How Did Bill Gates ACTUALLY Make $100 Billion?
Microsoft is a multinational tech company that’s been around since 1975, remaining in business for four and a half decades and becoming a household name in the process. Since its inception, the company has become one of the most successful consumer technology and software providers the world has ever known. Today, we’re going to be taking a look at Bill Gates – the face of, and brains behind, the tech juggernaut. As one of the consistently richest men in the world since 1987, Gates’ name is probably
One you’ve heard pretty close to a hundred-billion times. Our question today is how he managed to earn $100 billion dollars in the process. Philanthropist. Developer. Investor. These are just some of the roles Bill Gates has played over the years.
Born October 28, 1955 in Seattle, Washington, as William Henry Gates III, little Bill would later go on to shape the future of the consumer computing industry as we know it today. The entire landscape of technology that Microsoft has played a part in influencing would look completely different if Bill had followed the career path his parents, Bill Sr. and Mary, had wanted for him at a young age – namely, Law. It was clear to Bill in his early life that his family expected he would follow in the
Footsteps of his father, who was a prolific lawyer. Young Bill was apparently very small for his age, and suffered bullying at school as a result of this. Little did his bullies know that Bill would grow up to be one of the richest people in the entire world. He also spent a lot of time reading, so much so that his parents had to ban him from doing
So at the dinner table. Lucky for them – and everyone who owns a PC or an Xbox right now – Bill was always persistent. Bill’s first steps to becoming the world-renowned tech developer and multi-billionaire he is today began when he created his very first software program at thirteen-years-old. Was it a world-changing, revolutionary piece of software that’s still used to this very
Day? Not quite. It was a program that allowed someone to play tic-tac-toe against a computer. But big things from little acorns grow, and before long, Bill was on his way into the world of computer programming. Bill and a group of fellow students – including his lifelong friend and Microsoft co-founder
Paul Allen – spent as much time as they could around computers. Bear in mind, this was the late 1960s, and at the time computers weren’t as widely available as they are today. The first computer Gates ever used was a DEC PDP-10 that his high school, Lakeside prep, had to pay to allow students to use. An element of the computer’s code made sure that children could only make use of it for
A limited time, which was a feature that a young computer nerd like Bill didn’t take kindly to. One summer, Bill Gates, Paul Allen and some of their fellow computer enthusiasts, uncovered a bug in the computer’s operating system that offered them a way to use it for as long as they liked, as they managed to stop the computer recording how much time they’d spent on it.
When the local company that owned the machine discovered this, they banned Bill and his friends from accessing the DEC PDP-10 for the rest of the summer. Ironically, in 1968, the same company would go on to hire Gates and his little group to look for similar bugs in the software of their computers, granting them all unlimited computer time. In a sense, they were among the world’s first white hat hackers.
Along with Paul Allen and his other friends, Bill Gates formed the Lakeside Programmers Group, as a way of finding practical, real-world applications for their impressive computer skills. When their previous employers, the Computer Centre Corporation, shut down in 1970, Bill and his team started working on the University of Washington’s computers in their free time.
It was later that same year that Gates and Allen – in a sign of things to come – went on to start their very first company together. The pair developed Traf-O-Data, a company that sold a computer program designed to count and measure the flow of traffic to local governments. A few years later in 1973, Bill began studying pre-law at Harvard University, joined again by Paul Allen.
The pair would spend countless hours in their university’s computer centre, talking about the possibility of starting their own firm together, specialising in software development. Their shared dream was about to become reality. The following year, an electronics company called Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems, or MITS, was developing the Altair 8080 computer, designed with the intention of making computers more accessible to the general public.
Learning this, Gates contacted MITS to tell them he and Paul Allen had developed a version of the BASIC programming language that would run on the Altair 8080. Had they? Absolutely not, but when MITS expressed an interest, Bill and Paul wrote the necessary software in around eight weeks. Impressed with their work, MITS offered Bill and Paul enough money to drop out of Harvard
And fund the start-up of their newest business venture: you guessed it, Microsoft. Driven by the ethos that computers would one day be on every desk and in every household, Bill worked on developing software than anyone could use, and used strategic hiring practises to ensure they only allowed college graduates with impeccable records to become part of Microsoft. After making deals with various companies – purchasing and modifying software from
One and getting others to ship their computers with that software – by 1983, Bill and the rest of his growing team at Microsoft had developed the first version of Windows, their new operating system, that supported…wait for it…use of a mouse! Okay, that seems pretty normal by today’s standards, but in the early 80s this was revolutionary! So much so that there was a fair bit of contention at the time, with some claiming that Bill had stolen this idea for a graphical operating system with mouse compatibility from Steve
Jobs, founder of Apple, and that Steve, in turn, had stolen the idea from Xerox. The competition was hot because everyone involved was aware that the frontrunner of the consumer computing market would practically be printing money. As the computer market grew, so did Microsoft. It became a public company in 1986. This meant that investors could now purchase shares of the company’s stock, at only $21
Dollars per share. The day that Microsoft offered its shares to the public, Bill Gates became a millionaire. Only ninety-nine billion, nine-hundred and ninety-nine million dollars to go! The money kept rolling in as, during the 90s, access to the Internet caused a boom in the home computer market, and Bill’s Windows 3.0 operating system became the most popular for use in household personal computers.
It’s worth remembering that, at this time, Microsoft and other companies like it – such as Apple – hadn’t started producing their own computers yet, and mainly dealt in software, not hardware. At least, not yet. By now, Bill had already amassed a wealth of billions of dollars. Forbes had included him in their annual list of the world’s wealthiest people since the
Earlier days of Microsoft in 1987, but it wasn’t until 1995 that Bill skyrocketed to the coveted number one spot. He almost consistently held the title of the wealthiest person in the world between ’95 all the way to as recently as 2017, when he was surpassed by Amazon CEO – and known Lex Luthor-lookalike – Jeff Bezos, who currently holds Bill’s former title. However, with an estimated net worth of $107.1 billion USD today, we’d imagine Bill isn’t
Too cut-up about only being the second-wealthiest person in the world these days. Even though Bill achieved enormous success from his humble beginnings, he has at times been criticized for having cut-throat practices when it comes to business. Despite this, Bill has become known – away from his work creating Microsoft – as a very charitable figure. Forbes quoted him as saying “Money has no utility to me beyond a certain point.
Its utility is entirely in building an organization and getting the resources out to the poorest in the world”. In the mid-nineties, Bill and his wife Melinda Gates founded the William H. Gates Foundation – later renamed to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – to fund various health programs all over the world. It is now, at the time of writing this, the largest private charitable organisation in
The world. In addition, Bill, alongside Melinda, ever the book-lover, provided generous donations to libraries in North America through their Gates Library Foundation, which later became the Gates Learning Foundation. Microsoft continued to grow, eventually becoming the largest personal computer software company in the world, with Bill Gates at the helm as both Chief Executive Officer and Chairman
Of Microsoft’s board of directors. While he remained Chairman, Bill eventually stepped down as CEO in 2000, taking up a new position as Chief Software Architect until 2006, when his job at Microsoft transitioned into a part-time one – allowing him more time to work with his wife at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Say what you will about Mr Gates, but the fact that he was gradually reducing his role
Within the massive corporation he’d built from nothing in order to focus more on charity work alongside Melinda is highly commendable. Bill’s duties as chairman were later shared between two senior members of Microsoft, Ray Ozzie and Craig Mundie, when Bill stepped down from that high-ranking position, and took up a role as technology adviser in 2014, offering support to the new Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella.
Of course, Microsoft didn’t make Bill Gates over $100 billion USD on its own. There are a huge number of smaller companies owned and run by the Microsoft Corporation, all providing various different technological products and services that help to generate massive amounts of income for Microsoft and Bill himself as a result. While it would take a much longer video to list every single one of the products and services Microsoft has released or been involved in creating, here are just a few examples
Of some that bring Bill the big bucks. For starters, as well as their numerous modernised versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system that they’ve produced since that first version back in 1983, one of the most famous in the Microsoft family of products is their now-synonymous software, the Microsoft Office suite. First introduced in the early nineties, Office packages together a series of applications
With a wide range of uses, for both home and workplace computing. There’s Word, their famous and aptly-named word processing software, Excel, which is designed to produce spreadsheets, PowerPoint, for presentations, and a number of others. Their simple, user-friendly interfaces have earned them immense popularity worldwide. In addition to this, being available in 102 languages, compatible with most computers, and being subject to frequent improvements, have all helped make the package’s success
Perennial. Even today, Office retains its status as a cash cow for the company, contributing directly to Microsoft’s $36.9 billion revenue in 2020 alone. If you’re a prolific gamer, there’s also a high chance you own or have owned some variation of the Xbox. At present, around twenty-eight per cent of all games currently in development around
The world are created to be playable on the Xbox One, the current version of the console. The first iteration was released nineteen years ago in 2001, to meteoric success. Today, there are over fifty-nine million users active on Microsoft’s Xbox Live online gaming network. That’s enough to fill the biggest football stadium in the US, Michigan Stadium, over 548 times over.
First introduced in a market that was – at the time – dominated by Nintendo and Sony’s PlayStation, sales of every version of the Xbox released by Microsoft have hit the multi-millions. The original Xbox sold twenty-four million consoles. Its successor, the Xbox 360, sold over triple that figure. Between its release in 2005 to the end of its lifespan in 2017, Microsoft sold over eighty-five million units of the 360.
On top of that, they’ve sold 39.5 million Xbox Ones since its introduction in 2013. If we put all those figures together, at original retail price, the Xbox made almost $7.2 billion USD, the Xbox 360 brought home a whopping $25.4 billion USD and at present the Xbox One has raked in around $20 billion USD. That means all three Xboxes have brought Microsoft and Bill Gates a grand total of $52.6 billion USD in the past nineteen years, on the physical console revenue alone.
Because Bill Gates is anything but a one trick pony. In conclusion, Gates has managed to take Microsoft from its humble beginnings back in 1975 to the massive multinational corporation we know today, and through a number of vastly-profitable endeavours, it’s brought him obscene wealth. At the same time, Bill’s money has never caused him to sacrifice his generosity, still to this day spending vast sums of money on charitable causes.
So, you might ask: How did Bill Gates make $100 billion? In the simplest sense, he did what he loved, and did it brilliantly. If you enjoyed this video, be sure to check out our other episodes like ‘Is Microsoft Actually More Successful Than Apple?’, or ‘Richest People In Different Countries’. Thanks for watching!