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Paul Allen is an American philanthropist, businessman, investor and innovator best known for being the co-founder of Microsoft along with Bill Gates. He left Microsoft in 1982, citing illness as the reason, but stayed on the Microsoft board until 2000 and continued to own Microsoft shares earning him around $800 million in dividends in the past decade alone. He also owns various other companies in the real estate and aerospace industries, as well as owning professional sports teams.
Paul Allen was born in Seattle in 1953. He attended Lakeside School where he met Bill Gates, who was three years his junior, and whom he shared a mutual passion for technology. They both developed their skills and passion for computers by using the school's Teletype terminal to gain access to various time-sharing computer systems. Allen then went on to study at Washington State University, but dropped out after two years in order to become a programmer for Honeywell in Boston near Harvard, where Bill Gates was studying. He then convinced Gates to drop out of school in order to develop Altair BASIC for MITS, and Microsoft was formed shortly after. The program was successful to the point that it was pirated by hobbyists. BASIC interpreters became Microsoft's core business until 1981 when MS-DOS was released.
Allen left Microsoft in 1982 due to severe illness, he had Hodgkin's disease, but there were also allegations that Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer were trying to push him out and so he left feeling betrayed. After Microsoft, Allen founded many other companies in the technology and financial sector such as Vulcan Capital, which invests in other tech companies. He also founded Interval Research Corporation with David Liddle in 1992. In 2011, he created Stratolaunch Systems, an Aerospace company dedicated to developing a launch system that consists of a dual-bodied aircraft capable of carrying a rocket at high altitude for sub-orbital launch. Allen also dabbles in real estate and owns the Portland Trail Blazers, an NBA team, and the Seattle Seahawks, which is an NFL team.