SINCE HIS FIRST MENTION IN TIME IN 1981
Bill Gates has become not only the richest but also the most generous man in the world. Warren Buffet called the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation "the most innovative and successful
foundation in history." Some excerpts from our coverage over the years of Gates, his business and his philanthropy:
Best known for its version of the program-writing language, BASIC which has sold more than 500,000 copies so far, Microsoft (projected 1981 sales: $14 million) was founded in 1975 by William Gates, then an 18-year-old Harvard student. Gates now oversees a staff of 96 at the firm's headquarters in Bellevue, Wash. Growth has come so fast that Gates has not yet found time to finish his degree at Harvard.
From Software for the Masses
By Kenneth M. Pierce
Oct. 5, 1981
The real excitement in the industry is software for personal computers.... At least 1,000 companies are making programs. Microsoft, located in Bellevue, Wash. (pop. 75,000), near Seattle, is the largest. In 1980 it sold $4 million worth of software; projected 1984 revenues are $100 million. William Gates, 28, Microsoft's chairman and cofounder, has amassed a personal fortune estimated at $100 million.
From The Wizard Inside The Machine
By Alexander L. Taylor III
Apr. 16, 1984
Ask Bill Gates, the founder and chairman of Microsoft, about something he wants to talk about-like a new software system or his upcoming railroad trip through China on Chairman Mao's train -- and he acts like the teenage boy that he still resembles. He grins. His voice breaks. He tucks his elbows into his lap and rocks back and forth as if to contain his excitement.
From Mine, All Mine
By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Jun. 5, 1995
Gates had been warning his top lieutenants that the Net could change everything about the way people used computers, perhaps even the fact that they needed an $89 copy of Windows to make their machines work. But he hadn't quite figured out Microsoft's proper place in the new terrain, and the company's thus far tentative market initiatives reflected that indecision.
This morning he planned to bring the uncertainty to an end. Microsoft would reorient every effort, every project and product to the new reality of the Internet. He was about to send a company with $6 billion in sales and 19,641 workers--all $70 billion worth--hurtling in that direction. In the future, as in the past, nothing was going to stand in Bill Gates' way.
From Winner Take All
By Joshua Cooper Ramo
Sep. 16, 1996
He has become the Edison and Ford of our age. A technologist turned entrepreneur, he embodies the digital era. His success stems from his personality: an awesome and at times frightening blend of brilliance, drive, competitiveness and personal intensity.... But though he has become the most famous business celebrity in the world, Gates remains personally elusive to all but a close circle of friends.
From In Search of the Real Bill Gates
By Walter Isaacson
Jan. 13, 1997
If you're scoring at home, you can write Microsoft Corp. next to Standard Oil and AT&T on your list of the 20th century's great monopolies. When the Justice Department squared off against Bill Gates & Co. in a Washington courtroom, it was no secret that things went badly for Bill.
From "Microsoft Enjoys Monopoly Power..."
By Adam Cohen
Nov. 15, 1999
The [Bill and Melinda Gates] foundation sees its role as filling the breach where the private sector is not addressing a crisis. The industrialized world's ailments, from indigestion to breast cancer, are already the focus of drug-company research. Cure a First World disease, and reap millions in profits. But cure a Third World disease such as malaria--the No. 1 killer in tropical climes--and there is hardly a penny to be earned.
From Giving Billions Isn't Easy
By Karl Taro Greenfeld
Jul. 24, 2000
Last week's decision is the latest turn in a lawsuit that has been 3 1/2 years of bad road for Microsoft. The ruling was the best Microsoft has seen in the case, but it fell far short of a full-throttle victory. The appeals court unanimously upheld Judge Jackson's finding that Microsoft is a monopoly "in its entirety." And it set out a laundry list of actions--from bullying computer makers into bundling its Internet browser to deceiving developers of the rival Java programming language--that broke federal antitrust law.
From No Split But Microsoft's A Monopolist
By Adam Cohen
Jul. 9, 2001
The ruling did burden Microsoft with a few new restrictions, but the consensus among antitrust lawyers and rival companies is that Gates got off with a slap on the wrist and is now free to extend his empire into new markets such as interactive TVs and handheld devices.
From All Settled
Nov. 11, 2002
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has a $27 billion endowment and in just a few years has pledged more than $7 billion.... Bill has become a walking encyclopedia of medical knowledge. He reads many thousands of pages annually so that he can learn how to attack the world's most dangerous illnesses.... Melinda, for her part, travels the world so that she can understand what a check from Seattle is actually accomplishing 10,000 miles away.
From Bill Gates Billionaire Philanthropist
By Warren E. Buffett
Apr. 26, 2004
At 49 Gates has been earning respect in new ways: the chairman of Microsoft and the world's richest man--his fortune is estimated at $46.5 billion--has become the greatest philanthropist in history.
From Time 100: Bill Gates
By Lev Grossman
Apr. 18, 2005
TIME: Do you have a philanthropic role model? BILL: Both my parents were very involved in giving time to the community and giving money to the community, and they instilled that in me as a very important thing. It was clear as I became successful, they expected the giving to scale with the success [laughs].
From Riches to the Poor
By Amanda Bower
Nov. 7, 2005
And to save a life? If you're Bill Gates, the richest man in the world, you give fantastic sums of money, more than $1 billion this year alone. But he also gives the brainpower that helped him make that money in the first place, hunting down the best ideas for where to fight, how to focus, what to fund.
From Saving One Life At a Time
By Nancy Gibbs
Nov. 7, 2005
He delivered the commencement address at Harvard on June 7 and accepted an honorary degree. But on some level he's still that grinning, cocky kid in the mug shot, and to prove it, he's dropping out all over again.
From Bill Gates Goes Back To School
By Lev Grossman
June 07, 2007