Bill Gates, a businessman, an investor, a philanthropist, and the co-founder of Microsoft, hardly needs any introduction. Since founding Microsoft along with Paul Allen on April 20, 1975, Bill Gates has transitioned from a workaholic CEO to a philanthropist funding projects that would help the poor. Whether you admire him or not, it is hard to deny that the life of this self-made multi-billionaire is anything but uninteresting. So, here are some facts about Bill Gates that we believe you would enjoy reading.
1. Back in his school days, Bill Gates wrote a computer program for scheduling students in classes, which he modified so that he would end up sitting with interesting girls.
Bill Gates’ love for computers and his fascination for how they would execute a software code so precisely started very early. Once, he and three other students, including Paul Allen who would later be Microsoft’s co-founder, were caught exploiting bugs in the operating system to get extra time on computers. The four of them were then banned, and at the end the ban, they offered to find bugs for free time on computers. They were then hired by another company to write a payroll program in Cobol. After his school administrators came to know about his programming abilities, he and Paul Allen wrote a scheduling program for the school, which they fixed so that there would be more girls. But being two years senior, Paul Allen had to leave for college, and Gates got to enjoy the results of sitting with nice girls.(1, 2)
2. Bill Gates told the creators of the then microcomputer Altair 8800 that he was working on a BASIC interpreter for it when he wasn’t working and didn’t even have an Altair. When the company’s president agreed to meet for a demo, he developed an Altair emulator and the BASIC interpreter in just a few weeks.
Gates contacted Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) after he read about their Altair 8800 on the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics and told them he and others are working on a BASIC emulator for it. The demo given at MITS’s office in Albuquerque was a great success and secured him a deal with them to distribute the interpreter as Altair BASIC.(source)
3. When Bill Gates was accused of stealing from Apple by Steve Jobs, he said, “Well, Steve, I think there’s more than one way of looking at it. I think it’s more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it.”
According to Andy Hertzfeld, a member of Apple Macintosh original development team, the conflict started in November 1983. That year, Microsoft announced a mouse-based graphical user interface environment called Windows at Comdex, a trade show held in Las Vegas twice a year. When Steve Jobs found out about the announcement, he was furious and demanded a meeting with Bill Gates. In the meeting, he made the accusation to which Gates gave that reply. However, when another new version of Windows was released Apple filed a copyright lawsuit against Microsoft in 1988, which it lost on a technicality.(source)
4. In 1994, Bill Gates purchased Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Hammer for over $30 million. Three years after that he distributed the digital version of the Codex as wallpapers, screensavers, and a comprehensive CD.
Bill Gates bought the Codex at Christie’s auction house on November 11, 1994, in New York for $30,802,500. He then had its pages scanned as digital image files and distributed some of them as wallpapers, screensavers, and as the desktop theme for Windows 95. They were also later part of Windows 98 and Windows ME. In 1997, a comprehensive CD version of the Codex titled Leonardo da Vinci was released.(source)
5. Bill Gates had always flown coach, despite being rich and traveling extensively, until 1997 when he finally bought a private jet.
He always preferred to just sleep while flying economy class with a blanket over his head. Even the employees are restricted to flying business class only on international flights. Accordingly, instead of having his company pay for his private jet, he bought it himself. He apparently has to fly so much that it became too difficult to match his travel schedule with commercial flight schedules. It is said he would travel commercially when it makes sense.(source)
6. Bill Gates received an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in 2005. However, because of being an American, he cannot use the title “Sir”.
Though he cannot use “Sir” before his name, he could use KBE (Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire) after his name. He was also awarded Placard of the Order of the Aztec Eagle, the highest Mexican order awarded to foreigners, along with his wife. He received many other awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama, in 2016, for philanthropic efforts.(1, 2)