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Why did Bill Gates start Microsoft?

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Quick Answer

Bill Gates and his long-time friend, Paul Allen, started Microsoft to realize their joint vision of developing software for the emerging personal computer market. The pair founded Microsoft on April 4, 1975 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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Microsoft's Windows operating systems are among its most profitable products, since Microsoft makes money from various computer manufacturers every time a copy of the OS is installed on a new computer. That, along with sales of personal productivity software known as Microsoft Office, its line of Xbox video game systems and its search engine, Bing, has catapulted Microsoft into a company with annual global revenue in excess of $86 billion, as of 2014.

Although famous for founding Microsoft, Bill Gates is one of the most generous philanthropists on the planet. Together with his wife, Melinda Gates, he founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports global education and health issues and that has given away $30 billion since its inception in 2000. Forbes lists Gates as number seven on its Most Powerful People list, and notes that his real-time net worth as of 2014 is $81.9 billion. Notably, Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard University, but donated $1.37 billion to the United Negro College Fund for the advancement of education.

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