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Billionaire Bill

The man behind Microsoft on the birth of a giant

William Henry Gates III, otherwise known as Bill Gates, is said to be one of the richest individuals on the planet, with an estimated net worth of �28.5 billion, thanks to the stunning success of software giant Microsoft.

The company was co-founded by Gates in 1975 with high school pal Paul Allen when he was only 19 years old. Now, as Chief Software Architect, as well as Chairman of Microsoft, the multi-billionaire is focusing on the development of exciting new products and technologies.

In the four exclusive videos below, Gates enthralls a Growing Business Awards audience with his amusing insights on the early years of the company (then known as Micro-soft!), the drive to make it a success, the obstacles that they had to overcome and the importance of technology to small businesses.

Small beginnings

Gates talks about the company's youth, the problems the teen founders encountered and their culture of hard work. He also reveals his penchant for boy wizard Harry Potter!

Click here to play videoWatch now (6:35)

Tough times

Gates reveals that he forecast the company doubling in size if everything went well. Microsoft did achieve amazing growth, with current CEO Steve Ballmer hired to recruit new staff, but had to endure a tough economic period first.

Click here to play videoWatch now (5:33)

Dotcom and gone

The decision to go public was significant, so what does Gates think of it now? He also highlights the excesses of the dotcom boom and how, in an age of uncertainty, the old rules of profitability and product uniqueness still make the difference.

Click here to play videoWatch now (2:43)

The dream continues...

Gates describes the rapid progress of technology and how it empowers the small business. He is optimistic about the future: Microsoft is currently half-way to seeing their long-term goal realised and the next 10 years will be an economically fantastic period.

Click here to play videoWatch now (4:55)

What next?

Keen to find out more from Bill Gates? Read his vision on smarter software in the 'The New World Of Work'.

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