Bill Gates

Founder, Microsoft

Bill Gates is founder and former CEO of Microsoft. A geek icon, tech visionary, and business trailblazer, Gates' leadership—fueled by his long-held dream that millions might realize their potential through great software—made Microsoft a personal computing powerhouse and a trendsetter in the Internet dawn. Whether you're a suit, chef, quant, artist, media maven, nurse or gamer, you've probably used a Microsoft product today.

In summer of 2008, Gates left his day-to-day role with Microsoft to focus on philanthropy. Holding that all lives have equal value (no matter where they're being lived), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has now donated staggering sums to HIV/AIDS programs, libraries, agriculture research, and disaster relief—offering vital guidance and creative funding to programs in global health and education. Gates believes his tech-centric strategy for giving will prove planet Earth's next big upgrade.

In his second annual letter, released in late January 2010, Gates takes stock of his first full year with the Gates Foundation. Read Bill Gates' annual letter for 2010, and follow his ongoing thinking on his personal website, The Gates Notes.

Focus: Aid, Business, Development, Ethics, Human Rights, Technology, United States, Global

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Last Updated: Feb 18, 2010

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