Bill Gates Biography for Kids
Bill and Melinda Gates
William Henry Gates III (Bill) was born on October 28, 1955, in Seattle, Washington. Bill was the second of three children in an upper-middle class family. He enjoyed playing games with the family and was very competitive. He also loved to read. Bill became bored in public school so his family sent him to Lakeside School where he excelled in math and science and did well in drama and English.
He became interested in computer programming when he was 13. These were the days of giant mainframe computers. The school had a fund-raiser to purchase a teletype terminal so students could use computer time that was donated by General Electric. He wrote a tic-tac-toe program using BASIC, one of the first computer languages. Later he created a computer version of Risk, a board game he liked in which the goal is world domination. Lakeside is where Bill met Paul Allen who shared his interest in computers. Gates and Allen and two other students hacked into a computer belonging to Computer Center Corporation (CCC) to get free computer time. They lost their computer privileges. After a period of probation, they were allowed back in the computer lab when they offered to fix glitches in CCC’s software. At age 17, Gates and Allen were paid $20,000 for a program called Traf-O-Data that was used to count traffic.
In early 1973, Bill Gates served as a congressional page in the U.S. House of Representatives. He scored 1590 out of 1600 on the SAT and was accepted by Harvard University. Steve Ballmer, who became CEO of Microsoft after Bill retired, was also a student there. Paul Allen dropped out of Washington College to work on computers at Honeywell. Bill worked for Honeywell in the summer of 1974. Bill left Harvard to join Paul in starting a new software company in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They called it Micro-Soft. This was soon changed to Microsoft, and they moved their company to Bellevue, Washington.
IBM was one of the biggest computer companies at this time. In 1980, they asked Microsoft to write software to run their new personal computer, the IBM PC. Microsoft kept the licensing rights for the operating system (MS-DOS) so that they earned something for every computer sold first by IBM, and later by all the other companies that made PC computers. Microsoft grew from 25 employees in 1978 to over 90,000 today. Microsoft developed many new technologies. Gates used questionable business practice to get ahead. He has been described as brilliant but childlike, driven, competitive, intense, fun, but lacking in empathy.
Bill Gates is one of the richest men in the world. In 2012 the Forbes list of richest people in the world placed him second with $61 billion in assets. Steve Ballmer is #44 with $15.7 billion; and Paul Allen is #48 with $14.2 billion. In 2006, Gates announced that he would cut back his involvement at Microsoft to spend more time on philanthropy. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation supports many causes. Some are: helping to eradicate polio; fighting AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis; providing vaccinations for children and even reinventing the toilet among many other things.