Friday, June 17, 2011

bill gates

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Bill Gates is the most successful business man in the world today, and he is also in the fastest growing industry in the world. “Most of Bills personal beliefs revolve around working hard and trying your hardest to succeed. He believes that if you are intelligent and know how to apply your intelligence you can accomplish anything. Bill thinks that if you don’t work your hardest you will never succeed…”

Bill Gates, a onetime computer nerd, was the only chief executive Microsoft had until he decided to hand over the responsibility to his partner, Paul Allen. To the world, he was a symbol of American technology. To his executives, he was a hard-driving boss who preferred high-level technical discussions. Although he began Microsoft on a shoestring, his is not a rags-to-riches story (Cook 64-66). Instead, he was the prototype of the new digital generation.

Born October 8, 155, Gates and his two sisters were from a prominent Seattle family. His father, William Henry Gates Jr., was a partner in a Seattle law firm and his mother, Mary, was a regent at the University of Washington and a chairwoman of United Way International. (Gates, 15)

Bill Gates’ first interest in computers began at Lakeside, a private school in Seattle that Gates attended. There he wrote his “first software program when I was thirteen years old. It was for playing tic-tac-toe” (Gates, 15). By the time he was thirteen years old, Gates was programming in the Basic computer language. The gangly and awkward child had turned pro by seventeen, selling his first program for $4,00. He spent a couple of years at Harvard University, but he was an unexceptional student, preferring all-night poker games and messing with computers to classes (Quittner, 1).

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Bill Gates

It was at Lakeside that Gates met Paul Allen, who later became cofounder with Gates of Microsoft. There they became friends and “began to mess around with the computer”. Back in the sixties and early seventies computer time was expensive. This is what drove Gates to the commercial side of the software business. Gates, Allen and a few others from Lakeside decided to get entry-level software programming jobs. This is where one of Gates’ early programs was written. It was a program that scheduled classes for students. Gates added a few instructions and found himself nearly the only guy in a class full of girls. (Gates, 15)

When the first affordable small computer came out � a machine called the Altair that sold in kit form for $400 � Gates lost all interest in school. He had found his true love. He and Paul Allen --- whom Gates met while a student at Seattle’s exclusive Lakeside Preparatory School --- moved to Albuquerque, N.M, establishing Microsoft in 175. (Gates, 15)

In 17, Intel released their first microprocessor chip, the 8008. Gates attempted to write a version of BASIC (Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) for the new Intel chip, but the chip did not contain enough transistors to handle it. Gates and Allen found a new way to use the 8008 and “started Traf-O-Data, a computer traffic analysis company” (Clayton 45). It worked well, however marketing their new machine proved to be impossible. “No one actually wanted to buy the machine, at least not from a couple of teenagers” (Gates, 15). Gates and Allen had less successful endeavors in starting a software company.

In 174, Intel announced their new chip, the 8080. The two college students sent off letters “to all the big computer companies offering to write them a version of BASIC for the new Intel chip. We got no takers” (Lyall, 14).

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While at Harvard, the cool thing to do was to slack off on class for most of the semester and try to see how well the student could do at the end. Steve Ballmer and Gates “took a tough graduate-level economics course together. The professor allowed his class to bet their whole grade on the final if they chose”. Gates did just that, not studying until it was time for the final for the class all semester, studied for the final and got an A. (Economist, 14)

Gates went on leave from Harvard in 175. Microsoft’s big economic break came in 180 when “IBM- the computer industry leader- asked Gates to develop an operating system for its new personal computer” (Clayton 45). IBM usually did not use external help in software design or hardware manufacture, but they wanted to release the first personal computer in less than a year. “IBM had elected to build its PC mainly from off-the-shelf components available to anyone.

This made a platform that was fundamentally open, which made it easy to copy”. IBM bought the microprocessors from Intel and licensed the operating system from Microsoft. Microsoft bought some work from another company in Seattle and hired its top engineer, Tim Paterson. The system became known as the Microsoft Disk Operating System, or MS-DOS (Rohm, 14).

While Gates was still young, his competitors soon learned that there was a deep competitive spirit and even a ruthlessness that could not be hidden by his squeaky voice and thick glasses. The future of Microsoft was assured when Gates bought the rights to a computer operating system, improved it, and then sold it to International Business Machines Corporation for use with IBM’s then revolutionary Personal Computer.

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The name Personal Computer created the term “PC” and Gates’ Microsoft Disk Operating System became known to almost every computer user as DOS. (Schlender 50-5)

The company grew with the PC into the country’s largest software company. Gates himself became as close as possible to an industry superstar, eventually eclipsing even Steven Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computer, as the man most identified with America’s dominance in the digital world (Fortune, 1).

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