The richest man in the world Around 85 per cent of all computers in the world use Microsoft software. So it isn’t a surprise perhaps that this man is the richest man in the world. He’s the founder and the boss of Microsoft, Bill Gates.
The story of Microsoft
William (‘Bill’) Gates was born in Seattle in the north-west of the USA, on 15 October 1955. Even as a kid he loved computers and he wrote his first software when he was 13. After school, Bill became a student at Harvard, one of the most famous universities in the States. His father was a lawyer, and Bill wanted first to be a lawyer, too. But computers were more interesting. In his second year, he met an old school friend, Paul Allen, and together they developed a programming language called BASIC. Bill left university and he and Paul founded the Microsoft software company. That was in 1975.
In 1981, IBM – the world’s biggest computer company – produced the first ‘home computer’. Bill and Paul produced the software for IBM. The home computer revolution began. IBM sold millions of PCs – and Bill and Paul earned millions of dollars.
Paul became ill in 1983 and left Microsoft. Bill worked hard alone and in 1987 he produced the first version of Microsoft Windows. When he released Windows 95 in August 1995, it sold seven million copies in the first six weeks! Microsoft became the world’s biggest software company almost overnight.
So what kind of person is the world’s richest man? Well, he lives here, in this house near Seattle. (Microsoft’s head office is not far away in the town of Redmond.) The house cost $53 million and has a cinema (with a popcorn machine!), a fitness centre, a library, a swimming pool, offices, a guest house and an underground garage. Bill lives here with his wife Melinda and their three children. For the boss of one of the world’s biggest companies, he’s a very shy man. He’s also very generous and he gives away hundreds of millions of dollars every year.