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Bill Gates: Life down the ages

Last updated on: January 16, 2012 12:30 IST

Bill Gates: Life down the ages

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Bill Gates is one of the richest men in the world. Here we take a look at the whizkid who became a billionaire and a philanthropist.

Note: Text courtesy CNBC.

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Image: Bill Gates became a self-made billionaire.
Photographs: alljoneses.com

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Bill Gates: Life down the ages

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Born in October 1955, Bill Gates grew up in Seattle with his parents, William and Mary Gates and two sisters. He attended public elementary school and the private Lakeside School, where he discovered his interest in software.

He was just 13 when he began programming the computer at the school and was excused from maths class to pursue his interest.

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Image: He was born in 1955.
Photographs: Courtesy, BBC

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Bill Gates: Life down the ages

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Gates soon became known as a computer expert in high school, and was part of a group of students who were trying to master the machine.

Among them was Paul Allen, who later co-founded Microsoft with Gates.

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Image: Gates became known as a computer expert in high school.
Photographs: Courtesy, BBC

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Bill Gates: Life down the ages

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Gates was attending Harvard in 1975 when childhood friend Paul Allen showed up with a magazine featuring a mail-order computer kit. The two wrote a program for the new computer - the MITS Altair - without ever having seen one.

Allen flew to New Mexico the next day to show the program to the manufacturers, who were impressed and made the team an offer.

Gates dropped out of Harvard and he and Allen opened Microsoft's first office, in Albuquerque, New mexico.

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Image: Gates was attending Harvard with childhood friend Paul Allen.
Photographs: Courtesy, BBC

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Bill Gates: Life down the ages

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In 1981, Bill Gates and Paul Allen hit it big when IBM used Microsoft's 16-bit operating system, MS-DOS 1.0, in its new personal computer.

Sales of the computer took off, and soon other manufacturers entered the market. Since Microsoft's deal with IBM wasn't exclusive, all those new computer-makers became potential clients.

In 1985, Windows 1.0 was released.

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Image: In 1985, Windows 1.0 was released.
Photographs: Courtesy, BBC

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Bill Gates: Life down the ages

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After a decade as a private company, Microsoft went public on March 14, 1986. The initial public offering price was $21 per share. The stock jumped 32.14 percent in its first day of trading, closing at $27.75.

The company subsequently grew into one of the world's most valuable companies, with a $236.4 billion market cap. There are now 6.4 billion shares held of the tech giant.

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Image: Microsoft went public on March 14, 1986.
Photographs: themetapicture.com
Tags: , Microsoft

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Bill Gates: Life down the ages

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Bill Gates was officially declared a billionaire in Forbes' 400 Riches People in America issue in 1987.

At the time, he was worth $1.25 billion - $900 million more than the previous year. He was just 32 at the time, making him the world's youngest self-made billionaire.

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Image: He was the world's youngest self-made billionaire.
Photographs: germannalibrary.wordpress.com

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Bill Gates: Life down the ages

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In 1994, Bill Gates married Melinda French, a Microsoft employee who worked in the development of its multimedia products.

The couple exchanged vows on the island of Lanai, the smallest in the Hawaiian chain located nine miles off the coast of Maui.

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Image: In 1994, Bill Gates married Melinda French.
Photographs: bornrich.com

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In 1994, Bill and Melinda Gates formed the William H Gates Foundation to give away their wealth to those in need in the United States and internationally.

The focus of the foundation is to enhance health care, reduce extreme poverty and ensure that those with fewer resources have access to opportunities to succeed in life.

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Image: In 1994, Bill and Melinda Gates formed the William H Gates Foundation.
Photographs: library.okstate.edu

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Bill Gates and Microsoft went all out when they launched Windows 95 at a big party at the company's Redmond, Washington, campus.

Most notably, the fanfare included television commercials featuring the Rolling Stones' singing Start Me Up. Microsoft sold seven million copies in the first five weeks.

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Image: He launched Windows 95 with huge fanfare.
Photographs: gagravaar.wordpress.com

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Bill Gates: Life down the ages

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In 1998, Microsoft found itself at the centre of a courtroom battle, with Bill Gates as the star witness, after the US Justice Department filed an anti-trust lawsuit against the tech giant.

Microsoft was accused of trying to compel computer manufacturers to include Microsoft's web browser, Internet Explorer, on computers loaded with Windows 95.

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Image: Microsoft was dragged to court in 1998.
Photographs: runaroundtech.com

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More than three decades after dropping out of college, Bill Gates returned to Harvard in June 2007 to receive an honourary degree.

He also delivered the commencement speech and challenged the graduates to combat the world's most pressing problems.

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Image: He received an honourary degree from Harvard in 2007.
Photographs: chinadaily.com.cn

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In 2008, Gates transitioned from his day-to-day role at Microsoft to working full time at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Gates, who had already handed the CEO job over to Steve Ballmer in 2000, remains Microsoft chairman.

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Image: Gates focuses full-time on Foundation.
Photographs: Courtesy, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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In an effort to persuade other wealthy individuals and families to give a majority of their fortunes to charity, Bill Gates and his long-time friend and fellow billionaire Warren Buffett teamed up in 2010 to create the Giving Pledge.


Image: Bill Gates and Warren Buffett team up.
Photographs: entmoney.com

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