Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies at 65 | News | DW | 15.10.2018
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Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies at 65

The US billionaire Paul Allen, the man who co-founded Microsoft alongside Bill Gates, has passed away because of cancer complications, his family said. The IT magnate and philanthropist was 65.

Paul Allen (L) pictured with Bill Gates in 1981 (picture-alliance/dpa/Microsoft)

Paul Allen, left, pictured with Bill Gates in 1981

The US philanthropist Paul Allen passed away in Seattle on Monday at the age of 65 following complications of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Allen co-founded the IT giant Microsoft alongside Bill Gates in 1975. He was also the owner of Vulcan Inc., a business and philanthropic enterprise headquartered in Seattle. 

Gates said he was "heartbroken by the passing of one of my oldest and dearest friends."

"Personal computing would not have existed without him," Gates said, adding that Allen "channeled his intellect and compassion" into "improving people's lives and strengthening communities in Seattle and around the world."

Allen's sister, Jody Allen, said 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," she said in a statement.

Read more: How the design of computers evolved over 75 years

Earlier this month, Allen himself announced that he would be back in treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma after overcoming the cancer nine years ago.

The programmer was involved with Microsoft for eight years after founding it with his high school friend Gates. He left the company after being diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 1983, the year Microsoft published the very first version of its Windows operating system and text processing program, Microsoft Word. Despite leaving the firm at the age of 30, Allen continued to build his fortune in IT and investments. 

Allen was also a skilled electric guitar player, performing with his band the Underthinkers.

Foretelling the Internet and smartphones

"I expect the personal computer to become the kind of thing that people carry with them, a companion that takes notes, does accounting, gives reminders, handles a thousand personal tasks," he wrote in Personal Computing magazine in 1977.

That same year, he outlined his vision of computer networking to Microcomputer Interface magazine.

"What I do see is a home terminal that's connected to a centralized network by phone lines, fiber optics or some other communication system," he said. "With that system you can perhaps put your car up for sale or look for a house in a different city or check out the price of asparagus at the nearest grocery market or check the price of a stock."

Microsoft pays respect

Following the news of his death, Microsoft tweeted that the entrepreneur's contributions to the company "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," said the tech giant's CEO, Satya Nadella.

The businessman was also the owner of the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers and the NFL's Seattle Seahawks. Forbes estimates Allen's net worth at over $20 billion (€17.3 billion). The 65-year-old is believed to have donated over $2 billion to various causes, including fighting homelessness and improving ocean health.

dj/amp (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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