Feeds

Gates and Allen reshoot historic 1981 Microsoft photo

Holding back the years

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

One of the most iconic photos from the history of Microsoft, featuring a lanky young Bill Gates perched next to his coding mentor (the way he tells it) Paul Allen, has been recreated at Seattle's Living Computing Museum.

Bill Gates and Paul Allen 1981

Stand back ladies, form a line

In a 1981 publicity shot for the then virtually unknown software company, a very young-looking 26 year-old Bill Gates slouches next to a bearded Paul Allen, who looks every one of his 28 years and then some.

Back then Microsoft had just reincorporated as Microsoft Inc. based in Washington State – away from its New Mexican roots – with Gates as president/CEO and Allen taking the executive vice president role, while Steve Ballmer was a pushy four-month employee who had been to college with Bill for a while.

The photo was taken two months after the two had signed a deal to deliver an operating system for IBM's business PC, but before anyone else in the industry knew about it. The deal, which was to prove the fountainhead of Redmond's fortunes, was completed thanks to Microsoft buying an operating system from the Seattle Computer Products and rebadging it as its own.

That deal made both men (and a few other people as well) billionaires, but at that point the cracks were already starting to show. According to his autobiography "Idea Man", Allen felt that Gates was trying to dilute his shareholding in the company and was overruling his ideas. In 1982, Allen was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma and withdrew from the company.

Allen used a fraction of the funds from his Microsoft shares to preserve historic computer systems for public use at the Seattle museum. After Gates popped along for a closed visit to the museum, he and Allen posed for a new shot, which was posted on Twitter; both participants look considerably more stylish than they did 32 years ago.

Bill Gates and Paul Allen 2013

Amazing what a few billion dollars can do

Among the systems still surrounding them are an Apple II with twin drives and an ancient monitor in the top left of the picture, with a Commodore Pet below Bill Gates. Readers who can identify the other systems, please let us know in Comments. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?