Microsoft Co-founder Paul Allen Dies
CBJ — Paul Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with his childhood friend Bill Gates, has died at the age of 65.
After having originally met at private school north of Seattle, Allen and Gates both dropped out of university to create Microsoft, which made billionaires out of them both.
Microsoft’s big break came in 1980, when IBM decided to move into personal computers and asked Microsoft to provide the operating system.
Gates and company didn’t invent the operating system that made he and his fellow Microsoft executives so rich. To meet IBM’s needs, they spent $50,000 to buy an existing operating system known as QDOS, which had been developed by a programmer named Tim Paterson. Eventually the product refined by Microsoft — and renamed DOS, for Disk Operating System — became the core of IBM PCs and their clones, catapulting Microsoft into its dominant position in the PC industry. By 1991, Microsoft’s Windows operating systems were used by 93% of the world’s personal computers.
A sports enthusiast, Allen opted out of working at Microsoft on a daily basis in 1982 due to health issues. Gates attempted to purchase his shares for $5 apiece, but Allen refused. It was a smart move, because he made billions of dollars when the company later went public.
Although Allen was a technical genius, he had a even bigger passion for sports. Thanks to the fortune he amassed at Microsoft, Allen was able to buy the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers. It was rare that he would miss either teams’ games.
Allen resigned as a member of the board of directors at Microsoft in 2000, although he did occasionally offer advice to executives following that departure.
Gates said he was heartbroken about the loss of one of his “oldest and dearest friends.”