William Henry Gates IIIChairman and Chief Executive OfficerMicrosoft CorporatioWilliam (Bill) H.
Gates is chairman and chief executive officer of MicrosoftCorporation, the leading provider, worldwide, of software for the personalcomputer. Microsoft had revenues of $8.6 billion for the fiscal year ending June1996, and employs more than 20,000 people in 48 countries.Background on BillBorn on October 28, 1955, Gates and his two sisters grew up in Seattle. Theirfather, William H. Gates II, is a Seattle attorney. Their late mother, MaryGates, was a schoolteacher, University of Washington regent and chairwoman ofUnited Way International.
Gates attended public elementary school and the private Lakeside School. There,he began his career in personal computer software, programming computers at age13.In 1973, Gates entered Harvard University as a freshman, where he lived down thehall from Steve Ballmer, now Microsoft’s executive vice president for sales andsupport. While at Harvard, Gates developed the programming language BASIC forthe first microcomputer — the MITS Altair.
In his junior year, Gates dropped out of Harvard to devote his energies toMicrosoft, a company he had begun in 1975 with Paul Allen. Guided by a beliefthat the personal computer would be a valuable tool on every office desktop andin every home, they began developing software for personal computers.Gates’ foresight and vision regarding personal computing have been central tothe success of Microsoft and the software industry. Gates is actively involvedin key management and strategic decisions at Microsoft, and plays an importantrole in the technical development of new products. A significant portion of histime is devoted to meeting with customers and staying in contact with Microsoftemployees around the world through e-mail.Under Gates’ leadership, Microsoft’s mission is to continually advance andimprove software technology and to make it easier, more cost-effective and moreenjoyable for people to use computers. The company is committed to a long-termview, reflected in its investment of more than $2 billion on research anddevelopment in the current fiscal year.As of December 12, 1996, Gates’ Microsoft stock holdings totaled 282,217,980shares, currently selling at $95.
25, as of Feb. 20th, 1997.Giving a rough estimate of total worth:$ 26,881,262,595In 1995, Gates wrote The Road Ahead, his vision of where information technologywill take society. Co-authored by Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft’s chief technologyofficer, and Peter Rinearson, The Road Ahead held the No. 1 spot on the New YorkTimes’ bestseller list for seven weeks. Published in the U.S. by Viking, thebook was on the NYT list for a total of 18 weeks.
Published in more than 20countries, the book sold more than 400,000 copies in China alone. In 1996, whileredeploying Microsoft around the Internet, Gates thoroughly revised The RoadAhead to reflect his view that interactive networks are a major milestone inhuman history. The paperback second edition has also become a bestseller.
Gatesis donating his proceeds from the book to a non-profit fund that supportsteachers worldwide who are incorporating computers into their classrooms.In addition to his passion for computers, Gates is interested in biotechnology.He sits on the board of the Icos Corporation and is a shareholder in DarwinMolecular, a subsidiary of British-based Chiroscience. He also founded CorbisCorporation, which is developing one of the largest resources of visualinformation in the worlda comprehensive digital archive of art and photographyfrom public and private collections around the globe. Gates also has investedwith cellular telephone pioneer Craig McCaw in Teledesic, a company that isworking on an ambitious plan to launch hundreds of low-orbit satellites aroundthe globe to provide worldwide two-way broadband telecommunications service.
In the decade since Microsoft has gone public, Gates has donated more than $270million to charities, including $200 million to the William H. Gates Foundation.The focus of Gates’ giving is in three areas: education, population issues andaccess to technology.Gates was married on Jan. 1, 1994 to Melinda French Gates. They have one child,Jennifer Katharine Gates, born in 1996.
Times are changing fast. Three years ago, while President Bushs camp wasmounting a direct-mail campaign unchanged from that of Reagan before him, theClinton camp, host to a horde of so-called “computer whiz kids,” all in theirtwenties, was developing a completely new set of election tactics, usingpersonal computer networks and electronic mail, or “e-mail”. Many of thesetwenty-some-odd-year-old mini-Clintons, who now occupy the White House, show upfor work in sneakers, T-shirts, and jeans, and spend each day, from morn tillnight, tapping away