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Bill Gates

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Bill Gates

William (Bill) H. Gates is chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft Corporation, the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. Born on Oct. 28, 1955, Gates grew up in Seattle with his two sisters. Their father, William H. Gates II, is a Seattle attorney. Gates attended public elementary school and the private Lakeside School. There, he discovered his interest in software and began programming computers at age 13. In 1973, Gates entered Harvard University as a freshman, where he lived down the hall from Steve Ballmer, now Microsoft's chief executive officer. While at Harvard, Gates developed a version of the programming language BASIC for the first microcomputer - the MITS Altair. In his junior year, Gates left Harvard to devote his energies to Microsoft, a company he had begun in 1975 with his childhood friend Paul Allen. Guided by a belief that the computer would be valuable tool on every office desktop and in every home, they began developing software for personal computers. Gates' foresight and his vision for personal computing have been central to the success of Microsoft and the software industry.

Philanthropy is also important to Gates. He and his wife, Melinda, have endowed a foundation with more than $24 billion to support philanthropic initiatives in the areas of global health and learning, with the hope that as we move into the 21st century, advances in these critical areas will be available for all people. Gates was married on Jan. 1, 1994, to Melinda French Gates. The couple has three children



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