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Paul Allen

For other persons named Paul Allen, see Paul Allen (disambiguation). Paul Allen
Born January 21, 1953(1953-01-21) (age 55)
Seattle, WashingtonResidence Mercer Island, WashingtonOccupation Chairman, Vulcan Inc.
Chairman, Charter Communications
Chairman, MicrosoftNet worth ▼ $16.0 billion USD(2008)[1]Website
Paul Allen

Paul Gardner Allen (born January 21, 1953) is an American entrepreneur who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates. Allen regularly appears on lists of the richest people in the world. As of September 2007, Forbes ranks him as the eleventh richest American, worth an estimated $16.8 billion.[2]

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.[3][4][5]



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.[6] 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.[7] They used Lakeside's teletype terminal to develop their programming skills on several time-sharing computer systems.[8] After graduation Allen attended Washington State University and was an active member in Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity.[8] 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.[8] Allen later convinced Gates to drop out of Harvard University in order to create Microsoft.[7]


Main article: History of Microsoft

Allen co-founded Microsoft (initially "Micro-Soft") with Bill Gates in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1975, and began selling a BASIC programming language interpreter.[7] In 1980, Allen spearheaded a deal for Microsoft to buy an operating system called 86-DOS (QDOS) for $50,000. Due to IBM deadlines, Gates and Allen felt that they did not have enough time to develop an operating system from scratch; they therefore purchased the fully functional QDOS and reworked the code to fit IBM's needs. Microsoft won a contract to supply the finished program for use as the operating system of IBM's new PC. This became the foundation of Microsoft's growth.[8]

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.[8] 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.[9] He further distanced himself from Microsoft by selling 68 million shares that year.[10] He still owns a reported 138 million shares.[11]


In 2007 and 2008, Allen was listed among Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in The World.[12]

Paul Allen has received awards and honorary degrees from several universities. In May 1999, Washington State University bestowed Allen with its highest honor, the Regents' Distinguished Alumnus Award. 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 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.[13] Through the Foundation, Allen awards approximately $30 million in grants annually.[14] 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.[14] Allen has donated US$900 million of his money, as of 2007.[15] 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, and the Allen Telescope Array (ATA).[15] The ATA is a partnership between the University of California, Berkeley and the SETI Institute.[16] Allen has a flower fly named after him for his contributions to Dipterology, called Paul Allen's flower fly.[17] 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.[18]

Although he attended Washington State University and has donated to its music school, Allen instead chooses to donate 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.[19] US$5 million was donated in 2003 to establish the Faye G. Allen Center for Visual Arts, named after his mother.[20] 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.[21] Throughout the years, Allen has contributed millions of US dollars to the University of Washington Medical School.[22] The Foundation awarded US$3.2 million for prostatitis research in 1997, followed by an additional US$1.0 million grant in 2002.[23] More recently, the Foundation contributed US$5.0 million for an early cancer-detection project by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.[24]


Paul Allen (in sun glasses and crimson tie) and Burt Rutan (leather jacket) were presented with the Ansari X PRIZE by members of the X PRIZE Foundation in 2004.

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 377,591 feet (115,090 m) 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.[25]

Real estate

Allen is a key developer and investor in the development of the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle as a biotechnology hub and mixed-use community.[26] He is also the largest private landowner in South Lake Union and owns nearly 2,600,000 square feet (241,548 ) in the neighborhood.[26] His holdings company has a development capacity of more than 10,000,000 square feet (930,000 m²) of new residential, office, retail and biotech research space.[26] The South Lake Union redevelopment represents one of the largest urban revitalization projects in the country.[27] 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.[28] 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;[29] it officially started operation on December 12, 2007.[30] This development has been criticized as a city-supported real estate investment for Vulcan Inc.,[31] and concerns over the loss of low-income housing have been expressed.[32]


Allen purchased the Portland Trail Blazers NBA team in 1988 from California real estate developer Larry Weinberg for $70 million.[4] He was also instrumental in the development and funding of their Rose Garden in 1993.[8] The Blazers are valued at approximately $300 million according to a 2006 issue of Forbes.[33] 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.[34] Portland Mayor Tom Potter rebuffed the requests.[35] 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.[36] He said “My efforts are focused on continuing to support the Trail Blazers and the long-term financial health of the franchise."[37]

Allen purchased the Seattle Seahawks NFL team in 1997 when former owner Ken Behring threatened to move the Seahawks to Southern California.[3] He played a large part in the development of the new Seahawks' stadium, Qwest Field, although it was funded largely by tax revenue.[38] The Seahawks captured its fourth consecutive NFC West title in 2007.[39]

Allen has been confirmed as part owner of a future Major League Soccer Seattle franchise that will begin play in 2009 at Qwest Field, a stadium also owned by Allen.[5]


Octopus in the Beaulieu Bay in Southern France on 13 May 2005

The launch of Paul Allen's 416 feet (127 m) Octopus yacht secured its position as one of the world's largest yachts in 2003.[40] Its current position is sixth in the list of motor yachts by length. The yacht is equipped with its own music studio and basketball court.[41]

Allen is known for throwing huge, celebrity-studded parties on his yachts, such as a 2005 New Year's Eve party in which he and his band played Johnny Cash songs with R&B star Usher. He is also in a band, and is known to play for parties that he hosts, such as one during the Cannes film festival with Dave Stewart.[42][41][43]


  1. ^ #41 Paul Allen. Forbes (2008-03-05). Retrieved on 2008-03-30.
  2. ^ The 400 Richest Americans. Forbes (2006-09-21). Retrieved on 2008-03-30.
  3. ^ a b Attner, Paul (1996-03-25). Behring straits — Seattle Seahawks owner Ken Behring. Sporting News. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  4. ^ a b Learn More About Larry Weinberg. NBA. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  5. ^ a b Seattle to get expansion MLS franchise for 2009. ESPN (2007-11-09). Retrieved on 2007-11-10.
  6. ^ Wallace, James (1996-04-22). PAUL ALLEN: MORE THAN MONEY.(News). Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  7. ^ a b c Bill Gates: Before Microsoft. Virginia Tech. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Paul Allen. The History of Computing Project. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  9. ^ Paul Allen to Take on New Role As Senior Strategy Adviser to Microsoft Board. Microsoft (2000-09-28). Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  10. ^ #3, Allen, Paul Gardner. Forbes. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  11. ^ Cringely, Robert X. (2006-03-30). Prisoner of Redmond: Yet Another Way Paul Allen Isn't Like You or Me. PBS. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  12. ^ Pinker, Steven. Paul Allen. Time. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  13. ^ Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. Institutions of Philanthropy. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  14. ^ a b Grant List. Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  15. ^ a b Paul G. Allen Family Foundation Awards $9.5 Million in Grants. Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  16. ^ Allen Telescope Array Fact Sheet. SETI Institute. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  17. ^ Fairman, Jennifer E. (1999-08-19). Paul Allen's Flower Fly. United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  18. ^ Lyke, M.L. (2000-06-22). The Guitar God: Jimi Hendrix lit up rock -- and burned himself out. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  19. ^ UW Libraries Facts. University of Washington. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  20. ^ Garber, Andrew (2004-06-16). Paul Allen sees space tourism in our future. The Seattle Times. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  21. ^ The Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering. University of Washington. Retrieved on 2008-03-30.
  22. ^ Sowers, Pam (2001-02-06). Million dollar grant by the Paul G. Allen Foundation for Medical Research to University of Washington medical scientist program. University of Washington. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  23. ^ Allen Foundation Pledges $3.2 Million For Prostatitis Research At The University Of Washington. Science Daily (1997-05-14). Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  24. ^ Paul G. Allen Family Foundation funds $5 million early cancer-detection project. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (2006-08-31). Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  25. ^ Coren, Michael (2004-10-04). SpaceShipOne captures X Prize. CNN. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  26. ^ a b c Mulady, Kathy (2004-10-20). Remaking South Lake Union: Seattle is on fast track to build biotech hub. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  27. ^ Richman, Dan (2008-03-10). Meet the quiet force behind Paul Allen's remaking of South Lake Union. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  28. ^ Murakami, Kery (2007-09-18). SLUT -- Streetcar's unfortunate acronym seems here to stay. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  29. ^ Mulady, Kathy (2003-06-18). Businesses backing streetcar plan for South Lake Union. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  30. ^ Aimee Curl. "Won't You Ride the S.L.U.T?", Seattle Weekly, 2008-01-23. Retrieved on 2008-01-25
  31. ^ Cook, John (2004-01-02). Venture Capital: Airplanes ... to antibodies. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved on 2008-03-30.
  32. ^ McOmber, J. Martin (2002-09-29). Seattle Declares Low-Income Housing Building Unfit.. The Seattle Times. Retrieved on 2008-03-30.
  33. ^ Portland Trail Blazers. Oregon Live. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  34. ^ Associated Press (2006-03-27). Allen on Blazers: Team's future 'up in the air'. ESPN. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  35. ^ Bernton, Hal (2006-02-25). Allen's Trail Blazers seek help to stay in Portland. The Seattle Times. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  36. ^ Wertheim, L. Jon (2007-11-27). The Quiet Owner: Paul Allen. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved on 2008-03-30.
  37. ^ Vulcan Inc. Completes Acquisition of Rose Garden Arena. NBA. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  38. ^ Qwest Field. Ballparks. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  39. ^ Associated Press (2007-12-10). Seahawks clinch fourth consecutive NFC West title with win. NFL. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  40. ^ Byrne, Diane M.. World's 100 Largest Yachts 2007. Power & Motoryacht. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  41. ^ a b Byrne, Diane M.. America’s 100 Largest Yachts. Power & Motoryacht. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  42. ^ Bush, James (2001-08-08). News Clips— Needle Exchange. Seattle Weekly. Retrieved on 2008-03-31.
  43. ^ People in the News: New Year's rocks on Allen's yacht. Seattle Post-Intelligencer (2006-01-05). Retrieved on 2008-03-31.

External links

v • d • eSeattle Seahawks The Franchise The FranchiseHistoryPlayersFirst-round Draft PicksSeasonsRecordsStadiums The KingdomeHusky StadiumQwest FieldCulture Paul Allen • 12th ManBlitzSea GalsHead Coaches PateraMcCormackKnoxFloresEricksonHolmgrenDivision Championships (6) 1988, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007Super Bowl Appearances (1) XLRetired Numbers 1280Seasons 197619771978197919801981198219831984198519861987198819891990199119921993199419951996199719981999200020012002200320042005200620072008Current League Affiliations League: National Football League• Conference: National Football Conference• Division: West Division Preceded by
Larry WeinbergPortland Trail Blazersowner
1988– Succeeded by
v • d • eSeattle Sounders FCSeattle, Washington

The ClubOwnershipTeam namePlayersExternal linksReferencesStadiums Qwest FieldCulture Emerald City Supporters • La Mafia Verde Key Personnel Owners: Joe RothAdrian Hanauer• Paul Allen • Drew Carey• Technical Director: Chris HendersonHonors MLS Cup
Major League SoccerSeasons (0) 2009Website:

PersondataNAME Allen, Paul ALTERNATIVE NAMES Allen, Paul Gardner SHORT DESCRIPTION Co-Founder of MicrosoftDATE OF BIRTH January 21, 1953PLACE OF BIRTH Seattle, Washington, U.S.DATE OF DEATH PLACE OF DEATH
Categories: Seattle Sounders FC | 1953 births | Living people | American computer programmers | American businesspeople | American philanthropists | American billionaires | American soccer chairmen and investors | Computer pioneers | Microsoft employees | National Football League owners | People from Seattle, Washington | Portland Fire | Portland Trail Blazers executives | Seattle Seahawks | Businesspeople in software | Women's National Basketball Association executives

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