Bill Gates is the principal founder of Microsoft Corporation and is consistently at the top of the richest person in the world rankings. He is also an investor, author, and philanthropist. In 1974, Gates and Paul Allen launched Microsoft. Gates held the most individual shares of the company until 2014.
So, how much is the Microsoft founder worth?
Net Worth as of 2019: $92.2 Billion
Bill Gates accumulated most of his wealth through the success of his company Microsoft. Currently, he owns slightly over 1% shares in the company, having sold most of his shares since 2014. Gates has used the money to invest in other ventures and a mix of stocks. He continues to be a board member of Microsoft. Also, Bill and his wife Melinda chair the largest private charitable foundation in the world, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Gates was born in Seattle, Washington on October 28, 1955. He was born into a prosperous family, with his father being a prominent lawyer and his mother served on the board of directors at First Interstate BancSystem and the United Way. His family was highly competitive and instilled this into Bill at a young age.
Gates became involved with computer programming at age 13 and wrote his first program, a tic-tac-toe game that allowed the user to play the game against the computer. After working with the code Gates become immersed in learning how to develop computer programs further.
Gates along with fellow students Paul Allen, Ric Weiland, and Kent Evans continued to explore the vast computer software world further. The students were hired to create a payroll system, and Gates created a class scheduling program for his high school. At 17, Gates and Allen formed Traf-O-Data, a business that collected raw data from traffic counters and supplied reports to traffic engineers.
After graduating high school, Gates enrolled at Harvard as a pre-law major. He quickly shifted his focus to mathematics and computer science courses. He would eventually leave Harvard just two years into his studies to pursue his career in computer software.
In 1975, Gates was brought on by MITS Altair to develop a software language. Quickly realizing the business opportunities in the industry, Gates and Paul Allen formed and trademarked Microsoft in 1976. The two set up the Microsoft headquarters in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
By 1978, Microsoft’s year-end sales exceeded $1 million and Gates’ reputation as a tough, focused innovator grew rapidly. Microsoft moved its headquarters to Bellvue, Washington in 1979.
In 1980, Gates struck a deal with IBM to license the operating system “DOS” for the companies first personal computer. Two years later Gates’ childhood friend and business partner Paul Allen resigned from Microsoft after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. Shortly after in 1983, Microsoft launches Windows for the MS-DOS operating system.
In 1986, Gates moved Microsoft to Richmond, Virginia and the company went public. The next year in 1987, Gates became the youngest billionaire ever. He would also meet his future wife, Melinda French in 1987.
In 1989, Gates formed the company Corbis, and the company eventually became the largest collection of visual information in the world. Following the companies formation in 1990, Gates and Microsoft found themselves at the center of an investigation by the Federal Trade Commision. The investigation stemmed from possible collusion between Microsoft and IBM.
In 1994, Bill and Melinda married and formed what would turn into the largest private charitable foundation William H. Gates Foundation, which later became Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
By 1995, Gates’ estimated net worth was $12.9 billion making him the richest man in the world at just 39 years old. He would also release his first book The Road Ahead that held the top spot on the New York’s Best Seller list for seven weeks.
During this time Gates continued to control Microsoft and oversee the companies launch of the internet browser, Internet Explorer. He would also publish his second book Business @ the Speed of Thought. His pop culture influence begins to take off during this time appearing in movies and TV shows.
In 2005, Gates was bestowed the honor of honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II. Also during the same year, Gates was named by Time Magazine as its Person of the Year for his charitable work with wife Melinda and singer Bono. By 2006, Gates begins to phase himself out of Microsoft.
Gates finally got his degree from Harvard, albeit an honorary degree. He would continue to grow his charitable foundation and invest in other business ventures. In 2008, Gates relinquished his day-to-day role at Microsoft, and his 13-year run as the richest person in the world ends as Warren Buffett passes him.
Gates continued to stay on as a board member of Microsoft a role he continues to hold to this day. Gates still owned the most individual stock in the company until 2014. He would regain his No. 1 ranking as the richest person in the world in 2013 overtaking Carlos Slim. Between 2009-2014 Gates saw his wealth double from $40 billion to $82 billion.
Bill Gates held the top spot as the richest person in the world for 18 of the past 23 years and currently sits in the second spot behind Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Bill Gates and the Harvard team, along with some other scientists are working on a new project of Sunlight.