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Bill Gates is one of the richest people in the world and a technological innovator through his company Microsoft. His reputation for being an innovator and leading figure in technology is one that will stand the test of time. His beginnings, though seemingly trouble, were just the start of game-changing moves.

Born and raised in Seattle, Gates was a heavy reader even as a child. He would spend hours flipping through the many pages of references books and encyclopedias. In his early teens, Bill’s parents noticed that his behavior was different than that of a normal child where he seemed bored and withdrawn. After making the tough decision to place him into a preparatory school, Gates flourished in nearly all of his subjects, especially math and science. After graduating, and scoring 1590 out of 1600 on his SAT test, Gates enrolled at Harvard University in 1973 to pursue a career in law. During his freshman year, he found himself spending more time in the computer lab rather than in class. After two years, Gates dropped out of Harvard to pursue a business he built with partner Paul Allen that would later go on to be the juggernaut known as Microsoft.

Within a few years of founding Microsoft, the company was grossing nearly $2.5 million and, in 1979, Gates placed himself as the head of the company. Utilizing his vast knowledge for software development and business, Gates led the company and was its spokesperson. He even personally reviewed every line of code that the company would ship and often times would simply rewrite the code himself where he saw necessary. Microsoft became incorporated in 1981 with Gates as president and chairman of the board and Allen as executive vice president.

It’s a sort of legend that Microsoft and Apple had an intense rivalry. In fact, the two companies were springboards for each other in their early stages. Gates eventually developed the Windows operating system as a result of seeing Macintosh’s graphic interface that was in contrast to the MS-DOS text and keyboard interface. After developing Windows, Gates went on to become known as somewhat temperamental with his employees. He later explained that he only did this as a test of seeing if his employees truly believed in the software they were developing as much as he believed in it.

Through the years, Gates has been known as a great philanthroper. Bill and his wife, Melinda, set up the William H. Gates Foundation which is dedicated to supporting education, world health, and investment in low-income communities.