Enrolled at Lakeside
School. First used computer.
with Paul Allen in the computer center.
Bill Gates is a technologist, business leader, and philanthropist. He grew up in Seattle, Washington, with an amazing and supportive family who encouraged his interest in computers at an early age. He dropped out of college to start Microsoft with his childhood friend Paul Allen. Today, Bill co-chairs the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with Melinda French Gates, where he works to give his wealth back to society.
Bill grew up in Seattle with his two sisters. His late father, William H. Gates Sr., was a Seattle attorney and one of the co-chairs of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. His late mother, Mary Gates, was a schoolteacher, University of Washington regent, and chairwoman of United Way International. Bill has three children.
Changed company name to Microsoft.
When Bill and Paul Allen started Microsoft, their vision of “a computer on every desktop and in every home”
seemed farfetched to most people. Today, thanks to Microsoft and many other companies, that vision is a reality in many parts of the world, and
personal technology is an integral part of society.
Bill is passionate about Microsoft’s work and will always be involved with the company, including his present
role as a member of the board and technology advisor.
Started Micro-Soft with Paul Allen in Albuquerque, NM.
Microsoft moved to Washington State.
Windows 1.0 launched.
Windows 95 launched.
Assumed role of Chief Software Architect, as Steve Ballmer assumed role of Microsoft CEO.
The original Xbox released.
Left his daily job at Microsoft.
Stepped down as chairman. Remained on the board and began serving as technology advisor.
Bill and Melinda officially
established the foundation. They also announced the first round of Gates
Millennium Scholars, part of a $1 billion effort to help 20,000 young people afford college over the next two decades.
The foundation completed efforts to help install 47,000 computers in 11,000 libraries in all 50 states.
Ninety-five percent of libraries have computers with Internet access, up from 27 percent in 1996.
Warren Buffett pledged the bulk of his wealth to the foundation.
Bill and Melinda challenged the global health community to declare this the Decade of Vaccines. They pledged
$10 billion over the next 10 years to help research, develop, and deliver vaccines for the world’s poorest countries.
Bill helped launch a $5.5 billion effort to eradicate polio by 2018. India was certified polio-free by the
World Health Organization, leaving only three countries that have never been free of the disease.
Bill announced the formation of the Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance Network (CHAMPS), a network of disease surveillance sites in developing countries, to help prevent childhood deaths.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation committed $300 million to helping farmers in Africa and Asia cope with climate change.
Bill shared the stage with a beaker of poop at the Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing. His “co-star” helped draw attention to a serious problem that kills more than 500,000 people every year: poor sanitation.
Bill & Melinda Gates
These days Bill focuses most of his time on the work he is doing through his foundation. People are often surprised to hear him say that this work has a lot in common with his work at Microsoft. In both cases, he gets to bring together smart people and collaborate with them to solve big, tough problems.
Bill is gratified to know that the foundation and its many partners are helping people all over the world live healthier, more productive lives.
In addition to the foundation’s work, Bill has separately taken on some projects to address issues that
interest him personally, such as delivering clean energy to everyone who needs it.
In all his work—with the foundation and otherwise—he’s focused on what he calls catalytic philanthropy:
investments in innovations that will improve life for the poorest. They’re solutions to problems where markets and governments underinvest.
Bill helped launch TerraPower, a company that aims to provide the world with a more affordable, secure, and
environmentally friendly form of nuclear energy.
Melinda, Warren Buffett, and Bill launched the Giving Pledge, a commitment by the world’s wealthiest people
to dedicate most of their wealth to philanthropy.
Bill spearheaded the formation of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition to fund clean energy initiatives, avoid a climate disaster, and make sure that everyone on the planet can enjoy a good standard of living.
Bill teamed up with Roger Federer in the fourth annual Match for Africa, a charity tennis match that raises money for the Roger Federer Foundation.
Bill joined forces with a group of philanthropists to create the Diagnostics Accelerator, a program aimed at finding a way to diagnose Alzheimer’s earlier.
Bill joined long-time friend Warren Buffett to serve customers at Dairy Queen. It did not go well.
The Netflix documentary Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates was released. The three-part series told the story of Bill’s life from childhood through Microsoft through his work today.
Bill and Melinda committed about $1.75 billion to support the global response to COVID-19.
Bill and Rashida Jones co-hosted a new podcast, “Bill Gates and Rashida Jones Ask Big Questions.”
Bill published his book How to Avoid a Climate Disaster, proposing a plan to prevent the worst effects of climate change.