Seattle Seahawks
Paul Allen
1221 paul-allen 400x280
Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, owns the NFL's Seattle Seahawks.
Personal information
(1953-01-21)January 21, 1953 in Seattle, Washington
October 15, 2018(2018-10-15) (aged 65) in Seattle, Washington
Career information
Co-founder of Microsoft Corporation
Chairman of Vulcan Inc.
Owner of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, and the NBA's Portland Trailblazers
Years active:
1975-2018, his death
Net worth
US$ 21.7 billion (October 2018)[1]
Alma Mater:
Washington State University (Dropped out in 1974)
Mercer Island, Washington

Paul Gardner Allen (born January 21, 1953 – died October 15, 2018) was an American investor and philanthropist best known as the co-founder of Microsoft Corporation, a leading developer of personal-computer software systems and applications.

In March 2018, Allen was estimated to be the 44th-wealthiest person in the world according to the Forbes annual list of the world's billionaires, with an estimated net worth of $21.7 billion, revised at the time of his death to $20.3 billion.[2][3][4]

Allen is the founder and chairman of Vulcan Inc., which manages his business and philanthropic efforts. Allen also has a multi-billion dollar investment portfolio which includes technology companies, real estate holdings, and stakes in other technology, media, and content companies. Allen also owned two professional sports teams, the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League (NFL),[5] and the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association (NBA).[6] He is also part-owner of the Seattle Sounders FC, which joined Major League Soccer (MLS) in 2009.[7] Allen's memoir Idea Man: A Memoir by the Cofounder of Microsoft was released on April 19, 2011.

Early life and careerEdit


Allen co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1975, and began marketing a BASIC programming language interpreter.[8] Allen came up with the original name of "Micro-Soft," as recounted in a 1995 Fortune magazine article.[9] In 1980, after promising to deliver IBM a Disk Operating System (DOS) they had not yet developed for the Intel 8088-based IBM PC, Allen spearheaded a deal for Microsoft to purchase a Quick and Dirty Operating System (QDOS) written by Tim Paterson who, at the time, was employed at Seattle Computer Products. As a result of this transaction, Microsoft was able to secure a contract to supply the DOS that would eventually run on IBM's PC line. This contract with IBM was the watershed in Microsoft history that led to Allen and Gates' wealth.[10]

Allen was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1982. His cancer was successfully treated by several months of radiation therapy. However, he did not return to Microsoft and began distancing himself from the company.[10] 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.[11] He sold 68 million shares of Microsoft stock that year,[12] but still owns a reported 138 million shares.[13]


In 2007 and 2008, Allen was listed among the Time 100 Most Influential People in The World.[14]

He received the Vanguard Award from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association on May 20, 2008.

On October 30, 2008, the Seattle-King County Association of Realtors honored Paul Allen for his “unwavering commitment to nonprofit organizations in the Pacific Northwest and lifetime giving approaching US$1 billion.”[15][16] Paul Allen has received awards and honorary degrees from several universities. In May 1999, Washington State University bestowed its highest honor, the Regents' Distinguished Alumnus Award, upon him. He received a Docteur honoris causa from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne on March 31, 2007.

On October 26, 2008, Paul Allen was given the Herbie Hancock Humanitarian Award from the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz for his "visionary achievements as a businessman and a global philanthropist."

On January 31, 2009, Paul Allen received a special merit award from the Oregon Sports Authority.


Paul Allen has made 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.[17] Through the Foundation, Allen awards approximately $30 million in grants annually.[18] Roughly 60% of the Foundation's money goes to non-profit organizations in Seattle and the state of Washington, and 12% to Portland, Oregon. The remaining 28% is distributed to other cities within the Pacific Northwest and internationally.[18] Since 1990, The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation has awarded $428 million to non-profit organizations, as of 2010.[19] That includes charitable projects known as "venture philanthropy". The most famous of these projects are the Experience Music Project, Seattle Cinerama Theatre, the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, the Flying Heritage Collection (airworthy vintage military aircraft) and the Allen Telescope Array (ATA).[19] The ATA is a partnership between the University of California, Berkeley and the SETI Institute.[20] Allen has a flower fly named after him for his contributions to Dipterology, called Paul Allen's flower fly.[21] 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.[22]

In December 2010, it was announced that Paul Allen had pledged $26 million to his alma mater, Washington State University, for its School for Global Animal Health. The gift will be the largest received by the university. In the late 1980s, Allen donated US$18 million to build a new library at the University of Washington, named after his father, Kenneth S. Allen.[23] US$5 million was donated in 2003 to establish the Faye G. Allen Center for Visual Arts, named after his mother.[24] Allen was also the top private contributor, with US$14 million in donations, and namesake, of the "Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering", which was designed by LMN Architects of Seattle and completed in 2003.[25] Throughout the years, Allen has contributed millions of US$ to the University of Washington Medical School.[26] The foundation awarded US$3.2 million for prostatitis research in 1997, followed by an additional $1.0 million grant in 2002.[27] More recently, the foundation contributed $5.0 million for an early cancer-detection project at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.[28]

With his sister, Jo Lynn Allen, Paul Allen pledged $100 million in 2003 to found the Allen Institute for Brain Science, a nonprofit corporation (501(c) (3)) and medical research organization. Utilizing the mouse model system (given its great similarity to human DNA), 20,000 genes in the adult mouse brain were mapped to a cellular level for the Allen Brain Atlas. The data generated from this effort is contained in the free and publicly available Allen Brain Atlas application.

On July 16, 2008, Allen launched a $ 41 million online "Allen Spinal Cord Atlas" mouse gene map. Allan Jones, chief scientific officer, said: "The Allen Spinal Cord Atlas offers profound potential for researchers to unlock the mysteries of the spinal cord and how it is altered during disease or injury." The spinal cord atlas is set up like the Allen Institute's earlier atlas of the mouse brain.[29] The Map could reveal new treatments for human neurological disorders. The map points researchers toward places where genes are active[30][31][32]

On November 19, 2008, Allen appeared at the Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Hall of Fame to present the second annual Founder's Award for musical achievement. The award was presented to Robbie Robertson, a founding member of the seminal 1960s band The Band and a noted composer of film scores. Allen founded the museum in 2000. The award was presented as part of a gala benefit for EMP. The finale was a four-song set with all the evening's musicians on stage, including Allen and Robertson on guitar.

Paul Allen is also a founding member of The International SeaKeepers Society and hosts its proprietary SeaKeeper 1000TM oceanographic and atmospheric monitoring system on all three of his megayachts.

On November 15, 2009, Jody Allen, Paul Allen's sister and the CEO of Vulcan made public that Paul had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a form of cancer in the lymph system. As of October 2010, he has been free of cancer.[33]

On May 24, 2010, Allen launched the Allen Human Brain Atlas, a publicly available online atlas charting genes at work throughout the human brain. The data provided represent the most extensive and detailed body of information about gene activity in the human brain to date, documenting which genes are expressed, or "turned on" where.[34]

A report in February, 2012, named Allen as the most charitable living American in 2011. Allen's donations, totaling $372.6 million, were beat out by only two others, both of them are deceased.[35]

In March 2012 he continued the funding of the Allen Institute for Brain Science with a contribution of $300 million to look at how we see.[36][37]


File:Ansari X-Prize Check.jpg


In 1993, Paul Allen invested $243 million to acquire 80% of Ticketmaster. Under his ownership, Ticketmaster moved into the Internet in 2 phases: it started in June 1995 by displaying a searchable database of Ticketmaster's events; on September 11, 1996, the first transaction came in. The company went public on 19 November 1996. In 1997, David Geffen introduced Barry Diller to Paul Allen, who was increasingly frustrated at Fred Rosen, Ticketmaster's CEO, and was looking for a change at the helm: in May, Home Shopping Network acquired 47.5% of Allen's stock for $209 million worth of HSN stock.[38]

Interval Research CorporationEdit

In 1992, he and David Liddle cofounded Interval Research Corporation, a Silicon Valley-based laboratory and new business incubator that was dissolved in 2000 after generating over 300 patents,[39] four of which were the subject of Allen's August 2010 patent infringement lawsuit against AOL, Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, Yahoo!, and YouTube.[40][41]


Allen confirmed that he was the sole investor behind Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites' SpaceShipOne suborbital commercial spacecraft on October 4, 2004.[42] SpaceShipOne climbed to an altitude of 377,591 feet (115,091 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.[43]

On December 13, 2011, Allen announced Stratolaunch Systems. Stratolaunch is a proposed orbital launch system consisting of a dual-bodied, 6 engine jet aircraft, capable of carrying a rocket to high altitude; the rocket would then separate from its carrier aircraft and fire its own engines to complete its climb into orbit. The carrier aircraft would utilize carbon composites as well as 747 jet engines and parts. If successful, this project would be the first wholly privately funded space transport system.[44]

South Lake UnionEdit

Allen was a key developer and investor in the development of the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle as a biotechnology hub and mixed-use community.[45] He was also the largest private landowner in South Lake Union and owns nearly 2,600,000 square feet (240,000 m2) in the neighborhood.[45] 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.[45] The South Lake Union redevelopment represents one of the largest urban revitalization projects in the country.[46] 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.[47] 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;[48] it officially started operation on December 12, 2007.[49] This development has been criticized as a city-supported real estate investment for Vulcan Inc.,[50] and concerns over the loss of low-income housing have been expressed.[51]


The launch of Paul Allen's 416 foot (126.8 m) yacht, Octopus, secured its position as one of the world's largest yachts in 2003.[52] As of 2011, it is 12th in the list of motor yachts by length. The yacht is equipped with two helicopters, two submarines, a swimming pool, a music studio and a basketball court.[53] Allen also owns Tatoosh, also one of the world's 100 largest yachts.

Allen is known for throwing huge, celebrity-studded parties on his yacht, such as a 2005 New Year's Eve party in which he and his band played Johnny Cash songs with R&B star Usher. His band also played at another party he hosted during the Cannes film festival with keyboardist Dave Stewart.[53][54][55]


Portland Trail BlazersEdit

Allen purchased the Portland Trail Blazers NBA team in 1988 from California real estate developer Larry Weinberg for $70 million.[6] He was also instrumental in the development and funding of their Rose Garden in 1993.[10] The Blazers are valued at approximately $300 million according to a 2006 issue of Forbes.[56] 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.[57] Then-Portland Mayor Tom Potter rebuffed the requests.[58] 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.[59] He said, “My efforts are focused on continuing to support the Trail Blazers and the long-term financial health of the franchise."[60] As of 2010, according to a 2011 issue of Forbes, the Portland Trail Blazers were worth $356 million, ranked No. 14 out of 30 NBA teams.[61]

Seattle SeahawksEdit

Allen purchased the Seattle Seahawks NFL team in 1997 when former owner Ken Behring threatened to move the Seahawks to Southern California.[5] Allen was allowed to buy the team despite owning the NBA's Trail Blazers because Portland doesn't have an NFL team. (NFL rules prohibit team owners from either outright ownership or a majority share of another sports team outside its home market if they play in the same city as another NFL team.) He played a large part in the development of the new Seahawks' stadium, CenturyLink Field, although it was funded mostly by tax revenue.[62]

Seattle SoundersEdit

Allen's Vulcan Sports & Entertainment is part of the ownership team of the Seattle Sounders FC, a Major League Soccer franchise that began play in 2009 at CenturyLink Field, a stadium also controlled by Paul Allen.[7] The ownership team also includes film producer Joe Roth, businessman Adrian Hanauer, and comedian Drew Carey. Sigi Schmid, two-time MLS Cup winner, is the team’s head coach.

The Sounders sold out every home game during its first season, setting a new MLS record for average match attendance and the most season tickets sold in the league. The team finished the 2009 season with a winning record and qualified for the MLS playoffs, where they were eliminated in the conference semi-finals. Seattle Sounders FC is only the second expansion team in MLS history to win the U.S. Open Cup tournament in its first season, and in 2010 became the first team to repeat as U.S. Open Cup champion in almost three decades, in front of the largest crowd to ever witness a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final in the history of the 97-year-old tournament.


On January 26, 2011 at Seattle’s Benaroya Hall, Paul Allen was named Seattle Sports Commission Sports Citizen of the Year, an award that has been renamed the Paul Allen Award.


Paul and Jo Lyn Allen are the owners and executive producers of Vulcan Productions, a filmmaking company headquartered in Seattle. Vulcan Productions’ mission is to initiate, develop and finance independent film projects of substance and enduring significance. Their projects support the passionate vision of the artist, while challenging and celebrating the world of ideas and human values. Through their collaborative partnerships with established and emerging filmmakers, Vulcan Productions explores creative opportunities that result in engaging and inspirational storytelling.

Their films have received prestigious recognition, ranging from a Peabody to Independent Spirit Awards to Golden Globes, Emmys and Grammys, and have also been nominated for Academy Awards, among many others.

As of 2011, Vulcan Productions’ Web-based project, Success at the Core, is providing a comprehensive professional toolkit that helps middle school leadership teams and teachers elevate classroom instruction for significantly improved student success. This Emotional Life, a documentary series on psychology created by Vulcan Productions and the NOVA/WGBH Science Unit in 2010, examines the human desire and struggle for happiness. This multi-platform project also includes pertinent resources for audiences, including innovative toolkits in the areas of early childhood attachment and the emotional health of military families—two areas covered in depth in the series.

In March 2011, Vulcan Productions' This Emotional Life won three medals at the 2011 New York Festival Television and Film Awards. They include:

  • Gold Medal — Film Production
  • Gold Medal — Health/Medical Information
  • Silver World Medal — Direction ("Facing Our Fears" episode)


Illness and DeathEdit

Allen was diagnosed with Stage 1-A Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1982.[63] Although his cancer was successfully treated by several months of radiation therapy [64], Allen was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2009. Likewise, the cancer was successfully treated until it returned in 2018, which ultimately caused his death by septic shock on October 15, 2018.[65][66] He was 65 years old.[67][68][69]

Following his death, Allen's sister Jody Allen was named executor and trustee of all of Paul Allen's estate, pursuant to his instructions, giving her responsibility for overseeing the execution of his will and settling his affairs with tax authorities and parties with an interest in his projects.[70]

Several Seattle-area landmarks, including the Space Needle, Columbia Center and CenturyLink Field, as well as various Microsoft offices throughout the United States, were illuminated in blue on November 3, 2018, as a tribute to Allen.[71]


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  63. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named cnet2013
  64. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named fortune2018
  65. "Paul Allen says non-Hodgkin lymphoma has returned", ESPN, October 1, 2018. Retrieved on October 2, 2018. 
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  67. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies at 65.
  68. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies at 65.
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