Microsoft Corp co-founder Paul Allen, the man who persuaded school-friend Bill Gates to drop out of Harvard to start what became the world’s biggest software company, has died. He died on Monday at the age of 65 from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer, the Allen family said in a statement.
Allen, the son of a librarian father and teacher mother, was born in Seattle on Jan. 21, 1953. He was two years older than Gates but when they met in the computer room at the exclusive Lakeside School in Seattle in 1968, they discovered a shared passion.
Allen went on to Washington State University but dropped out in 1974 to take a job with Honeywell in Boston. While there, he pestered Gates, who was studying at nearby Harvard, to quit school and join the nascent revolution in personal computing.
Gates finally agreed and, in 1975, the two jointly developed BASIC software for the Altair 8800, a clunky desktop computer that cost $400 in kit form.
Allen left Microsoft in 1983 after falling out with Gates and his new lieutenant, Steve Ballmer, in December 1982, only months after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but held onto his share of the company. His 28 per cent stake at Microsoft’s initial public offering in 1986 instantly made him a multi-millionaire.
Two year later, Allen bought the Portland Trail Blazers basketball team and became a local hero in 1997 when he purchased the Seattle Seahawks football franchise after the previous owner had tried to move the team to California. The Seahawks won the Super Bowl in February 2014 and both franchises are now valued at many times what Allen, whose wealth peaked at about $30 billion in late 1999, paid for them.
For more on Paul Allen, click the link in our bio.
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