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William Henry Gates III (born October 28, 1955) is an American
business magnate A business magnate is someone who has achieved great success and enormous wealth through the ownership of multiple lines of enterprise. The term characteristically refers to a wealthy entrepreneur or investor who controls, through personal ente ...
, software developer, investor, author, landowner and philanthropist. He is a co-founder of
Microsoft Corporation Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation, multinational technology company with headquarters in Redmond, Washington. It develops, manufactures, licenses, supports, and sells Software, computer software, consumer electroni ...

Microsoft Corporation
. During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of
chairman The chairperson (also chair, chairman, or chairwoman) is the presiding officer of an organized group such as a board Board or Boards may refer to: Flat surface * Lumber, or other rigid material, milled or sawn flat ** Plank (wood) ** Cutting ...

chairman
,
chief executive officer A chief executive officer (CEO), chief administrator officer, or just chief executive (CE), is one of a number of Corporate Executive, corporate executives in charge of managing an organization especially an independent Legal person, legal entity ...
(CEO),
president President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) A president is a leader of an organization, company, community, club, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between a president and a Chief Executive Officer, chi ...
and chief software architect, while also being the largest individual
shareholder A shareholder (in the United States often referred to as stockholder) of a is an or (such as another , a , a or ) that is registered by the corporation as the legal owner of of the of a or . Shareholders may be referred to as members of a ...
until May 2014. He is considered one of the best known entrepreneurs of the
microcomputer revolution The history of the personal computer as a mass-market consumer electronic device began with the microcomputer revolution of the 1970s. A personal computer is one intended for interactive individual use, as opposed to a mainframe computer where t ...

microcomputer revolution
of the 1970s and 1980s. Gates was born and raised in
Seattle, Washington Seattle ( ) is a seaport The Porticciolo del Cedas port in Barcola The thumb is the first digit of the hand, next to the index finger. When a person is standing in the medical anatomical position (where the palm is facing to the front) ...

Seattle, Washington
. In 1975, he co-founded Microsoft with childhood friend
Paul Allen Paul Gardner Allen (January 21, 1953 – October 15, 2018) was an American business magnate A business magnate is someone who has achieved great success and enormous wealth through the ownership of multiple lines of enterprise. The term c ...

Paul Allen
in
Albuquerque, New Mexico Albuquerque ( , ), ; kee, Arawageeki; tow, Vakêêke; zun, Alo:ke:k'ya; apj, Gołgéeki'yé. abbreviated as ABQ, is the most populous city in the U.S. state of New Mexico ) , population_demonym = New Mexican ( es, Neomexicano, Neomejica ...
. It went on to become the world's largest
personal computer A personal computer (PC) is a multi-purpose computer whose size, capabilities, and price make it feasible for individual use. Personal computers are intended to be operated directly by an end user, rather than by a computer expert or technician ...
software company. Gates led the company as chairman and CEO until stepping down as CEO in January 2000, but he remained chairman and became chief software architect. During the late 1990s, he had been criticized for his business tactics, which have been considered
anti-competitive Anti-competitive practices are business or government practices that unlawfully prevent or reduce competition Competition arises whenever two or more parties strive for a common goal A goal is an idea of the future or desired result tha ...
. This opinion has been upheld by numerous court rulings. In June 2006, Gates announced that he would be transitioning to a part-time role at Microsoft and full-time work at the
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), a merging of the William H. Gates Foundation and the Gates Learning Foundation, is an American private foundation founded by Bill Gates, Bill and Melinda Gates. Based in Seattle, Washington, it was la ...
, the private charitable foundation that he and his wife,
Melinda Gates Melinda Ann Gates ( née French; born August 15, 1964) is an American philanthropist and a former general manager at Microsoft Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation, multinational technology company with headquart ...
, established in 2000. He gradually transferred his duties to
Ray Ozzie Raymond "Ray" Ozzie (born November 20, 1955) is an American software industry entrepreneur who held the positions of Chief Technical Officer A chief technical officer (CTO), sometimes known as a chief technology officer or chief technologist, is ...

Ray Ozzie
and
Craig Mundie Craig James Mundie (born July 1, 1949 in Cleveland, Ohio Cleveland ( ), officially the City of Cleveland, is a major city in the U.S. state of Ohio, and the county seat of Cuyahoga County. It is located along the southern shore of Lake E ...
. 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 #REDIRECT Satya Nadella #REDIRECT Satya Nadella Satya Narayana Nadella (; born 19 August 1967) is an Indian-American business executive. He is the chief executive officer A chief executive officer (CEO), chief administrator, or just chief ex ...

Satya Nadella
. In March 2020, Gates left his board positions at Microsoft and
Berkshire Hathaway Berkshire Hathaway () is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational ...

Berkshire Hathaway
to focus on his philanthropic endeavors including
climate change Contemporary climate change includes both the global warming caused by humans, and its impacts on Earth's weather patterns. There have been previous periods of climate change, but the current changes are more rapid than any known even ...
,
global health Global health is the health of the populations in the worldwide context; it has been defined as "the area of study, research and practice that places a priority on improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide". Problems ...
and development, and education. Since 1987, he has been included in the ''Forbes'' list of the world's wealthiest people. From 1995 to 2017, he held the ''
Forbes ''Forbes'' () is an American business magazine owned by Integrated Whale Media Investments and the Forbes family The Forbes family is one of the Boston Brahmins—a wealthy extended American family long prominent in Boston, Massachusett ...

Forbes
'' title of the richest person in the world all but four of those years. In October 2017, he was surpassed by
Amazon Amazon usually refers to: * Amazons In Greek mythology, the Amazons (Ancient Greek: Ἀμαζόνες ''Amazónes'', singular Ἀμαζών ''Amazōn'') are portrayed in a number of ancient Greek, ancient epic poems and legends, such as the ...
founder and CEO
Jeff Bezos Jeffrey Preston Bezos ( ; né Jorgensen; born January 12, 1964) is an American entrepreneur, media proprietor, investor, computer engineer, and commercial astronaut. He is the founder and executive chairman of Amazon (company), Amazon, where ...

Jeff Bezos
, who had an estimated net worth of US$90.6 billion compared to Gates's net worth of US$89.9 billion at the time. As of April 2021, Gates had an estimated net worth of US$146.7 billion, making him the third-richest person in the world. Later in his career and since leaving day-to-day operations at Microsoft in 2008, Gates has pursued a number of philanthropic endeavors. He has given sizable amounts of money to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, reported to be the world's largest private charity. In 2009, Gates and
Warren Buffett Warren Edward Buffett ( ; born August 30, 1930) is an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. He is currently the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Berkshire Hathaway () is an American multinational Multinational may ...
founded
The Giving Pledge The Giving Pledge is a campaign to encourage extremely wealthy people to contribute a majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes. , the pledge has 211 signatories from 23 countries. Most of the signatories of the pledge are billionaire ...
, whereby they and other billionaires pledge to give at least half of their wealth to philanthropy.


Early life

Gates was born in
Seattle Seattle ( ) is a seaport The Porticciolo del Cedas port in Barcola The thumb is the first digit of the hand, next to the index finger. When a person is standing in the medical anatomical position (where the palm is facing to the front) ...

Seattle
,
Washington Washington commonly refers to: * Washington (state), United States * Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States ** Federal government of the United States (metonym) ** Washington metropolitan area, the metropolitan area centered on Washingt ...
, on October 28, 1955. He is the son of William H. Gates Sr. (1925–2020) and
Mary Maxwell Gates Mary Ann Gates (; July 5, 1929 – June 10, 1994) was an American businesswoman, executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administrati ...
(1929–1994). His ancestry includes English, German, and Irish/Scots-Irish. His father was a prominent lawyer, and his mother served on the board of directors for
First Interstate BancSystem :''For the Los Angeles-based bank that operated until 1996, see First Interstate Bancorp.'' First Interstate BancSystem, Inc. is a financial holding company headquartered in Billings, Montana. It is the parent company of First Interstate Bank, a ...
and the
United Way of America United Way is an international network of over 1,800 local nonprofit organization, nonprofit fundraising affiliates. United Way was the largest non-profit organization in the United States by donations from the public, prior to 2016. United Way or ...
. Gates's maternal grandfather was J. W. Maxwell, a national bank president. Gates has an older sister Kristi (Kristianne) and a younger sister Libby. He is the fourth of his name in his family but is known as William Gates III or "Trey" (i.e., three) because his father had the "II" suffix. The family lived in the Sand Point area of Seattle in a home that was damaged by a rare tornado when Gates was seven years old. Early in his life, Gates observed that his parents wanted him to pursue a law career. When he was young, his family regularly attended a church of the
Congregational Christian Churches The Congregational Christian Churches were a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Criticism of the Catholic Church, errors i ...
, a Protestant Reformed denomination. Gates was small for his age and was bullied as a child. The family encouraged competition; one visitor reported that "it didn't matter whether it was hearts or
pickleball Pickleball is a paddleball sport (similar to a racquet sport) that combines elements of badminton Badminton is a racquet sport played using racquets to hit a shuttlecock across a net (device), net. Although it may be played with larger tea ...
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 private Lakeside prep school, where he wrote his first software program. 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 The Teletype Model 33 is an electromechanical teleprinter designed for light-duty office use. It is less rugged and cost less than earlier Teletype machines. The Teletype Corporation introduced the Model 33 as a commercial product in 1963 after ...
ASR terminal and a block of computer time on a
General Electric General Electric Company (GE) is an American Multinational corporation, multinational Conglomerate (company), conglomerate incorporated in New York State and headquartered in Boston. Until 2021, the company operated through GE Aviation, aviat ...
(GE) computer for the students. Gates took an interest in programming the GE system in
BASIC BASIC (Beginners' All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) is a family of general-purpose, high-level programming language In computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the ar ...
, and he was excused from math classes to pursue his interest. He wrote his first computer program on this machine, an implementation of
tic-tac-toe Tic-tac-toe (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of variety (linguistics), varieties of the English language native to the United States. ...

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. After the Mothers Club donation was exhausted, Gates and other students sought time on systems including DEC PDP minicomputers. One of these systems was a
PDP-10 Digital Equipment Corporation Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC ), using the Digital, was a major American company in the from the 1960s to the 1990s. The company was co-founded by and in 1957. Olsen was president until forced to resi ...
belonging to
Computer Center CorporationThis small Washington state company offered time-sharing on a PDP-10. Its customers included Bill Gates and Paul Allen. Nicknamed C-Cubed, this company was founded in 1968 and closed in 1970. Misc Two other companies, both based in New Jersey, use ...
(CCC) which banned for the summer Gates,
Paul Allen Paul Gardner Allen (January 21, 1953 – October 15, 2018) was an American business magnate A business magnate is someone who has achieved great success and enormous wealth through the ownership of multiple lines of enterprise. The term c ...

Paul Allen
,
Ric Weiland Richard William "Ric" Weiland (April 21, 1953 – June 24, 2006) was a computer software pioneer, programmer and philanthropist. He was the second employee at Microsoft Corporation, joining the company during his final year at Stanford Uni ...
, and Gates's best friend and first business partner Kent Evans, after it caught them exploiting bugs in the operating system to obtain free computer time. The four students formed the Lakeside Programmers Club to make money. At the end of the ban, they offered to find bugs in CCC's software in exchange for extra computer time. Rather than use the system remotely via
Teletype A teleprinter (teletypewriter, teletype or TTY) is an electromechanical device that can be used to send and receive typed messages through various communications channels, in both point-to-point (telecommunications), point-to-point and point-t ...
, Gates went to CCC's offices and studied
source code In computing Computing is any goal-oriented activity requiring, benefiting from, or creating computing machinery. It includes the study and experimentation of algorithmic processes and development of both computer hardware , hardware and ...

source code
for various programs that ran on the system, including
Fortran Fortran (; formerly FORTRAN) is a general-purpose, compiled language, compiled imperative programming, imperative programming language that is especially suited to numerical analysis, numeric computation and computational science, scientific com ...

Fortran
,
Lisp Lisp (historically LISP) is a family of programming language A programming language is a formal language In logic, mathematics, computer science, and linguistics, a formal language consists of string (computer science), words whose symbo ...
, and
machine language In computer programming Computer programming is the process of designing and building an executable computer program to accomplish a specific computing result or to perform a particular task. Programming involves tasks such as analysis, ...
. The arrangement with CCC continued until 1970 when the company went out of business. The following year, a Lakeside teacher enlisted Gates and Evans to automate the school's class-scheduling system, providing them computer time and royalties in return. The duo worked diligently in order to have the program ready for their senior year. Towards the end of their junior year, Evans was killed in a mountain climbing accident, which Gates has described as one of the saddest days of his life. Gates then turned to Allen who helped him finish the system for Lakeside. At 17, Gates formed a venture with Allen called
Traf-O-Data Traf-O-Data was a business partnership between Bill Gates William Henry Gates III (born October 28, 1955) is an American business magnate, software developer, investor, author, landowner and philanthropist. He is a co-founder of Microsof ...
to make traffic counters based on the
Intel 8008 The Intel 8008 ("''eight-thousand-eight''" or "''eighty-oh-eight''") is an early byte-oriented microprocessor A microprocessor is a computer processor where the data processing logic and control is included on a single integrated circuit ...

Intel 8008
processor. In 1972, he served as a congressional page in the House of Representatives. He was a
National Merit Scholar The National Merit Scholarship Program is a United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consis ...
when he graduated from Lakeside School in 1973. He scored 1590 out of 1600 on the (SAT) and enrolled at
Harvard College Harvard College is the undergraduate Undergraduate education is education conducted after secondary education and prior to postgraduate education. It typically includes all postsecondary programs up to the level of a bachelor's degree A b ...
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 Steven Anthony Ballmer (; March 24, 1956) is an American businessman and investor who served as the chief executive officer A chief executive officer (CEO), chief administrator officer, or just chief executive (CE), is one of a number of corporat ...

Steve Ballmer
. Gates left Harvard after two years while Ballmer stayed and graduated ''
magna cum laude Latin honors are a system of Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the ...
''. Years later, Ballmer succeeded Gates as Microsoft's CEO and maintained that position from 2000 until his resignation in 2014. Gates devised an algorithm for pancake sorting as a solution to one of a series of unsolved problems presented in a
combinatorics Combinatorics is an area of mathematics Mathematics (from Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as numbers (arithmetic and number theory), formulas and related structures (algebra), shapes and spaces in which they are contained (geom ...
class by professor Harry Lewis. His solution held the record as the fastest version for over 30 years, and its successor is faster by only 2%. His solution was formalized and published in collaboration with Harvard computer scientist
Christos Papadimitriou Christos Harilaos Papadimitriou (Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxi ...
. Gates remained in contact with Paul Allen and joined him at
Honeywell Honeywell International Inc. is an American public company, publicly traded, multinational corporation, multinational conglomerate (company), conglomerate corporation headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. It primarily operates in four are ...

Honeywell
during the summer of 1974. In 1975, the MITS Altair 8800 was released based on the Intel 8080 CPU, and Gates and Allen saw the opportunity to start their own computer software company. Gates dropped out of Harvard that same year. His parents were supportive of him after seeing how much he wanted to start his own company. He explained his decision to leave Harvard: "if things hadn't worked out, I could always go back to school. I was officially on leave."


Microsoft


BASIC

Gates read the January 1975 issue of ''
Popular Electronics ''Popular Electronics'' was an American magazine published by John August Media, LLC, and hosted at TechnicaCuriosa.com. The magazine was started by Ziff-Davis Ziff Davis, LLC, known as Ziff Davis (ZD), is an American digital media and intern ...
'' which demonstrated the
Altair 8800 The Altair 8800 is a microcomputer A microcomputer is a small, relatively inexpensive computer with a microprocessor as its central processing unit (CPU). It includes a microprocessor, Computer memory, memory and minimal input/output (I/O) cir ...

Altair 8800
, and he contacted
Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) was an American electronics company founded in Albuquerque, New Mexico Albuquerque ( , ), ; kee, Arawageeki; tow, Vakêêke; zun, Alo:ke:k'ya; apj, Gołgéeki'yé. abbreviated as ABQ, is th ...
(MITS) to inform them that he and others were working on a
BASIC BASIC (Beginners' All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) is a family of general-purpose, high-level programming language In computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the ar ...

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 demonstration, and over the course of a few weeks they developed an Altair
emulator In computing, an emulator is Computer hardware, hardware or software that enables one computer system (called the ''host'') to behave like another computer system (called the ''guest''). An emulator typically enables the host system to run so ...
that ran on a minicomputer, and then the BASIC interpreter. The demonstration was held at MITS's offices in
Albuquerque, New Mexico Albuquerque ( , ), ; kee, Arawageeki; tow, Vakêêke; zun, Alo:ke:k'ya; apj, Gołgéeki'yé. abbreviated as ABQ, is the most populous city in the U.S. state of New Mexico ) , population_demonym = New Mexican ( es, Neomexicano, Neomejica ...
; it was a success and resulted in a deal with MITS to distribute the interpreter as
Altair BASIC Altair BASIC is a discontinued interpreter for the BASIC programming language BASIC (Beginners' All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) is a family of General-purpose programming language, general-purpose, high-level programming languages whos ...
. MITS hired Allen, and Gates took a leave of absence from Harvard to work with him at MITS in November 1975. Allen named their partnership "Micro-Soft", a combination of "microcomputer" and "software", and their first office was in Albuquerque. The first employee Gates and Allen hired was their high school collaborator
Ric Weiland Richard William "Ric" Weiland (April 21, 1953 – June 24, 2006) was a computer software pioneer, programmer and philanthropist. He was the second employee at Microsoft Corporation, joining the company during his final year at Stanford Uni ...
. They dropped the hyphen within a year and officially registered the trade name "Microsoft" with the Secretary of the State of New Mexico on November 26, 1976. Gates never returned to Harvard to complete his studies.
Microsoft Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation, multinational technology company, technology corporation which produces Software, computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best-know ...

Microsoft
's Altair BASIC was popular with computer hobbyists, but Gates discovered that a pre-market copy had leaked out and was being widely copied and distributed. In February 1976, he wrote an
Open Letter to Hobbyists The Open Letter to Hobbyists is a 1976 open letter An open letter is a letter Letter, letters, or literature may refer to: Characters typeface * Letter (alphabet) A letter is a segmental symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that ...
in the MITS newsletter in which he asserted that more than 90% of the users of Microsoft Altair BASIC had not paid Microsoft for it and 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
Bellevue, Washington Bellevue ( ) is a city in the Eastside region of King County, Washington Washington commonly refers to: * Washington (state), United States * Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States ** Federal government of the United States (me ...

Bellevue, Washington
on January 1, 1979. Gates said he personally reviewed and often rewrote every line of code that the company produced in its first five years. As the company grew he transitioned into a manager role, then an executive. DONKEY.BAS, is a
computer game A PC game, also known as a computer game or personal computer game, is a type of video game A video game is an electronic game that involves interaction with a user interface or input device such as a joystick, game controller, controller, ...
written in 1981 and included with early versions of the PC DOS operating system distributed with the original IBM PC. It is a
driving game Racing video games are a video game genre in which the player participates in a racing, racing competition. They may be based on anything from real-world racing leagues to fantastical settings. They are distributed along a spectrum between simula ...
in which the
player Player may refer to: Role or adjective * Player (game) A player of a game with separate sliding drawer, from 1390–1353 BC, made of glazed faience, dimensions: 5.5 × 7.7 × 21 cm, in the Brooklyn Museum (New York City) ...
must avoid hitting
donkey The donkey or ass is a domestic animal This page gives a list of domestic animals, also including a list of domestication of animals, animals which are or may be currently undergoing the process of domestication and animals that have an exten ...
s. The game was written by Bill Gates and Neil Konzen.


IBM partnership

IBM International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Armonk, New York, with operations in over 170 countries. The company began in 1911, founded in Endicott, New York, as the C ...

IBM
, the leading supplier of computer equipment to commercial enterprises at the time, approached Microsoft in July 1980 concerning software for its upcoming personal computer, the
IBM PC The IBM Personal Computer (model 5150, commonly known as the IBM PC) is the first computer released in the IBM PC model line and the basis for the IBM PC compatible IBM PC compatible computers are similar to the original IBM PC The IBM ...

IBM PC
. IBM first proposed that Microsoft write the BASIC interpreter. IBM's representatives also mentioned that they needed an operating system, and Gates referred them to
Digital Research Digital Research, Inc. (DR or DRI) was a company created by Gary Kildall to market and develop his CP/M operating system and related 8-bit, 16-bit and 32-bit systems like MP/M, Concurrent DOS, FlexOS, Multiuser DOS, DOS Plus, DR DOS and Gr ...
(DRI), makers of the widely used
CP/M CP/M, originally standing for Control Program/Monitor and later Control Program for Microcomputers, is a mass-market operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform ...
operating system. IBM's discussions with Digital Research went poorly, however, and they did not reach a licensing agreement. IBM representative Jack Sams mentioned the licensing difficulties during a subsequent meeting with Gates and asked if Microsoft could provide an operating system. A few weeks later, Gates and Allen proposed using
86-DOS 86-DOS is a discontinued operating system developed and marketed by Seattle Computer Products (SCP) for its Intel 8086-based computer kit. Initially known as QDOS (Quick and Dirty Operating System), the name was changed to 86-DOS once SCP starte ...
, an operating system similar to CP/M, that
Tim Paterson Tim Paterson (born 1 June 1956) is an American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known ...
of
Seattle Computer Products Seattle Computer Products (SCP) was a Tukwila, Washington Washington commonly refers to: * Washington (state), United States * Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States ** Federal government of the United States (metonym) ** Washingt ...
(SCP) had made for hardware similar to the PC. Microsoft made a deal with SCP to be the exclusive licensing agent of 86-DOS, and later the full owner. Microsoft employed Paterson to adapt the operating system for the PC and delivered it to IBM as
PC DOS PC or pc may refer to: Arts and entertainment * Player character A player character (also known as a playable character or PC) is a fictional Character (arts), character in a video game or tabletop role-playing game whose actions are control ...
for a one-time fee of $50,000. The contract itself only earned Microsoft a relatively small fee. It was the prestige brought to Microsoft by IBM's adoption of their operating system that would be the origin of Microsoft's transformation from a small business to the leading software company in the world. Gates had not offered to transfer the copyright on the operating system to IBM because he believed that other personal computer makers would clone IBM's PC hardware. They did, making the IBM-compatible PC, running DOS, a de facto standard. The sales of
MS-DOS MS-DOS ( ; acronym for Microsoft Disk Operating System, also known as Microsoft DOS) is an operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform for other software. Example ...
(the version of DOS sold to customers other than IBM) made Microsoft a major player in the industry. The press quickly identified Microsoft as being very influential on the IBM PC. ''PC Magazine'' asked if Gates was "the man behind the machine?". Gates oversaw Microsoft's company restructuring on June 25, 1981, which re-incorporated the company in Washington state and made Gates the president and chairman of the board, with Paul Allen as vice president and vice chairman. In early 1983, Allen left the company after receiving a
Hodgkin lymphoma Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) is a type of lymphoma Lymphoma is a group of blood cancer, blood malignancies that develop from lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell). The name often refers to just the cancerous versions rather than all such tumours. Si ...
diagnosis, effectively ending the formal business partnership between Gates and Allen, which had been strained months prior due to a contentious dispute over Microsoft equity. Later in the decade, Gates repaired his relationship with Allen and together the two donated millions to their childhood school Lakeside. They remained friends until Allen's death in October 2018.


Windows

Microsoft and Gates launched their first retail version of
Microsoft Windows Microsoft Windows, commonly referred to as Windows, is a group of several proprietary {{Short pages monitor