investment and holding company incorporated in the United States, controlled by Bill Gates and headquartered in Kirkland, Washington.
- bgC3, a new think-tank company founded by Gates.
- Corbis, a digital image licensing and rights services company.
- TerraPower, a nuclear reactor design company.
- Eclipse Aviation, a defunct manufacturer of very light jets. Gates was a major stake-holder early on in the project.
- ResearchGate, a social networking site for scientists. Gates participated in a $35 million round of financing along with other investors.
Books, films, social media and radio
To date, Bill Gates has written two books:
- The Road Ahead, written with Microsoft executive Nathan Myhrvold and journalist Peter Rinearson, was published in November 1995. It summarized the implications of the personal computing revolution and described a future profoundly changed by the arrival of a global information superhighway.
- Business @ the Speed of Thought was published in 1999, and discusses how business and technology are integrated, and shows how digital infrastructures and information networks can help getting an edge on the competition.
In 2013, Gates became a LinkedIn Influencer.
Video and film clips
Gates was the guest on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs on January 31, 2016, in which he talks about his relationships with his father and Steve Jobs, meeting his then future wife Melinda Ann French, the start of Microsoft and some of his habits (for example reading The Economist "from cover to cover every week"). His choice of things to take on a desert island were, for music: "Blue Skies" by Willie Nelson; book: The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker; and luxury item: a DVD Collection of Lectures from The Teaching Company.
- ^ abc"Bill Gates". Forbes. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
- ^"Bill Gates (American computer programmer, businessman, and philanthropist)". Retrieved March 20, 2013.
- ^Sheridan, Patrick (May 2, 2014). "Bill Gates no longer Microsoft's biggest shareholder". CNN Money. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
- ^MSFT (Holdings), NASDAQ, retrieved April 10, 2016
- ^Gates regularly documents his share ownership through public U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission form 4 filings.
- ^While his father was named William H. Gates II, he is now generally known as William H. Gates, Sr to avoid confusion with his son.