Co-Founder Bill Gates Leaves Microsoft Board

Gates leaves the Board to focus on Philanthropy with Melinda Gates.

Microsoft announced on Friday that the company’s co-founder Bill Gates is leaving the Board of Directors, so that he can focus on philanthropy with his wife Melinda. He was the Chairman of the Board until 2014, and was the first CEO until 2000.

Who is Bill Gates?

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Paul Allen and Bill Gates

William H. Gates was a young man when he and Paul Allen co-founded Microsoft in 1975. He grew up in Seattle with two sisters. His father William was an attorney and his late mother Mary was a schoolteacher and chairwoman of United Way International. He began programming computers as a 13-year-old student and fell in love with the machines.

While working on school computers, he tinkered with programming to put himself in classes made up mostly of girls. With his parents’ blessing, Gates dropped out of Harvard to start “Micro-soft” with his late childhood friend Allen.

A key move was to focus on licensing software to computer makers in numerous “partnerships” that resulted in affordable machines being available to the masses. As the personal computer market grew, Microsoft became the world’s top software company. Its monopoly led to a much-publicised antitrust trial during late 90s to early 00s, in which the company managed to avert a break-up but had to endure years of government monitoring.

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Steve Ballmer

Gates left his CEO position in 2000, handing the company reins to Steve Ballmer to devote more time to his charitable foundation. He gave up the role of chairman at the same time Nadella became Microsoft’s third CEO in 2014.

Gates then went on to turn his attention from software to fighting disease and other humanitarian challenges with his wife, under the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


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