SAN FRANCISCO — Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen died Monday of complications from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to his company, Vulcan Inc.
Allen, 65, helped found the company in 1975 when he was 22 along with his longtime Seattle-area computer pal, Bill Gates, helping launch the personal computer revolution that transformed society.
Washington state governor Paul Inslee on Monday called Allen “a giant in Washington history.”
Allen’s death comes just two weeks after the technology pioneer announced that he was grappling with a recurrence of the condition.
“Recently, I learned the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma I battled in 2009 has returned,” Allen posted on his personal website on October 1. “I’ve begun treatment & my doctors are optimistic that I will see a good result. Appreciate the support I’ve received & count on it as I fight this challenge.”
FILE – In this July 17, 2001 file photo, Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen appears in a suite in the team’s stadium in Seattle. Allen, billionaire owner of the Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks and Microsoft co-founder, died Monday, Oct. 15, 2018 at age 65. Earlier this month Allen said the cancer he was treated for in 2009, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, had returned. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File) ORG XMIT: NYCL104 (Photo: Elaine Thompson, AP)
Allen left Microsoft fairly early in the pioneering tech company’s life, pivoting to a range of technology investments as well as a passion for cultural ventures such as the Experience Music Project in Seattle.
Allen also was known as the owner of numerous mega-yachts and sports franchises, including the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers and the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks.
Allen’s sister, Jody Allen, said that her brother was a remarkable individual “on every level. While most knew Paul Allen as a technologist and philanthropist, for us he was a much loved brother and uncle, and an exceptional friend.
“Paul’s family and friends were blessed to experience his wit, warmth, his generosity and deep concern,” she said. “For all the demands on his schedule, there was always time for family and friends”
Other tributes poured in Monday, including those from current and former Microsoft leaders.
CEO Satya Nadella wrote on his LinkedIn page that Allen’s “contributions to our company, our industry and to our community are indispensable. As co-founder of Microsoft, in his own quiet and persistent way, he created magical products, experiences and institutions, and in doing so, he changed the world.”
Past CEO Steve Ballmer tweeted that “Paul was a truly wonderful, bright and inspiring person—- and a great friend. I will miss him.”
The story of Allen and Gates founding Microsoft is in some ways even more incredible than the tale of how Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak created Apple. While the latter duo met as young adults, Allen and Gates started their friendship as teens.
Allen actually had the idea that launched Microsoft.
Allen and Gates met when they were both students at Lakeside, an elite private school in Seattle that begins in fifth grade and continues through high school. They first met in 1967 when Allen was 14 and Gates was 12.
Eight years later, Allen showed Gates an article in the magazine Popular Electronics about the Altair 8800, a built-it-yourself computer kit. The duo realized there was a possible business in building software for these newly popular home computers.
In 1975 they moved to Albuquerque and co-founded Microsoft to sell the software. At the time, Allen worked at Honeywell as a programmer. Gates took a leave of absence from Harvard, where he was a student.
Allen is also credited with naming the company, which he did by combining microcomputer and software. At the time many computers were room-filling behemoths and the type of computer they were targeting were called microcomputers
In 1979 they moved their company to Bellevue, Washington across Lake Washington from Seattle. Microsoft quickly cemented the Pacific Northwest city as a high-tech magnet, rivaled only by their Apple rivals down south in Cupertino, Calif.
But where Apple’s fortunes fluctuated as Jobs used his marketing prowess to push against the almost unrivaled hegemony of Microsoft’s products, Microsoft’s exponential growth minted countless millionaires and even billionaires.
Microsoft’s biggest speed bump came at the turn of the Millennium as a result of Department of Justice anti-monopoly suit.
But by that point, Allen had been long gone from the company he had helped create, dabbling instead of everything from space exploration to collecting famous rock guitars.
This story is developing.
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