Where are they now? Microsoft's original whizz kids

By Ifunanya Ifeacho
Sunday 23 October 2011 06:32

1 Steve Wood, 56, worked as a programmer for Microsoft before leaving with his wife in 1980. Wood worked with Paul Allen (see below) on a few projects before going on to found SinglePoint, a wireless software provider for mobile phones. Wood is now president and chief executive of Dategrity Corporation, a data security company. He is married to MarIa Wood (see below), and the couple are worth an estimated $15m.

2 Bob Wallace was at Microsoft until 1983, when he left to start up Quicksoft, another software business – but this one wasn't a success, and Wallace sold it on before embarking on psychedelic drug research through the Promind Foundation, founded jointly with his wife. Wallace died of pneumonia in 2002, aged 53 and worth $5m.

3 Jim Lane joined Microsoft as a project manager, and as a result of his work in collaboration with Intel, is credited with creating the relationship between the software giant and the computer hardware manufacturer. Jaded with the business, Lane left in 1985, going on to run his own software consultancy. He now lives in Washington state with his wife and children, and is worth an estimated $20m.

4 Bob O'Rear, now 64, is renowned for running the project which got the first MS-DOS operating system on an IBM PC. He quickly moved up the ranks from chief mathematician to director of international sales and marketing, before finally leaving in 1993. Nowadays, he is the business side of a family cattle ranch operation in Texas, while also serving on the boards of several hi-tech firms, and is worth an estimated $100m.

5 Bob Greenberg worked at Microsoft from 1977 to 1981, but went on to make a fortune with his family through the Cabbage Patch Dolls. With an estimated worth of $20m, Greenberg now lives in Florida with his wife and three children, developing golf software.

6 Marc McDonald was Microsoft's first employee, working with Bob Greenberg on the Basic programming language. Disgruntled with corporate culture, he left in 1984, taking with him share options worth $1m, before going to work with Paul Allen (see below) at Asymetrix Corp, a software design specialist. McDonald now lives in Seattle, and works as chief software scientist with the software firm Design Intelligence, now owned by Microsoft.

7 Gordon Letwin worked at Microsoft for longer than anyone other than Gates himself. He left in 1993 to spend more time with his wife. Worth an estimated $20m, Letwin now divides his time between his Seattle home and Arizona ranch.

8 Bill Gates, 52, founded Microsoft with Paul Allen in 1975 and propelled it into a lead position in the software market. He is now the third richest man in the world, worth an estimated $58bn.

9 Andrea Lewis was Microsoft's first technical writer, before leaving in 1983 to become a freelance journalist. She lives in Seattle with her husband and children, where she built a literary centre in the former home of the poet Richard Hugo that offers a haven for writers. From the shares she took with her on leaving Microsoft, she is estimated to be worth $2m.

10 Marla Wood worked for Microsoft in administration until 1980, when she left with her husband, Steve, after filing a sex discrimination suit against the company. This was settled out of court. She now looks after her children and works as a volunteer.

11 Paul Allen, 55, founded Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975. In 1983, he left after ill health due to Hodgkin's disease. Until 2000, he still served on the company's board, but then left to pursue his own business interests. He is now chairman of Vulcan Inc, an investment management company that he founded, as well as being the owner of three sport teams – the Seattle Seahawks (American football), the Seattle Sounders (Major League Soccer) and the Portland Trail Blazers (basketball). Allen has amassed a fortune of about $16bn, helped in no small part by his investment portfolio.

12 Miriam 'Mama' Lubow, the much-loved Microsoft secretary, was unable to attend the 1978 shoot after being trapped in her home by a snowstorm, but was brought out of retirement for the new photo.

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