The Events that Enabled the Creation of Microsoft

Jan 07, 2012 @ 05:00 pm by HackingManual

In 1975 Bill Gates and Paul Allen formed a company named Microsoft, which is a multi-billion dollar company and currently the world leader in the software industry (“Bill Gates,” American). The three main events the led up to the creation of Microsoft are: Bill and Paul meeting at Lakeside School, the adventures of Bill and Paul while at lakeside, and the release of news about the Altair 8800 microcomputer.

microsoft 150x150 The Events that Enabled the Creation of Microsoft

The first event that led to the creation of Microsoft was the meeting of two friends, Bill Gates and Paul Allen. At the age of 11 or 12 Bill was doing well in school but he seemed bored, so when he was 13 his parents enrolled him in a private school in Seattle called Lakeside (“Bill Gates,” Biography). Bill’s parents hoped that Lakeside would be able to better fulfill his hunger for knowledge and curiosity (“William Henry Gates, III,” Gale). A local computer company in Seattle offered to give the students at Lakeside computer time to use. The Mothers Club then bought a teletype terminal for the students to use with the computer mainframe time that had been given to them (“Bill Gates,” Biography). The teletype terminal was connected through phone lines to the computer mainframe at the local computer company (“Bill Gates,” American).  Bill and Paul both became addicted became addicted to the world of computer technology and spent their free time working on the computers (“Paul Gardner Allen,” Gale). Sharing the passion for computers several students including Bill and Paul had formed a programming group. They were so addicted to this new world of computer technology that they were sneaking out of class to spend more time in the computer lab (“Bill Gates,” American). Bill and Paul became friends quickly, even though they had different personalities. Paul was shy and reserved and Bill was feisty and liked to argue. One of their arguments led to Paul banning Bill from the computer lab (“Bill Gates,” Biography). Although they didn’t know it at the time, their friendship would lead to the creation of a multi-billion dollar computer software company.

The second event that led to the creation of Microsoft was the adventures Bill and Paul had while at Lakeside. One of those adventures was when bill created a virus and used the Computer Center’s PDP-10 mainframe to gain access and spread the virus throughout a national computer network called Cybernet. Bill’s virus caused Cybernet to crash and he was banned from using the computers during his entire junior year (“Bill Gates,” Business). Bill, Paul and some other members of the programming group they had formed landed on the Computer Center Corporation’s payroll when they documented 300 pages worth of bugs in the company’s software (“Bill Gates,” American).  “At the end of every school day, a bunch of us would take our little leather satchel briefcases and ride the bus downtown to the computer center,” Allen recalled in Fortune. “Bill and I were the guys that stayed the latest, and afterward we’d go eat pizza at this hippie place across the street” (“Paul G. Allen,” Encyclopedia). Bill spent one summer creating a class scheduling program for his school, for which he was paid $4,000 (“Bill Gates,” American). He then used this scheduling software to ensure he had classes with all of the prettiest girls in school (“William Henry Gates, III,” Gale). Due to the fact that Bill and Paul had obtained so much knowledge about computers they helped teach the computer courses at Lakeside while they were still students (“Paul Allen,” Business). The programming group formed a company called Traf-O-Data. Bill was named president of the company even though he was younger than the other students in the group. Traf-O-Data sold traffic monitoring software to the greater Seattle area and made $20,000 during its first year in business (“Bill Gates,” American). Traf-O-Data lost it’s clients when they realized Bill was only fourteen years old (“William Henry Gates, III,” Gale). “What first got me so interested in software development, and eventually led to the founding of Microsoft, was the excitement I felt as a teenager when I realized that computers gave me feedback and information like a puzzle to be studied and solved,” said Bill Gates (“Bill Gates,” Business). With the success of Traf-O-Data under their belt Bill and Paul wanted to create their own company after high school, but their dreams were shot down because Bill’s parents were pushing him to go to Harvard to study law (“Bill Gates,” Biography).  As you can see the adventures Bill and Paul had while in highschool taught them about computers, business, and how to work as a team to accomplish their goals. Those skills would prove to be very essential in their future buisness ventures.

The third event that led to the creation of Microsoft was the release of news about the Altair 8800 microcomputer. On a trip to visit Bill at Harvard in 1974, Paul read an article in an issue of Popular Mechanics about the Altair 8800 personal computer (“Paul G. Allen,” Gale). The Altair was a microcomputer being created by a company named MITS, a company in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Bill and Paul realized the Altair was missing one important ingredient, software (“Paul Gardner Allen,” Gale). When Bill saw the article about the Altair 8800 he knew that creating software was the career he wanted to pursue (“Bill Gates,” Business).  Bill and Paul contacted MITS and told the company they had written software that would run on the Altair. In reality, they hadn’t even started working on the project; they didn’t even own an Altair computer. MITS was very interested in seeing a demonstration of the software that Bill and Paul told them they had created. Bill and Paul worked furiously in Harvard’s computer lab writing the software written in a language called BASIC (“Bill Gates,” American). They also developed a BASIC interpreter for the Altair. “BASIC is a simple, interactive computer language designed in the 1960s and “interpreter” is a program that executes a source program by reading it one line at a time and performing operations immediately” (“Bill Gates,” Business). Paul traveled to MITS to give the company a demonstration. The software worked perfectly even though they had never tested it on an Altair computer. “The BASIC program the two developed became the standard for the microcomputer industry for the next six years” (“Bill Gates,” American). In 1975 Bill and Paul created a company called Micro-Soft which was renamed a year later to Microsoft (“Bill Gates,” Biography). Under the name Micro-Soft they sold the software to MITS. The credit line of their first product read “Micro-Soft BASIC; Bill Gates wrote a lot of stuff; Paul Allen wrote some other stuff” (“Paul G. Allen,” Encyclopedia).

As you can see each of those three events was very essential to the creation of Microsoft. The first event was the meeting of Paul Allen and Bill Gates who are the co-founders of Microsoft. The second event was the adventures Bill and Paul had during their time at Lakeside, and the third event being the release of the Altair 8800 microcomputer. Through these events Bill and Paul gained friendship, computer experience, business skills, and the teamwork skills needed to build one of the most successful software companies worldwide.

Bibliography

“Bill Gates.” American Decades. Ed. Judith S. Baughman, et al. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 15 Sep. 2011.

“Bill Gates.” Biography.com. 2011. Web. 15 Sept. 2011.

“Bill Gates.” Business Leader Profiles for Students. Ed. Sheila Dow and Jaime E. Noce. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 2002. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 15 Sep. 2011.

“Paul Allen.” Business Leader Profiles for Students. Ed. Sheila Dow and Jaime E. Noce. Vol. 1.  Detroit: Gale, 1999. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 15 Sep. 2011.

“Paul G. Allen.” Encyclopedia of World Biography. Vol. 25. Detroit: Gale, 2005. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 15 Sep. 2011.

“Paul G. Allen.” Gale Biography in Context. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 15 Sep. 2011.

“Paul Gardner Allen.” Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. Ed. Thomas Carson and Mary Bonk. Detroit: Gale, 1999. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 15 Sep. 2011.

“William Henry Gates, III.” Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History. Ed. Thomas Carson and Mary Bonk. Detroit: Gale, 1999. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 15 Sep. 2011.

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