William H. Gates
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
William (Bill) H. Gates is chairman and chief executive officer of
Microsoft Corporation, the leading provider, worldwide, of software
for the personal computer. Microsoft had revenues of $8.6 billion for
the fiscal year ending June 1996, and employs more than 20,000
people in 48 countries.
Born on October 28, 1955, Gates and his two sisters grew up in
Seattle. Their father, William H. Gates II, is a Seattle attorney. Their
late mother, Mary Gates, was a schoolteacher, University of Washington regent and
chairwoman of United Way International.
Gates attended public elementary school and the private Lakeside School. There, he began his
career in personal computer software, 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 executive vice president for sales and support. While at
Harvard, Gates developed the programming language BASIC for the first microcomputer -- the
In his junior year, Gates dropped out of Harvard to devote his energies to
Microsoft, a company he had begun in 1975 with Paul Allen. Guided by a
belief that the personal computer would be a valuable tool on every office
desktop and in every home, they began developing software for personal
Gates' foresight and vision regarding personal computing have been central
to the success of Microsoft and the software industry. Gates is actively involved in key
management and strategic decisions at Microsoft, and plays an important role in the technical
development of new products. A significant portion of his time is devoted to meeting with
customers and staying in contact with Microsoft employees around the world through e-mail.
Under Gates' leadership, Microsoft's mission is to continually advance and
improve software technology and to...