People Who Kick Buts: Bill Gates
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- Born on October 28, 1955.
- Is an American business magnate, computer programmer and philanthropist.
- Gates is the former chief executive and current chairman of Microsoft, the world’s largest personal-computer software company he co-founded with Paul Allen.
- He is consistently ranked among the world’s wealthiest people and was the wealthiest overall from 1995 to 2009, excluding 2008, when he was ranked third; in 2011 he was the wealthiest American and the second wealthiest person.
- Gates has been criticized for his business tactics, which have been considered anti-competitive, an opinion which has in some cases been upheld by the courts.
- In the later stages of his career, Gates has pursued a number of philanthropic endeavors, donating large amounts of money to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, established in 2000.
- 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.
- Gates was born in Seattle, Washington, to William H. Gates, Sr. and Mary Maxwell Gates. His parents are of English, German, and Scots-Irish descent.
- His father was a prominent lawyer, and his mother served on the board of directors for First Interstate BancSystem and the United Way. Gates’s maternal grandfather was J. W. Maxwell, a national bank president.
- At 13 he enrolled in the Lakeside School, an exclusive 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 graduated from Lakeside School in 1973. He scored 1590 out of 1600 on the SAT and enrolled at Harvard College in the autumn of 1973.
- While at Harvard, he met Steve Ballmer, who later succeeded Gates as CEO of Microsoft.
- Gates married Melinda French on January 1, 1994. They have two daughters, Jennifer Katharine Gates (1996) and Phoebe Adele (2002), and one son, Rory John (1999).
- The Gates’s home is an earth-sheltered house in the side of a hill overlooking Lake Washington in Medina. According to King County public records, as of 2006 the total assessed value of the property (land and house) is $125 million, and the annual property tax is $991,000.
- Also among Gates’s private acquisitions is the Codex Leicester, a collection of writings by Leonardo da Vinci, which Gates bought for $30.8 million at an auction in 1994. Gates is also known as an avid reader, and the ceiling of his large home library is engraved with a quotation from The Great Gatsby.
- Gates has several investments outside Microsoft, which in 2006 paid him a salary of $616,667 and $350,000 bonus totalling $966,667.
- In 2011, Bill Gates was ranked as the fifth most powerful person in the world, according to rankings by Forbes magazine.