Many people ask, “Did Bill Gates drop out of college?” The answer is yes! As a child, Bill Gates excelled in school and loved to read reference books in his free time. However, by age 12 Gates began to lose interest in the subject matter and even appeared bored with his education. Therefore, his parents decided to enroll him at a preparatory school know as Seattle’s Lakeside School. He very quickly began to shine in all his subjects, especially math and science.
Additionally, students were offered blocks of time to work within the school’s computer lab, and Gates very quickly became enthralled with the functionality and potential that the machine offered. He created a similar version of tic-tac-toe using BASIC language, and shortly after this accomplishment Gates became close friends with student Paul Allen.
They continued to create additional programs together such as a payroll and scheduling program, and by age 15 Gates went into business with Allen. There first venture was on a program entitled “Traf-O-Data” which monitored Seattle’s traffic patterns. After netting approximately $20,000 on the software, the two desired to start a company, however, Gates’ parents still wanted Bill to go to college and become an attorney.
Shortly into his time at Harvard, Gates reunited with Allen who decided to leave Washington State University after 2 years of study. Gates decided to drop out of college shortly after. They began to read up on the Altair 8800 mini-computer kit created by Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS) and were amazed at what this system could offer. They convinced the President of MITS to meet them for a demo on a software program that they were creating that would help run the Altair. Truth be told, the two had not started working on anything up to that point, but were rather gauging the interest of MITS.
Within 2 short months, Gates and Allen created a successful product and began to work with MITS shortly after. In 1975 they formed the partnership Micro-Soft which became Microsoft shortly after. Computer hobbyists quickly started to distribute the software to others for free, making it difficult for Gates and Allen to make the necessary profit. This enraged Gates as he expected to be paid for the software as good business practice.
Once MITS President stepped down, Gates and Allen were left on their own again. The company continued to create software for additional companies, and Gates took a large majority of his time to promote Microsoft and build awareness. He would frequently take his mother, Mary, with him who was highly respected within various corporate boards. This is eventually how Bill met IBM’s CEO and made a deal to create an operating system that would run on their computers. Gates sold each copy for a licensing fee, which very quickly catapulted the organization’s success.