William H. Gates
William (Bill) H. Gates is chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft Corporation, a leading provider of software for the personal computer worldwide. Microsoft had revenues of $19.75 billion for the fiscal year ending June 1999, and employs more than 32,000 people in 60 countries.
Gates' foresight and vision regarding personal computing have been central to the success of Microsoft and the software industry. Gates is actively involved in key management and strategic decisions at Microsoft, and plays an important role in the technical development of new products. A significant portion of his time is devoted to meeting with customers and staying in contact with Microsoft employees around the world through e-mail.
Under Gates' leadership, Microsoft's mission has been to continually advance and improve software technology and to make it easier, more cost-effective and more enjoyable for people to use computers. The company is committed to a long-term view, reflected in its investment of more than $3 billion on research and development in the current fiscal year.
In 1999, Gates wrote Business @ the Speed of Thought, a book that shows how digital processes can solve business problems in fundamentally new ways. Co-authored by Collins Hemingway, the book was published in 25 languages and is available in more than 60 countries. Business @ the Speed of Thought has received wide critical acclaim and was listed on the best-seller lists the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal and Amazon.com. Gates' previous book, The Road Ahead, was published in 1995.
In addition to his passion for computers, Gates is interested in biotechnology. He sits on the board of the Icos Corporation and is a shareholder in Darwin Molecular, a subsidiary of British-based Chiroscience. He also founded Corbis Corporation, which is developing one of the largest resources of visual information in the world ' a comprehensive digital archive of art and photography from public and private collections around the globe. Gates also has invested with cellular telephone pioneer Craig McCaw in Teledesic, a company that is working on an ambitious plan to launch hundreds of low-orbit satellites around the globe to provide worldwide two-way broadband telecommunications service.
Bill and Melinda Gates have endowed a foundation with more than $17 billion to support philanthropic initiatives in the areas of global health and learning, with the hope that as we move into the 21st century, advances in these critical areas will be available for all people. To date, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed more than $300 million to organizations working in global health; and more than $300 million to improve learning opportunities, including the Gates Library Initiative to bring computers, Internet Access and training to public libraries in low-income communities in the United States and Canada.