back to article RIP Paul Allen: Microsoft cofounder billionaire dies at 65 after facing third bout with cancer

Billionaire Paul Allen, who cofounded Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975 and is credited with coining the company's name, has died of cancer aged 65. The announcement was made by Vulcan Inc, the vehicle that managed Allen's billions, on behalf of his family and the Paul Allen Network. The organization said he died, “Monday …

  1. Joe Drunk

    Allen also bought into sports: the Portland Trail Blazers NBL team, and the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.

    That's NBA Trailblazers .

  2. Shooter

    @ Joe Drunk

    I deliberately waited to read the El Reg obit, because most of the MSM headlines concentrated on his sports interests and not his tech background.

  3. Dwarf Silver badge

    Paul Allen meets Pearly Gates ?

    This is one of Bill's other brothers, the remaining one being SeaGates, to cope with all the additional storage requirements as the OS and products grow over time.

    Seriously though, the end of another pioneer, a sad loss.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You think that when we get to heaven St Peter will be standing there with a Microsoft tablet and checking us in on the cloud now?

  5. andy 103

    Well, that's a nicer eulogy than the Steve Jobs rant

    In reference to this article -

    I was ridiculed by people for suggesting it's not very nice to talk about dead people in a negative way, particularly over business decisions or how they interacted with others during their life, even if it was in a less than favourable way.

    Steve Jobs seems to have got the wrath of The Reg plus many readers. Opinions (so far) on Paul Allen seem divided. I am really curious as to see what comments we'll get about Linus when that eventually happens.

    Personally I say RIP and wish his family/friends well. There's a time and place. If you can't say something nice...

  6. NinjasFTW

    Re: Well, that's a nicer eulogy than the Steve Jobs rant

    you don't automatically get all the shitty things you've done in life (Not talking about Paul Allen, just in general) ignored simply because you've died! This doubly applies to how they've interacted with others.

    If you care about your future legacy or that of your descendants then you should maybe think about while you're still alive and can do something about it.

    If we sanitise asshole behaviour then it becomes more acceptable to be an asshole. There is enough of them around as it is!

  7. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    Re: Well, that's a nicer eulogy than the Steve Jobs rant

    You might have a point if it was just a one off with Steve, but he was an arsehole over, and over again, and he didn't really improve much with age.

  8. Moog42

    RIP, he had an impact beyond all measure not matter what your OS of choice. I for one really appreciated his interest in marine archaeology and his funding for the raising of the bell from HMS Hood, and his foundations work studying the coelacanth.

  9. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    RIP, Paul Allen

    The man did a lot of work saving old aircraft and making them available for display. He should be recognized for that as well.

    Love them or hate them, Microsoft made the modern PC what it is. The hardware was easy, making it useful (and usable) was Microsoft's contribution. Though I use Linux (except at work) my hat is off to Gates and Allen for what they accomplished. They stepped on more than a few toes, and you can argue that Microsoft's best days are behind it, but Gates and Allen did it first.

  10. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Re: RIP, Paul Allen

    Microsoft made the modern computer industry what it is.

    Imagine only being able to learn about computers by being hired as the lowest of the low at some company that had a mainframe, and gradually working your way up. Then if you left that knowledge was worthless because the next company had a different mainframe (or enough tweaks to the same one)

    The irony is everyone being able to switch between jobs using the same apps on the same containers running on the same Linux on different cloud service is because Microsoft standardised the PC OS

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He created magical products?

  12. Walter Bishop Silver badge

    Allen's biggest contribution was deal-making?

    Allen's biggest contribution to early Microsoft was deal-making rather than code.”

    That would be news to the rest of us, Allen wrote a 6502 simulator written in Macro 10 Assembler that was subsequently used to write BASIC, he did also write the bootstrap loader, you would agree not a trivial task and Monte Davidoff did the floating point routines. ref ref

    A successful treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma led to Allen resigning from Microsoft in 1983 .. His departure from day-to-day activities at Microsoft wasn't without some rancor: Gates had tried to buy Allen's shares at a low price in 1983.”

    Actually Allen left after overhearing Gates and Ballmer discussing how to get his shares back before he died.

    "They were bemoaning my recent lack of production and discussing how they might dilute my Microsoft equity by issuing options to themselves and other shareholders," ref

  13. Moeluk

    Always copying Apple

    Can Microsoft not come up with a single idea, without pinching it off our beloved fruit based company.

    I wonder if the coffin will be zune brown.

  14. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    Re: Always copying Apple

    what by having one of the pioneers die?

  15. devTrail

    Fact checking

    According to the article Paul Allen pledged to give away most of his wealth and for this they call him a philanthropist. However I see that he still had enough money to own several companies and a NBA team which has more to do with power and politics than with charity. At this point I am wondering whether he really delivered on the pledge, how much is his estimated wealth now?

    Please don't rush to label me as a Microsoft hater, I'm just fact checking.

  16. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

    Re: Nit picking

    He donated more than $2bn of his $20bn fortune, and pledged to give most of it away – until cancer stopped him.


  17. devTrail

    Re: Nit picking

    Thank you for the details. So, he gave away about 10% of his wealth in 8 years even though he was aware he didn't have a lot of time left. According to my basic knowledge of math and the English language that's far from the definition of "most".

  18. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

    Re: devtrail

    I think you're skipping over the word "promise", here. And finances. The guy didn't have a Scrooge McDuck style vault of gold coins. If someone's worth $20bn, they don't have that cash in hand.


  19. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

    Re: Nit picking

    It's still a lot of money, and if you have lots of money you are not obliged to spend every waking moment working out how to give it away.

    If I ever win the lottery big, I'd be happy with a million or two. With a hundred million you'd have to plan how to spend and give it away, and I'm not sure I'd want the hassle.

  20. Tom 35 Silver badge

    Re: Fact checking

    Maybe if these people didn't feel the need to collect billions in the first place. That money came from someplace.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Strange fish was Paul Allen however always admired his interest in Oceanography and marine conservation being a keen scuba diver myself.

    Be nice if he left the Octopus and some cash to convert it to a gun boat so save the whale could put paid to the hunters.

  22. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

    Thus die all enemies of Linux.

  23. J. Cook Bronze badge

    I dunno about that; After seeing various cancers take away family members, I wouldn't want that fate on my enemies.

    I have nothing bad or good to say about Mr. Allen, so I will simply wish for peace on his surviving family.

  24. lowwall

    Philanthropy was not his first thought

    Let's not make too much of his late interest in philanthropy. The reason he had given $2 billion and had only $20 billion left to give - instead of the $50 billion Mr. Gates has already donated and the $90 billion he has left - is that Mr. Allen spent the decades of his retirement buying the biggest toys and coolest stuff available. This includes multiple megayachts culminating in the 18th largest yacht in the world, complete with 2 submarines, a glass-bottom pool, and a recording studio; private planes including a G650 and the 757 he later re-sold to Donald Trump; the above-mentioned sports teams, plus the Seattle soccer club, which are perhaps the ultimate toy for US billionaires; the usual 10 figure homes in Seattle, Beverly Hills, Mailbu, Manhattan, Hawaii, London, Côte d'Azur, etc. and a private island or 2. He also like to collect things including a billion dollar art collection, enough planes (even a MiG-29) to open one museum, enough guitars and music memorabilia to open another, and enough old computer gear to open a third. He even collected his childhood movie theatre, buying it when it was slated to be torn down and refurbishing it just for the hell of it.

    He also dumped a lot of cash over the years into dozens of business projects, but nothing much came out of it. He certainly would have been better off leaving it in Microsoft stock or something passive like an S&P 500 fund.

    I'm not blaming him, when I was a kid and read about what he was doing, I thought it was the coolest thing imaginable, except for the lack of supercars. But the appropriate summary bio would be Coder, Microsoft Co-founder, Billionaire Hedonist.

  25. steviebuk Silver badge

    Never knew him personally...

    ... obviously but he's part of Microsoft history even if he did leave early. Its the end of an era.


  26. William Towle

    Other obituaries

    Bill Gates writes:

    I particularly enjoyed the line "[Allen] had a cool beard which I couldn't pull off"


POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018