The Microsoft Millionaires Come of Age

Interesting piece in the NYT.

From the 1986 to 1996, Microsoft’s stock soared more than a hundredfold as the company’s Windows operating system and Office applications dominated the PC industry. That explosive climb made millionaires of employees who had accepted options as a substantial part of their compensation for 60-hour workweeks fueled by a diet of Twinkies, Coca-Cola and marshmallow Peeps. The sudden riches led many to refer to themselves as “lottery winners.”

“While the exact number is not known, it is reasonable to assume that there were approximately 10,000 Microsoft millionaires created by the year 2000,” said Richard S. Conway Jr., a Seattle economist whom Microsoft hired to study its impact on Washington State. “The wealth that has come to this area is staggering.”

Even allowing for this particular consultant’s contractual obligations, it’s true that Microsoft has enriched many employees who have gone on to fund worthwhile projects. One of them, a friend of mine, gave over £1 million to UK charities before he died.