Bill Gates Lesson for Kids: Biography & Facts

Instructor: Ashley Smith

Ashley has taught elementary school and has a Master's Degree in Elementary Education.

Bill Gates is one of the richest and most influential people in the world. He has changed the technology world and strives to make the world a better place through his charitable work. Let's learn about Bill Gates, his life, and his accomplishments.

Bill Gates' Early Life

On Oct. 28, 1955, in Seattle, Washington, William Henry Gates III was born. He is known to the world as Bill Gates, the ambitious computer programmer who became a famous entrepreneur, one of the richest people in the world, and founder of the software company Microsoft. Let's learn about Bill starting with his youth.

Bill Gates

His dad, William Henry Gates II, was a lawyer. Bill's mom, Mary Maxwell Gates, was a teacher. He grew up as a middle child with two sisters: Kristianne and Libby. As a young child, Bill loved reading and excelled in school. His parents even became worried that he was bored at school and decided to enroll him in a private school in Seattle, Lakeside School. Here, Bill excelled in many different subjects, but his real passion was computers.

Exploring Computers

During a time when computers were not everyday items, his Lakeside School was lucky enough to have a computer lab, where Bill spent hours upon hours. It was there that he met Paul Allen, who would later become his business partner and co-founder of Microsoft.

In 1970, when Bill was just 15, he and Paul developed Traf-o-Data, a computer program that monitored traffic patterns in Seattle and sent reports to traffic engineers. Bill wanted to start a business with Traf-o-Data, but his parents wanted him to go to college and become a lawyer. So, when Bill graduated from Lakeside School in 1973, he went to Harvard University.

Bill was mostly aimless during his college years. And when new technologies were released to the market in 1975, he decided to drop out and follow his dream of starting a business with his high school buddy Paul Allen, and that business was Microsoft.


The word 'Microsoft' is a combination of the words micro-computer and software. In 1980, IBM asked Microsoft to develop an operating system for its new computers. This was Microsoft's big break. Not only did Microsoft develop software for IBM, but Microsoft also sold the software to other companies who developed computers similar to IBM's. They developed a dominance over the computer software industry early on.

Paul was diagnosed with cancer in 1983 and played a smaller role in Microsoft from then on. But with Bill leading the way, the company saw great success. In 1985, Microsoft released Windows, an operating system that allowed the user to navigate the screen using a mouse.

Microsoft faced several lawsuits in the 1990s, including charges for running an illegal monopoly and practicing unlawful conduct. Microsoft settled and won many of these lawsuits and, despite these roadblocks, went on to become a leader in the technology world.

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