Bill Gates is the founder of Microsoft, one of the richest men in the world, and a headline-maker as the head of a company that is the target of a government antitrust investigation.
Gates is also a friend of CBS This Morning Contributor Martha Stewart, who is serving as special guest co-anchor on the morning program during Thanksgiving week.
Stewart sat down with Gates to talk about his life, his family, and his future.
"I feel very lucky," Gates, 42, told Stewart. "I've got a job that's constantly challenging in terms of having to invent new products to stay ahead. I get to work with lots of smart people, many of them very young, people in their 20s, and that's fantastic."
Gates says he was in the 8th grade when he first had an inkling that the computer was going to change everyday life. The local Mothers' Club had a rummage sale and used part of the proceeds to buy a computer terminal.
"I was fascinated personally," he recalls, adding that even then his future business partner, Paul Allen, was his friend.
"In fact," says Gates, "when Paul Allen and I were students at Harvard, the first real computer kit was on the cover of a magazine, and we thought, 'Wow! That's what we've been dreaming of and talking about. We've got to get out and help those guys and be a part of this. We don't want what we've been thinking about to happen without us.' So that's when I left school, and we started Microsoft."
He had been at Harvard less than three years when he left. How did his parents' react?
"They were always wanting me to follow a more conventional path," Gates notes. He adds that he thinks his parents were right to stress the importance of higher learning, and he says he's glad he went to Harvard for the time that he did.
"But [it] finally got to the point where we felt like we were going to miss the start of the PC age if I just hung out in school," he explains. "So, officially, I'm on leave. But I doubt I'll ever get back there!"
Gates lives with his wife, Melinda, and their two-year-old daughter, Jennifer, at a $50 million estate, which Stewart reports "is truly something spectacularÂ… like going into the interior of one of the Great Pyramids. It's a very interesting house and very comfortable in the private quarters."
The Gates home is full of high-tech toys, including a big computer screen in the den. But he estimates that, between home and office, he spends only about three hours a day in front of a computer screen.
Gates says Jennifer knows how to get around on the computer, which she uses about 45 minutes a say, but he and his wife don't actively encourage her in that direction.
"It's hard to even think back to what my life was like before I was married," he says. "It's so different today. She and I ae always planning the fun things we want to do and always talking about Jennifer. It's hard to even relate to what it was like before Melinda was there, making my life so rich."
Among the projects that Gates and his wife have in mind is the distribution of computers to every library in the U.S. so that every child has the means to access the Internet. The couple is also concerned about medical issues and making health care available to everyone.