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Photos: Bill Gates through the ages

30 years in the life of tech's biggest name
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Topic: Developer
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1 of 15 Tim Ferguson/ZDNet

30 years in the life of tech's biggest name

Not an auspicious start for a young William Gates who was caught speeding in Albuquerque, New Mexico in December 1977 during the early days of Microsoft.

Little did anyone know that this young man would become the richest man in the world, possibly the most famous name technology has ever produced and founder of a company which became one of the biggest on earth.

Just days before he finally hangs up his hat as Microsoft's figurehead and inspiration (on 27 June), silicon.com looks back at Bill Gates' career over the past 30 years.

Photo credit: The Smoking Gun



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This shows the early Microsoft crew in 1978, shortly before the company moved from Albuquerque to Washington state.

A fresh-faced Gates is at the bottom left with co-founder Paul Allen at the bottom right.

Photo credit: Microsoft



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Gates and Allen pose by PCs in 1981. Shortly after this picture was taken the company signed a major contract with IBM to write software for a new line of computers.

Photo credit: Microsoft



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Gates chats to Steve Ballmer in 1985 in Gates' Northup office. Ballmer became Microsoft CEO in 2006 when Gates signalled his intention to reduce his day to day role by relinquishing his chief software architect title to become chairman.

Photo credit: Microsoft



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Gates looking like he means business in 1987.

Photo credit: Microsoft



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One of Gates' biggest rivals has been Apple's Steve Jobs. In 1991 the pair featured on the front cover of Fortune magazine. Here's the cover - on display at the Microsoft Visitor Centre museum.

Photo Credit: Ina Fried



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Another official pic but this time enjoying a more casual early 1990s look.

Photo credit: Microsoft



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1995 heralded the biggest Microsoft launch to date with fevered press coverage surrounding the Windows 95 operating system.

Gates launched the new OS at Microsoft's Redmond campus.

The world would get used to this kind of excitement with each subsequent Windows launch.

Photo credit: Microsoft



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The core Microsoft team posing in 2006. From left to right: Gates, chief research and strategy officer, Craig Mundie; chief software architect, Ray Ozzie; and current CEO, Steve Ballmer.

Photo credit: Microsoft



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Gates and Ballmer share a joke at the Microsoft employee town hall where Gates' transition to chairman and part-time worker was announced on 15 June 2006.

Photo credit: Microsoft



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Gates speaks to the world at the Live 8 concert in London's Hyde Park in summer 2006.

He told an estimated worldwide audience of around one billion: "If you show people the problems and you show people the solutions they will be moved to act. The huge turnout for Live 8 here and around the world shows that."

Photo credit: Tony Hallett



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Gates gets unusually animated as he discusses security challenges with Craig Mundie at the 2007 RSA conference in San Francisco.

Photo credit: Microsoft



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In January this year Gates made his final public UK appearance as Microsoft Chairman at the Institute of Directors in London. He demonstrated Microsoft's Surface technology and discussed the future of tech and his charitable foundation.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson



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Gates and wife Melinda listen to Tatomkhulu-Xhosapeak explain how he has lived with and been treated for TB at the Khayelitsha Site B Clinic in Cape Town, South Africa.

This 2006 trip was one of many the couple have taken to understand how their charitable foundation can help reduce poverty and illness.

Gates has stated he will spend a significant amount of his time working on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation after he steps down from Microsoft. The foundation has around $60bn at its disposal after long term Gates pal, venture capitalist Warren Buffett, pledged almost $30bn earlier this year.

Photo credit: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation



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Gates' contribution was recognised at Microsoft's recent Tech Ed developer forum in Orlando, Florida. Here a robot presents him with an Xbox Live lifetime membership gift certificate.

Photo credit: Microsoft



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