Microsoft Co-Founder Leaves Personal Computing, AI Legacies

Paul G. Allen, one of the pillars in the history of modern computers, died at age 65 of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a disease he battled for decades, according to The New York Times.

“I am heartbroken by the passing of one of my oldest and dearest friends, Paul Allen,” Microsoft founder Bill Gates said in a statement Monday, as reported on CNN. “Paul was a true partner and dear friend. Personal computing would not have existed without him.”

Allen, one of the co-founders of Microsoft with Bill Gates, left the company in the early ’80s after the cancer first appeared, but stayed involved with the board until 2000. He created the MS-DOS operating system after the duo purchased a system from a programmer in Seattle, leading to Microsoft’s dominance with the first mass market personal computer through a deal with IBM.

Allen and Gates after signing the deal with IBM.

In addition to helping build Seattle into a modern city and buying its NFL team, as well as contributing to science and philanthropic pursuits, such as the Allen Institute for Brain Science in 2003, the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence in 2014, the space transportation company Stratolaunch and ending elephant poaching. Allen bought the Seattle Seahawks basketball team for $70 million in 1988 and became one of the NBA’s most influential owners, according to The Washington Post.

The Bloomsberg Billionaires Index lists Allen’s net worth as $26.1 billion. He left no heirs.

“Personal computing would not have existed without him,” Gates said. “Very sad to hear of Paul Allen’s passing,” Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO said. “His passion for invention and pushing forward inspired so many. He was relentless to the end.”

Other tech leaders praised his contributions as a tech pioneer, too.