The software and the software company that Gates created dominated the market, partly because he realized the marketing potential for his own and other software.
Bill Gates was born into a family of modest but comfortable wealth and developed a fascination with electronics from an early age. In high school, he met Paul Allen and formed a partnership that would result in the founding of Microsoft. At that time, the only consumer microcomputer was the Altair, a toy that was operated by flipping switches on its front panel. Gates figured out how to run a BASIC compiler on the Altair, despite its extremely limited memory; this accomplishment became the foundation of his fortune.
From the beginning, Gates recognized that a piece of software did not have to be perfect to find a market. Equally, a software company did not have to develop all of its software in-house.
In 1997, Gates worked out a joint venture agreement with Steve Jobs that saved Apple Computer and gained Microsoft some protection against antitrust suits. He began a program of charitable giving in an effort to improve public opinion of him and his company. In addition, he began to rethink his role in Microsoft, moving away from routine administrative work and concentrating on keeping his company innovative. He wrote The Road Ahead (1994) and Business @ the Speed of Light (1999), books in which he discussed the future of business and information technology and how businesses had to actively embrace information technology to survive and succeed in the digital age.
Liebovich, Mark. The New Imperialists: How Five Restless Kids Grew Up to Virtually Rule Your World. Paramus, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 2002. Slater, Robert. Microsoft Rebooted: How Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer Reinvented Their Company. New York: Portfolio, 2004. Wallace, James, and Jim Erickson. Hard Drive: Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire. New York: Harper Business, 1993.