Bill Gates said, “I am heartbroken by the passing of one of my oldest and dearest friends… Personal computing would not have existed without him. But Paul wasn’t content with starting one company. He channelled his intellect and compassion into a second act focused on improving people’s lives and strengthening communities in Seattle and around the world. He was fond of saying, ‘If it has the potential to do good, then we should do it.’ From our early days together at Lakeside School, through our partnership in the creation of Microsoft, to some of our joint philanthropic projects over the years, Paul was a true partner and dear friend. He deserved much more time, but his contributions to the world of technology and philanthropy will live on for generations to come. I will miss him tremendously.”
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella called Allen’s contributions to the company, community and industry “indispensable.” He wrote on Twitter, “As co-founder of Microsoft, in his own quiet and persistent way, he created magical products, experiences and institutions, and in doing so, he changed the world.”
Allen and Gates met while attending a private school in north Seattle. The two friends would later drop out of college to pursue the future they envisioned: A world with a computer in every home. Gates so strongly believed it that he left Harvard University in his junior year to devote himself full-time to his and Allen’s start-up company, originally called Micro-Soft. Allen spent two years at Washington State University before also dropping out.
They founded the company in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and their first product was a computer language for the Altair hobby-kit personal computer, giving hobbyists a basic way to program and operate the machine.
Microsoft’s big break came in 1980, when IBM decided to move into personal computers and asked Microsoft to provide the operating system. The pair didn’t invent the operating system. To meet IBM’s needs, they spent $50,000 to buy one known as QDOS from another programmer, Tim Paterson. Eventually the product refined by Microsoft – and renamed DOS, for Disk Operating System – became the core of IBM PCs and their clones, catapulting Microsoft into its dominant position in the PC industry.
The first versions of two classic Microsoft products, Microsoft Word and the Windows operating system, were released in 1983. By 1991, Microsoft’s operating systems were used by 93 percent of the world’s personal computers. The Windows operating system is now used on most of the world’s desktop computers, and Word is the cornerstone of the company’s prevalent Office products.
Gates and Allen became billionaires when Microsoft was thrust onto the throne of technology.
When he released his 2011 memoir, “Idea Man,” he allowed the 60 Minutes programme inside his home on Lake Washington, across the water from Seattle, revealing collections that ranged from the guitar Jimi Hendrix played at Woodstock to vintage war planes and a 414-foot yacht with its own submarine.
In a statement confirming his death yesterday, his sister Jody described the businessman as a “remarkable individual on every level”. She continued, “Paul’s family and friends were blessed to experience his wit, warmth, his generosity and deep concern. For all the demands on his schedule, there was always time for family and friends. At this time of loss and grief for us – and so many others – we are profoundly grateful for the care and concern he demonstrated every day.”
Paul Allen had beaten cancer before and appeared confident that he could beat it again. Those close to him said he was active, on emails at least, until the very end – offering advice, strategy and insight to the many, many people who looked to him for support. His relationship with his co-founder, Bill Gates was not always perfect – they had a well-publicised row over stock ownership – but they shared an awful lot in common, first as children learning programming, and then as adults donating billions to philanthropic efforts.
He is estimated to have donated more than $2billion to philanthropy throughout his life including science, education and wildlife conservation causes. He was also an avid sports fan, owning both the Portland Trail Blazers basketball team and Seattle Seahawks NFL team, who won the US Superbowl in 2013.
He was never married, has no children and in 2010 he pledged to give the majority of his fortune to charitable causes after his death.
When asked for an official comment from Jammy Toast, our very own Bearkeeper Davidd said, “Not wishing to sound mercenary or grasping but can I just say, jam is getting very expensive!”