Henry Gates III
Gates was born William Henry Gates III October 28, 1955
to William Henry Gates, Jr. and Mary Gates at Seattle
Washington's Swedish Hospital. He is the second
born and only male of three children. His parents
were members of the politically and socially elite; his
father was an attorney and his mother was a schoolteacher
and an active member of non-profit organizations like
The United Way.
Bill Gates came from a lineage of entrepreneurship
and high spirited liveliness. His grandfather established
his own furniture business shortly after arriving in Seattle
form Pennsylvania. His father created a newspaper
with classified ads and a sports section that was so respected
for its accuracy it won him seats in the press box at
local games. He was in partnership with a friend
and they commenced to selling shares of their paper.
His father went on to study at the University of Washington
after World War I. It was there that he met
and married Mary Maxwell.
Mary was very active socially and politically
at University of Washington. She was president of
Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority as well as an active participant
in various honorary women's societies. After graduation
and marriage, she and her husband move to Seattle.
They began to make evasive social and political impacts
on the the upper class region. After a move to View
Ridge, Washington, mary gave birth to a daughter, Kristianne,
then to Bill.
From the start of his life, Bill was
very energetic. He used to rock profusely in his
cradle, a trait that is said to be with him today.
As a young child, he was extremely interested in the flourishing
aerospace industry of the region and its 1962 World Fair.
The focus of the fair was the future; its theme being
"Century 21". Gates was six years old
at the of the Fair.
By the time Gates entered third grade,
his astounding intelligence had bee coupled with extreme
behavioral problems. He was ever desirous of an
intellectual challenge, which he did not find in academics,
but instead with the teachers and administrators.
He would often receive grades of "A3" meaning
excellent work with the worst effort. This could
be accurately assessed as being the beginning of Gates'
renowned obnoxious behavior and attitude.
During the sixth grade, Gates'
parents and teachers tried to find an outlet in which
to channel his intelligence. They involved him in
the Contemporary Club, that would become very useful for
the preparation of Gates' future. In this club,
"super intelligent sixth graders" discussed
collegiate level topics in an environment similar to that
of a university. In his economics class, Gates expressed
his first sign of evidence of his capitalist nature through
a project focused on an inventor embarking on a business
venture. He received a grade of A1.
Because of Gates' unruly behavior,
his parents sent him to a private all male institution
named Lakeside School, which would eventually change his
life. Gates developed a keener interest in math
and science. It was during the eight grade that
Gates would embark upon an invention that would change
the course of his life forever: the computer.
Lakeside became intimately involved
with the studies of usage and operating abilities of the
computer. They delved into programming, which became
the new focus for Gates. Unfortunately, it was very
expensive and time consuming. An acute knowledge
of the BASIC programming language was required, which
Gates attained almost instantly. Gates developed
his first computer program at the age of thirteen.
It was also then that he would befriend Paul Allen and
form a union that would someday alter the course of the
computer and make them billionaires.
Gates continued to master the BASIC
language while Paul Allen tried to learn the intrinsic
nature of the computer. They did most of their practicing
at privately funded computer groups, namely the Computer
Center Corporation, commonly named C-Cubed. It would
give them free time to program for as long as they wanted,
which virtually erased the expense of using computers.
Gates and Allen gained knowledge of the FORTRAN language
to broaden their programming capabilities on the limited
computers. C-Cubed would eventually shut down, leaving
Gates desperate for inexpensive or free computer time.
He went to University of Washington and formed a group
called Lakeside Programmers Group. The group was
comprised of Paul Allen , Kent Evans, and P. Weiland.
They were still in search of computer time and they soon
found it in Information Services, Inc. ISI recruited
them to create a payroll program in exchange for the computer
time. The only catch was the program had to be done
in COBOL language, that only Weiland knew. So the
others soon learned it by devouring the manuals and sitting
in computer courses at the University.
Soon after, Gates and Allen had been
toying with the notion of creating their own computer.
With the introduction of the 'programmable' Intel 4004
chip, Allen tried to convince Gates to write a BASIC
version for the chip. Gates felt the chip was to
slow for the program. Later, Gates was admitted
to Harvard University, where he took several computer
courses. He was able to program in the school's Aiken
Computation Laboratory. Allen soon discovered
another opportunity for Gates to write a program, for
the Altair computer. This would be the vent that
would change their lives forever.
Gates wrote a program for the Altair
computer, the BASIC interpreter. This software was
the breakthrough and beginning of Microsoft. The
software Gates created for the Altair was soon to be one
of his greatest contributions and beginning in the history
of computer science. Later, Gates and Allen created
SoftCard which would be Microsoft's first formal invention.
It was an operating system and computer language in one.
Within his company, the Q-DOS operating system was born,
created by Tim Paterson. Although Paterson worked
for another company, Microsoft was able to obtain the
rights for $50,000. Microsoft soon joined with IBM
to create software for their computers. This would
be the first company to which Microsoft would license
software. After the initial success of the IBM computer,
Gates began licensing to other companies like Apple.
Later Gates created the Windows 3.0 Version the would
have multi-use features like graphics and spreadsheets.
He also created software application program like Lotus
1-2-3 and Microsoft Works for the Macintosh. Bill
Gates' creations of software and language programs became
his contribution to the revolution of computers and the
field of computer science.
Khalil T. Ligon
Back to WilliamHenryGatesIII.com