Born William Henry Gates III on October 28, 1955, Bill Gates is an American entrepreneur known for his significant contribution to the world of computing.
Computer scientist and American businessman, founder of Microsoft. The fortune of this precocious programmer, who did not finish his studies and who at the age of 31 was already a multimillionaire, comes from the overwhelming success of his operating system, MS-DOS (1981), which would evolve to become the popular Windows 3.1 (1992) and would give rise to successive versions of this operating system, ubiquitous to this day in the vast majority of laptops and desktops.
Bill Gates Net Worth
Bill Gates is one of the richest men in the world. His net worth is over $130 billion. The source of his wealth is Microsoft, although he has now sold and donated most of his shares in the company. (He still owns 1.3% of Microsoft stock). Gates has donated more than US$36 billion to philanthropic causes.
Most of his wealth is invested in shares. In 2022, its investments in “other stocks” can be specified as follows:
Through Cascade Investments, he owns 31 million (10%) shares of John Deere. Which is worth about US$ 6 billion.
He owns 69 million shares of Berkshire Hathaway at $207 each, worth US$14 billion.
He owns 31 million shares of Ecolab, at $195 each, for a value of US$6 billion.
He owns 18 million shares of Autonation, at $58 each, for a billion dollar value.
The annual dividend income from its main investments (Microsoft, John Deere, Ecolab) is over US$ 400 million per year.
His Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest charitable foundation in the world. The goals of the foundation are to improve health care. And to reduce extreme poverty. expand educational opportunities and expand access to information technology.
Gates funded his foundation with over US$2 billion. In 2006, Warren Buffet donated US$1.5 billion to the Gates Foundation. The assets of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation exceed US$ 30 billion. Annual donations represent more than US$ 1.5 billion. In total, Gates has donated more than US$36 billion.
Bill and Melinda Gates and billionaire Warren Buffet launched The Giving Pledge . This is a philanthropic initiative aimed at motivating billionaires around the world to pledge their wealth early in life. So they can have more control over how it is spent.
In the few years since its launch, the pledge has recruited more than 100 billionaires. Including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Intel Chairman Gordon Moore and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
More than half of his assets are outside of his Microsoft stock holdings. He holds these other investments through his company Cascade Investment LLC. This company owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Coca-Cola, and Femsa. And also Carpetright, Four Seasons Hotels, and Waste Management. And many other investments.
He bought a US$130 million mansion in Medina Washington (he spent $66 million, but its value doubled). He also purchased a mansion in Wellington, Florida mansion, with extensive equestrian facilities.
He owns 4 private jets, a seaplane and several helicopters. He is building a new yacht in the Netherlands. And finally, he has a collection of cars, including Porsche 911, 959 and a Chevrolet Corvette.
Bill Gates Biography
It is difficult to judge to what extent it was luck or genius intuition to realize that, in the explosion of consumer computing, there was as valuable a market in the manufacture of computers ( hardware ) as in the creation of the operating system and the programs that were to be used. used in them ( software ). The truth is that, while the manufacturers competed hard for the hardware, a series of circumstances led to its operating system being extended until it was left with little competition. In fact, Microsoft has often been accused of monopolistic practices, and its founder of a lack of true creativity. But, even admitting it, it must be recognized that his effective contribution to the popularization of computing (and the vertiginous technological escalation that it has entailed) was immense.
Bill Gates was born into a wealthy family that provided him with an education at elite centers like Lakeside School (1967-73) and Harvard University (1973-77). Always in collaboration with his friend Paul Allen, he entered the world of computing by forming a small team dedicated to making programs that were sold to companies or public administrations.
In 1975 they moved to Albuquerque (New Mexico) to work supplying the MITS company with a series of programs that could be used with the first microcomputer, the Altair, for which they had developed a version of the BASIC programming language. That same year they founded their own computer software production company , Microsoft Corporation, in Albuquerque, with Bill Gates as president and CEO. Their business was to develop programs adapted to the needs of new microcomputers and offer them to manufacturing companies cheaper than if they had developed them themselves. When Microsoft began to grow in 1979 (it had sixteen employees at the time), Bill Gates decided to move his headquarters to Seattle.
Bill Gates Career
In the early 1970s, the invention of the microprocessor made it possible to cheapen and reduce the size of the gigantic computers that existed until then. It was a decisive step towards a dream long cherished by many leading companies in the technology sector: to build computers of reasonable size and price that would allow computing to be brought to all businesses and homes. The first to arrive could start an extremely lucrative business with enormous potential. It was unthinkable that a company like Microsoft, dedicated solely to software (operating systems and programs) could play a role in this race between hardware manufacturers , that is, machines.
Paul Allen and Bill Gates
And so it was at first: a competition between computer manufacturers not too honest, because there was more than one plagiarism. In the mid-1970s, in a garage cluttered with oil cans and household items, Steve Jobs and Stephen Wozniak designed and built a computer circuit board, a display of innovation and imagination. At first they intended to sell only the motherboard, but they soon became convinced of the convenience of setting up a company, Apple, and selling computers. In 1977 they began to market the second version of their personal computer, the Apple II, which was sold with an operating system also created by Apple: a historical milestone that marks the birth of personal computing.
Quite naively, Apple made the mistake of letting other companies know the exact specifications of the Apple II. To develop its first personal computer, the IBM company copied and adapted the open architecture of the Apple computer and chose the Intel 8088 microprocessor, which already handled 16-bit characters. Thus, in 1981, IBM was able to launch its first PC ( Personal Computer , personal computer). But the operating system of his PC, essential for its operation, had not been created by IBM, but by Microsoft. A year earlier, in 1980, Bill Gates had reached an agreement with IBM to supply an operating system adapted to his personal computers, MS-DOS, which from 1981 would be installed on all of the brand’s computers.
IBM had great commercial success with its PC. With a price that, over the years, would be more and more affordable, any consumer could buy a small computer, whose applications only increased, and that covered both leisure and multiple work activities. But IBM also made mistakes in its use of the patent. Many companies, aware of the great boom that was coming, launched into the manufacture and sale of compatible PCs, called clones in computing jargon , cheaper than those of IBM.
The market was flooded with IBM-compatible personal computers running Microsoft’s operating system, which could either come installed or be purchased separately, because, although IBM had ordered it, MS-DOS was not its property: it had given away sales rights to Microsoft. On the other hand, apart from companies and administrations, users did not always acquire the MS-DOS license. It was very easy to get a copy and install it without paying, a fact that further favored its dissemination.
From MS-DOS to Windows
There were still other options, but they remained in the minority: thanks to its low cost, the PC plus MS-DOS combination ended up dominating the market and becoming the standard. While computer manufacturers were trying to reduce costs, engaged in a price war from which no one was able to gain a dominant position, a software company , Bill Gates’s, took over practically the entire operating system market and a good part of the software market. programs.
From that moment on, Microsoft’s expansion was spectacular. And not only because PCs needed an operating system to work, but also because specific programs and applications (a word processor, a spreadsheet, a game) are developed on the basis of a specific operating system, and that system it was MS-DOS. Different software companies (including Microsoft itself) could develop, for example, different word processors, competing with each other to please the user. But since the vast majority of users had MS-DOS, they developed programs to work with MS-DOS, and ended up doing Microsoft a favor, which could boast that all imaginable programs could run on its operating system: its own and almost all of the competition.
MS-DOS, however, was an unfriendly environment, whose management required knowledge of commands entered through the keyboard. With the 1984 launch of the Macintosh personal computer, Apple seemed to take the lead again. Its window system was a qualitative leap; its interface simulated the distribution of a work table by means of icons. A small device, the mouse, whose movement was reflected on the screen with a flashing icon, allowed you to go through it in search of the document or program you were looking for. Instead of having to remember the commands for each of the operations and type them at all times, it was enough to go to the lists of possible actions and click with the mouse on the chosen option.
For the moment, those innovations did not seem to overshadow Bill Gates. In 1983 Paul Allen left Microsoft, suffering from a serious illness. And when Microsoft went public in 1986, the stock traded so high that Bill Gates became the youngest billionaire in history. Thrown into a process of accelerated technological innovation, and in his case imitating Apple’s Macintosh more than innovating, Gates launched a graphical interface for MS-DOS called Windows: Windows 3.0 in 1990 and Windows 3.1 in 1992.
It was not, in fact, a new operating system, but, as has been said, a graphical interface with a mouse, icons and windows under which the old MS-DOS continued to run, but it was very well received by the users, who finally had of a system as intuitive as that of the Macintosh but much cheaper as it works on a PC, thanks to which it was easily imposed on the market. The enormous success led to the true renovation that was Windows 95 (in whose worldwide promotion campaign Gates himself assumed the role of prophet of cybernetic society as personification of Microsoft), which would be followed by Windows 98 and the successive versions of this operating system, among which Windows XP (2001) stands out, the first one hundred percent newly minted, which completely left aside the old MS-DOS.
Meanwhile, the business had grown steadily (from 1,200 employees in 1986 to more than 20,000 in 1996), and with the spread of Windows, Bill Gates came to exercise a virtual monopoly of the global software market , reinforced by his victory in the 1993 lawsuit against Apple, which had sued Microsoft for considering that Windows was a plagiarism of the graphical interface of its Macintosh. Since 1993 he embarked the company in the promotion of multimedia supports, especially in the educational field.
In addition to Windows, many of the most basic and important individual programs and applications produced by the company (the Microsoft Office suite, for example) were always top sellers. Many critical voices arose decrying its monopolistic position, and on numerous occasions Microsoft was taken to court by competing companies and governments, but nothing was able to stop its continued rise.
Gates’s talent has been reflected in multiple computer programs, whose use has spread throughout the world as basic languages of personal computers; but also in the success of a flexible and competitive company, managed with unorthodox criteria and with special attention to the selection and motivation of staff. Gates’s innovations contributed to the rapid spread of the use of personal computing, producing momentous technical innovation in the ways information is produced, transmitted, and consumed. President George Bush recognized the importance of Gates’ work by awarding him the National Medal of Technology in 1992.
His rapid enrichment has been accompanied by a visionary and optimistic speech about a future transformed by the penetration of computers in all facets of daily life, responding to the dream of introducing a personal computer in every home and in every job; this speech, which encourages a positive attitude towards the great social changes of our time, enjoys a large audience among young people around the world because it comes from the man who symbolizes material success based on the use of intelligence (his book Path to the future was one of the best sellers in 1995).
Bill Gates’s detractors, who are also numerous, reproach him, not without reason, for his lack of creativity (certainly his talent and innovations are not comparable to those of a Steve Jobs , and rather he followed the paths opened by the founder of Apple), and also criticize its business policy, stating that it was always based on monopoly and the absorption of competition or talent at the stroke of a checkbook. Critics like to point out a fact that is totally true, even if it sounds like an urban legend: not even MS-DOS is his doing. Bill Gates bought it for $50,000 from a Seattle programmer named Tim Paterson, renamed it, and turned it over to IBM.
Today, Microsoft remains one of the most valuable companies in the world, despite having lost several battles, especially the Internet and mobile phone operating systems, now led by Google ( Sergei Brin and Larry Page ), another giant as valuable as Microsoft. Faced with the dynamism of the Internet age, in which new ideas such as Mark Zuckerberg ‘s Facebook social network emerge and quickly become multimillion dollar , Gates’s company seems to have become somewhat stagnant, although the solidity of assumption.
Nor is this the sole responsibility of Bill Gates, who already in 2000 handed over the CEO of Microsoft to Steve Ballmer and became chief software architect to focus on the technological aspects. Bill Gates had married Melinda French in 1994, with whom he would have three children. In the year 2000 he created, together with his wife, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a charitable institution dedicated to health and educational issues whose splendid economic endowment comes mainly from his personal fortune. It is not for nothing that the founder of Microsoft is a regular on Forbes magazine’s annual lists : in 2014 he had already headed it fifteen times as the richest man on the planet.
In 2008, Bill Gates left Microsoft for good to dedicate himself entirely to his work at the foundation, which had received the Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation in 2006. If he was previously a controversial figure, this new stage as a philanthropist arouses rather unanimous admiration: Like his company, his foundation is the largest in the world in terms of the amount of its economic contributions to all kinds of aid, research and development programs.
Bill Gates And His Wife
The co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, and his wife, Melinda , for 27 years, are already officially divorced, according to the agreement approved by the Superior Court of King County in Seattle (USA) to which they have had access. the local media.
The Gates announced in early May that they were divorcing , after almost three decades of relationship in which they founded one of the most important charities in the world, whose activity they have guaranteed will continue despite the breakup. “We believe that we cannot grow more as a couple in this new phase of our lives,” they said just three months ago. Bill and Melinda have three children , all of them now of legal age, Jennifer, 25 years old (the best known, Amazon and medical student); Rory, 22; and Phoebe, 19.
The day after the announcement of the separation, the US media revealed the content of the documents of the divorce petition, filed by Melinda, in which she claimed that the marriage was “irretrievably broken”, that spousal support was not necessary and that the separation agreement would determine the division of their properties. As reported by People magazine , there will indeed be no spousal support from Bill towards Melinda.
For now, the terms of the divorce are unknown, and they will have to decide how an estate estimated at around 110,000 million euros is distributed. Gates is still considered the fourth richest man in the world, although we will have to wait until the details of the separation are known (if they ever become known) to see if any piece of his fortune has passed into the hands of the already his ex-wife.
In addition, Melinda has decided to keep her married name, although second only to her maiden name, so from now on she will be known as Melinda French Gates.
According to The Wall Street Journal , one of the issues that caused the breakup would have been the relationship between Bill and the late disgraced tycoon Jeffrey Epstein , who committed suicide in prison in 2019. The newspaper stated a few months ago that Gates and Epstein met on several occasions and that even the technology entrepreneur stayed on occasion until late at night in Epstein’s New York mansion, who was arrested after being accused of sexually abusing dozens of teenagers in his various mansions in Manhattan and Palm Beach (Florida) as in his island of the Virgin Islands.
For their part, spokesmen for the billionaire have always maintained that in those meetings the two men talked about philanthropic issues and that Gates “regrets each and every one of his meetings [with Epstein] and acknowledges that carrying them out was an error of judgment.” In addition, the Journal pointed out that, already in 2013, Melinda came to warn her husband that those meetings with Epstein made her feel uncomfortable, but that despite this both Gates and some employees of his foundation remained in contact with Epstein, who also he had more or less close relationships with Donald Trump, Woody Allen, Naomi Campbell and even the scientist Stephen Hawking.
In addition, as revealed by the same medium, the company came to investigate an alleged love relationship between Gates and a Microsoft employee , which would have taken place in the year 2000. “He had the help of a law firm to carry out an exhaustive investigation. Throughout the investigation, Microsoft provided extensive support to the employee who gave the notice.