The computer programmer Paul Allen, cofounder of Microsoft in 1975 and a great philanthropist, was swept away Monday, October 15, due to cancer, at the age of 65 years. Accomplice of Bill Gates in the early days of Microsoft, Paul Allen had been fighting lymphoma for the first time in 2009, before announcing the return of this disease on October 1, 2018 on his blog and on his Twitter account. He was then said to have resumed his treatment, and had stated that his doctors were ” optimistic.”
Paul Allen and Bill Gates in 2013, recreating their classic 1981 photo: pic.twitter.com/zzvmlLxDho
— Jon Erlichman (@JonErlichman) October 15, 2018
Famous for his works and for his rivalry with Bill Gates, he was less known for his activities as a hunter of shipwrecks, yet crowned with many successes. In 2015 for example, after eight long years of research, his team aboard his huge yacht Octopus had found the wreck of the most powerful battleship ever built, the juggernaut japanese Musashi. The vessel of 73,000 tons (the tonnage of an aircraft carrier current) for 263 metres long, had been sunk on 24 October 1944 by aircraft of the US Navy. “The crew of the Musashi rest in peace, 1 023 lives have been lost “, had then tweeted Paul Allen.
5 500 meters deep
In 2017, an expedition aboard the new research vessel Petrel was located at 5, 500 meters depth, the wreck of the USS Indianapolis : a feat ! The battleship of the US Navy is famous for having transported to the Pacific the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Torpedoed on return from this mission of death, in August 1945, two weeks before the end of the Second world War, the Indianapolis was sunk in a few minutes, throwing for almost 1,200 men without life jackets in a sea infested with sharks. It took five days to the US Navy to deliver aid on the spot, and only 316 sailors were found alive.
By 2018, an expedition of Paul Allen had found the legendary aircraft carrier USS Lexington , one of the first of the u.s. navy, which had sunk in the Coral sea in 1942. The “Lady Lex” had been so damaged that the american command had decided to scuttle. Underlain by more than 3 000 meters deep, the wreck had been found by a remote-controlled robot.
In the cold with Bill Gates
The us website of Microsoft made tribute Tuesday to its co-founder by displaying a large photo of him on its home page. The current boss of the software giant and online services, Satya Nadella, has welcomed in a very brief press release, a man who ” changed the world “, with ” his method to him, mixing with calm and perseverance.” On his side, Bill Gates has hailed ” one of his closest friends “, who ” deserved more time “, recalling that ” the personal computer would never have existed without Paul Allen “.
In his autobiography, Idea Man, published in 2011, Paul Allen was very hard with his old house : he accused Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer (another ex-CEO of Microsoft) have conspired to reduce its shares in the company, and have tried to ” rip off “.
billion for mankind
Just before his death, his fortune was estimated at twenty billion dollars, a sum which should be mostly donated to philanthropic projects, according to the promises which he had made in his lifetime.
If the story of Paul Allen is forever linked to Microsoft, it is after his departure from the company in 1983 that he really began to realize his dreams. “As long as we will work together and with determination, there is no limit to what we can achieve “, did he remember. With his investment company Vulcan, it has financed many cultural projects, real estate, sports or in the media. He owned an american football team, the Seakhawks of Seattle, and a basketball, the Trail Blazers of Portland. Paul Allen was also a fan of the space conquest : its giant plane Stratolaunch, which is intended to propel rockets into low earth orbit, is in the testing phase in California, and should make its first flight soon.