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.
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.