Biography of Bill Gates by Joseph Pritchard

By Joseph Pritchard

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Gates's success in developing a competitive Internet browser, as well as coming out on top of the desktop-database and office-suite wars of the 1990s, proved that he had formed a company nimble enough to jump into a market that others were developing and take the lead away from the competition. In 1998 Gates announced a new phase in Microsoft's expansion that would allow him to concentrate his energies on strategy and product development. At the same time the company funneled larger amounts of money into improving customer support and feedback.

By the late 1970s the computing giant IBM had plans for marketing a personal computer for home use. They approached Microsoft to develop the standard operating system for their home computer models. Gates and Allen then went out and purchased for $50,000 an operating system called Q-Dos, which had been developed by Seattle Computer. QDos was compatible with the Intel processor that IBM intended to use. The two then adapted the Q-Dos system and presented it to IBM. Money magazine quoted Gates as recalling, "We bet all our resources on that system" (July 1986).

But the marketing ploy worked because people preferred to wait for a system designed to be compatible with their existing Microsoft products rather than undergo the trouble and expense of installing an entirely new operating system. Furthermore, Windows allowed users to avoid buying new software applications to replace the DOS-compatible programs they currently owned. 0 was finally released in 1985. 6 million from overseas users. Microsoft's growth continued to be relatively smooth in spite of several challenges, in part because the fiscally conservative Gates had financed most of the company's expansion entirely from its earnings.

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