Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dead at 65

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dead at 65

Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Paul Allen has passed away due to complications from non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 65.

Allen co-founded Microsoft with childhood friend Bill Gates in 1975, and came up with the company’s original name: Micro-Soft.

Allen was at the company when it got its big break by securing the contract to provide the operating system for IBM’s first foray into personal computers, and purchasing the operating system then known as QDOS from programmer Tim Paterson for US$50,000 ($70,000).

QDOS was later renamed MS-DOS, which quickly became the dominant operating system in the PC industry.

Allen effectively resigned from Microsoft in 1982 after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, but maintained his shares despite efforts by Gates to buy him out, resulting in him becoming a billionaire at age 37.

He was the 46th richest man in the world at the time of his death with a net worth of an estimated US$20.3 billion ($28.4 billion). Allen resigned from the Microsoft board in November 2000.

A 1970s image of Paul Allen sitting at a desk with a computer terminal in front of him

An archival image of Paul Allen. Courtesy Microsoft.

Allen founded his philanthropic venture Vulcan Inc. as an investment and project management company in 1986 and established the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation in 1988. In 2008, his lifetime philanthropic giving reached $1 billion in total.

Allen also founded companies including Stratolaunch Systems — a company aiming to develop an air launch to orbit system — and independent film production company Vulcan Productions.

“All of us who had the honour of working with Paul feel inexpressible loss today. He possessed a remarkable intellect and a passion to solve some of the world’s most difficult problems, with the conviction that creative thinking and new approaches could make profound and lasting impact,” Vulcan Inc CEO Bill Hilf said in a statement.

“Millions of people were touched by his generosity, his persistence in pursuit of a better world and his drive to accomplish as much as he could with the time and resources at his disposal.”

Main image by Beatrice de Gea, courtesy Vulcan Inc.

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