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Paul G. Allen

January 21, 1953, Seattle, USA

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Paul Allen's site

Achievement

Founded Microsoft together with Bill Gates

Biography

Attends World's Fair at Seattle Center



At Lakeside School, Paul Allen (14 years old) and friend Bill Gates (12 years old) became early computer enthusiasts. Allen went on to attend Washington State University, though he dropped out after two years to pursue his and Gates's dream of writing software commercially for the new "personal computers".

Allen and Gates and a small group of other Lakeside students begin programming in BASIC, using a teletype terminal.

Helps teach computer course to junior high students at Lakeside.

Graduates from Lakeside; enrolls at Washington State University.

Allen and Gates buy an Intel 8008 chip for $360 and build a computer to measure traffic.They launch their first company, Traf-O-Data.

Hired as a programmer by Honeywell in Boston.

Allen and Gates write the first microcomputer BASIC for the Altair, a computer kit based on Intel's new 8080 chip. They move to Albuquerque, N.M., where Altair's producer MITS makes Allen its associate director of software. Allen divides his time between MITS and a new company he and Gates have started to develop and market microcomputer languages: Micro Soft.

Apple commissions Microsoft to supply a version of its BASIC for the hot-selling Apple II. Radio Shack buys a Microsoft BASIC for its TRS-80.

Microsoft moves from Albuquerque to Bellevue, Wash.
Microsoft agrees to develop and license DOS and BASIC to IBM for its new personal computer.

Gates and Allen discuss graphical user interfaces, planting the seeds that will become Windows.

Allen and Gates found Microsoft (initially "Micro Soft") in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and begin selling a BASIC interpreter. Allen spearheads a deal for Microsoft to buy an operating system called QDOS for $50,000. Microsoft wins a contract to supply it to for use as the operating system of IBM's new PC. This becomes the foundation for Microsoft's remarkable growth.

Allen was forced to resign from Microsoft in 1983 after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease which was successfully treated by several months of radiation therapy.

In 1984 he founded Asymetrix, a software development company based in Belleuve, Washington, to make application development tools that nonprogrammers can use. Asymetrix later went on to become Click2learn.com and yet later merged with Docent to become Sum Total System (2004). In the 1990's the company began to specialize in software for developing and delivering computer-based learning.

1992 Allen started Starwave, a producer of online content sites. Starwave did such great work for ESPN SportsZone and ABCNews.com that Disney (NYSE: DIS) bought it for a total of $350 million.

1998 In April Allen buys Marcus Cable, the nation's 10th largest cable company, for $2.8 billion--his biggest investment to date. Also this year Allen grabbed a stake of the Internet video-sales market with his purchase of Hollywood Entertainment. And he took another software group public. This time it's Asymetrix Learning Systems, maker of products for online classes.

On September 28, 2000 - Microsoft Corp. announced that Paul Allen is assuming a new role as senior strategy adviser to top Microsoft executives. The company also announced that Allen and Richard Hackborn have decided not to seek re-election to Microsoft's board of directors at the company's November shareholder meeting.

In December 2003 he announced that he was the sponsor behind the SpaceShipOne private rocket plane venture from Scaled Composites, as part of the ANSARI X PRIZE competition. In June 2004, SpaceShipOne became the first successful commercial spacecraft when it passed the 100 kilometer threshold of space.

In September 2003, Allen founded the Allen Institute of Brain Science pledging $100 million in seed money to the Seattle-based organization. Its inaugural project is the Allen Brain Atlas, a map of the human brain which will be made publicly accessible. The Brain Atlas is a component of the loosely formed Human Cognome Project.

Starting in 2003, Vulcan Ventures began funding Project Halo, an attempt to apply Artificial Intelligence techniques to the problem of producing a digital Aristotle that might serve as a mentor, providing comprehensive access to the world's knowledge.

Allen is a major contributor to the SETI, or Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence project.

He is also the founder of the Experience Music Project, originally inspired by his interest in a museum to house his considerable collection of Jimi Hendrix memorabilia.

Allen runs a venture capital firm, Vulcan Ventures, and has created the Experience Music Project, a museum of music history, in Seattle, Washington.

He owns (through Rose City Radio Corporation) some Portland radio stations. When he heard Seattle's Cinerama movie theater was about to shut down, he bought, restored, and updated it into a showplace for movies of all formats. He is also one of the principal financiers behind the SETI project, having stepping in to rescue the project when NASA stopped funding it in the 1990s.

Allen owns the Flying Heritage Collection.

Currently Allen is the owner of the Portland Trail Blazers (an NBA basketball team) and the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League. He also owns Rose Garden Arena, the home court of the NBA Blazers team. Due to declining attendance in 2002 and 2003, as well as difficulties renegotiating the terms of a 1993 loan, the Rose Garden corporation filed for bankruptcy on February 27, 2004.

In June of 2004, Allen opened the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, located at the Experience Music Project.


Chronology

1953
Born on January 21, Seattle, USA

1967
At Lakeside Primary School

1971
Washington State University, leaves the university a few years later to pursue other goals.

1975
Allen and Gates found Microsoft (initially "Micro Soft") in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

1983
Allen develops Hodgkin's disease; leaves Microsoft in 1983

1984/5
Founds Asymetrix.

1986
Vulcan Ventures is founded by Paul Allen to manage his investments.

1992
Allen started Starwave, a producer of online content sites.

1998
April Allen buys Marcus Cable, his largest investment so far

2000
On September 28, Paul Allen is assuming a new role as senior strategy adviser at Microsoft Corp.

2003
In September Allen founded the Allen Institute of Brain Science

2004
As of this year he is ranked by Forbes magazine as the fifth richest, worth an estimated $21 billion, $5 billion of which is in Microsoft stock.

In June SpaceShipOne, sponsored by one of Allen's foundations, became the first successful commercial spacecraft when it passed the 100 kilometer threshold of space.

 

Honors and awards

Awarded Life-Time Achievement Award by PC Magazine.

Inducted into the Computer Museum Hall of Fame.

 

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