Bill Gates
1955-

Biography

Bill Gates, an American business executive was born on October 28, 1955. He and his two sisters grew up in Seattle. Their father, William H. Gates II, is a Seattle attorney. Mary Gates, their late mother, was a schoolteacher, University of Washington regent and chairwoman of United Way International.
Gates attended public elementary school before moving on to the private Lakeside School in North Seattle. It was at Lakeside that Gates began his career in personal computer software, programming computers at age 13.
In 1973, Gates entered Harvard University as a freshman, where he lived down the hall from Steve Ballmer, who is now Microsoft's president. While at Harvard, Gates developed a version of the programming language BASIC for the first microcomputer - the MITS Altair. BASIC was first developed by John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz at Dartmouth College in the mid-1960s. In his junior year, Gates dropped out of Harvard to devote his energies full-time to Microsoft, a company he had started in 1975 with his boyhood friend Paul Allen. Guided by a belief that the personal computer would be a valuable tool on every office desktop and in every home, they began developing software for personal computers.
Gates' foresight and vision regarding personal computing have been central to the success of Microsoft and the software industry. Gates is actively involved in key management and strategic decisions at Microsoft, and plays an important role in the technical development of new products. Much of his time is devoted to meeting with customers and staying in contact with Microsoft employees around the world through e-mail.
In 1995 Gates wrote The Road Ahead, his vision of where information technology will take society. Co-authored by Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft's chief technology officer, and Peter Rinearson, The Road Ahead held the No. 1 spot on the New York Times' bestseller list for seven weeks, and remained on the list for a total of 18 weeks. Published in more than 20 countries, the book sold more than 400,000 copies in China alone.
In 1996, while strategically redeploying Microsoft to take advantage of the emerging opportunities created by the Internet, Gates thoroughly revised The Road Ahead to reflect his view that interactive networks are a major milestone in human communication. The paperback second edition also has become a bestseller. Gates is donating his proceeds from the book to a non-profit fund that supports teachers worldwide who are incorporating computers into their classrooms.
Bill and Melinda French Gates were married on January 1, 1994. They have one child, Jennifer Katharine Gates, who was born in 1996.



Philanthropic Acts

The William H. Gates Foundation was created in 1994. Microsoft chairman and chief executive Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates created the foundation to support philanthropic initiatives in four areas that are of particular interest and concern to them:

Puget Sound-area capital campaigns
Education
World public health and population
Nonprofit, civic and arts organizations

Bill's father, William H. Gates, Sr., former senior partner, founder of Seattle's Preston Gates & Ellis law firm, directs the foundation. Within the parameters of the foundation's structure and guidelines, institutions and projects are considered for funding without regard to race, gender, disability, religion, ethnicity, age, or sexual orientation. The William H. Gates Foundation is separate from the Gates Library Foundation. Bill and Melinda committed $200 million in 1997 to the Gates Library Foundation to help libraries in North America take advantage of new technologies and the Information Age.
Over the past several years, the Gates family has made philanthropic contributions and commitments of more than $1 billion, including $800 million to the William H. Gates Foundation to areas of particular interest to them including education and institutions of higher learning, world health and population, and local capital campaigns. Separately more than $200 million to the Gates Library Foundation. Since the late 1980s, $25 million personally has been given to various organizations.
Bill Gates has said in interviews and in his own articles that he is "the steward of a share of society's resources." He plans to return his wealth to causes he and his family believe in.
"Giving away money effectively is almost as hard as earning it in the first place," Gates wrote. "I'm many years away from wanting to divert a lot of my attention in