Tech Pays Tribute To Microsoft’s Paul Allen

Paul Allen Microsoft

Another tech titan passes away, after co-founder of Microsoft, Paul Allen, dies aged just 65

Microsoft’s co-founder Paul Allen has finally been defeated by the disease that plagued his life for many years.

Allen died on Monday afternoon, 15 October, from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in Seattle. He was just 65 years old.

Allen of course founded Microsoft along with his high school buddy Bill Gates back in 1975, and in his later years the billionaire was best known for his philanthropic work, his conservationist activities, as well as owning both the Portland Trail Blazers basketball team and Seattle Seahawks NFL team.

Microsoft years

Allen is thought to be the 46th-richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of $20.3 billion, thanks to his ownership of 100 million Microsoft shares.

According to the Associated Press, Allen is estimated to have donated more than $2bn to philanthropy to various causes including science, education and wildlife conservation.

In 2010 he joined other such as Bill Gates in pledging to give the majority of his fortune to charitable causes after his death.

But it should be noted that Allen had (at times) an uneasy relationship with Microsoft’s Gates and Steve Ballmer.

Allen was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in September 1982, but went on to beat the disease.

But months later in March 1983, he resigned from Microsoft amid accusations that Gates and Ballmer were attempting to reduce his stock holdings in the company.

“One evening in late December 1982,” Allen wrote in his “Idea Man” memoir. “I heard Bill and Steve speaking heatedly in Bill’s office and paused outside to listen in. It was easy to get the gist of the conversation. 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 apparently drove home after that. “I helped start the company and was still an active member of management, though limited by my [cancer], and now my partner and my colleague were scheming to rip me off.”

According to Allen’s narrative, both Gates and Ballmer tried to patch things up but the stresses involved in working for Microsoft – combined with battling a brutal illness – eventually drove Allen to resign from his post.

Other activities

Allen never married or had children, and in 1986 he then went to establish the investment firm Vulcan Inc with his sister Jody Allen.

“My brother was a remarkable individual on every level,” said Jody Allen. “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,” said Jody Allen. “For all the demands on his schedule, there was always time for family and friends. At this time of loss and grief for us – and so many others – we are profoundly grateful for the care and concern he demonstrated every day.”

Allen in the late 1980s and 1990s used his wealth to fund his passion for sport, and to also discover the fate of US and Japanese warships sunk in critical battles during the second world war in the Pacific, including the wreck of the USS Indianapolis.

But wealth could not secure his health, and in 2009 he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Again Allen beat the disease into a period of remission but two weeks ago he revealed the disease’s return, and he pledged to treat it “aggressively.”

Sadly this was one fight too many for Allen, and he passed away on Monday from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Tech tributes

His passing led to many comments from the world of tech.

“I am heartbroken by the passing of one of my oldest and dearest friends,” Gates said in a statement to The Wall Street Journal on Monday. “Paul was a true partner and dear friend. Personal computing would not have existed without him.”

“Very sad to hear of Paul Allen’s passing,” tweeted Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. “His passion for invention and pushing forward inspired so many. He was relentless to the end. My heart goes out to Paul’s family and friends.”

“Our industry has lost a pioneer and our world has lost a force for good, tweeted Tim Cook, Apple CEO. “We send our deepest condolences to Paul’s friends, the Allen family and everyone at Microsoft.”

“We lost a great technology pioneer today – thank you Paul Allen for your immense contributions to the world through your work and your philanthropy,” Sundar Pichai, Google CEO reportedly said. “Thoughts are with his family and the entire Microsoft community.”

“Paul Allen’s contributions to our company, our industry and to our community are indispensable,” tweeted Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

“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.”

“I have learned so much from him – his inquisitiveness, curiosity and push for high standards is something that will continue to inspire me and all of us at Microsoft,” he added. “Our hearts are with Paul’s family and loved ones. Rest in peace.”

“Saddened by the passing of Paul Allen a great leader in tech and a man of all seasons who fully enjoyed his life and wealth yet also gave back to the world at scale,” Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO, reportedly said. “I was especially impressed with how he took care of the Oceans. May the one who brings peace bring peace to all.”

“I was in an on-stage interview when my moderator presented the news,” Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder told BusinessInsider. “I could barely continue. I felt great grief for the world.”

“Paul has done so much for humanity and his values are tops,” he added. “Paul cared about the effect of technology on society. I’m sad and shed a few tears after my event here in Melbourne. I hope that there are more like Paul in the future.”

“Paul was a truly wonderful, bright and inspiring person – and a great friend,” Steve Ballmer reportedly said on Monday. “I will miss him.”.

“I also want to add that Paul’s insights were critical to the creation and success of Microsoft,” he added. “He was a great professional mentor and teacher for me.”

Quiz: How well do you know Microsoft?