Former chief executive and chairman of Microsoft, Bill Gates is an American inventor, computer programmer, entrepreneur and philanthropist. Gates co-founded Microsoft, the world’s largest personal computer software company, with Paul Allen in 1975. He held management and executive roles, and was primarily responsible for the company’s product strategy.
In 1989, Gates founded Corbis, a digital imaging company, and in 2004, he became a director of the investment company, Berkshire Hathaway.
Gates stepped down as CEO of Microsoft in January 2000 and served as the company’s chief software architect until June 2008. In 2000, he established the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the world, which focuses globally on enhancing health care, reducing poverty, and expanding educational opportunities and access to information technology.
As of 2007, Bill and Melinda Gates were the second-most generous philanthropists in America, having given over $28 billion to charity. In 2010, Gates signed the Gates-Buffett Giving Pledge, committing to donating at least half of his wealth to charity. Gates is frequently ranked on Forbes Magazine’s list of the world’s wealthiest people, and was also named by TIME magazine as one of the 100 people who most influenced the 20th century.