Paul Allen

Paul Allen

Infobox Person
name=Paul Allen

birth_date=Birth date and age|mf=yes|1953|1|21
birth_place=Seattle, Washington
occupation=Chairman, Vulcan Inc.
Chairman, Charter Communications
networth=loss $16.0 billion USD (2008) [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-30|url=|title=#41 Paul Allen|publisher=Forbes|date=2008-03-05]
website= [ Paul Allen]
residence = Mercer Island, Washington

Paul Gardner Allen (born January 21, 1953) is an American computer programmer and entrepreneur who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates. Allen regularly appears on lists of the richest people in the world. As of February 11, 2008, "Forbes" ranks him as the 42nd richest man in the world, worth an estimated $16 billion. [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-30|url=|title=The 400 Richest Americans|publisher=Forbes|date=2006-09-21]

He is the founder and chairman of Vulcan Inc., which is his private asset management company, and is chairman of Charter Communications. Allen also has a multibillion dollar investment portfolio which includes large stakes in DreamWorks Animation SKG, Digeo, real estate holdings, and more than 40 other technology, media, and content companies. Allen also owns three professional sports teams: the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League, the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association, and the Seattle Sounders FC franchise in Major League Soccer that will begin playing in the 2009 season.


Early years

Paul Gardner Allen was born in Seattle, Washington, to parents Kenneth S. Allen, an associate director of the University of Washington libraries, and Faye G. Allen, in January 21, 1953.cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=PAUL ALLEN: MORE THAN MONEY.(News) |publisher=Seattle Post-Intelligencer|date=1996-04-22|author=Wallace, James ] Allen attended Lakeside School, a private school in Seattle, and befriended Bill Gates, who was two years his junior but shared a common enthusiasm for computers.cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=Bill Gates: Before Microsoft |publisher=Virginia Tech ] They used Lakeside's teletype terminal to develop their programming skills on several time-sharing computer systems.cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=Paul Allen |publisher=The History of Computing Project ] After graduation Allen attended Washington State University and was an active member in Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity. He dropped out after two years in order to work as a programmer for Honeywell in Boston, which placed him near his old friend again. Allen later convinced Gates to drop out of Harvard University in order to create Microsoft.


Allen co-founded Microsoft (initially "Micro-Soft") with Bill Gates in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1975, and began marketing a BASIC programming language interpreter. In 1980, after promising to deliver IBM a Disc Operating System (DOS) they had not yet developed for the Intel 8086-based IBM PC, Allen spearheaded a deal for Microsoft to purchase a Quick and Dirty Operating System (QDOS) written by Tim Paterson who, at the time, was employed at Seattle Computer Products. As a result of this transaction, Microsoft was able to secure a contract to supply the DOS that would eventually run on IBM's PC line. This contract with Big Blue was the watershed in Microsoft history that led to Allen's fabulous wealth.

Allen was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease in 1983. His cancer was successfully treated by several months of radiation therapy and a bone marrow transplant. However, he did not return to Microsoft and began distancing himself from the company. Allen officially resigned from his position on the Microsoft board in November 2000 but was asked to consult as a senior strategy advisor to the company's executives. [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=Paul Allen to Take on New Role As Senior Strategy Adviser to Microsoft Board |publisher=Microsoft|date=2000-09-28 ] He sold 68 million shares of Microsoft stock that year [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=#3, Allen, Paul Gardner |publisher=Forbes ] , but still owns a reported 138 million shares. [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=Prisoner of Redmond: Yet Another Way Paul Allen Isn't Like You or Me |publisher=PBS|date=2006-03-30|author= Cringely, Robert X.]


In 2007 and 2008, Allen was listed among "Time Magazine"'s 100 Most Influential People in The World. [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=,28804,1595326_1595329_1616322,00.html|title=Paul Allen |publisher=Time|author=Pinker, Steven ]

Paul Allen had received awards and honorary degrees from several universities. In May 1999, Washington State University bestowed its highest honor, the Regents' Distinguished Alumnus Award, upon Allen. He received a "Docteur honoris causa" from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland) in 2007. In April 2008, Allen received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the Watson School of Biological Sciences (Cold Spring Harbor, NY); and in May 2008 he had received the Vanguard Award for Science and Technology from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, an honor given to those who make significant contributions to that industry.


Paul Allen has made significant contributions to organizations related to health and human services, and toward the advancement of science and technology. The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation was established in 1986 to administer most of his contributions. [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=Paul G. Allen Family Foundation |publisher=Institutions of Philanthropy ] Through the Foundation, Allen awards approximately $30 million in grants annually.cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=Grant List |publisher=Paul G. Allen Family Foundation] Roughly 60 percent of the Foundation's money goes to non-profit organizations in Seattle and the state of Washington, and 12 percent to Portland, Oregon. The remaining 28 percent is distributed to other cities within the Pacific Northwest. Allen has donated US$900 million of his money, as of 2007.cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=Paul G. Allen Family Foundation Awards $9.5 Million in Grants |publisher=Paul G. Allen Family Foundation ] Allen also contributes through other charitable projects known as "venture philanthropy". The most famous of these projects are Experience Music Project, the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, the Flying Heritage Collection (airworthy vintage military aircraft) and the Allen Telescope Array (ATA). The ATA is a partnership between the University of California, Berkeley and the SETI Institute. [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=Allen Telescope Array Fact Sheet |publisher=SETI Institute ] Allen has a flower fly named after him for his contributions to Dipterology, called Paul Allen's flower fly. [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=Paul Allen's Flower Fly |publisher=United States Department of Agriculture|date=1999-08-19|author=Fairman, Jennifer E. ] Allen has also funded the purchase of many Jimi Hendrix artifacts, including the guitar Hendrix played at Woodstock, and ensured their public display in the Experience Music Project exhibits. [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=The Guitar God: Jimi Hendrix lit up rock -- and burned himself out |publisher=Seattle Post-Intelligencer|date=2000-06-22|author=Lyke, M.L. ]

Although he attended Washington State University and has given money to its music school, Allen has donated more money to the University of Washington. In the late 1980s, Allen donated US$18 million to build a new library named after his father, Kenneth S. Allen. [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=UW Libraries Facts |publisher=University of Washington ] US$5 million was donated in 2003 to establish the Faye G. Allen Center for Visual Arts, named after his mother. [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title= Paul Allen sees space tourism in our future |publisher=The Seattle Times|date=2004-06-16|author=Garber, Andrew ] Allen was also the top private contributor, with US$14 million in donations, and namesake, of the "Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering", which was completed in 2003.cite web|accessdate=2008-03-30|url=|title=The Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering|publisher=University of Washington] Throughout the years, Allen has contributed millions of US dollars to the University of Washington Medical School. [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=Million dollar grant by the Paul G. Allen Foundation for Medical Research to University of Washington medical scientist program |publisher=University of Washington|date=2001-02-06|author=Sowers, Pam ] The Foundation awarded US$3.2 million for prostatitis research in 1997, followed by an additional US$1.0 million grant in 2002. [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=Allen Foundation Pledges $3.2 Million For Prostatitis Research At The University Of Washington |publisher=Science Daily|date=1997-05-14 ] More recently, the Foundation contributed US$5.0 million for an early cancer-detection project by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=Paul G. Allen Family Foundation funds $5 million early cancer-detection project |publisher=Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center|date=2006-08-31 ]

Allen founded the Allen Institute for Brain Science in 2003 with Jo Allen Patton as a nonprofit corporation (501(c) (3)) and medical research organization. Utilizing the mouse model system (given its great similarity to human DNA), 20,000 genes in the adult mouse brain were mapped to a cellular level for the Allen Brain Atlas. The data generated from this effort is contained in the free and publicly available Allen Brain Atlas application located at [] . In 2008, the Institute also launched the Allen Spinal Cord Atlas project. All of these scientific findings will prove invaluable to international researchers working on cures for neurological and nervous system illnesses and injuries.


Allen has made several investments since becoming a billionaire. He confirmed that he was the sole investor behind Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites' SpaceShipOne suborbital commercial spacecraft on October 4, 2004. SpaceShipOne climbed to an altitude of convert|377591|ft|m|0 and was the first privately funded effort to successfully put a civilian in suborbital space. It won the Ansari X PRIZE competition and received the $10 million prize. [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=SpaceShipOne captures X Prize |publisher=CNN|date=2004-10-04|author=Coren, Michael ]

Real estate

Allen was a key developer and investor in the development of the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle as a biotechnology hub and mixed-use community.cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=Remaking South Lake Union: Seattle is on fast track to build biotech hub |publisher=Seattle Post-Intelligencer|date=2004-10-20|author=Mulady, Kathy ] He was also the largest private landowner in South Lake Union and owns nearly convert|2600000|sqft|m2|-4 in the neighborhood. His holdings company has a development capacity of more than convert|10000000|sqft|m2|-4 of new residential, office, retail and biotech research space. The South Lake Union redevelopment represents one of the largest urban revitalization projects in the country. [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=Meet the quiet force behind Paul Allen's remaking of South Lake Union |publisher=Seattle Post-Intelligencer|date=2008-03-10|author=Richman, Dan ] Allen has made investments estimated at US$200 million as of 2005, and promoted for city funding of the Seattle Streetcar line known as South Lake Union Streetcar, which runs from Seattle's Westlake Center to the south end of Lake Union. [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=SLUT -- Streetcar's unfortunate acronym seems here to stay |publisher=Seattle Post-Intelligencer|date=2007-09-18|author= Murakami, Kery ] The Streetcar is a public and private partnership made possible because of a Local Improvement District (LID) supported by businesses and residents along the line; [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=Businesses backing streetcar plan for South Lake Union |publisher=Seattle Post-Intelligencer|date=2003-06-18|author=Mulady, Kathy ] it officially started operation on December 12, 2007. [cite news | url= | title=Won't You Ride the S.L.U.T? | publisher=Seattle Weekly | author=Aimee Curl | date=2008-01-23 | accessdate=2008-01-25] This development has been criticized as a city-supported real estate investment for Vulcan Inc., [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-30|url=|title=Venture Capital: Airplanes ... to antibodies |publisher=Seattle Post-Intelligencer|date=2004-01-02|author=Cook, John ] and concerns over the loss of low-income housing have been expressed. [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-30|url=|title=Seattle Declares Low-Income Housing Building Unfit. |publisher=The Seattle Times|date=2002-09-29|author=McOmber, J. Martin ]


Allen purchased the Portland Trail Blazers NBA team in 1988 from California real estate developer Larry Weinberg for $70 million.cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=Learn More About Larry Weinberg |publisher=NBA ] He was also instrumental in the development and funding of their Rose Garden in 1993. The Blazers are valued at approximately $300 million according to a 2006 issue of "Forbes". [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=Portland Trail Blazers |publisher=Oregon Live ] Allen has been asking Portland and Oregon officials for assistance in the financing of the Blazers since 2006, which he estimated would lose $100 million over the next three years. [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=Allen on Blazers: Team's future 'up in the air' |publisher=ESPN|date=2006-03-27|author=Associated Press ] Portland Mayor Tom Potter rebuffed the requests. [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=Allen's Trail Blazers seek help to stay in Portland |publisher=The Seattle Times|date=2006-02-25|author=Bernton, Hal ] Allen announced the completion of the acquisition of the Rose Garden on April 2, 2007, and stated that this was a major milestone and a positive step for the franchise.cite web|accessdate=2008-03-30|url=|title=The Quiet Owner: Paul Allen|publisher=Sports Illustrated|date=2007-11-27|author=Wertheim, L. Jon] He said “My efforts are focused on continuing to support the Trail Blazers and the long-term financial health of the franchise." [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=Vulcan Inc. Completes Acquisition of Rose Garden Arena |publisher=NBA ]

Allen purchased the Seattle Seahawks NFL team in 1997 when former owner Ken Behring threatened to move the Seahawks to Southern California.cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=Behring straits — Seattle Seahawks owner Ken Behring |publisher=Sporting News|date=1996-03-25|author=Attner, Paul ] He played a large part in the development of the new Seahawks' stadium, Qwest Field, although it was funded largely by tax revenue. [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=Qwest Field |publisher=Ballparks ] The Seahawks captured its fourth consecutive NFC West title in 2007. [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=Seahawks clinch fourth consecutive NFC West title with win |publisher=NFL|date=2007-12-10|author=Associated Press ]

Allen has been confirmed as part owner of the Seattle Sounders FC a future Major League Soccer franchise that will begin play in 2009 at Qwest Field, a stadium also owned by Allen.cite web |url = |title = Seattle to get expansion MLS franchise for 2009 |accessdate = 2007-11-10 |date = 2007-11-09 |publisher = ESPN ]


The launch of Paul Allen's convert|416|ft|m "Octopus" yacht secured its position as one of the world's largest yachts in 2003. [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title= World's 100 Largest Yachts 2007 |publisher=Power & Motoryacht|author=Byrne, Diane M.] Its current position is eighth in the list of motor yachts by length. The yacht is equipped with its own music studio and basketball court.

Allen is known for throwing huge, celebrity-studded parties on his yacht, such as a 2005 New Year's Eve party in which he and his band played Johnny Cash songs with R&B star Usher. His band also played at another party he hosted during the Cannes film festival with Dave Stewart. [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=News Clips— Needle Exchange |publisher=Seattle Weekly|date=2001-08-08|author=Bush, James ] cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=America’s 100 Largest Yachts |publisher=Power & Motoryacht|author=Byrne, Diane M.] [cite web|accessdate=2008-03-31|url=|title=People in the News: New Year's rocks on Allen's yacht |publisher=Seattle Post-Intelligencer|date=2006-01-05 ]


External links

* [ Paul Allen official home page]
* [ #19 Paul Allen -]
* [ Paul Allen at THOCP]
* [ The Paul Allen Super Yacht Fleet]


NAME=Allen, Paul
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Co-Founder of Microsoft
DATE OF BIRTH=January 21, 1953
PLACE OF BIRTH=Seattle, Washington, U.S.

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