Bill Gates (1955) is an American business magnate, investor, author, philanthropist and humanitarian. He is best known as the principal founder of Microsoft Corporation. Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Gates launched Microsoft with childhood friend Paul Allen in 1975 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It went on to become the world's largest personal computer software company. Gates led the company as chairman and CEO until stepping down as CEO in January 2000, but he remained chairman.