Bill Gates once stated, "We are crossing a technology threshold that will forever change the way we learn, work, socialize, and shop. It will affect all of us and businesses of every type in ways far more pervasive than most people recognize" (Microsoft. com 1994) in a speech, in which he described his vision of the future. His statement, given many years ago, is now a reality as seen in the boom of the computer industry. From government organizations to business enterprises to libraries and to suburban homes, computers are seen and used everywhere playing a big role in the lives of many throughout the world. Gates's company, Microsoft, has led this sudden escalation over the past 20 years through its computer software development and technology research.
It may seem that Bill Gates is not a punk because of his huge contributions to society. However, it was because of Bill Gates's punk attitude that permitted him to revolutionize computing and to become what he is today, the co-founder of Microsoft. Gates is a punk because he challenged the educational system, monopolized the computer industry, and set new standards for the computer industry. Bill Gates did not conform to the educational system from when he was a child to an adolescent, from skipping class to program computers to dropping out of college to start a business.
Furthermore, he established monopoly control over PC operating systems, violating the anti-trust law. Finally, Gates's ambitions for advancing technology and new standards for the computer industry led to the sudden increase of computers allowing for new companies to spring up and jobs to be created. Bill Gates's subtle but obvious opposition against education is proof that he is a punk. Born in 1955, Gates attended public elementary school, and enrolled in the private Lakeside School at age twelve.
The following year, Gates wrote his first computer program, at a time when computers were still room-sized machines run by scientists in white coats. Soon afterwards, he and his friend Paul Allen wrote a scheduling program for the school, which coincidentally placed the two in the same classes as the prettiest girls in school. Among other projects, they developed a program that allowed a computer to count the holes punched in cards by highway traffic monitoring devices. This soon led to Gates's first company, Traf-O-Data, which sold traffic-monitoring system info to local authorities in the Seattle area, earning "$20, 000 in its first year alone" (American Decades 1990-1999 2001). In the fall of 1972, Gates took on a programming job nearby Vancouver, Washington that paid $20, 000 annually, and still managed to graduate with his high school class.
While other kids were in school, Gates was already earning money and becoming a businessman. However, this punk attitude was not only present in Gates's high school career; it was also portrayed during his undergraduate at Harvard. In his junior year at Harvard, he dropped out to team up with Paul Allen and "moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to head a company that he called 'Micro-soft'" (American Decades 1990-1999 2001), a now popular name among many. Because of Gates's disinterest in schooling and interest in computers, he is a punk. Another reason why Gates is a punk is because Microsoft was accused of breaking the anti-trust law. After the anti-trust trial, Judge Jackson wrote up a "blunt 412-paragraph j'accuse that nails Microsoft not only on the two most critical issues - that is has monopoly control over PC operating systems and that it wields power in ways that harm American consumers - but on virtually every count brought against it" (Time 1999).
However, Microsoft begged to differ. Microsoft argued that the company had broken no laws and done no harm to consumers. Microsoft was also charged with overcharging their products because there is no competition. It is also alleged that Gates used illegal methods to smother competition. "Smaller firms have suffered when they found themselves in Microsoft's way... For several years, Microsoft was under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission for anti-competitive business practices based on charges that the company had used it overwhelming size to crush the competition" (American Decades 2001).
Netscape, Apple, and Intel have all fallen victim to Microsoft's gigantic corporation. In one case, Intel had developed a technology that threatened Windows's software standards. Gates threatened to cut Windows support of Intel Pentium Processors if Intel did not cease to work on the developing technology. Judge Jackson decided that Microsoft had to be split up into two separate companies, one that developed Microsoft Windows and one that developed the other Microsoft software such as Encarta and Office. Gates's illegal ways used to eliminate competition and establish a monopoly shows that Gates is a punk. Gates is a punk because his determined plans to advance computer technology were unheard of.
When Bill Gates was born, less than 500 computers existed in the world. The main focus in the computer world was hardware and the term "software" was unknown. Companies like IBM, Compaq and Apple were at the head of the computer industry that built chips, circuit boards, capacitors and controllers for computers. No one had yet attempted to enter the computer software business, a market that soon grew to be larger than its counterpart, computer hardware. When Gates entered high school, the computer business was rapidly transforming at this time.
He saw the real profitable side of computers was not their hardware, but the software. Good software is what makes a computer exciting and easy to use. Bill Gates saw this opportunity and took advantage of it, creating Microsoft and becoming the richest person in the world. "As of 1999, Gates was worth at least $87. 5 billion dollars." (American Decades 1990-1999 2001) Many had thought Gates was too ambitious and thought the idea couldn't be implemented. However, Gates has proved them wrong and Windows software is now used all over the world.
Gates is not a punk because he helped advance technology to what it is now for the better of the society. Because of Gates, our world is filled with computers allowing consumers to access and communicate with each other much easier than it had been in the seventies. Also, Gates is not a punk because he has set up two huge foundations, the William H. Gates Foundation and the Gates Learning Foundation, to fund charitable and philanthropic work, offering over 6 billion dollars of money.
Gates and his wife, Melinda, also launched the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation "to support philanthropic initiatives in global health, especially in the Third World, and in education, especially in the inner cities and low-income communities of the United States and Canada" (American Decades 1990-1999 2003). Even though this is true, Gates is still a punk because he acquired this huge wealth by means of illegal methods. Gates is a punk because he violated anti-trust laws and established a monopoly over the computer software industry. Not only did he establish a monopoly, he also eliminated competition by using threats and bribes, resulting in an anti-trust case regarding Microsoft's monopoly over the software industry. "The idea of a computer on every desk and in every home has evolved into one of computers in a huge variety of places - every room, car, pocket-that 10 years ago we would scarcely have even imagined." (Microsoft, 1994).
Bill Gates's punk attitude has allowed this idea to become a reality, not just another dream. Gates's interest over computers started out as a hobby, but through a strong determination and ambition, his authority over computers is now extremely influential and significant. Gates is a punk of society because he defied the educational system, he established an illegal monopoly over the computer industry, and he effectively industrialized our society to one that is overflowing with computers. This punk attitude has allowed him to become very successful in life and has allowed him to become what he is today, the richest man in the world.