Bill Gates: 10 Most Important Accomplishments
Bill Gates, the Seattle, Washington-born business and computer programming genius, is often placed in the same league as the likes of John D. Rockefeller and Steve Jobs, both of who were great American business figures and innovators. In the wake of cofounding Microsoft Corporation, a firm that went on to become the largest personal-computer software company in history, Bill Gates amassed an incredible amount of fortune.
However, it is not just his uncanny business acumen and programming genius that make him occupy a place in the elite group of influential Americans of the modern era. Bill Gates continues to have unbridled influence across the globe, bettering the socio-economic lives of millions in not just developed countries like the United States but in poor and impoverished countries.
Quick Facts about Bill Gates
Birthday and Place – October 28, 1955; Seattle, Washington, United States
Born – William Henry Gates III
Mother – Mary Maxwell
Father – William H. Gates Sr.
Siblings – Kristianne, Libby
Education – Harvard University (dropped out in his junior year); Lakeside School
Wife – Melinda Gates (married on January 1, 1994)
Children – Jennifer (born in 1996); Rory (born in 1999), Phoebe (born in 2002)
Most famous for – Cofounding Microsoft Corporation; Cofounding Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; One of the richest men in history
Notable Awards received – Presidential Medal of Freedom (2016); Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2005;
Did you know: Bill Gates quit Harvard in his second year to cofound Microsoft with his long-time friend and later colleague Paul Allen?
Accomplishments of Bill Gates
Why is Bill Gates so important? What are some of his major contributions to the world of personal computers and the internet in general? Worldhistoryedu.com explores 10 remarkable achievements of Bill Gates – America’s King of PC Software.
Wrote his first computer software at age 13
Due the fact that his parents were worried about how withdrawn he was at his old school, which was a public school, Bill Gates was enrolled at a Seattle private school called Lakeside School. Right off the bat Bill Gates performed tremendously well in all subjects. He also took to spending majority of his free time using the teletype terminal his mother had bought for him. In no time he was able to tap into his programming gifts and write a number of software for his high school.
A leading member of his school’s group of programmers, Gates successfully computerized the payroll system of the school. He also famously wrote a game in BASIC computer language. His crowning achievement as a teenager came when he and fellow computer prodigy Paul Allen established Traf-O-Data – a company that helped local districts effectively manage their traffic-counting systems. The net proceeds from their business endeavor amounted to around $20,000.
Did you know: Bill Gates scored an impressive 1590 on his college SAT test?
Cofounded Microsoft at age 20
Scoring 1590 out of 1600 on his SAT test, it came as no surprise when Gates enrolled at Harvard University to study law. Most likely bored to the brim of how his brain found studies at Harvard extremely easy, Bill Gates quit Harvard in his sophomore year, which was in 1975. He went ahead to join forces with another equally brilliant computer programmer in the person of Paul Allen.
The two computer programming teens set their sights on revolutionizing the microcomputer industry by adapting BASIC – a programming language for large computers. Amazed by all the possibilities of an advanced computer industry in the United States, Gates and Allen applied those programs on microcomputers.
After developing a BASIC software program for the Altair minicomputer, they two young men went on to establish Microsoft in 1975. The name of the firm was originally Micro-Soft. The name was formed from “micro-computer” and “software”.
Successfully licensed an operating software to IBM
In 1979, Gates and Allen decided to move Microsoft to Bellevue, Washington, which was a few hours’ drive from Seattle. By this time, the company, which was pulling about $2.5 million in revenues, had about 30 employees handling things from operations, business development to entrepreneurial marketing. Bill Gates made himself the head and spokesperson of Microsoft. His fingerprints were all over the company, o as he painstakingly reviewed every code, and even rewrote some of them, before clearing for shipping.
His mother was of an enormous help since she knew a great number of executives in not just IBM but other computer development companies. Through her, he got to meet up with the CEO of IBM. Quickly, Gates’ Microsoft and IBM went into an agreement to provide the software of IBM’s personal computer.
And even though, Microsoft did not have the software that IBM needed by then, Gates took a bold decision by buying the operating system from a software developer. In the end, Microsoft went on to become the exclusive licensing agent and later the owner of the software.
Made Microsoft the largest personal-computer software company in history
By 1980, Bill Gates had steadily steered Microsoft into colossal software company in the PC industry. The company was raking in remarkable amounts of revenue from its licensing agreement with not just IBM but other PC makers, including Apple. Microsoft’s famously produced Softcard for Apple II machines.
In just two years, between 1979 and 1981, Gates and Allen’s Microsoft had increased their workforce from 25 to 100. Likewise, revenue of the company had jumped from $2.5 million to about $16 million. With offices around the globe, in the UK and Japan, Microsoft was able to use its highly successful MS-DOS to capture a whopping 30% of the global PC market share.
Did you know: Gates and Allen incorporated Microsoft in mid-1981?
Gates was the brain behind Windows operating software
In the period that Gates’ Microsoft and Steve Jobs’ Apple maintained an open line of communication, Microsoft was able to develop its trademark Windows system. The system was revolutionary in the sense that it deployed the mouse effectively with its spectacular graphic interface. This was entirely different from its MS-DOS system that was all text-based. With Windows, PC users did not have to hit their keyboards producing codes; instead they used displayed text and images with the help of a mouse.
In a delicately crafted move, he was able to prevent PC users from switching to Macintosh’s VisiCorp software. Perhaps it was at this point in time where the rivalry between two of the greatest tech geniuses of the era – Bill Gates and Steve Jobs – was borne.
By the mid-1980s, Microsoft’s Windows was out and ready to knock VisiCorp off its perch. Although graphically there was not much difference between Windows and Macintosh system, the fact that Gates was able to deploy immense marketing acumen to back the product, Windows started to outperform Apple’s systems. To the PC users back then, Bill Gates’s Windows was simply a breath of fresh air.
Even though many players in the industry started to make their own operating systems, Bill Gates kept his cool and delicately placed his Windows software as the go-to software in the industry, expanding the operating system on a constant basis. Windows flagship Office programs (including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) are just some of the reasons why Bill Gates is considered one of the greatest business minds of the modern era.
Billionaire at age 31
Bill Gates’ personal wealth is another aspect of the computer programmer that people often like to bring up. As the largest individual shareholder of Microsoft, Bill Gates became a billionaire when he was just 31. Microsoft had gone public in March 1986 and Bill Gates at the time owned about 45% of the company’s shares.
Owing to Gates’ visionary leadership, Microsoft’s stock continued to rise and rise, even to this day. Microsoft’s successes meant that the personal wealth of Bill Gates exponentially shot up. It is frankly no wonder Forbes magazine constantly place him on the top of the list of richest individuals in America.
In less than two decades after establishing Microsoft, the business guru had amassed several tens of billions of dollars, making him the world’s wealthiest individual between 1995 and 2008.
Cofounded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Desiring to give back a portion of the immense wealth he had accumulated, Bill Gates and his newly wedded wife Melinda Gates established the William H. Gates Foundation. The foundation, which would later be renamed Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 1999, seeks to be a shining beacon of hope and progress across the globe. Over time, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation spread its tentacles from the Pacific Northwest to almost every nook and cranny of the world.
Issues such as education, malaria eradication, and other community health programs are most dear to Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In North America, for example, the foundation established numerous libraries to promote the culture of reading among the youth. That initiative was later renamed the Gates Learning Foundation in 1999.
Millions and millions of dollars are spent by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to offer needy but brilliant students study grants and scholarship, especially to minorities living in the United State.
Bill Gates has spent billions of dollars on several honorable causes
Over the years, the foundation has also received generous donations from other wealthy individuals, most famously from fellow businessman and prolific investor Warren Buffett in June 2006. Buffett’s on-going contribution to the foundation has made a huge difference in Bill and Melinda Gates charitable initiatives as they work very hard to tackle serious health and education problems, particularly in developing nations (such as sub-Saharan African countries like Malawi, Ghana, Nigeria and Zambia).
Did you know: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was established with a $28-billion investment?
A global titan in the fight against HIV and child mortality in developing countries
Inspired by the long-lasting and life-altering differences racked up by the foundation across the world, Bill Gates stepped down from his chairmanship position in 2014. He made this move in order to focus full time on his numerous charity projects.
This allowed him to spend both time and resources to work on eradicating malnutrition, HIV, child mortality, child illiteracy, gender bias and a host of other 21st century problems across the world.
Gates has also combined effectively with other philanthropists to fund research works that aim at producing vaccines for diseases that plague our world. For example, in 2018 Gates and Larry Page of Google were able to raise about $12 million to support research works for a universal flu vaccine. A year prior to that, in 2017, he gave a generous amount of $50 million to fund an Alzheimer research project that looks for innovative solutions.
In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), Bill Gates and his wife Melinda through their foundation partnered with Wellcome Trust and Mastercard to donate about $125 million to help defeat the scourge that has claimed and upended the lives of millions across the globe.
Received the Presidential Medal of Freedom
In 2016, Bill Gates and Melinda Gates were honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom – our nation’s highest civilian honor – by the then-U.S. President Barack Obama. The award was in recognition of their immense contributions to virtually every facet of our society.
Other achievements of Bill Gates
He has written a number of amazing life-help and business books, including his 1995 best seller The Road Ahead.
In 2005, Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Gates were named Time Magazine’s Persons of the Year.
For his remarkable achievements in business and philanthropy, Bill Gates was knighted as a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire [by Queen Elizabeth II in 2005].
Bill and Melinda Gates were both given the Legion of Honor – France’s highest national award – in 2017. The honor was bestowed by President François Hollande.
Bill Gates has been honored with honorary doctorates from numerous universities and colleges across the world, including one from Harvard University (in 2007), a school that he dropped out during his sophomore year in order to pursue his dreams.