William H. Gates

William H. Gates
William H. Gates
  • From:

    Microsoft Corporation | Redmond, Washington

  • Year:


  • Subject:


  • Award:

    Bower Award for Business Leadership

  • Citation:

    For co-founding Microsoft Corporation and providing the visionary leadership that enabled it to become a global innovator in business and personal computing. Through his philanthropic work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Mr. Gates has made major contributions toward improving access to healthcare and education for those in need throughout the world.

There is no doubt that Bill Gates is a successful businessman—but he is much more than that. A modern icon of the technologist, as well as an entrepreneur, Gates has had, through his company Microsoft, more impact on personal computing than perhaps any other person. His software powers the bulk of personal computers—nearly every desktop computer has at least one Microsoft product on it.and Microsoft's impact has now expanded to smart phones, electronic hand-held devices, and multimedia systems.

Gates was born in Seattle, Washington, and was introduced to computers at a young age when, in 1968, his high school bought time on a General Electric computer to expose the students to computing. Gates, with a handful of other students (who would one day work with him at Microsoft), became a self-taught computer programmer. Gates and his colleagues were eventually hired to protect a local computer company's security from hackers such as themselves. While Gates entered Harvard in 1973, he dropped out within two years to initiate, with his friend Paul Allen, what would be known as Microsoft. Microsoft banked on the idea that personal desktop computers would soon become ubiquitous, and began developing software for them.one of their earliest successes was the operating system MS-DOS for IBM computers. This eye for watching and capitalizing on current trends has been the hallmark of Gates' technique, and Microsoft has gone on to become the leader in personal computing and office software.

While business acumen and technological invention are formidable traits, Gates has also demonstrated the highest level of civic responsibility through his distribution of his wealth. In 2008 Gates retired as Microsoft CEO. While he continues to work with the company, he now directs his focus on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. With an endowment of over $34 billion, the foundation has turned a macroscopic lens towards improving healthcare, poverty, and education throughout the developing world, as well as in the United States. Their grantees are wide-ranging, from global vaccination programs, to agricultural research, to community colleges and public school districts.

Among other awards, Gates has won the Consumer Electronics Association's Innovator of the Year Award and Hebrew University's Einstein Award. For his work with the Gates Foundation, he received India's Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development, the James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award, and was granted an "honorary" knighthood from the Queen of England.

Information as of April 2010