Bill Gates

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial, Acronyms, Wikipedia.
Bill Gates
William Henry Gates III
BirthplaceSeattle, WA, US
Co-founder and Chairman of Microsoft
Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
CEO of Cascade Investment
Chairman of Corbis

Gates, Bill

Gates, Bill (William Henry Gates 3d), 1955–, American business executive, b. Seattle, Wash. At the age of 19, Gates founded (1975) the Microsoft Corp., a computer software firm, with Paul Allen. In 1980 they agreed to produce the operating system for the personal computer being developed by International Business Machines (IBM). That system, MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System), and subsequent programs (including the Windows operating systems) made Microsoft the world's largest producer of software for microcomputers.

In 1997 the U.S. Justice Dept. accused Microsoft of violating a 1995 antitrust agreement, because the Windows 95 operating system required consumers to load Microsoft's Internet browser—thus giving Microsoft a monopolistic advantage over other browser manufacturers. In late 1999 the trial judge decided that Microsoft was a monopoly that had stifled competition, and the following June he ordered the breakup of Microsoft into two companies, a decision that Microsoft appealed. Although the appeals court overturned (2001) the breakup, it agreed that Microsoft had stifled competition and returned the case to a lower court for resolution. Subsequently the government and the company agreed to a settlement that placed some restrictions on Microsoft but would not essentially diminish the advantage its operating system monopoly gave the software giant; several states contested the settlement, but a judge approved it in 2002. In the European Union the company has also faced scrutiny over anticompetitive concerns, and there it has several times been fined hundreds of millions of euros.

Gates, who was long chairman of Microsoft, is one of the wealthiest persons in the world. In 1994 he founded the William H. Gates Foundation, to focus on health issues in developing countries, and in 1997 established the Gates Library Foundation, later renamed the Gates Learning Foundation, to provide education assistance. In 1999 the former was renamed the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the latter was merged (2000) into it. In 2008 Gates, while remaining as company chairman, withdrew from daily participation in the running of Microsoft in order to devote more time to the foundation, but in 2014 he returned to a more active role at Microsoft, becoming an adviser to the company's chief executive while also stepping down as chairman. He resigned from Microsoft's board in 2020. Following his divorce from Melinda Gates Gin Aug. 2021, the future of their joint foundation is still being determined.


See his The Road Ahead (1995, with N. Myhrvold and P. Rinearson), Business @ the Speed of Thought (1999, 2009), How to Avoid A Climate Disaster (2021); studies J. Wallace and J. Erickson, Hard Drive (1992), S. Manes and P. Andrews, Gates (2013); Triumph of the Nerds (documentary film, 1996), Inside Bill's Brain: Decoding Bill Gates (documentary film, 2019) .

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

Gates, (William H.) Bill

(1955–  ) computer engineer, entrepreneur; born in Seattle, Wash. At age 15, he constructed a device to control traffic patterns in Seattle. In 1975, he co-wrote a compiler for BASIC and interested the MITS company in it. He dropped out of Harvard in 1975 to spend his time writing programs. In 1977, he cofounded Microsoft to develop and produce DOS, his basic operating system for computers; when in 1981 International Business Machines (IBM) adopted DOS for its line of personal computers, his company took a giant step forward; by 1983 he had licensed DOS to more than 100 vendors, making it the dominant operating system. A brilliant and ruthless entrepreneur, and a benevolent if unorthodox employer, by age 35 he had become one of the wealthiest men in America.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.

Bill Gates

William Henry Gates III, Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft, which he co-founded in 1975 with Paul Allen. In 1994 Gates is a billionaire, worth $9.35b and Microsoft is worth about $27b. He was a computer nerd who dropped out of Harvard and one of the first programmers to oppose software piracy ("Open Letter to Hobbyists," Computer Notes, February 3, 1976).
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (
References in periodicals archive ?
Bill Gates and Janet Reno are likely to suspect each other's motives or disagree over joint finances.
Bill Gates referred to Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed's recent directives to support the polio eradication campaign with a donation of US$30 million in support of the global efforts to eradicate poliomyelitis.
During the meet ing, Nawaz Sharif appreciated Bill Gate's continued interest and support for polio eradication in Pakistan.
Melinda and Bill Gates live with their three children - daughters Jennifer and Phoebe and son Rory - in the family mansion overlooking Lake Washington.
BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE: Deputy director Stephen Ward at the back of the new tropical medicine building under construction and (right) billionaire Bill Gates
Among his 50 strong library of signed copies he has autographs from Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Marilyn Monroe's former husband, Arthur Miller, and tennis legend Fred Perry.
The Swedish business magazine Veckans Affarer claimed that Kamprad is now worth SEK400bn (GBP28.73bn) against Bill Gates' USD47m (GBP25.72bn).
Microsoft creator Bill Gates has been awarded an honorary knighthood from the Queen of England for his contribution to enterprise in the UK as well as his work on poverty reduction worldwide.
It also opens a door to embarrassing cross-examination, as when Bill Gates' inability to re member key events during the Microsoft trial damaged his credibility.
CASS SUNSTEIN WOULD PREFER that we define the higher purposes of free speech in a digital-age republic based on the aspirations of Louis Brandeis, rather than those of Bill Gates.
MICROSOFT chairman Bill Gates was today preparing to fight a United States court decision that his company violated antitrust laws by mounting a "deliberate assault" on competition in the Internet browser market.
Bill Gates is pouring some of the money he is famous for toward the development of an AIDS vaccine.