William H. “Bill” Gates


October 28, 1955

Inducted in the Class of 1998

Notable accomplishments:

  • Co-founded (with Paul Allen) Microsoft (1975)
  • Wrote a version of BASIC for the MITS Altair (1975)
  • Acquired 86-DOS and re-branded it as MS-DOS for IBM personal computer (1981)
  • Led Microsoft’s transition to a full GUI with the Windows operating system (1985)
  • Co-founded Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation (2000)

“It’s pretty amazing to go from a world where computers were unheard of and very complex to where they’re a tool of everyday life.” (Interview in Rolling Stone magazine, March 13, 2014)

“Our hiring was always focused on people right out of school. We had a few key hires like Charles Simonyi who came in with experience. But most of our developers, we decided that we wanted them to come with clear minds, not polluted by some other approach, to learn the way that we liked to develop software, and to put the kind of energy into it that we thought was key.” (Interview with the National Museum of American History, 1993)

“The main ‘copying’ that went on relative to Steve (Jobs) and me is that we both benefited from the work that Xerox PARC did in creating (the) graphical interface – it wasn’t just them, but they did the best work. Steve hired Bob Belville, I hired Charles Simonyi. We didn’t violate any IP rights Xerox had, but their work showed the way that led to the Mac and Windows.” (Online Q&A at Reddit “Ask Me Anything,” Feb. 27, 2017)

Suggested reading:
“Gates: How Microsoft’s Mogul Reinvented an Industry and Made Himself the Richest Man in America,” by Stephen Manes and Paul Andrews (1992)

“Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire,” by James Wallace and Jim Erickson (1992)

“Bill Gates Speaks,” by Janet Lowe (1998)

Learn more:
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation