Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder, dead at 65

“Paul Allen, the fiercely private Microsoft co-founder known as much for his love of sports, rock music, and philanthropic endeavors as his software creation, died late Monday,” Jon Swartz reports for Barron’s. “He was 65.”

“Allen’s investment firm, Vulcan, announced his death from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” Swartz reports. “Two weeks ago, Allen revealed he started treatment for the disease, the same type of cancer he was treated for in 2009.”

“Allen was the low-key partner who convinced his friend Bill Gates to drop out of Harvard in 1975 to start what would become [at one time] the world’s biggest software company,” Swartz reports. “It was Allen who came up with the name ‘Micro-Soft,’ Allen claimed in his 2011 memoir, ‘Idea Man.’ The hyphen was later dropped… Health issues related to Hodgkin’s lymphoma forced Allen to leave Microsoft in 1983, although he remained on the company’s board until 2000.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: R.I.P.


  1. “Apple co-founder and legendary inventor Steve Wozniak was left visibly moved after hearing of the death of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen while speaking at an event in Melbourne on Tuesday.”

    Interestingly, Paul Allen and Steve Wozniak met for the first time in 2017.

  2. Whenever someone who amassed an enormous wealth hoard passes away, I can’t help but think about how in the end it doesn’t matter how much wealth you accumulated. You can’t take any of it with you, and you can’t outrun the reaper. We’re all actually the same regardless of the size of our bank accounts.

    1. Very nice and interesting sentiments that I’ve shared. That’s why I personally think that leaving a legacy, family and achievements is also an important consideration. Paul Allen certainly leaves a legacy that will endure for quite some time.

      May he rest in peace.

    1. For how much access Isaacson had to Jobs, the much-hyped biography was sorely lacking. It had enormous time lapses and poor detail, completely glossing over key people and moments in Jobs’ life.

      I wouldn’t hire Isaacson to write the biography of the family dog.

  3. During his eulogies, let’s not forget that Allen was complicit, along with Gates and Monkey Boy Ballmer, with stealing MacOS whose basics Jobs and Wozniak purchased. We suffered years of bad computing and instances of MS’s top brass looking to extinguish Apple’s innovations and downright kill it the company. That’s the major indicator and distinguisher of the two companies’ MOs.

    1. John, it is much more complicated than that. Just like Cook has chosen to be “frenemies” with Samsung, Apple would not have succeeded without collaborating repeatedly with Microsoft.

      Floating-point Basic on the Apple II — that was actually written by Microsoft.

      Microsoft continued to do coding for the Apple II after that as well.

      While Jobs lost focus and went of on his Lisa project, Microsoft was outmaneuvering IBM. Gates and Allen and Ballmer had the guts to sell an unfinished QDOS (acquired for $50k from Seattle Computers) to IBM. That deal set them up for life and convinced them to be in the OS business, not in the computer hardware business.

      Jobs should have seen Microsoft as a direct competitor then, but he was blind and arrogant. As Microsoft got richer and stronger and halfway competent at OS writing, Apple finally pivoted and started work on the Mac. Had Apple managed it well, it should have been a lasting victory. Unfortunately, His Steveness himself made the dumbass move of giving Bill Gates a sneak preview of the Mac before the public unveiling, which obviously scared Gates. The Mac had no problem killing off Atari, Commodore, Amstrad, Sinclair, Tandy, etc. but Jobs had underestimated Microsoft. With firsthand knowledge of Jobs’ poker hand, plus significant legacy apps that Microsoft had developed for Apple, the Frenemy period began. Microsoft frantically worked on Windows while at the same time writing Chart and File apps for the Mac to go along with the MacWrite and MacPaint apps that Apple developed in house. Microsoft wisely acquired Excel and ported it to the Mac. Everyone was happy and Jobs thought his competitor was IBM. In autumn 1985, Microsoft released Windows 1.0 as an OS that any hardware maker could install.

      Apple was slow to respond. Jobs knew he had the best OS but he squandered the lead by charging too much for Mac hardware, allowing PC clones to easily undercut Mac prices.

      Apple had painted itself into a corner: if Apple took legal action against Windows code copying, then Microsoft would withdraw Word and Excel for the Mac.

      By 1992, Microsoft finally had a system (Windows 3.1) that the public essentially decided was “good enough”. By Windows 95, Microsoft had more resources, more money, and were actually out-innovating Apple in some areas. Scully was inadequately creative to improve either the Mac OSes or achieve economies of scale to stay cost competitive.

      By 1997, with Jobs back at Apple, he realized the war was lost. Jobs essentially said so at the 1997 MacWorld Expo. Jobs immediately laid the groundwork for replacing the Mac Classic OS and focusing Apple’s dwindling resources on new markets, with the iMac focused at beginner users and the iPod aimed at audio enthusiasts being two huge hits.

      Ever since Apple has coasted on Jobs’ laurels.

      1. I probably should elaborate more. Apple really hit its stride circa 2001 and had a phenomenal decade until Steve’s death, when he built a culture that was mindful of two things: as underdog with lower production rates and higher costs, Apple had no choice but to deliver a higher quality product that delighted customers. Everyone at Apple knew it and worked their asses off to make it happen.

        Cook, whose claim to fame was to outsource Apple production to the Chinese suppliers that had handled Compaq production in an effort to lower costs, has demonstrated that instead of quality, his mission in life is to get people to buy into renting apps and online storage. The Mac has stagnated and is easily outperformed by competitors costing significantly less in honest lifetime cost comparison. The iPod, Airport, and other lineups were left to rot on the vine. Nothing but replicating the iOS app store with different size widgets and renting music and icloud storage matters to Cook. Apple has lost the ability to serve the computing needs of dozens of markets: engineering, education, VR pros and entry level computer buyers alike. The saddest part is, Microsoft continues to win more customers by doing what it always did, offering a good enough product at a cheaper price. Cook has let Apple get fat and slow, selling game apps to iPhone addicts, while Windows continues to grow in global market share and profit. Windows didn’t kill the Mac. Cook killed the Mac.

        1. Well said and true. btw Jobs made the same Microsoftian error allowing his “loyal” Board member Eric Schmidt view the iPhone, only to have Schmidt betray him and copy it as Android. Jobs sadly thought legal patents and courts would protect Apple. Interesting that for all of Job’s secretiveness, he was hurt the most by secrets shared with his inner circle.

  4. Back in the mid 90’s I was DJ-ing a hoytie toytie Christmas party at the Seattle Art Museum for some successful startup. Everyone in the joint looked like, and was presumably worth, a million bucks. Needless to say I felt like a fish out of water. Nobody talked to me or even acknowledged my presence, which was fine as I was just hired to keep the hits coming.

    There was one guy at the party who looked as out of place as me. Not many people spoke to him nor was he as sharply dressed as all the young hipsters. He worked his way over to my work station and started rifling through all my CD’s, intelligently commenting on all the classics. For the next 10 minutes we had a delightful conversation about rock history, guitars and the pathetic state of Seattle sports.

    He was clearly different than anyone in the room. I assumed that he might be the janitor, uncomfortable around all the affluence. In Christian “charity” I extended my hand, “Great to meet you. I’m Shaun”.

    “Nice to meet you. I’m Paul Allen”
    RIP Paul. Thank you for your humility and many contributions to our city. Say hi to Jimi.

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