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Bill Gates reveals: 'What I loved about Paul Allen'

FILE - In this March 11, 2003 file photo, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, left, chats with Portland Trail Blazers owner and former business partner Paul Allen during a game between the Trail Blazers and Seattle SuperSonics in Seattle. Allen, billionaire owner of the Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks and Microsoft co-founder, died Monday, Oct. 15, 2018 at age 65. Earlier this month Allen said the cancer he was treated for in 2009, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, had returned. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

SEATTLE - In a touching online essay, "What I loved about Paul Allen," Bill Gates spelled out Tuesday how much he - and the rest of the world - are indebted to the late co-founder of Microsoft.

Gates calls Allen "one of my oldest friends and the first business partner I ever had." And Gates reveals Microsoft would never have happened without Allen.

He says the two met in the seventh grade and it "changed my life."

As teens, "we spent just about all our free time messing around with any computer we could get our hands on," Gates recounts, and they dreamed of a future when more powerful computer chips would eventually give rise to a whole new industry.

"That insight of his was the cornerstone of everything we did together," Gates writes.

Later, in 1974, when the two of them were living in Boston, Allen excitedly told Gates about a new computer with a powerful chip called the Altair 8800.

"Paul looked at me and said: 'This is happening without us!' That moment marked the end of my college career and the beginning of our new company, Microsoft. It happened because of Paul," Gates wrote.

But Allen was about more than computers and software and Microsoft.

"Paul was cooler than I was," Gates admits. He played guitar, was super-excited about sports, and "loved life and the people around him," Gates says.

"When I think about Paul, I remember a passionate man who held his family and friends dear. I also remember a brilliant technologist and philanthropist who wanted to accomplish great things, and did," says Gates.

"Paul deserved more time in life. He would have made the most of it. I will miss him tremendously."

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You can ready Bill Gates' full online essay here ...

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