Photo of Bill Gates

Bill Gates

  • National Medal of Technology and Innovation
  • Computer Science

For his early vision of universal computing at home and in the office; for his technical and business management skills in creating a world-wide technology company; and for his contribution to the development of the personal computer industry.

At the age of 13, Bill Gates showed a keen interest in computer programming. His passion for technology and computing eventually fueled the world’s largest software business, Microsoft, with the goal of getting a computer onto every person’s desk. Today, over 80 percent of U.S. households own a computer.

Along with his partner and childhood friend Paul Allen, Gates transformed the world of personal computing through the Windows computer platform. In 1989, Microsoft introduced Microsoft Office, which bundled office productivity applications, such as Word and Excel, into one system that was compatible with all Microsoft products– a revolutionary idea at the time that sold 100,000 copies in just two week.

Gates stepped down from the day-to-day operations of Microsoft in 2000, the same year that he and his wife launched the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Foundation is the largest private foundation in the world, and Gates continues his legacy with goals such as enhancing healthcare, reducing extreme poverty, and expanding educational opportunities and access to information technology.

By Jen Santisi