Paul Allen, who co-founded Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft with fellow billionaire Bill Gates, has died. He was 65.
Allen died on Monday in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer), according to a statement from Vulcan, his investment firm. He had a net worth of $26.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Allen, along with Gates, helped create an IT industry selling software for a new breed of smaller, more affordable and widely accessible computers.
Allen left Microsoft in 1983 after falling out with Gates and his new lieutenant, Steve Ballmer, in December 1982, Reuters reported.
He recalled in his 2011 memoir “Idea Man,” that he overheard Gates and Ballmer secretly plotting to reduce his ownership stake.
“They were bemoaning my recent lack of production and discussing how they might dilute my Microsoft equity by issuing options to themselves and other shareholders,” Allen wrote.
Gates and Ballmer later apologized but the damage was done and Allen left Microsoft, although he remained on the board until 2000.
Like Gates, Allen was a dedicated philanthropist, giving away more than $1.5 billion in his lifetime and pledging to donate more than half his wealth to charity.
“I am heartbroken by the passing of one of my oldest and dearest friends,” Gates said in a statement. “Paul was a true partner and dear friend. Personal computing would not have existed without him.”
Allen stepped down as an officer of the company in 1983 because he was grappling with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In 2009, Allen was treated for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which two weeks ago he said had returned.
Paul Gardner Allen was born on January 21, 1953, in Seattle to Kenneth and Faye Allen. His father was a university library executive and his mother was a teacher.
Allen went to the Lakeside School, where he met a younger Gates and the two worked on early computer programs in the school’s lab.
He attended Washington State University but didn’t graduate, dropping out and moving to Massachusetts to be closer to fellow computer aficionado Gates, who was attending Harvard University.
In 1975, they founded a company they called Micro-Soft in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after Allen saw a new Altair computer kit on the cover of Popular Electronics magazine and realized computer prices would drop and software would be necessary.
They struggled to produce operating software for Altair and International Business Machines microcomputers. Allen was regarded as the brains of the partnership, while Gates was the marketing whiz, according to Laura Rich, author of ‘The Accidental Zillionaire’, an unauthorized biography of Allen.
Allen, a Microsoft general partner, initially held the title of vice president. When he left in 1983, he was executive vice president in charge of research and new product development. He remained on the board until 2000 and was a senior strategy adviser after that.
“Paul Allen’s contributions to our company, our industry and to our community are indispensable,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement. “In his own quiet and persistent way, he created magical products, experiences and institutions, and in doing so, he changed the world.”
When Microsoft went public in 1986, it had a list price of $21. The company, which posted revenue of $110.4 billion in its latest fiscal year, ended Monday with a market capitalization of more than $825 billion.
Allen is survived by his sister, Jody Allen, who is a co-founder and executive director of the Paul G Allen Family Foundation.