Bill Gates: 10 memorable moments

A PC industry without Bill Gates is almost unthinkable. And yet it's almost upon us. Here are some fond memories.

7. Mr. Gates Builds His Dream House (1988 to 1995)

147036-bill-gates-house

What do you do when you have more money than God? Build a house fit for a deity, of course. Gates's mansion on the shores of Lake Washington in Seattle took seven years to complete and cost somewhere between $40 million and $100 million, depending on which source you accept. According to Fortune Magazine, "It was a bachelor's dream and a bride's nightmare: 40,000 square feet with several garages, a trampoline room, an indoor pool, a theater with a popcorn machine, and enough software and high-tech displays to make a newlywed feel as though she were living inside a video game."

After their wedding, Melinda apparently toned down some of the house's boy-toyishness. Still, as PBS's Robert X. Cringely reported, visitors to the home were asked to wear electronic badges that allowed the house "to adjust climate, music, lighting--even the electronic artwork on the walls--to match their preferences as they move from room to room. And what happens when more than one person is in a room? The reality of active badges is that Bill Gates is still king. When Bill is in the room, his taste rules."

Second Career: Home builder? I think we'd rather just rent.

8. Bill Gets Hitched (January 1, 1994)

When you're the world's richest man you have to work double-time to hide from the public eye. So when Gates decided to marry former Microsoft product manager Melinda French, he organized the wedding on the tiny Hawaiian island of Lanai, booked every hotel room on the island, and rented every helicopter in the state to frustrate potential paparazzi.

The $1 million ceremony took place on the 12th tee of the Manele Bay Hotel golf course. On the guest list: best man Steve Ballmer, Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen, Warren Buffet, and Washington Post doyenne Katherine Graham. The band? Singer Willie Nelson.

Second Career: Wedding planner? We like Bill's style, but it's too rich for our blood. We'll stick with J-Lo.

9. Microsoft Remains Intact (June 28, 2001)

147036-Thomas_Jackson

Bill & Co. dodged a major bullet when a federal appeals court overruled U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's decision in United States v. Microsoft, rescinding his order to split the company in two. The appellate court found that Microsoft had indeed acted as a monopoly in bundling Internet Explorer with Windows, but it ruled Jackson's remedy too harsh. By then, Gates had already stepped down as Microsoft CEO, having handed the reins to Steve Ballmer in January 2000. Who knows? If Microsoft had been split, Gates might have found himself competing with his old college buddy Ballmer--and Yahoo might be trying to buy them instead.

Second Career: Yahoo employee? That's something we'd like to see.

10. Bill Gets His Sheepskin (June 7, 2007)

147036-gates-gets-degree

More than 30 years after dropping out of Harvard, Bill finally got to flip his tassels. As a student, Gates was known to prefer poker and programming over attending classes, but in June 2007 he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree after delivering the commencement address at his alma mater. Also receiving an honorary law degree that day: former Celtics star Bill Russell. So it was a good day for Bills all around.

Remember kids, stay in school. And if you can't manage that, starting your own software empire and dominating the world for 30 years isn't a bad fallback plan.

Second Career: Career counselor? One thing is certain: Nobody knows more about second careers than Bill. He's a natural.

PC World (US) Contributing Editor Dan Tynan is going to miss having Bill Gates to kick around. When not waxing snarky about Microsoft, he tends the Tynan on Technology blog.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dan Tynan

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?