Excerpted from The Creation of Microsoft, to be aired June 19th, 2012.

Microsoft cartoonist Arlo Hummerston on Bill Gates:

"Well, we certainly didn't think it was a big deal at the time. Back then, Microsoft was just a small time animation company. Bill was just this nerdy, short dude with glasses that we wanted to use to pitch Juicy Juice, or feminine hygiene products. It wasn't until the rejection letters started pouring in when we realized: 'Hey, we could use this guy to sell computers!' And so we did."
That's where the Bill Gates story begins, but it's hardly where it ends. Gates' appearance evolved over the years: He became more fleshed out and was more of a threatening, apocalyptic figure than he was the cute nerd next door. He rose to his full height and formed a personality to match his grating voice.

Once he was paired up with the Windows software, the rest became history. Arlo obtained the source for Windows from his "close buddy" Johnathan Gerglos, a local musician. Weeks later, the recently created Microsoft corporation suffered a horrible blow when Gerglos was mysteriously killed, a guitar smashed through his head. Witnesses could only recall seeing "A dark, cartoonish figure with glasses." Police were baffled.

The next week, Microsoft release of Windows 3.1 shook the very foundations of the software industry. Arlo:

"I developed a real nasty case of writer's cramp right about then. Drawing Bill for press conferences, drawing Bill for employee seminars, TV spots, magazine interviews... It was exhausting work, I won't lie to you. But it was worth it, because the money kept pouring in. And it was all thanks to Bill."
It was, truly, all thanks to Bill. According to a review in PC Software and Cartoon Character Review Magazine:

"Windows 3.1 (2 stars) - Windows 3.1, the first major release from operating system consortium Microsoft, is, quite frankly, a steaming pile of dung. However, we couldn't bring ourselves not to convert our office to it; I mean, who can resist little Billy Gates?"
Such reviews were not uncommon in the early days of Microsoft. The company was idealistic then, back before Arlo's legs were broken in an unspecified accident, just before the release of Windows 95. Arlo's tragic withdrawl from control of the now multi-billion-dollar corporation left a power vacuum that persisted for months as stockholders fought over who would hold the highest positions in the new hierarchy.

In the end, Microsoft hired a new president, one whose identity has never been released to the public. Instead, he or she releases brief statements through major media outlets in the form of Arlo's original character, Bill Gates. Gates can still be seen on news reports, representing Microsoft at antitrust hearings, and promoting new lines of software. Microsoft's new operator remains behind the scenes, presumably choosing to keep his identity secret until the world is ready, has been reported to be "A diminuitive man, with bifocals."

"Shit," says Arlo Hummerston. "If I didn't know better, I'd think Bill was running Microsoft! The little guy could probably do it, too, if he could only find a host body for his evil essence. It'll never happen, though; Bill's nothing but a poorly-drawn little dude on a piece of paper somewhere. There's no way he'd manage to become a software mogul so powerful that he controlled the entire world, right? Right?"

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