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Gates began programming computers at age 13; in 1973, Gates entered Harvard University. There he developed a version of the programming language BASIC for the first microcomputer - the MITS Altair. In his junior year, Gates left Harvard to devote his energies to Microsoft, a company he founded in 1975 with his childhood friend Paul Allen.
His wealth is largely the result of the contract negotiated by his father's law firm with IBM for the operating system of the first personal computer. The contract gave Bill Gates' small company unusually advantageous rights. As the computer industry soared, Microsoft's unique position gave it monopoly power and profits. Two decades later, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that Microsoft had engaged in unlawful monopolistic behavior.
In 1995, Gates wrote "The Road Ahead" (with Nathan Myhrvold and Peter Rinearson), which embarrassingly omitted any mention of the internet in its first edition. In 1999, Gates wrote "Business @ the Speed of Thought".
Bill Gates has donated billions to a private foundation that his family controls. Because of his philanthropic activities Time magazine awarded him and his wife Melinda Gates, the "Person of the Year" for 2005 along with rock star Bono. On 2004 he was honored as Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates have three children, Jennifer Katharine, Rory John and Phoebe Adele. Gates likes to read and plays golf and bridge.
While Bill Gates has described himself as an atheist, his wife Melinda Gates is a pro-life Catholic considered to be responsible for reducing donations of the Gates wealth directly to fund abortion. Nevertheless, the Gates Foundation, a charitable foundation established by Bill and Melinda Gates which is especially known for work on HIV/AIDS in Africa, provides substantial grants to organizations that promote abortion, such as the Planned Parenthood of Western Washington (recipient of a $200,000 grant from the Gates Foundation in January 3, 2007 for a youth development program). Moreover, a smaller percentage of grants by the Gates Foundation supports faith-based programs than even the federal government does.
The UK Independent reported on July 5, 2007 that Bill Gates "has acquired a major stake in a homosexual activist publishing company. ... The online material put out by the company features hard core homosexual pornography."
Gates' last official day of work at Microsoft was June 27th, 2008. He remains chairman of the Microsoft board of directors and its largest shareholder.
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