Gates thinks big, gives big

How do you measure Bill Gates' success?

Forbes magazine puts a dollar figure on the Seattle, Washington-area native's net worth -- $46.6 billion in 2003 -- and crowned him the world's richest person for the seventh year in a row. His company, Microsoft, reports that it raked in $32.19 billion in revenues for the fiscal year ending in June 2003, ranking it among Fortune's top 50 largest U.S.-based corporations. And by donating $600 million a year and creating a charitable foundation with a $26 billion endowment, Gates is the world's largest private giver, according to The Washington Post.

His trademark glasses and restrained speech notwithstanding, most everything about Gates is big -- his business, wealth and philanthropy. He's a hero to some; a reviled monopolist to others. "I think we are a little bit like the Yankees in that we've got a good track record, and sometimes people get a kick out of saying if we don't win, 'Hey, that's fascinating, why didn't they win?'" Gates said in late March 2004 of Microsoft, according to the high-tech publication eWeek. The son of an attorney and a schoolteacher, Gates began computer programming in 1968, when he was 13. He entered Harvard in 1973, where he befriended future Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Gates developed a version of the BASIC computer language for the first microcomputer, the MITS Altair, during his stint at Harvard.

News source: CNN

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