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Bill Gates

Essay by   •  October 29, 2010  •  Essay  •  1,225 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,310 Views

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In his high school years, Bill Gates proclaimed that one day he would be a millionaire. He greatly underestimated himself. He became interested in computers while in the 8th grade. His school received a hookup to a high powered computer. Bill and his good friend Paul Allen used to skip gym class to use the computer. Sometimes they would even break into the school at night to spend time on the computer. Eventually Bill made his first program. A virtual tic-tac-toe game.

The Computer Center Corporation (CCC) wanted to rent a computer from the Digital Co., but they couldn't pay for it. Digital said they would provide it at no cost if they could find any bugs in their computer. CCC put an add out in the local paper, and Bill and Paul applied immediately. Although skeptical about hiring two teenagers to do the job, their doubts were quickly dissolved. When they were done, Bill and Paul had compiled a list of bugs that was over 300 pages long! Bill was next hired by his school. They wanted him to write a program for use in class scheduling. Bill was happy to do it. He used a programming language called FORTRAN for the first time in this program. FORTRAN was one of the major languages later used at Microsoft. With this program, Bill first took advantage of his skills. He designed the program to put him in classes with no other boys and all the girls he thought were cute, what a guy!

At this time Paul and Bill also started their first company called Traf-O-Data. Keep in mind that they are still in high school! They designed a program that could analyze traffic counts by machine so counties could get government funding for road projects. They had clients in British Colombia and Delaware but went out of business in 1973 when the government offered the same services for no charge.

Bill Gates scored a perfect 800 on the math portion of the SAT's. However, instead of going into computers, which would seem logical, he went to Harvard to become a lawyer. In 1974, a company in Albuquerque, NM, known as MITS made the first home computer. The computer was useless because it had no monitor or keyboard. In place, it had switches to input data and a device similar to a printer to display data. This computer was called Altair and when Bill and Paul heard about it, they were a-twitter. They vowed to write a computer language for it. At Harvard, they had no Altair and had to use a large university computer to simulate Altair. They devised a language called BASIC for Altair. The success of Basic largely relied on the accuracy of their simulation. Fortunately, once all the information had been entered into Altair, it displayed the prompt, "ready." With the success of BASIC Bill and Paul were hired by MITS. In July 1975, Bill and Paul founded their own corporation in Albuquerque, Microsoft. By December of the same year, Microsoft was making virtually no profits. This was because many companies were illegally copying BASIC. During an Altair promotion, a punched card with BASIC on it fell to the ground and was picked up by someone. They kept it and the information circulated. When Gates learned of this he was furious. He sent them all nasty letters that were all to the effect that BASIC was His, and he wanted monetary compensation. He sent them another letter in the same style and got few results. In April 1976, he turned down the volume on his attack and to his surprise, it got many results. Bill and Paul hired 4 other computer programmers and later in '76, he dropped out of Harvard to spend all his time working on Microsoft. The atmosphere at Microsoft was very laid back. People were encouraged to wear bedroom slippers and pajamas because they would be more comfortable and could focus all their thought on programming. Often, people would work all day, fall asleep on the floor of their office at 2 AM, then wake up at 9 the next morning and work some more. Microsoft was raking the profits in and Bill was living a very posh life. He was driving a Porsche roadster and frequently got tickets for speeding. The company was doing well but Bill decided to move it to Seattle. He couldn't get high quality employees to come to the desert.

In 1980, IBM commissioned Microsoft to make DOS. On 8/12/81, IBM introduced its Personal Computer, which used Microsoft's 16-bit operating system, MS-DOS

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