Microsoft founder Bill Gates: 5 facts to know about the billionaire tech giant

When most think about the father of computer programs - one name typically comes to mind: Bill Gates.

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The billionaire founder of Microsoft has a list of accomplishments that range from his business savvy to his generous philanthropy.

Microsoft: 5 things to know about the tech leader that's withstood industry upheaval

The tech giant became the third U.S. company to hit a $1 trillion market cap.

Here are the top five things you should know about this iconic tech guru.

1. Microsoft

In 1975, Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard University and co-founded the iconic software company the world knows as Microsoft Corporation (formerly Micro Soft) with Paul Allen. Two years later, he became president of Microsoft and maintained that role until 1982.

During these early days under Gates’ leadership, Microsoft developed the Microsoft Disk Operating System for IBM and introduced the public to the Microsoft Windows operating system, which instantly made the company a competitor to Apple. By 1986, Microsoft raised $61 million for its initial public offering.

By Jan. 2000, Gates resigned from the position of CEO at Microsoft and switched gears to become chief software architect. Six years later, Gates announced his retirement plans with an effective date in the summer of 2008. That June, he walked away from his day-to-day duties at Microsoft and began to take his philanthropy into overdrive.

In Feb. 2014, he eventually stepped down as chairman of the board of Microsoft.

Today, Microsoft remains one of the world's largest software company. In the fiscal year of 2018, Microsoft reported a delivery of $110.4 billion in revenue. According to the NASDAQ, Microsoft has an approximate market cap of $1.05 trillion.

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2. Cascade Investment Group & TerraPower

Like other savvy billionaires, Gates hasn’t put all his money in one place. In 1995, Gates founded American holding and investment company Cascade Investment, LLC. By 2008, more than half of Gates' fortune was held in assets outside his holding of Microsoft shares.

Gates has also dabbled in alternative energy with the creation of TerraPower in 2006, which he is a chairman of. The company aims to provide an “affordable, secure and environmentally friendly form of nuclear energy.”

3. Charity

Gates is one the most charitable billionaires around. Since leaving his more executive positions at Microsoft, Gates has built up philanthropic initiative at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. According to reports, Gates has donated $35.8 billion worth of Microsoft stock to the Gates Foundation.

Notable donations include a partnership with the Chinese Ministry of Health to help fight its tuberculosis epidemic with a $33 million grant in 2009, a $10 billion donation for vaccine research in early 2010 and funding for the launch of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition in 2015 with the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

In Nov. 2017, Gates invested $50 million in the Dementia Discovery Fund. It marked the first time that Gates made a commitment to a non-communicable disease rather than an infectious one.

4. Politics

When it comes to political donations, Gates has contributed to eight Democratic campaigns and six Republican campaigns, according to OpenSecrets.org.

In past interviews, Gates has said he is in favor of reforming the nation’s estate and capital gains taxes for something more progressive.

However, he has also said that excessive taxes put on businesses would encourage tax dodging.

5. Personal

Gates began computer programming at age 13. By 1972, he co-founded Traf-O-Data while he was still school, which provided traffic analysis in local areas. From the mid- to late-1980s, Gates was instrumental in developing and promoting CD-ROM technology.

His current net worth is around $105.3 billion, according to Forbes. For 12 consecutive years, Gates was ranked number 1 on the Forbes World's Billionaires List, which lasted from 1995 to 2007. He was also the youngest U.S. billionaire in 1987 at age 31 and maintained that spot until he was dethroned by Mark Zuckerberg in 2010.

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 10: French President Emmanuel Macron Receives Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Facebook Inc at Elysee Palace on May 10, 2019 in Paris, France. Zuckerberg met with Macron to discuss Facebook’s partnership wit

Despite not graduating from Harvard, he delivered a commencement address on June 7, 2007 and received an honorary degree.

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