Management Hall of Fame
Most Respected Management Gurus

Bill Gates
Microsoft Founder: The Greatest Entrepreneur of All Times (1955 - Present )

  • "If the 1980s were about quality and the 1990s were about reengineering, then the 2000s will be about velocity." (Bill Gates)
  • "Take our 20 best people away, and I will tell you that Microsoft would become an unimportant company." (Bill Gates)

Forbes Magazine ranked Bill Gates as the richest person in the world from 1999 to 2007. William Henry Gates III (Bill Gates) is an American entrepreneur, philanthropist and chairman of Microsoft, the software company he founded with Paul Allen. He was the CEO and chief software architect, and he remains the largest individual shareholder with more than 8% of the common stock. Bill Gates is the most admired by the industry and most hated by the competition. Microsoft marketing machine managed to dominate every sector they competed in, so far. Bill Gates' contribution to the development of PC industry is undisputed. Microsoft phenomenal success have been analyzed from every possible angle. His unique combination of technical skills, strategic thinking, ability to hire and motivate the best people is attributed to Microsoft phenomenal success. Microsoft success story is a testament to the power of marketing. While all of it competitors including Apple, IBM OS/2, Lotus, Novell, Sun, Netscape has offered superior products at the beginning. He managed to out market and outsmart his opponents at every turn. Microsoft key strategies are user-friendly products, distribution through hardware vendors, acquiring and integrating complementary products and educational marketing seminars.

Key Work / Milestones

  • At the age of 13 he was already plotting his business future, forming the lakeside Programmers Group with some school friends.

BASIC Software

  • January 1975 Bill Gates contacted MITS (Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems), the creators of the new microcomputer Altair 8800, to sell them BASIC interpreter for the platform.
  • MITS agreed to distribute the interpreter as Altair BASIC.
  • Paul Allen and Gates form partnership as "Micro-soft" in November 1975.
  • Microsoft's BASIC became popular with computer hobbyists.
  • Microsoft became independent of MITS in late 1976, and it continued to develop programming language software for various systems.

IBM Partnership

  • In 1980 IBM approached Microsoft to make the BASIC interpreter for its upcoming IBM PC. When IBM's representatives mentioned that they needed an operating system, Gates proposed using 86-DOS (QDOS), an operating system which Tim Paterson of Seattle Computer Products (SCP) had made for hardware similar to the PC.
  • Microsoft made a marketing deal with SCP to become the exclusive licensing agent (buying marketing rights for $25, 000), and later, prior to the IBM PC launch Microsoft bought the full rights to the system for an additional $50, 000, of 86-DOS, but did not mention that IBM was a potential customer.
  • After adapting the operating system for the PC, Microsoft delivered it to IBM as PC-DOS in exchange for a one-time fee, but retained the copyright so that it could sell the system to other hardware vendors.
  • As several companies created IBM clones, Microsoft licensed DOS to other manufacturers, calling it MS-DOS (for Microsoft Disk Operating System).
  • By marketing MS-DOS aggressively to manufacturers of IBM-PC clones and by virtue of its undivided ownership of the operating system's source code, Microsoft went from a small player to one of the major software vendors in the home computer industry.

Microsoft Windows

  • In the early 1980s Microsoft introduced its own version of the graphical user interface (GUI), based on ideas pioneered by the Xerox corporation, and further developed by Apple.
  • Microsoft released "Windows" as an addition and alternative to their DOS command line, and to compete with other systems on the market that employed a GUI. Unlike Apple closed hardware/software system, Windows was distributed on all cheaper IBM clones, allowing much wider market capture.
  • The release of Windows 3.0 in 1990 was a tremendous success, selling around 10 million copies in the first two years and cementing Microsoft's dominance in operating systems sales.
  • By continuing to ensure, by various means, that most computers came with Microsoft software pre-installed, the Microsoft corporation eventually became the largest software company in the world,
  • Later Microsoft dominated the operating system and office applications software industry
  • Dominate the internet with Internet Explorer and MSN becomes one of the leading the internet media
  • Launches Xbox game console.
  • His biggest challenge to date has come from the Department of Justice and its antitrust case. Free Linux & Open Source is expected to be the long-term answer to Microsoft market dominance

Bill & Melinda Foundation

Bill Gates donated large amounts of money to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, established in 2000. Time Magazine named Gates one of the 100 people who most influenced the 20th century, as well as one of the 100 most influential people of 2004, 2005, 2006 and again in 2007. Time also collectively named Gates, his wife Melinda and U2's lead singer Bono as the 2005 Persons of the Year for their humanitarian efforts.

Books & References:

  • Bill Gates (William Gates). Business at the Speed of Thought Using a Digital Nervous System. New York: Warner Books, 1999.
  • Wallace, James, and Jim Erickson. Hard Drive: Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire. New York: John Wiley, 1992
  • Bank, David (2001). Breaking Windows: How Bill Gates Fumbled the Future of Microsoft. Free Press.
  • Edstrom, Jennifer; Marlin Eller (1998). Barbarians Led by Bill Gates: Microsoft From The Inside: How The World's Richest Corporation Wields Its Power. Henry Holt & Company.
  • Gates, Bill (1999). Business @ the Speed of Thought: Succeeding in the Digital Economy. Business Plus.
  • Gates, Bill (1999). The Road Ahead. Penguin.
  • Lowe, Janet (1998). Bill Gates Speaks: Insight from the World's Greatest Entrepreneur. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Rivlin, Gary (2000). The Plot to Get Bill Gates: An Irreverent Investigation of the World's Richest Man... and the People Who Hate Him. Three Rivers Press.
  • Wallace, James (1997). Overdrive: Overdrive: Bill Gates and the Race to Control Cyberspace. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Stross, Randall E. (1997). The Microsoft Way. Perseus Books Group.
  • Chposky, James; and Ted Leonsis (1989). Blue Magic: The People, Power and Politics Behind the IBM Personal Computer. Grafton.

Additional Resources:

  • Biography of Bill Gates at
  • Bill Gates Charlie Rose PBS interviews

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