19 Oct

Microsoft’s lesser-known co-founder, Paul Allen, who left the company in 1982, has died aged 65 from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (lymphatic cancer), with news of his death bringing praise for his generosity as a philanthropist.

School Friends To Billionaires

School friends Bill Gates and Paul Allen set up Microsoft in April 1975 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. In fact, it was Allen who was credited as coming up with the name Microsoft after the pair rejected the name of “Allen & Gates” because it sounded like a law firm or consulting company. Allen chose ‘Microsoft’ because it was an amalgamation of the words ‘microcomputer’ and ‘software’, and because the pair were originally working on making software to run on microcomputers.

The beginnings of success for Allen and Gates happened when, after re-writing software for the world’s first home computer, they bought Dos (disk operating system) from Digital Research and licensed it to Big Blue for IBM PC operating system.

After leaving Microsoft in 1982, Mr Allen set up media and communications investment firm Vulcan in 1986.

Generous

As well as being someone who enjoyed his own wealth and interest in music and the arts by hosting some memorable parties, Paul Allen was well known for his substantial generosity to some worthy causes. For example, Mr Allen donated a staggering $2bn+ to many causes including ocean health, homelessness and science. His interest in using his own resources to create a better world for all were well known.

Sports Fan

Mr Allen also had a keen interest in sport and was the owner of the Portland Trail Blazers basketball team and Seattle Seahawks football team. Mr Allen saved the Seahawks from having to relocate, and this intervention is partly credited for helping them to reach three Super Bowls, and win the NFL championship in 2013.

Several Battles With Cancer

Paul Allen had several battles with cancer, firstly in 1983 with the blood cancer Hodgkin’s disease, then in 2009 with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, with the final return of the non-Hodgkin lymphoma this year, the complications of which caused his death.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

The results of Paul Allen’s working life now form an essential part of all businesses as he is regarded as being one of the key founders of home computing, which led to PCs being a tool used in nearly all offices and led to the growth of whole industries. Microsoft Corporation, the company he co-founded with his school friend Bill Gates, has gone on to be a multi-national company worth around $800 billion, and third only in value behind trillion dollar tech companies Apple and Amazon.

The Microsoft Windows Operating System for desktop is by far the most popular operating system in the world, with the MS OS second only to Android in popularity for all platforms. In this sense, Paul Allen’s contribution to the world of computing and how it affects all of our lives will continue long into the future.

His work in promoting, helping, and donating to good causes is also likely to have had multiple positive effects around the world too.