FASCINATING FACTS: 18 Interesting Facts About Bill Gates



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. 

Image Source: bbc

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. 

Image Source: wikipedia, lesstimeandeffort

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.”

Image Source: merelinc

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. 

Image Source: wikipedia

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. 

Image Source: metro

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”.

Image Source: bbc

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)

7. As of 2007, Bill Gates had donated over $28 billion to charity and plans to donate a further 95% of his wealth to charity.

Image Source: libertatea

Bill Gates has cited David Rockefeller being a major influence in his charity work. The money Bill and Melinda Gates have donated until 2007 puts them in the second place among most charitable philanthropists of America. Also as of 2013, the Gates Foundation reportedly valued at $34.6 billion is considered the world’s wealthiest charitable foundation. Also, it’s the most transparent foundation as it allows its benefactors access to information about how the money is spent.(source)

8. Bill Gates once released mosquitoes during a presentation on malaria, saying “There’s no reason only poor should have this experience.”

During TED2009 conference in Long Beach, California, Bill Gates delivered a presentation on educating about malaria. He eradicated it and released mosquitoes. The media office at Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation confirmed the incident and of course, the mosquitoes in question did not have any malaria. Finding vaccine for malaria is one of the Gates Foundation’s projects which also donated $168.7 million to the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative.(source)

9. The placeholder silhouette in Microsoft Outlook 2010’s People Pane is actually the silhouette of Bill Gates’ mugshot when he was arrested in 1977.

Image Source: arstechnica

A fallback image/picture is a default generic silhouette used in the place of a contact’s picture when there is no image available or there has been an error. This Bill Gates’ mugshot silhouette was used as a fallback image. The image was taken in Albuquerque, Mexico, back in 1977 for some unknown driving offense.(source)

10. Bill Gates said that he would only leave $10 million to each of his children so that they will find their own way. 

Image Source: scoopify

In an interview, Bill Gates revealed that his children would only receive a small inheritance. They will receive a very good education, but like all normal children, they will have to earn their income. He also stated that he drives himself a normal Mercedes, there is a Porsche for the family and a minivan when all five of them go out.(source)

11. Bill Gates had written a letter to Steve Jobs, while he was suffering from cancer. Then, Steve Jobs kept it at his bedside. 

Image Source: businessinsider

While Steve Jobs was dying of cancer, Bill Gates paid him a visit during which they had spent hours reminiscing and talking about the future. Later, Gates wrote him a letter telling him how great he should feel about all the work he did and the company he built. After Jobs’ death, his wife called Gates telling him how his biography doesn’t depict the “mutual respect they have for each other and that Jobs appreciated the letter and kept it by his bed.”(source)

12. In 2013, Bill Gates revealed that the command ctrl+alt+del was a mistake. It was supposed to be a single button instead. 

Image Source: thinkgeek

Gates said that the command had been designed to prevent applications from showing a fake login prompt to the users and steal passwords. It ended up being a combination of three keys instead of a single button because the person who designed the keyboard provide a single button. It was David Bradley, an engineer who worked on the original IBM PC, who designed it. Bradley created that combination to be used for rebooting a PC.(source)

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