William Henry Gates III was born in Seattle, Washington on October 28, 1955, as the sole son of William H. Gates Sr. and his first wife, Mary Maxwell Gates. His ancestors are of English, German, and Irish/Scots-Irish descent.
His father was a well-known lawyer, and his mother was a member of the boards of directors of First Interstate Bank and United Way of America. J. W. Maxwell, a national bank president, was Gates’ maternal grandfather. Gates has a younger sister, Libby, and an elder sister, Kristi (Kristianne).
Bill Gate Facts: Everything You Need To Know About Him.
He is the fourth in his family to bear the name William Gates, however, he is known as William Gates III or “Trey” because his father had the “II” suffix.
At 17, Gates formed a venture with Allen called Traf-O-Data to make traffic counters based on the Intel 8008 processor. In 1972, he served as a congressional page in the House of Representatives. He was a National Merit Scholar when he graduated from Lakeside School in 1973. He scored 1590 out of 1600 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and enrolled at Harvard College in the autumn of 1973. He chose a pre-law major but took mathematics (including Math 55) and graduate-level computer science courses. While at Harvard, he met fellow student and future Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Gates left Harvard after two years while Ballmer stayed and graduated magna cum laude.
Gates has a multibillion-dollar investment portfolio that includes investments in companies from many industries, and he has participated in other entrepreneurial endeavors outside of Microsoft.
Gates spent much effort in passing the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 because of its importance to climate. He tried to convince Joe Manchin to support a climate bill from the year 2019 especially in the months before the adoption of the bill. The bill should cut the global greenhouse gas emissions to a level similar to “eliminating the annual planet-warming pollution of France and Germany combined” and may help to limit the warming of the planet to 1.5 degrees – the target of the Paris Agreement.
He thanked both Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer for their efforts in a guest essay in The New York Times, where he said “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 may be the single most important piece of climate legislation in American history” given its potential to spur development of new technologies. Gates gave further insights on climate change in his commencement address at Northern Arizona University on May 6, 2023, where he was bestowed an honorary doctorate.
Climate change and global energy availability are significant, interconnected challenges, according to Gates. He has pushed governments and the corporate sector to invest in research and development in order to reduce the cost of clean, reliable energy.
Gates believes that a breakthrough in sustainable energy technology might reduce greenhouse gas emissions and poverty while also providing economic advantages by stabilizing energy prices.
“If you gave me the choice between picking the next ten presidents or ensuring that energy is environmentally friendly and a quarter as expensive,” he said in 2011.
After researching the achievements of Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, Gates contributed some of his Microsoft stock to establish the “William H. Gates Foundation” in 1994.
In 2000, Gates and his wife combined three family foundations and donated $5 billion in stock to form the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which was named the world’s largest charitable foundation by the Funds for NGOs company in 2013, with assets reportedly valued at more than $34.6 billion.
Unlike other prominent charity organizations such as the Wellcome Trust, the foundation gives contributors access to information about how their money is spent.
Gates also donated $20 million to Carnegie Mellon University through his foundation for a new facility to be named the Gates Center for Computer Science, which opened in 2009.
Gates has cited David Rockefeller’s generosity and substantial philanthropy as a big influence. He and his father visited with Rockefeller multiple times, and their charitable activity is partly inspired by the Rockefeller family’s philanthropic approach, in which they are interested in addressing global issues that governments and other organizations ignore.
Gates is an enthusiastic reader, and a quote from The Great Gatsby is etched on the ceiling of his expansive home library. He also likes to play bridge, tennis, and golf.
His days are organized down to the minute, just like the president of the United States. Despite his riches and considerable work travel, Gates flew in a commercial aircraft coach (economy class) until 1997, when he purchased a private jet.
In 1994, Gates paid $30.8 million for the Codex Leicester, a collection of Leonardo da Vinci’s scientific papers. He reportedly paid $30 million for the original 1885 maritime painting Lost on the Grand Banks in 1998, a record price for an American painting at the time.
On January 1, 1994, Gates married Melinda French on the Hawaiian island of Lanai. They met in 1987, shortly after Melinda started working at Microsoft.
Melinda allowed Gates to spend limited time with his ex-girlfriend, entrepreneur Ann Winblad, during their marriage. Jennifer, Rory, and Phoebe are Bill and Melinda’s three children. The family’s home in Medina, Washington, is an earth-sheltered palace built into the slope of a hill overlooking Lake Washington.
The mansion’s property taxes were reported to be US$1.063 million in 2009, with a total assessed value of US$147.5 million.
The 66,000-square-foot (6,100-square-meter) estate has a 60-foot (18-meter) swimming pool with an underwater music system, a 2,500-square-foot (230-square-meter) gym, and a 1,000-square-foot (93-square-meter) dining room. The Gateses announced their divorce on May 3, 2021, after 27 years of marriage and 34 years as a pair.
They stated that they would continue to collaborate on charity activities. Melinda had been talking with divorce counsel since 2019, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing interviews that revealed Bill’s ties with Jeffrey Epstein were at least one of her concerns. On August 2, 2021, the divorce was finalized.
During his tenure as CEO of Microsoft, Gates approved numerous choices that resulted in antitrust litigation against Microsoft’s business operations. In the United States v. Microsoft case in 1998, Gates provided deposition testimony that some media described as evasive.
He disputed with examiner David Boies over the context of words like “compete,” “concerned,” and “we.” When sections of the videotaped deposition were played back in court later that year, the judge was heard laughing and shaking his head. According to BusinessWeek:
Early rounds of his deposition show him providing evasive answers and claiming “I don’t recall” so frequently that even the presiding judge had to laugh. Worse, prosecutors openly disproved many of Gates’ protestations and pleas of ignorance with snippets of e-mails that Gates both sent and received.
Gates later stated that he merely opposed Boies’ attempts to mischaracterize his words and behavior. “Did I spar with Boies?” “I plead guilty to first-degree rudeness to Boies.” Despite Gates’ denials, the judge found Microsoft guilty of monopolization, tying, and obstructing competition, all of which violated the Sherman Antitrust Act.