The full article includes links to key Gates memos starting in early 1976
Microsoft's success, which has enabled Gates, 52, to launch a second career that could install him as history's greatest philanthropist, was not a sure thing. Aided by a growing crew of technical and business smart guys, Gates spotted opportunities and challenges, and pushed his company toward them.
He wrote a series of course-setting memos to lead the company in these new directions — a new computer interface, the Internet, computer security. They stand as signposts at several key junctures in Microsoft's history.