Bill Gates Essay, Research Paper
This is a report intended to find the truth about William Gates, III. I have searched through many sources and found much contradicting evidence. Specifically, sources completely glorify him or completely put him down. From those sources I have compiled this report; this report puts together fact, possibilities, probabilities, and the result is what is most likely fact and a little of my own opinion.
Bill Gates was born on October 28, 1955 to Mary and William Gates, II. His father was an attorney in Seattle, WA and his mother was a teacher. He attended the elite Lakeside private school, where he first got to a computer. His first program was a tic-tac-toe game, which he made on a mainframe that the school bought after a fund-raiser. He and his friend, Paul Allen, were always busy clanking away at the machine whenever they could get a chance. When they were older, they paid up to $40 an hour to use a terminal at computer companies, much like today’s “cyber caf s.”
Bill was accepted into Harvard University in Fall, 1973. He slacked off a bit, always trying to get the highest grades by putting in the least amount of time. In his second year, he dropped out of college and started Microsoft with Paul.
During college, Bill and Paul were always looking out for new opportunities. When Intel produced a new microprocessor in 1974, named the 8008, they wasted no time in learning to program the new chip. After much review, they decided that the chip could not go much further than mathematical calculations because of its lack of power. So, instead of just ignoring it, they used it. They used it in a machine that counted the cars that went by. Their first company was named Traf-o-Data . Traf-O-Data did not prove profitable. He suspects that it was because it was just a couple of teenagers trying to sell a box. People were interested, but did not buy.
A new chip came out about a year later, the 8080. It contained about 2,700 more transistors, and its successor, the 8088, was used in the first PCs (personal computers) made. The pair instantly recognized that if chips could be so small and more powerful than a room full of computer a decade before, computers would soon become even smaller and yet more powerful. Other companies didn t see it this way. But Bill was right. Now, practically all computers use a microprocessors.
When Bill dropped out of college, he did so to start a company that eventually became known as Microsoft. It started in Albuquerque, NM in 1975. It was located near the manufacturer of a new computer kit, called the Altair 8800. It was basically the first inexpensive “computer kit” sold to the public.
One of the first programs they created was Altair BASIC. This is a program that allows other people to more easily program the Altair. In 1978, a man named Kazuhiko Nishi called Bill. He read about Microsoft and was interested in its software. A few months later, he went to Microsoft where the two made a deal. Nishi paid $150M mainly for exclusive rights to license MS-BASIC in Asia. They remained business partners for 8 years, providing Microsoft with a link to Japan.
In 1979, Microsoft moved to Redmond, WA where it is today. By this time, Microsoft had grown in popularity. It got too many demands for products. So, Bill turned to his college buddy and roommate Steve Ballmer for help. Back then, Microsoft had about 30 employees. Steve wanted to add 50 more people to the company. Bill was against the idea because other companies have gone under that way, but Steve convinced him. He was to add people until Bill told him to stop, but until this day, he hasn t gotten the stop signal.
In order for Microsoft to get to the top, they had to have a very good business strategy. Their strategy is to sell software at low prices, until people are hooked. Then, slowly, raise them up. If a competitor comes along, they just drop their prices and bring them back up when the competitor is gone. That strategy is what made Microsoft the biggest software company in the world.
In the early 1980 s, IBM was having trouble finding an operating system to go on their new computer, which used the new 8088 microprocessor. Bill, of course, said he would be happy to make them one. However, he didn’t quite make an operating system, he bought Q-DOS from Seattle Computer Products for $75,000, hired their leading engineer on the project (Tim Patterson), improved it a little, and licensed it to IBM for tons of money. So, on the contrary to public opinion, he did not write MS-DOS, he bought it, changed it slightly, and put his name on it.
When IBM released their new computer, they offered three OS choices, Pascal, CP/M, and MS-DOS costing $450, $175, and $60, respectively. This was another example of Microsoft s sell cheaply in high volumes policy. The MS-DOS computer was a great success, and many people started writing software for it, making MS-DOS even more popular.
As time went on, MS-DOS wasn t good enough. People were looking for colors, graphics, and more user-friendly interfaces, which they found in primitive systems made by Xerox. Apple, much like IBM, was in the process of making a new computer which was released in 1984. They wanted Microsoft to make them an OS. Bill, again, quickly agreed. With the help of Apple, he and his development team wrote the Macintosh OS. But around the same time the new Apple Macintosh was released, Microsoft released Windows. Windows was very similar to Macintosh; both had GUIs (Graphical User Interfaces). Apple sued them because of their similarity (copyright infringement), but did not win because the actual code (the program’s instructions) appeared very different than those of Apple.
In 1984, IBM wanted a GUI and again called Microsoft, having been satisfied with MS-DOS. So, Microsoft and IBM teamed up and attempted to make an OS called OS/2. However, IBM wanted to make it more like a mainframe OS than a personal computer OS. This would make it more complex and not as good, but it would be compatible with stone-aged machinery. In 1987, IBM released its new computer, the PS/2, which ran an early version of OS/2.
Among its flaws were incompatibility with Windows software and a new microchannel bus. The new bus was not compatible with the thousands of add-on cards available. People liked their old software and peripherals and would not switch. IBM s PS/2 was a failure. IBM still continued to improve OS/2 and make OfficeVision, a suite of useful programs for businesses. Since IBM kept refusing to make it Windows compatible (which was a mistake), Microsoft dropped out (1992). The main reason was that because it wasn t Windows compatible, he wouldn t be able to make additional money by writing software for it. Without compatibility, it just wouldn t last.
A few years ago, IBM pulled their non-compatible product off the market. OfficeVision was never made. They spent an estimated $2B on OS/2 and OS/2 software.
On January 1st, 1994, Bill married Melinda French, a Product Manager at Microsoft. Two and a quarter years later, they had a baby. It was a girl, and they named her Jennifer Katherine. Currently, Melinda is pregnant again.
In September of 1995, a new operating system was released. It was called Windows 95 . It is currently the most popular operating system, but will soon be replaced by Windows 98, and then Windows 2000. Win95 had several new features, including multitasking . Multitasking is the feature which allows more than one application to be loaded at one time, making computing easier and more efficient. Other features of interest are OLE (Object Linking and Imbedding (now known as Active X)), which allows different programs to communicate with each other, and threads, which are like little programs inside big ones.
At this point, Bill got a new idea. If he could get people to use his Internet tools, he could control most of the Internet. So, he made Microsoft an Internet Service Provider (ISP). He called his new service Microsoft Network (MSN) and incorporated it into Win95. MSN now has about 6 million subscribers, most paying him $20 a month (about a billion dollars a year!). He also made a web browser, called Internet Explorer , and incorporated it into newer versions of Win95 so it would automatically be put onto your system. He did this for free (remember his system : low prices to get you hooked and then raise them). His Internet Explorer became #1. Currently, his only other competition is Netscape Navigator.
The Department of Justice is suing him over this. They are saying he is smothering his competition and not giving users a choice in which browser they use. Windows 98 will incorporate Internet Explorer as well. The DOJ wants them to include Netscape Navigator (his competition). However, it has been shipped to stores as is. The DOJ will probably not be able to stop them. The DOJ doesn t have a case; just because he makes good software and sells it in bundles does not mean he is doing something illegal (maybe unethical… not illegal). He has always been smarter than other companies (i.e. Seattle Computer Products, Apple, IBM, etc.), but has not done anything against the law.
Internet Explorer 5 currently has the most useful features and is easy to use. Netscape has few features and doesn t enhance Windows like IE does. As long as Bill is not making any money off of Internet Explorer (he gives it away), the DOJ will not win in a court of law. (Bill would buy the DOJ before they ever got the chance!
As for the future, Bill will make most of his money on the Internet. MSN is the second largest ISP (America Online is the largest.), and Internet Explorer or some other Microsoft web browser will be used by most. He will work to make everything computerized: televisions, telephones, lights, even the way you cook dinner… and supply the software to run on these computerized appliances. This will be a good thing for everyone, especially Bill. Everything will be interconnected on an information superhighway, which, in majority, he will build. This will all come to reality within a decade.
In short, Bill went from an upper middle-class family to the richest man in the world; who owns the biggest software company in the world, Microsoft. Microsoft and Bill have not yet reached their peak, but someday, they will (maybe?!).