Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder
Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft and a prominent leader of both business and philanthropy in the Seattle area, stamped his mark on the city’s economy and culture as well as its skyline as he pursued a wide range of passions from science to sports. Allen died at age 65 from complications of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, just two weeks after announcing he had restarted treatment for the cancer that he had previously fought off in 2009. Allen co-founded Redmond tech giant Microsoft with childhood friend Bill Gates in 1975. Microsoft’s creation – and the region’s eventual transformation into a world center for software development – began with Allen and his pal Gates sneaking into a University of Washington building to tinker with its large mainframe computer. Later it was Allen who brought Gates a magazine article about one of the first personal computers, excited about the opportunity for them to create software for the nascent platform. They co-founded Microsoft in 1975, launching one of the most profitable businesses ever. After leaving the company in 1983, he turned his focus to a wide range of other business and scientific pursuits, which ranged from founding the Allen Institute for Brain Science to the real estate arm of Vulcan, which went on to build much of Amazon’s campus.
Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen, Microsoft’s Co-Founder (New York Times)