Bill Gates:
A Cultural Icon
What is Windows? What is Microsoft Word? What is Excel 1.0? These are all product of
Microsoft. What is Microsoft? It is a 18 billion dollar computer program corporation that Bill Gates is
running. He strives for what he believes in, which is doing the best he can for the computer world. He also
never gave up at things even though they did not work out right away. Bill Gates started his journey when
he was young. Know he is seeking to improve the future. Bill Gates is a major cultural icon that is trying
to help us out with the visions of computers.
CHAPTER 1-The Past
William Henry Gates III was born October 28, 1955, with his family in Seattle, Washington. He
was the middle child and his father, a lawyer and his mother, a teacher. Bill was sent to Lakeside School,
an all boys prep school. Lakeside is where Gates taught himself to hack his way into a minicomputer
program. Hacking is basically decoding how the computer works. This is also where he made his first
software program when he was thirteen, a tic-tac-toe game. In order to play the game Gates and other class
mates had to flip switches and then had to wait, for a long time, for the reply to come out. Paul Allen, a
classmate of Gates, helped Gates create
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Microsoft. Gates, Allen and a group of friends were offered to create a program for payroll services (Gross
337). Gates also formed a pint-sized company, Traf-O-Data, that studied traffic patterns for small towns
near Seattle.
Gates was 19 when he graduated from school then he moved on to Harvard. Gates spent most of his time
hacking at the computer lab. He also did not attend many of his classes. Allen and Gates worked on
making a BASIC program for a minicomputer. BASIC is a language a computer uses to run its system.
That program was used in computers now. This kept the men writing their programs. In 1975 the two
founded what was then, Micro-soft (Gross 339). Gates did all of this before the young age of twenty-one.
After they founded Microsoft, Gates move out to Albuquerque by Paul Allen. Tandy, a big computer
company, came out with a computer that had the first display terminal and keyboard. Tandy bought the
rights to Microsoft's BASIC program. Microsoft's sales went up around 1.5 million dollars a year after
signing the rights to Tandy.
Microsoft made a move up north, back to Washington. IBM soon became interested in Microsoft
and signed them to an agreement, even though Gates was not as professional looking as others. At first
Gates declined and told IBM to go to Digital Research. IBM did not like the way Digital Research worked
so they offered the
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job to Gates again. He did not refuse the opportunity twice (Economist S5). About a year after being with
IBM, Microsoft came up
with the program MS-DOS. This program was in eighty percent of PC, Personal Computers, sold (Gross
344). It was standard program in computers. With the new program raking in a lot of money, Microsoft
gained eighty-one million dollars in three years. In 1983 Allen had to leave the company because he was
diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. Even though the company was selling $200 million of products a year,
Gates did not get overwhelmed by the money. He would eat fast food and travel coach class just like
everyone else (Gross 346). He is also the type of man that isn't going to explain everything twice says
employee of Microsoft (Sherman 86).
"Gates is a remarkable piece of software in his own right. He is childishly awkward at
times, throws things when angry, and fidgets uncontrollably when he speaks. But he is extraordinary
intelligent master programmer steeped in technical knowledge about his complicated business. At the same
time, he is monstrously competitive."(Sherman 82)
In 1985 Gates made a program to better the Lotus program 1-2-3, it was Excel 1.0. Two years after
creating Excel, Gates created Windows. Even though Windows is popular now, it didn't quite make it back
then. Windows was the first program where you could use a mouse
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to click on icons to get to programs. Gates figured that he