Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen who recovered HMS Hood bell has died

The co-founder of computer giant Microsoft who led the recovery of the HMS Hood's bell has died aged 65.Â

Tuesday, 16th October 2018, 8:51 am
Updated Tuesday, 16th October 2018, 10:05 am
Paul Allen co-founder of Microsoft has died aged 65. Picture: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Paul Allen passed away in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, his company Vulcan Inc announced yesterday (October 15). 

He founded Microsoft with his childhood friend Bill Gates in April 1975 and went on to become a billionaire philanthropist. 

During his life Mr Allen gave more than $2 billion towards the advancement of science, technology, education, wildlife conservation, the arts, and community services. 

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Paul Allen co-founder of Microsoft has died aged 65. Picture: AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

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HMS Hood

It was through his philanthropy that he led the expedition to recover the bell from the HMS Hood, which was sunk in the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland in May 1941 during WW2. 

HMS Hood, which was the last battlecruiser built for the Royal Navy, was sank after being hit by German shells during the Battle of Denmark Strait. 

Mr Allen led the mission to recover the bell from the HMS Hood which sank during WW2. Picture: Shaun Jones

Mr Allen's yacht Octopus being used during the recovery mission in August 2015. 

He had previous led an attempt to recover the HMS Hood's bell in September 2012 but it was abandoned due to bad weather. 

After undergoing restoration work, the bell was put on display in the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth in May 2016. 

HRH Princess Royal Princess Anne, Patron of The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) visited the NMRNs headquarters at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in May 2016 for the unveiling of the HMS Hood bell. Picture: Sarah Standing

The National Museum of the Royal Navy, which runs the Dockyard, has led the tributes to Mr Allen. 

Tweeting: '˜Very sad news today RIP Paul Allen.

'˜Our visitors Historic Dockyard seek out the HMS Hood bell to pay their respects daily & there will be a special poignancy with this news.' 

PC's '˜wouldn't have existed without him'

Mr Allen had previously been treated for non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2009. Picture: AP Photo/John Froschauer

In a statement following the announcement that Mr Allen had died, Mr Gates said he was heartbroken about the loss of one of his '˜oldest and dearest friends'.

He added: '˜Personal computing would not have existed without him.

'˜But Paul wasn't content with starting one company.

'˜He channelled his intellect and compassion into a second act focused on improving people's lives and strengthening communities in Seattle and around the world.

'˜He was fond of saying, 'If it has the potential to do good, then we should do it'," Mr Gates wrote.

Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella called Mr Allen's contributions to the company, community and industry '˜indispensable'.

Paul Allen (left) founded Microsoft with childhood friend Bill Gates (right). Picture: AP Photo/Steve Slocum

'˜As co-founder of Microsoft, in his own quiet and persistent way, he created magical products, experiences and institutions, and in doing so, he changed the world,' Mr Nadella wrote on Twitter.

How Microsoft was founded

Mr Allen and Mr Gates met while attending a private school in north Seattle.

The two friends would later drop out of university to pursue the future they envisioned: a world with a computer in every home.

Mr Gates so strongly believed it that he left Harvard University in his junior year to devote himself full-time to his and Mr Allen's startup, originally called Micro-Soft.

Mr Allen spent two years at Washington State University before dropping out as well.

They founded the company in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and their first product was a computer language for the Altair hobby-kit personal computer, giving hobbyists a basic way to program and operate the machine.

After Mr Gates and Mr Allen found some success selling their programming language, MS-Basic, the Seattle natives moved their business in 1979 to Bellevue, Washington, not far from its eventual home in Redmond.

Microsoft's big break came in 1980, when IBM decided to move into personal computers and asked Microsoft to provide the operating system.

Mr Gates and company did not invent the operating system.

To meet IBM's needs, they spent 50,000 dollars to buy one known as QDOS from another programmer, Tim Paterson.

Eventually the product, refined by Microsoft - and renamed DOS, for Disk Operating System - became the core of IBM PCs and their clones, catapulting Microsoft into its dominant position in the PC industry.

The first versions of two classic Microsoft products, Microsoft Word and the Windows operating system, were released in 1983.

By 1991, Microsoft's operating systems were used by 93 per cent of the world's personal computers.

The Windows operating system is now used on most of the world's desktop computers, and Word is the cornerstone of the company's prevalent Office products.

Microsoft was thrust on to the throne of technology and soon Mr Gates and Mr Allen became billionaires.

With his sister Jody Allen in 1986, he founded Vulcan, the investment firm that oversees his business and philanthropic efforts.

'˜My brother was a remarkable individual on every level,' his sister said in a statement.

'˜Paul's family and friends were blessed to experience his wit, warmth, his generosity and deep concern,' she added.

He founded the Allen Institute for Brain Science and aerospace firm Stratolaunch, which has built a colossal plane designed to launch satellites into orbit.

He has also backed research into nuclear-fusion power.

The sports fan

Mr Allen, who was an avid sports fan, owned the basketball team Portland Trail Blazers and the American football side Seattle Seahawks.

In 1988 at the age of 35, he bought the Portland Trail Blazers professional basketball team.

He told the Associated Press that '˜for a true fan of the game, this is a dream come true'.

Mr Allen was also a part owner of the Seattle Sounders FC, a Major League Soccer team, and bought the Seattle Seahawks.

He could sometimes be seen at games or chatting in the dressing room with players.

Paying tribute to Mr Allenhe Trail Blazers tweeted: '˜We miss you. We thank you. We love you.' 

While the team's general manager said: '˜It was an honour and a privilege to know and work for Paul Allen these past six years.

'˜He was a man of unparalleled passion, creativity and vision that expected those with whom he surrounded himself to strive for the same standards of excellence he held himself to.'