Microsoft is world’s biggest software company worth $1.4 trillion, (Forbes 2020). The corporation was inaugurated on 4th April 1975 by former alumni from Harvard University, Bill Gates along with his companion, Paul Allen that have developed Windows, Microsoft Office, Office 365, Lync, Azure, X-box gaming and Lumina Smartphones, (Pialorsi 2016). The company sparked success in 1980, when a partnership was formed with International Business Machines Corporation resulting in Microsoft providing crucial operating systems. In 1990, Microsoft prospered with “the introduction of Windows 3.0., 60 million copies of Windows sold which effectively made Microsoft set high bars for PC software standard.” “Microsoft’s revenue was generated from sales to consumers and was first to reach a billion dollars in revenues.” (DSP 2020)
The case study was created as part of the International Foundation Program and to assess the knowledge and understanding of the entrepreneurial leadership module.
Presentation of Findings
Gates was born on 28th October 1955 to his parents, William II and Mary Gates and has two sisters. His father was a well – respected lawyer while his mother was a schoolteacher at the University of Washington regent and served as a chairwoman of the United Way International Base, (Francis 2011). He is best known as co-founder of Microsoft, which was succeeded by Steve Ballmer then, Satya Nadella who is the current CEO since 2014. Gates’s net worth is $119.3 billion (Forbes 2020).
Late 1960’s, his school in Lakeside purchased ‘computer time on a machine’ owned by General Electric because computers were costly and over time, Gates and his colleagues developed an interest with the machines, and formed a group called the Lakeside Programmers Group. This idea encouraged them to generate profit and earned founders free computing time on machines owned by a Seattle company. Gates and Allen devised a company called Traf-O-Data in which they assembled a small computer that is utilized to make traffic counters based on the Intel 8008 processor and earned about $20,000. The company stood well in the business industry to an extent but over time, the company suffered losses for six years straight that totalled to $3,494, (Penguin 2011). “In December 1974, everything changed when his colleague, Paul Allen showed him a magazine article about the world’s first microcomputer, the Altair 8800, (Entrepreneur Media 2020).” This ignited the both of them to seize opportunity to contact the Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry System that was based in Albuquerque, New Mexico and told the president of their written version of a popular computer BASIC language for Altair but when in reality have not written anything. Allen and Gates worked tediously even though they did not have an Altair to work on, they tried simulating it onto other computers until finally, while trying to test the program, it worked. Shortly after, Microsoft was established and began writing software for computer start – ups like Apple and Commodore, (Entrepreneur Media 2020).
Early 1980’s, Gates encountered a major obstacle to Microsoft’s influence of operating systems for house – desk computers when a rival, ““VisiCorp” created a mouse-driven computer system with a user interface graphics rather than the keyboard-based and text-driven system of Microsoft Disk Operating System, (Sharif 2006).” Gates knew that competitor’s system would be a success because it was much convenient for people who were not familiarized with such complicated technological features. Though no system was in process as of yet, he had the urge to advertise at the Plaza Hotel announcing to the public in New York City that Microsoft’s new operating system would perform a graphical user interface feature, which was Windows.
However, his announcement was completely a ploy; the system announced was nowhere implemented. Though the marketing tactic did work its tricks because the public were anxious for the advent of a system that is designed suitably with their existing Microsoft products. They did not want to go through such a hassle and be encumbered with expenses of having to place an entirely different operating system. In addition, Window users did not have to go under the trouble of purchasing new software applications to replace the disk operating system – compatible programs they currently had. In 1985, Windows 1.0 was finally released and following that same year, the corporation accumulated a reported revenue of $140 million along with overseas users that generated $46.6 million (Microsoft 1985). Microsoft substantially grew despite challenges faced; one reason was that “he had financed majority of the company’s expansion completely from its earnings,” (Gates 1986). His way of approach did not inhibit him from leaping, as on January 1986, Gates launched a pioneering long – term project that creates a new data storage system that is based on a compact – disk that could contain any computer file like 3D files and music. Two months later, the company was deemed public and Microsoft shares of 40% influx his net worth to $390 million three months later. He was able to successfully lure and dominate the market system for almost all the PC’s and was able to develop other complex programs. In 1987, his stock from $21.50 per share escalated to $90.75, (Sharif 2006).
The case study discussed the foundation and how it substantially grew. It explores about the challenges he had faced and how he tackled it with the use of strategic tactics. It can also be deciphered that Bill Gates’s influence on technology and innovation is remarkable and how as a risk taker allowed him to go beyond his potential and thus, was able to successfully create a benchmark that is unsurpassable by many. His leadership style allowed him to be great at directing direction for his company and he had a vision about the world and his vision was “a computer on every desk and in every home” (Gates 1980). Overall, this foster individuals like myself to take a challenge and always learn from your mistakes. No matter how many times you fail, persistence and perseverance are the key.