- Opening Statement: Since it was introduced to the public at the beginning of the 20th century, computers have been an integral component to man’s continuous development and discoveries.
- Thesis Statement: While he was not the one who invented the computer, it was Bill Gates who made a way to make computers user-friendly for all types of users and introduced cheaper and efficient software for the public.
- Who is Bill Gates?
- Early Years - William Henry “Bill” Gates III was born to Bill Gates Sr. and Mary Gates on October 28, 1955 in Seattle, Washington.
- Lakeside - It is in Lakeside School where the young CEO found his passion for computers.
- Harvard - It was in Gates’ second year in Harvard when saw his potential in the computer industry through BASIC.
- Microsoft Corporation
- Gates’ Rise to Fame - When IBM did approach Gates to create software for their new system, he took a chance and introduced MS-DOS which cemented Microsoft’s fame in the industry.
- Windows/ Gates’s Major Success - Later on, in order to stop the competition, Windows – Gates’ new system introduced in 1983, released in 1985 - could be run in older models of computers. It was also easier to use and cheaper than other operating systems available.
- Leadership - Gates seems to be aware as to where technology and computers would become in the future and already on the process of making these improvements come to life.
- Critics and Opposition - In its first few years in business, Gates had to contend lawsuits such as the 1983 case filed by Apple Computer due to the software developed by Apple made by Gates.
- What is Gates doing now? The co-founder of one of today’s prominent computer companies is now busy handling the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation after his retirement in 2008.
- Conclusion - Without Gates, many people would still continue against computer use, and only a few would be able to use it due to the complicated functions needed to do a single task.
Since it was introduced to the public at the beginning of the 20th century, computers have been an integral component to man’s continuous development and discoveries. The majority of the population today are dependent to computers to do various activities: from basic typing and gaming to improving current inventions and programs. Many companies owe their success and popularity to computers, one of them being Microsoft Corporation. Experts and every computer user in the world commend Microsoft for the company’s involvement to the computer industry; more so for Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates. While he was not the one who invented the computer, it was Bill Gates who made a way to make computers user-friendly for all types of users and introduced cheaper and efficient software for the public.
William Henry “Bill” Gates III was born to Bill Gates Sr. and Mary Gates on October 28, 1955 in Seattle, Washington. The young co-founder of Microsoft, according to Carter (2014), was the second child and only son of the couple and was a very inquisitive child. Gates’ family, who calls him Trey, recalled stories of the young CEO reading a big part of his family’s encyclopedia while he was seven or eight years old. Gates also preferred individual sports rather than team sports, and he was very competitive during card games. When he entered school, Gates gave a somewhat nerdy and awkward aura around him, making him the class clown. There were also stories of the young Gates being sent to a psychologist due to his stubborn and rebellious nature.
Bolton and Thompson (2013) and Cusumano (2009) stressed that Gates took many risks on the earlier years of Microsoft. One of his gambles paid off in 1980 when IBM slowly tried to dominate the computer industry. Around the period, Microsoft was already offering software for smaller companies and customers. Gates knew it was not enough for the company to sell in a small number of customers, and while hardware is right, software is also integral to the development of the computer. He also had immense faith with the brand’s software, stressing that hardware works better with Microsoft software. When IBM did approach Gates to create software for their new system, he took a chance and introduced MS-DOS. The software was considerably easier to use as compared to Linux, another group working on operating system software for a cheaper cost. Later on, in order to stop the competition, Windows – Gates’ new system introduced in 1983, released in 1985 - could be run in older models of computers. Windows also allowed users to save money from buying new hardware to use the new updates of the software . It was also commended, according to Becraft (2014), to be more comfortable to use than previously proposed operating systems and no longer required users to type MS-DOS commands in the process. Operations can be selected with a click of a mouse, opening the ‘window’ of the selected operation . With Windows formally introduced, Gates wanted to show that while equipment prices are slowly decreasing, software development is complicated and must be paid by its users. Windows also embodied Gates’ ideas that software programs can be standardized, sold cheaply and understandable for all types of users. He recognized the potential of Windows and other Microsoft programs of becoming “platforms” to provide additional services to users and complementary alike .
In 1982, Becraft (2014) stated that while Microsoft was earning recognition for its success with MS-DOS and BASIC, Allen was diagnosed with a type of lymphoma that cause his early death if it is not treated. While he was recuperating, Allen slowly reduced his workload and eventually found out both Gates and Steve Ballmer (another leader behind Microsoft) were trying to reduce his ownership. Allen was not pleased by their plans and confronted Gates and Ballmer over the plan as he – as per their original agreement in 1981 – would be able to hold on to his ownership shares even if he left the company. Allen and Gates soon separated ways due to the disagreements they had at the price for Allen’s shares. Microsoft soon grew after and made Allen an accidental billionaire even if he had left the company .
Many people call Gates as a person of many contradictions, but also a man who knew what his targets were and how to achieve them entirely. Fletcher and Olwyler (1998) stated that Gates seems to be aware as to where technology and computers would become in the future and already on the process of making these improvements come to life. He is also never afraid to admit failure, hiring programmers and technologists to improve many of the company’s software and programs . Cusumano (2009) added that Gates was also a brilliant recruiter, providing workable environments for people who can work with a team and understand the work of Microsoft. When he became president, he had also introduced several technological transitions for the company. The first was the introduction of a graphical computing system from the old character-based operating system. He had also supported Microsoft to venture to the Internet and aided the diversification of Microsoft products to include video games, online businesses and hardware .
While Microsoft has been introducing innovations for its consumers and earning praise from the people, the company also had to face controversy and criticisms. In its first few years in business, Becraft (2014) reported that Gates had to contend lawsuits such as the 1983 case filed by Apple Computer due to the software developed by Apple made by Gates. Gates hard earlier appealed to court that his software should be copyrighted, but it has not been organized until 1983 due to the lack of legislation. Apple won its intellectual property case regarding the operating system in dispute . Thelwell (2008) said that many saw Gates and Microsoft have been monopolizing the computer industry to prevent competitors. In 2001, various US courts called Microsoft guilty of monopolizing the industry and killed off investors. Some of these courts even threatened that Microsoft would break the company up to stop the company’s attempts to silence competitors. Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson even remarked that Gates had a:
“Napoleonic concept of himself and his company, an arrogance that derives from the power and unalloyed success with no leavening hard experience, no reverses .”
The European Union was also on Gates’ back due to the issues of anti-trust. Critics even remarked that Microsoft is now a ‘dot com dinosaur’ and stressed that Google would challenge Microsoft’s dominance. Gates had shrugged these comments, stressing that:
“People tend to get over-focused on one of our competitors. We’ve always seen that. The biggest company in the computer industry by far is IBM IBM has always been our biggest competitor. The press just doesn’t like to write about IBM .”
Regardless of the criticisms, Gates continued to help Microsoft flourish until he retired from being the CEO of Microsoft in 2008 and decided to begin a new pursuit. Schlender (2010) stated that the co-founder of one of today’s prominent computer companies is now busy handling the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Foundation aims to help countries, and experts fight diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS, as well as advocating new technological innovations for fields such as agriculture and environmental protection. He is also working with smaller enterprises to develop new ideas and ventures. Gates have also stayed connected with Microsoft on a minimal level as an advisor whilst spending time with his family; something Gates admitted he was unable to do while being CEO . While he has existed the larger limelight, it is undeniable that Bill Gates will remain as one of the pioneers of the computer industry for years to come. Without him, many people would still continue against computer use, and only a few would be able to use it due to the complicated functions needed to do a single task.
Becraft, M. (2014). Bill Gates: A Biography. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.
Bolton, B., & Thompson, J. (2013). Entrepreneurs: Talent, Temperament, Technique. New York: Routledge.
Carter, D. (2014). Bill Gates. Ipswich: Salem Press.
Cusumano, M. (2009). Technology Strategy and Management: The Legacy of Bill Gates. Communications of the ACM, 52(1), 25-26.
Fletcher, Jerry, & Olwyler, K. (1998). What makes Gates, Walton, and Clinton Tick? Journal for Quality and Participation, 21(2).
Schlender, B. (2010, Ju). Bill Gates; Life After Microsoft. Fortune, 162(1).
Thelwell, E. (2008, June 26). Bill Gates: The legacy of Microsoft's co-founder. Retrieved from The Guardian: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/mediatechnologyandtelecoms/3050551/Bill-Gates-The-legacy-of-Microsofts-co-founder.html