Bill Gates Essay Research Paper William Henry

Bill Gates Essay, Research Paper

William Henry Gates, III was born October 28, 1955 in

Seattle, Washington. He was the middle child of three born

to William and Mary Gates. ATrey, as he was called

because of the III, was sent to a private school by his

father, a lawyer, and mother, a former teacher now on

several prestigious boards (Moritz, 238). At age 13, Bill

had completely taught himself programming after taking

computer studies class. After scoring a perfect 800 on the

mathematics half of the SAT, he graduated from Lakeside

school and enrolled at Harvard University as a prelaw

major. As a student, Gates was a wonder. He received an

A in an economics class without attending and cramming

the night before the final exam. In June 1975, Bill Gates

dropped out of Harvard to pursue a career in computers

full time.

Later that year after dropping out of Harvard he moved to

New Mexico. There he and Allen Kay established

Microsoft to produce their Basic for the MITS. Eighteen

months later they were a few hundred thousand dollars

richer and were hired by Tandy to develop software for its

radio shack computers. Gates and Allen then moved their

headquarters to Seattle, Washington. In Seattle, Gates

re-wrote an operating system and called it MS-DOS,

which stands for Microsoft Disk Operating System.

Microsoft would eventually sell the rights of MS-DOS to

IBM, making it a major computer corporation. Other

computer companies wanted Microsoft to produce

software for their computers, including Steve Jobs and

Steve Wozniak of Apple computers. With the operating

system established, Gates and Microsoft set out to create

applications software, for tasks such as financial analysis or

word processing. Microsoft has continued being successful

through the years and will be in the future as long as !

it keeps innovating new and exciting computer software.

Bill Gates has his eye on the future. He sees the world in a

Apowerful, high-speed network-both within companies

and across the so called Information Superhighway@

(Brandt, 57). He hopes to be on top of the Transformation

from Personal Computers to nets. Gates predicts that an

explosion of low-cost, high-capacity, networks will

radically alter how we use technology in the upcoming


Now before Bill Gates came onto the scene in the early

seventies, the main focus in the computer world was

hardware. Chips, circuit boards, capacitors and controllers

these were what computers were all about at this time.

Companies like IBM, Compaq and Apple were at the

head of the pack in the Aindustry that pushed hefty boxes

of metal and plastic and silicon at thousands ob bucks a

pop.@(Manes, 4) No one had yet attempted to tap the

software business, a market that was inevitably going to

grow as fast of faster than its complimentary hardware

market. Bill gates saw this opportunity and took advantage

of it.

When William Henry Gates came into the world in the year

1955, the fledgling computer industry was still trying to

spread its wings and fly. AOn the day he was born in

1955, fewer then 500 electronic computers had existed in

the entire world, their total retail value amounted to less

then $200 million, and the term Asoftware@ had not yet

been coined.@(Manes, 2) Bill first laid a hand on a

computer in 1968 while in junior high school. The computer

business was rapidly transforming at this time, and so was

Bill Gates. He saw the real profitable side of computers

was not their hardware. Rather it was the software end of

the business. Good software is what makes a computer

exciting and easy to use. Bill Gates grabbed this concept

and ran with it. The result: As of 1993 AGates was

personally worth more than $2 billion@, and his company,

Microsoft, was Avalued at more than $7 billion.@(Manes,


As Microsoft and the software industry grew, the computer

hardware manufacturers no longer saw the opportunity to

exploit Bill Gates= company, as they had done initially with

BASIC, one of the first programs Microsoft produced.

Rather, they saw Bill Gates and Microsoft as the Controller

of their destinies. Microsoft software had become so

popular that if your hardware could not run it, you were

certain of defeat. Throughout the early 80’s, Bill was the

ruler of the computer industry. AHis decisions on which

machines to back and which to ignore helped to make

companies and break them. Heads of firms that created

computers and microprocessors regularly make pilgrimages

to Microsoft=s wooded headquarters in Redmond,

Washington, to sit at the feet of the master.@(Manes, 4)

In 1986, Microsoft again revolutionized the computer

industry and launched its first version of Windows.

Microsoft called Windows an Aoperating environment,@

meaning it was designed mainly to run other programs. The

difference between this system and the original BASIC

language was that Windows incorporated a Graphical user

interface or AGUI@, (pronounced as Agooey@) as it was

known in the industry. This interface gave a symbolic

representation of a desktop to every computer screen

across the country, complete with little pictures called

Aicons@ to signify different files and programs. Opening

these files and programs was like opening different

Awindows@, hence the name. Finally, non-Macintosh

personal computers had become user friendly; no longer

was it seen by the majority of the consuming public as a

cold, high-tech piece of equipment whose secrets could

only be unlocked by some alien script.

The first seven years after the announcement of windows,

however, was not exactly smooth sailing for Bill Gates and

Microsoft. AOver those seven years, the windows story

had been one of tepid reviews, backhanding compliments,

empty hype, sluggish sales.@(Manes, 7) If these problems

were not enough, in the same period, Apple computer,

headed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, had sued

Microsoft accusing the company of stealing their Macintosh

ideas for the Windows application.

Despite all of these setbacks, Windows finally caught on

and spread like wildfire. Since its introduction, Microsoft

has introduced numerous updated versions of the original

windows application software, the most recent being

Windows 95. Like the introduction of the original Windows

program ; however, the Windows 95 version was anything

but smooth. Microsoft again found itself in another legal

battle, but this time it was up against the U.S. Justice

Department. AAlthough the department will confirm only

that it is conducting an unspecified investigation in the

computer industry, it appears to have launched three

antitrust probes into Bill Gates empire.@ reported the June

24, 1995 issue of the Economic magazine. (The Economist,

59) The basis behind these probes was focused upon

possible misuse of licensing agreements and royalty fees by

Microsoft with many personal computer makers.

Just as the operating software of Bill Gates and Microsoft

become the standard of personal computers, so would Mr.

Gates like to dominate the software end of the up and

coming multimedia market. This market spans from virtual

reality video games to interactive multimedia programming

on cable television. To begin its movement into this market,

Gates now has a contract to Asupply software to Sega, a

Japanese video-games maker whose central character, a

hyperactive hedgehog called Sonic, is the industry=s hottest

property.@ In addition to Sega, AMr. Gates has also been

talking to Time Warner and TCI about forming a venture,

to be known as CableSoft, that should set standards for

interactive TV.@(The Economist, 73)

Bill Gates and his company Microsoft have been at the

head of the rapidly changing computer industry for much of

its existence. If profit margins and stock prices continue to

grow and Microsoft products continue to be household

names, the duo will remain in this position will into the



1. Manes, Stephen; Andrews, Paul; Gates – How

Microsoft=s Mogul Reinvented An Industry – And Made

Himself The Richest Man In America. Doubleday 1993

2. AA Trojan hedgehog@, The Economist. January 22,

1994, p.73-74

3. AHigh noon for Billy the Kid?@, The Economist. June

24, 1995, P.59-60

4. Bitter, Gary G. AWillian H. Gates.@ Macmillan

Encyclopedia of Computers. Macmillan Publishing: New

York, NY, 1992, P.409-410.

5. Brandt, Richard. ABill Gate=s Vision.@ Business

Week. June 27, 1994, P.56-62.

6. Moritz, Charles. AWilliam Gates.@ Current Biography.

H.W. Wilson Company: New York, NY, 1991,




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