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A Timeline Of Bill Gates’ Early Life, Achievements And Philanthropy

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Table of contents

  1. Tracing Bill Gate's Origin (Early Life with parents and siblings)
  2. Early Education and How he Developed Interest in Computer Programming
  3. The Real Reason Bill Gates Dropped out of Harvard
  4. His Microsoft Venture and IBM Partnership
  5. Beyond Microsoft, Here Are His Other Ventures
  6. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Other Philathropical Gestures
  7. Is Bill Gates The Richest Man in the World Right Now?
  8. Family Life WIth his Wife and Children

Bill Gates is renowned as an American computer programmer and business magnate who co-founded the world’s largest personal computer software company Microsoft. Since the formation of his company in 1975. The business mogul has held more than a few high placed positions, including those of the CEO, chairman as well as chief software architect. The unprecedented success of Microsoft placed Gates in the realm of the rich and the powerful, and he has always been listed among the world’s wealthiest since 1987. For this write up, we are poised to X-ray the tycoon’s family background, business acumen, including details about his philanthropic efforts in conjunction with his wife Melinda Gates.

Tracing Bill Gate's Origin (Early Life with parents and siblings)

Though known globally as Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft was named William Henry Gates III at birth. He was born in Seattle, Washington on the 28th of October 1955 to William H. Gates Sr. and his wife Mary Maxwell. His family is an upper-middle-class one with three children Bill, Kristianne his older sister and Libby his younger sister. Gates’ father was still a law student at college when he met Mary who was then an athletic student at the University of Washington, and was also neck-deep into leadership and student affairs.

Gates’ family life experience can be best described as very close and warm, where he was encouraged alongside his sisters to be competitive and always strive for excellence. The young Gates’ early signs of competitiveness come to the fore when he took charge of coordinating family games at their Puget Sound summer house. He also took pleasure in playing Monopoly and board games.

Gates relationship with his mother was quite close; Mary worked briefly as a teacher, but later decided to devote time to raising the kids and working with charities, and on civic affairs. Gates’ mum also spent her time serving on a few corporate boards like the First Interstate Bank located in Seattle (the bank owes its existence to her grandfather), International Business Machines or IBM and Unite Way. The young Gates would often tag along whenever his mum was doing volunteer work at community organizations and educational institutions.

Early Education and How he Developed Interest in Computer Programming

As a growing child, Bill Gates was quite rapacious with reading, with a better part of his time spent poring over several reference books like the encyclopedia. When he was 11 going on to 12, his parents began to express concern over their son’s behavior. Though he was excelling in his studies, he usually appeared withdrawn and bored most of the time, which were indications of becoming a loner, according to his mum and dad.

Despite the fact that Gates parents strongly believed in public education, they had to take the decision to enroll their son at the exclusive preparatory in Seattle called Lakeside School. He did well in almost all subjects, excelling in science, mathematics, English as well as drama.

It was during his days at Lakeside School that Gates interest in computers was ignited, when the school had an offer from a Seattle based computer company, which offered to provide the students with computer time. The Mother's Club leveraged proceeds from the rummage sale for the school to procure a teletype terminal that students could use. Following that, the young Gates became engrossed with what a computer was capable of doing and thus, most of his leisure time was spent experimenting on the terminal. He was lead to write a tic-tac-toe program in BASIC computer language, which permitted users play against the device. After his graduation from Lakeside in 1973, he went on to achieve an intellectual feat in his college SAT test by scoring 1590 out of 1600.

Bill Gates did go to college, enrolling into Harvard in 1973 with the original intent of studying law. However, he had to drop out barely a couple of years later in 1975 to the dismay of his parents.

The Real Reason Bill Gates Dropped out of Harvard

Being obsessed with coding software and computers right from his high school days, Bill Gates already knew that he would play a key role as a pioneer of the PC (personal computer) evolution. From what was obvious, continuing to stay back at school was just delaying his dreams and aspirations.

He expressed the concern that the revolution (equipping every office, home, and even pocket with PCs) may happen without him. With the advent of the initial computer using a microprocessor, Gates and his friend Paul Allen said they needed to be the first that would get into that venture. According to the business mogul, that was exactly when he took the decision to drop out of school, which he promptly did. However, he made a promise to his parents that if his venture was to turn out as a failure, he would return to school to complete his degree. Though he never went back, Harvard gave him an honorary degree in 2007.

His Microsoft Venture and IBM Partnership

In collaboration with Paul Allen, Bill Gates went on to found Microsoft in 1975. Initially, the company name was written as a hyphenated compound word Micro-Soft, but was later changed to a blocked word Microsoft. At the onset, the duo adapted BASIC - a programming language on microcomputers. Following its success, they continued developing programming language software for a variety of systems.

By 1980, IBM (International Business Machine) approached them with a proposal to write the BASIC interpreter for their future personal computer, called the IBM PC. Microsoft was able to accomplish this, creating the PC DOS operating system and delivering it to IBM for a one-off fee of $50,000.

Before long, the operating system of Microsoft gained popularity which lead them to initiate an operating environment called Windows on the 20th of November 1985. Windows was launched for MS-DOS as its graphical operating system shell. As time rolled by, Windows began to dominate the global PC market gaining more than 90 percent market share. The company experienced unparalleled success financially and as the largest shareholder of Microsoft, Gates amassed an amazing fortune.

The introduction of Microsoft office was accomplished in 1989 - a package integrating numerous applications such as Microsoft Word as well as Excel into a single system, which was compatible with every product from Microsoft. The success they achieved with MS Office gave the company virtual monopoly on the operation of systems for personal computers.

With the unprecedented spread of the internet around the globe in the mid 1990s, the focus of Microsoft for the Internet was channeled to the development of enterprise and consumer software solutions. It was during this time that the Microsoft Network and the operating system platform for Windows CE were developed.

During the first month of 2000, Bill Gates relinquished his position as CEO of Microsoft, though his position as chairman was retained. He also created a new position for himself as Chief Software Architect. With time, he gradually handed over duties to other people at the company and went to focus on philanthropy. In February 2014, he finally stepped down from his position of chairman and has since diversified his interest in other fields.

Beyond Microsoft, Here Are His Other Ventures

Since he quit the daily operations at Microsoft, Bill Gates has been steadfast in the area of philanthropy and several other projects. According to reports from Bloomberg Billionaires Index, he was named the highest earning billionaire in the world in 2013 with a net worth that shot from US$15.8 billion all the way to US$78.5 billion. As at the first month of 2014, a majority of his assets were held at Cascade Investment LLC, which is an entity through which the billionaire owns stakes in several businesses. These holdings include the likes of Corbis Corp and Four Season Hotels and Resort. Gates is presently engaged as a technology advisor in support of chief executive officer Satya Nadella.

In 2017, it became known that a company owned by Bill Gates had invested the sum of 80 million dollars into the development project for a 'smart city' in the vicinity of Phoenix, Arizona. The proposed smart city called Belmont was poised to build a forward-thinking community, equipped with an infrastructure and communication spine that will embrace radical technology, designed around data centers, high-speed digital networks, autonomous logistics hubs and autonomous vehicles, distribution models and new manufacturing technologies,

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Out of the 25,000 acres of land mapped out for the site, reports said that 470 acres was to be utilized for public schools, 3,800 acres channeled towards office, retail and commercial space, leaving room for residential units of 80,000.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Other Philathropical Gestures

The William H. Gates Foundation was established in1994 by Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Gates. The foundation was charged with the responsibility of drumming up support for world health, education, including investments in low-income communities globally. The organization is also dedicated to handling domestic issues like assisting students in the US to become college-ready.

With the influence of his wife, Gates got interested in following his mum’s footstep to become a civic leader, studying the philanthropic efforts of John D Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie who were industrial titans in the US. He came to the realization that he had an obligation to donate more of his fortune to charity.

By 2000, the duo pulled numerous family foundations together, making a $28 billion contribution towards the formation of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. During the succeeding years Gates was spending more and more time and interest in matters involving the foundation, which increased after he stepped down as the CEO of Microsoft. In 2015, the billionaire philanthropist spoke in support of National Common Core standards in grades K via 12 and charter schools. Also within this period, Bill Gates proved himself a groundbreaking employer by announcing through the foundation that all employees with the foundation would get one year's paid leave following the birth of a child or even adoption.

The first of what would become the foundation’s yearly 'Goalkeepers' report was launched in 2017. In a nutshell, it is an evaluation of progress recorded in many vital areas connected to public health – this includes malnutrition, child mortality, and HIV. Then, the co-founder of Microsoft identified both chronic and infectious diseases as the two major public health concerns needed to be properly addressed within the up-coming decade.

An announcement came in April 2018 that the famed philanthropist was going to collaborate with Larry Page of Google in providing the sum of 12 million dollars to fund a universal flu vaccine. According to Gates, the fund was to be awarded in grants to the tune of two million dollars for 'bold and innovative' individual efforts with the aim to commence clinical trials in 2021. While many people were skeptical whether the funds would be sufficient enough to ignite any genuine medical breakthrough, others were quick to praise the purpose behind such investment. However, Bill Gates has already indicated that more was still expected.

We cannot conclude the talk on Gates’ philanthropic effort without mentioning his Alzheimer's research. It was in November 2017 that he revealed the investment of $50 million of his personal resources into the Dementia Discovery Fund. According to the world famous philanthropist, he was going to follow up the initial investment with a second $50 million, which will be targeted at start-up schemes in Alzheimer’s research. This was believed to be a form of personal matter for the Microsoft boss who had witnessed the destructive effects of the illness on some of his family members.

According to his statement to CNN, any form of treatment at all would serve as a great advancement from the current situation, however, the long term aim has to be a cure.

We can say that one of his greatest efforts towards philanthropy is the 'Gates-Buffet Giving Pledge' which he signed in 2010 alongside fellow billionaire Warren Buffett, and Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook. The pledge is a commitment to donate half of their fortune (at least) over time to charity.

Is Bill Gates The Richest Man in the World Right Now?

Bill Gates’ name showed up on the 1987 billionaire list by Forbes, which was their first list ever, sporting the sum of $1.25 billion as his net worth. However, Jeff Bezos’ first appearance on The Forbes 400 list of wealthiest Americans was 11 years later in 1998 with $1.6 billion net worth precisely a year after his company Amazon went public.

Gates has an uninterrupted 24-year run as the world’s richest man till 2018 when the Amazon boss ended his tenor to become the first individual worldwide to earn $160 billion in net worth.

According to latest developments, Bezos has lost his exulted position as the richest man in the world, giving a leeway to Gates who grab the top spot following Amazon's lackluster third quarter results leading Bezos to lose almost $7 billion in stock value.

Reports said that it was the first time that Gates has held that top spot in over a couple of years. Though the co-founder of MSFT briefly topped Jeff Bezos before then following the Amazon boss’ report that his three months profit ending in September fell close to 28% from the previous year. However, Bill Gates’ time as the top man was sadly short-lived then. Another factor that led to Bezos fall from the pinnacle of wealth was his divorce settlement in April, which saw him entitling his ex MacKenzie Bezos to his company stocks worth up to $36 billion. According to report, this was the biggest divorce settlement recorded in history.

Consequently, Bezos now sits at the 2nd position with $103.9 billion, while Bill Gates reclaims his long lost position as the richest man globally with $110 billion in net worth, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index said. Gates was aided by his company shares, that went up by almost 48%, boosting the value of his entire stake in Microsoft. We cannot fail to mention the latest drama to the Bezos/Gates wealth race in October, which saw Microsoft beating out Amazon in a cloud-computing contract worth the sum of $10 billion with the Pentagon.

So for now, Bill Gates is the richest man in the world, but the likes of Jeff Bezos are not relenting at all. Who knows what may likely happen in the next few years. We await the drama!

Family Life WIth his Wife and Children

It was in 1987 that Melinda French, a then 23-year-old product manager at Microsoft caught the eyes of Bill Gates who just clocked 32. It came to pass that the business mogul found a perfect partner in Melinda who was described as organized and very bright. The duo became an item and as time rolled by, their dalliance blossomed into enduring love as they came to discover an intimate as well as intellectual connection. Their mutual love culminated into matrimony when they exchanged marriage vows on the 1st of January in Hawaii.

After Gates mum died from the ravages of breast cancer a few months into their married life, the young couple decided to embark on a tour in 1995 in a bid to get their life into perspective. Their love was further cemented with the arrival of the first child of their family, an adorable daughter Jennifer Gates born in 1996. Jennifer soon became a sister to Rory, a boy who joined the family barely three years later in1999. Gates and Melinda had the last addition to their family in 2002 with the birth of Phoebe Gates a second daughter

A year after they became first time parents in 1997, the Gates family moved to the shore of Lake Washington where they bought a $54-million house of 55,000-square-foot. Though it still serves as a business center, the house is said to quite comfy for the family.

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A Timeline Of Bill Gates’ Early Life, Achievements And Philanthropy. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 10, 2023, from
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