Paul Allen, who survived Hodgkin’s Disease 25 years ago, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Bill Gates and Paul Allen in the early days of Microsoft

Bill Gates and Paul Allen in the early days of Microsoft

From Computerworld

Word has leaked out that Paul Allen, who co-founded Microsoft in 1975, has been diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma

The internal email from Vulcan, the company Allen owns, does not give details into his condition.

To employees of Vulcan and affiliates:

I want to let you know that Paul was recently diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

He received the diagnosis early this month and has begun chemotherapy. Doctors say he has diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, a relatively common form of lymphoma.

This is tough news for Paul and the family. But for those who know Paul’s story, you know he beat Hodgkin’s a little more than 25 years ago and he is optimistic he can beat this, too.

Paul is feeling OK and remains upbeat. He continues to work and he has no plans to change his role at Vulcan. His health comes first, though, and we’ll be sure that nothing intrudes on that.

We would ask you to respect Paul’s privacy and not discuss this outside of the office.

If you have any questions, please ask your EC member.

Thank you in advance for what I know will be all your good thoughts for Paul.


Jody Allen is Paul’s sister and the CEO and president of Vulcan, an investment firm.

Paul Allen photo Wikipedia

Paul Allen photo Wikipedia

Allen and Gates started working on microcomputer software in a story that is a legend. They were initially intrigued by an article in Popular Electronics on the Altair 8800.

Gates and Allen sometimes talked about how cool it would be to design the software for the first personal computer, which appeared to be on the horizon… The question was settled in dramatic fashion in December, 1974, when Allen, who was working in Boston, passed a newsstand in Harvard Square and saw on the cover of Popular Electronics a computer called the Altair 8800. The Altair 8800 was the first computer that ordinary electronics hobbyists could afford to buy and that people with reasonable technical knowledge could assemble in their homes. Basically, it was the first personal computer. Allen bought the magazine, rushed over to Gates’ dorm, and showed it to him. “Look!” Allen said. “It’s going to happen! I told you this was going to happen! And we’re going to miss it!” New Yorker as quoted in Seattle News

While Gates had business and technical skills, Paul Allen is generally credited with handling the tricky technical issues in the genius duo. After some early programming projects, they hit paydirt when IBM contracted them to produce IBM DOS for the original PC.

Allen convinced his friend Tim Paterson to sell him QDOS (Quick and Dirty Operating System) which he then reworked for IBM to license as IBM DOS and later MSDOS.

Allen quit Microsoft when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease in 1983. After his recovery he founded several firms and is currently the owner of two sports franchises, the Portland Trailblazers NBA team and Seattle Seahawks NFL team.

At 10 billion dollars, he is one of the richest men in the world and a major philanthropist.

We wish him well and hope for a full recovery.