On October 28, 1955, shortly after 9:00 p.m., William Henry Gates III was born. He was born into a family with a rich history in business, politics, and community service. His great-grandfather had been a state legislator and mayor, his grandfather was the vice president of a national bank, and his father was a prominent lawyer. [Wallace, 1992, p. 8-9] Early on in life, it was apparent that Bill Gates inherited the ambition, intelligence, and competitive spirit that had helped his progenitors rise to the top in their chosen professions. In elementary school he quickly surpassed all of his peer’s abilities in nearly all subjects, especially math and science. His parents recognized his intelligence and decided to enroll him in Lakeside, a private school known for its intense academic environment. This decision had far reaching effects on Bill Gate’s life. For at Lakeside, Bill Gates was first introduced to computers.
BILL GATES: CHAIRMAN
William (Bill) H. Gates is chairman of Microsoft Corporation, the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. On June 27, 2008, Gates transitioned out of a day-to-day role in the company to spend more time on his global health and education work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He shares his thoughts about the foundation and other topics on Gates Notes, a Web site launched in January 2010. Gates continues to serve as Microsoft’s chairman and as an advisor on key development projects. In June 2006, Craig Mundie assumed the new title of chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft and is responsible for the company’s research and incubation efforts. Born on Oct. 28, 1955, Gates grew up in Seattle with his two sisters. 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 discovered his interest in software and began 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 chief executive officer. While at Harvard, Gates developed a version of the programming language BASIC for the first microcomputer – the MITS Altair. In his junior year, Gates left Harvard to devote his energies to Microsoft, a company he had begun in 1975 with his childhood friend Paul Allen. Guided by a belief that the computer would be a valuable tool on every office desktop and in every home, they began developing software for personal computers. Gates’ foresight and his vision for personal computing have been central to the success of Microsoft and the software industry. Under Gates’ leadership, Microsoft’s mission has been to continually advance and improve software technology, and to make it easier, more cost-effective and more enjoyable for people to use computers.
The company is committed to a long-term view, reflected in its industry-leading investment in research and development each year. In 1999, Gates wrote “Business @ the Speed of Thought”, a book that shows how computer technology can solve business problems in fundamentally new ways. The book was published in 25 languages and is available in more than 60 countries. “Business @ the Speed of Thought” has received wide critical acclaim, and was listed on the best-seller lists of the “New York Times”, “USA Today”, “The Wall Street Journal” and on Amazon.com. Gates’ previous book, “The Road Ahead”, published in 1995, was at the top of the “New York Times” bestseller list for seven weeks. Gates has donated the proceeds of both books to non-profit organizations that support the use of technology in education and skills development.
In addition to his love of computers and software, Gates founded Corbis, which is developing one of the world’s largest resources of visual information – a comprehensive digital archive of art and photography from public and private collections around the globe. He is also a member of the board of directors of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which invests in companies engaged in diverse business activities. Philanthropy is very important to Gates. He and his wife, Melinda, started a foundation in 2000 to help reduce inequities in the United States and around the world. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation support philanthropic initiatives in the areas of global health and learning, with the hope that in the 21st century, advances in these critical areas will be available for all people. To learn more about the foundation, visit www.gatesfoundation.org. Gates was married on Jan. 1, 1994, to Melinda French Gates. They have three children. Gates is an avid reader, and enjoys playing golf, tennis and bridge.
After reading the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics that demonstrated the Altair 8800, Gates contacted MITS (Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems), the creators of the new microcomputer, to inform them that he and others were working on a BASIC interpreter for the platform. In reality, Gates and Allen did not have an Altair and had not written code for it; they merely wanted to gauge MITS’s interest. MITS president Ed Roberts agreed to meet them for a demo, and over the course of a few weeks they developed an Altair emulator that ran on a minicomputer, and then the BASIC interpreter. The demonstration, held at MITS’s offices in Albuquerque, was a success and resulted in a deal with MITS to distribute the interpreter as Altair BASIC. Gates took a leave of absence from Harvard to work with Allen at MITS, and they dubbed their partnership Micro-Soft. In 1984, Bill Gates appeared on the cover of TIME Magazine; he has since appeared seven more times.
Microsoft’s BASIC was popular with computer hobbyists, but Gates discovered that a pre-market copy had leaked into the community and was being widely copied and distributed. In February 1976, Gates wrote an Open Letter to Hobbyists in the MITS newsletter saying that MITS could not continue to produce, distribute, and maintain high-quality software without payment.  This letter was unpopular with many computer hobbyists, but Gates persisted in his belief that software developers should be able to demand payment. Microsoft became independent of MITS in late 1976, and it continued to develop programming language software for various systems. According to Gates, people at Microsoft often did more than one job during the early years; whoever answered the phone when an order came in was responsible for packing and mailing it. Gates oversaw the business details, but continued to write code as well. In the first five years, he personally reviewed every line of code the company shipped, and often rewrote parts of it as he saw fit.
In the spring of 1968, the Lakeside prep school decided that it should acquaint the student body with the world of computers [Teamgates.com, 9/29/96]. Computers were still too large and costly for the school to purchase its own. Instead, the school had a fund raiser and bought computer time on a DEC PDP-10 owned by General Electric. A few thousand dollars were raised which the school figured would buy more than enough time to last into the next school year. However, Lakeside had drastically underestimated the allure this machine would have for a hand full of young students.
Bill Gates, Paul Allen, and a few other Lakeside students (many of whom were the first programmers hired at Microsoft) immediately became inseparable from the computer. They would stay in the computer room all day and night, writing programs, reading computer literature and anything else they could to learn about computing. Soon Gates and the others started running into problems with the faculty. Their homework was being turned in late (if at all), they were skipping classes to be in the computer room and worst of all, they had used up all of the schools computer time in just a few weeks. [Wallace, 1992, p. 24]
In the fall of 1968, Computer Center Corporation opened for business in Seattle. It was offering computing time at good rates, and one of the chief programmers working for the corporation had a child attending Lakeside. A deal was struck between Lakeside Prep School and the Computer Center Corporation that allowed the school to continue providing it’s students with computer time. [Wallace, 1992, p. 27] Gates and his comrades immediately began exploring the contents of this new machine. It was not long before the young hackers started causing problems. They caused the system to crash several times and broke the computers security system. They even altered the files that recorded the amount of computer time they were using. They were caught and the Computer Center Corporation banned them from the system for several weeks.
Bill Gates, Paul Allen and, two other hackers from Lakeside formed the Lakeside Programmers Group in late 1968. They were determined to find a way to apply their computer skills in the real world. The first opportunity to do this was a direct result of their mischievous activity with the school’s computer time. The Computer Center Corporation’s business was beginning to suffer due to the systems weak security and the frequency that it crashed. Impressed with Gates and the other Lakeside computer addicts’ previous assaults on their computer, the Computer Center Corporation decided to hire the students to find bugs and expose weaknesses in the computer system. In return for the Lakeside Programming Group’s help, the Computer Center Corporation would give them unlimited computer time [Wallace, 1992, p. 27]. The boys could not refuse. Gates is quoted as saying “It was when we got free time at C-cubed (Computer Center Corporation) that we really got into computers. I mean, and then I became hardcore. It was day and night” [Wallace, 1992, p. 30]. Although the group was hired just to find bugs, they also read any computer related material that the day shift had left behind. The young hackers would even pick employees for new information. It was here that Gates and Allen really began to develop the talents that would lead to the formation of Microsoft seven years later.
Roots of Business Career
Computer Center Corporation began to experience financial problems late in 1969. The company finally went out of business in March of 1970. The Lakeside Programmers Group had to find a new way to get computer time. Eventually they found a few computers on the University of Washington’s campus where Allen’s dad worked. The Lakeside Programmers Group began searching for new chances to apply their computer skills. Their first opportunity came early the next year when Information Sciences Inc. hired them to program a payroll program. Once again the group was given free computer time and for the first time, a source of income. ISI had agreed to give them royalties whenever it made money from any of the groups programs. As a result of the business deal signed with Information Sciences Inc., the group also had to become a legal business [Wallace, 1992, p. 42-43]. Gates and Allen’s next project involved starting another company entirely on their own, Traf-O-Data. They produced a small computer which was used to help measure traffic flow. From the project they grossed around $20,000. The Tarff-O-Data company lasted until Gates left for college.
During Bill Gates’ junior year at Lakeside, the administration offered him a job computerizing the school’s scheduling system. Gates asked Allen to help with the project. He agreed and the following summer, they wrote the program. In his senior year, Gates and Allen continued looking for opportunities to use their skills and make some money. It was not long until they found this opportunity. The defense contractor TRW was having trouble with a bug infested computer similar to the one at Computer Center Corporation. TRW had learned of the experience the two had working on the Computer Center Corporation’s system and offered Gates and Allen jobs. However thing would be different at TRW they would not be finding the bugs they would be in charge of fixing them. “It was at TRW that Gates began to develop as a serious programmer,” and it was there that Allen and Gates first started talking seriously about forming their own software company [Wallace, 1992, p. 49-51].
In the fall of 1973, Bill Gates left home for Harvard University [Teamgates.com, 9/29/96]. He had no idea what he wanted to study, so he enrolled as prelaw. Gates took the standard freshman courses with the exception of signing up for one of Harvard’s toughest math courses. He did well but just as in high school, his heart was not in his studies. After locating the school’s computer center, he lost himself in the world of computers once again. Gates would spend many long nights in front of the school’s computer and the next day’s asleep in class. Paul Allen and Gates remained in close contact even with Bill away at school. They would often discuss ideas for future projects and the possibility of one day starting a business. At the end of Gate’s first year at Harvard, the two decided that Allen should move closer to him so that they may be able to follow up on some of their ideas. That summer they both got jobs working for Honeywell. As the summer dragged on, Allen began to push Bill harder with the idea that they should open a software company. Gates was still not sure enough to drop out of school. The following year, however, that would all change.
The Birth of Microsoft
In December of 1974, Allen was on his way to visit Gates when along the way he stopped to browse the current magazines. What he saw changed his and Bill Gate’s lives forever. On the cover of Popular Electronics was a picture of the Altair 8080 and the headline “World’s First Microcomputer Kit to Rival Commercial Models.” He bought the issue and rushed over to Gates’s dorm room. They both recognized this as their big opportunity. The two knew that the home computer market was about to explode and that someone would need to make software for the new machines. Within a few days, Gates had called MITS (Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems), the makers of the Altair. He told the company that he and Allen had developed a BASIC that could be used on the Altair [Teamgates.com, 9/29/96]. This was a lie. They had not even written a line of code. They had neither an Altair nor the chip that ran the computer.
The MITS Company did not know this and was very interested in seeing their BASIC. So, Gates and Allen began working feverishly on the BASIC they had promised. The code for the program was left mostly up to Bill Gates while Paul Allen began working on a way to simulate the Altair with the schools PDP-10. Eight weeks later, the two felt their program was ready. Allen was to fly to MITS and show off their creation. The day after Allen arrived at MITS, it was time to test their BASIC. Entering the program into the company’s Altair was the first time Allen had ever touched one. If the Altair simulation he designed or any of Gate’s code was faulty, the demonstration would most likely have ended in failure. This was not the case, and the program worked perfectly the first time [Wallace, 1992, p. 80]. MITS arranged a deal with Gates and Allen to buy the rights to their BASIC.[Teamgates.com, 9/29/96] Gates was convinced that the software market had been born. Within a year, Bill Gates had dropped out of Harvard and Microsoft was formed.
Microsoft Office is an office suite of desktop applications, servers and services for the Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X operating systems, introduced by Microsoft on August 1, 1989. Initially a marketing term for a bundled set of applications, the first version of Office contained Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint. Over the years, Office applications have grown substantially closer with shared features such as a common spell checker, OLE data integration and Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications scripting language. Microsoft also positions Office as a development platform for line-of-business software under the Office Business Applications brand. Office is reported to now be used by over a billion people worldwide. The current versions are Office 2013 for Windows, released on October 11, 2012; and Office 2011 for Mac OS X, released October 26, 2010. On 24 October 2012, the RTM final code of Office 2013 Professional Plus has been released to TechNet and MSDN subscribers for download. On 15 November 2012, the 60-day trial version of Office 2013 Professional Plus was released for download.
* The Microsoft Office for Windows
The Microsoft Office for Windows started in October 1990 as a bundle of three applications designed for Microsoft Windows 3.0: Microsoft Word for Windows 1.1, Microsoft Excel for Windows 2.0 and Microsoft PowerPoint for Windows 2.0. * The Microsoft Office for Windows 1.5
The Microsoft Office for Windows 1.5 updated the suite with Microsoft Excel 3.0. * The Microsoft Office for Windows 1.6
The Microsoft Office for Windows 1.6 added Microsoft Mail for PC Networks 2.1
to the bundle. * The Microsoft Office for Windows 3.0
The Microsoft Office for Windows 3.0, also called Microsoft Office 92, was released on August 30, 1992 and contained Word 2.0, Excel 4.0, PowerPoint 3.0 and Mail 3.0. It was the first version of Office also released on CD-ROM. In 1993, The Microsoft Office Professional was released, which added Microsoft Access 1.1 * Microsoft Office 4.0
Microsoft Office 4.0 was released containing Word 6.0, Excel 4.0a, PowerPoint 3.0 and Mail in 1993. Word’s version number jumped from 2.0 to 6.0 so that it would have the same version number as the MS-DOS and Macintosh versions (Excel and PowerPoint were already numbered the same as the Macintosh versions).
* Microsoft Office 4.2 for Windows NT
Microsoft Office 4.2 for Windows NT was released in 1994 for i386, Alpha, MIPS and PowerPC architectures, containing Word 6.0 and Excel 5.0 (both 32-bit, PowerPoint 4.0 (16-bit), and Microsoft Office Manager 4.2 (the precursor to the Office Shortcut Bar). * Microsoft Office 4.3
Microsoft Office 4.3 was released as the last 16-bit version, containing Word 6.0, Excel 5.0, and PowerPoint 4.0. Office 4.3 (plus Access 2.0 in the Pro version) is the last version to support Windows 3.x, Windows NT 3.1 and Windows NT 3.5. Windows NT 3.51 was supported up to and including Office 97. * Microsoft Office 95
Microsoft Office 95 Professional icons
Microsoft Office 95 was released on August 24, 1995. Again, the version numbers were altered to create parity across the suite—every program was called version 7.0 meaning all but Word missed out versions. It was designed as a fully 32-bit version to match Windows 95. Office 95 was available in two versions, Office 95 Standard and Office 95 Professional. The standard version consisted of Word 7.0, Excel 7.0, PowerPoint 7.0, and Schedule+ 7.0. The professional edition contained all of the items in the standard version plus Access 7.0. If the professional version was purchased in CD-ROM form, it also included Bookshelf.
* Microsoft Office 97
Microsoft Office 97 Box
Microsoft Office 97 (Office 8.0), was a major milestone release. It included hundreds of new features and improvements, introduced command bars, a paradigm in which menus and toolbars were made more similar in capability and visual design. Office 97 also featured Natural Language Systems and grammar checking. Office 97 was the first version of Office to include the Office Assistant. * Microsoft Office 2000
Microsoft Office 2000 Logo
Microsoft Office 2000 (Office 9.0) introduced adaptive menus, where little-used options were hidden from the user. It also introduced a new security feature, built around digital signatures, to diminish the threat of macro viruses. Office 2000 automatically trusts macros (written in VBA 6) that were digitally signed from authors who have been previously designated as trusted. Office 2000 is the last version to support Windows 95.
* Microsoft Office XP
Microsoft Office XP Logo
Microsoft Office XP (Office 10.0 or Office 2002) was released in conjunction with Windows XP, and was a major upgrade with numerous enhancements and changes over Office 2000. Office XP introduced the Safe Mode feature, which allows applications such as Outlook to boot when it might otherwise fail. Safe Mode enables Office to detect and either repair or bypass the source of the problem, such as a corrupted registry or a faulty add-in. Smart tag is a technology introduced with Office XP. Some smart tags operate based on user activity, such as helping with typing errors. These smart tags are supplied with the products, and are not programmable. For developers, though, there is the ability to create custom smart tags. In Office XP, custom smart tags could work only in Word and Excel. Microsoft Office XP includes integrated voice command and text dictation capabilities, as well as handwriting recognition. Office XP is the last version to support Windows 98, ME and NT 4.0. It was the first version to require Product Activation as an anti-piracy measure, which attracted widespread controversy. * Microsoft Office 2003
Microsoft Office Logo for 2003 and 2007
Microsoft Office 2003 (Office 11.0) was released in 2003. It featured a new logo. Two new applications made their debut in Office 2003: Microsoft InfoPath and OneNote. It is the first version to use Windows XP style icons. Outlook 2003 provides improved functionality in many areas, including Kerberos authentication, RPC over HTTP, Cached Exchange Mode, and an improved junk mail filter. 2003 is the last Office version to support Windows 2000.
* Microsoft Office 2007
Microsoft Office 2007 (Office 12.0) was released in 2007. Office 2007’s new features include a new graphical user interface called the Fluent User Interface, replacing the menus and toolbars that have been the cornerstone of Office since its inception with a tabbed toolbar, known as the Ribbon; new XML-based file formats called Office Open XML; and the inclusion of Groove, a collaborative software application. * Microsoft Office 2010
Microsoft Office Logo for 2010
Microsoft Office 2010 (Office 14.0) was finalized on April 15, 2010, and was made available to consumers on June 15, 2010. The main features of Office 2010 include the backstage file menu, new collaboration tools, a customizable ribbon, protected view and a navigation panel. This is the first version to ship in 32- and 64-bits. Microsoft Office 2010 also features a new logo, which is similar to the 2007 logo, except in gold, and with a slightly modified shape. Service Pack 1 for Office 2010 was released on June 28, 2011.
* Microsoft Office 2013 Logo
Microsoft Office 2013 (Office 15.0) was made available to consumers on July 16, 2012 as a Customer Preview version. A Milestone 2 build of Microsoft Office 2013 Build 15.0.2703.1000 (version 15) leaked during May 2011. It sports a revamped application interface; the interface is based on Metro, the interface of Windows Phone and Windows 8. Microsoft Outlook has received the most pronounced changes so far; for example, the Metro interface provides a new visualization for scheduled tasks. PowerPoint will include more templates and transition effects, and OneNote will include a new splash screen. On May 16, 2011, new images of Office 15 were revealed, showing Excel with a tool for filtering data in a timeline, the ability to convert Roman numerals to Arabic numerals, and the integration of advanced trigonometric functions. In Word, the capability of inserting video and audio online as well as the broadcasting of documents on the Web were implemented. Microsoft has promised support for Office Open XML Strict starting with version 15, a format Microsoft has submitted to the ISO for interoperability with other office suites, and to aid adoption in the public sector. This version can read and write ODF 1.2.