William Henry "Bill" Gates III (born October 28, 1955) is an American business magnate, philanthropist, investor, computer programmer, and inventor. In 1975, Gates co-founded Microsoft, that became the world's largest PC software company, with Paul Allen. During his career at Microsoft, Gates held the positions of chairman, CEO and chief software architect, and was the largest individual shareholder until May 2014.[a] Gates has authored and co-authored several books.
Starting in 1987, Gates was included in the Forbes list of the world's wealthiest people and was the wealthiest overall from 1995 to 2014—excluding a few years after the Financial crisis of 2007–08. Between 2009 and 2014 his wealth doubled from $40 billion to more than $82 billion. Between 2013 and 2014 his wealth increased by $15 billion. Gates is currently the richest man in the world.
Gates is one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution. Gates has been criticized for his business tactics, which have been considered anti-competitive, an opinion which has in some cases been upheld by numerous court rulings. Later in his career Gates pursued a number of philanthropic endeavors, donating large amounts of money to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill Melinda Gates Foundation, established in 2000.
Gates stepped down as Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft in January 2000. He remained as Chairman and created the position of Chief Software Architect for himself. In June 2006, Gates announced that he would be transitioning from full-time work at Microsoft to part-time work, and full-time work at the Bill Melinda Gates Foundation. He gradually transferred his duties to Ray Ozzie, chief software architect and Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer. Ozzie later left the company. Gates's last full-time day at Microsoft was June 27, 2008. He stepped down as Chairman of Microsoft in February 2014, taking on a new post as technology advisor to support newly appointed CEO Satya Nadella.