In 1979, Bill Gates and Paul Allen, founders of Microsoft, moved their small company from New Mexico to the suburbs of their native Seattle. By 1985, sales were over $140 million, and by 1995, Microsoft was the world's most profitable corporation, Allen and Gates were billionaires, and thousands of their past and present employees were millionaires. Microsoft spawned a host of other companies in the Seattle area. Seattle-area companies that owe their origins at least indirectly to Microsoft include RealNetworks, AttachmateWRQ, InfoSpace, and a host of others. Quite unlike Boeing, Microsoft has served as a catalyst for the creation of a whole realm of industry. Microsoft has also taken a much more active hand than Boeing in public works in the area and working to uplift the community. Other brands that started in Seattle include the international coffee shop chain Starbucks and clothing company, Nordstrom, which is now a national brand. Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, was a major force in Seattle politics. He worked to get a football stadium for the Seattle Seahawks through a successful statewide ballot initiative and founded the Experience Music Project (originally intended as a Jimi Hendrix museum) on the grounds of Seattle Center. This project is now the Museum of Pop Culture. Seattle today is physically and demographically similar to the Seattle of the 1960s. It is still mostly white, still progressive, still almost entirely without a centralized method of planning. Seattle's economy is more vibrant now, and richer, and there is certainly an increase in cultural activity. The largest employer is still Boeing, though Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks and other large companies have helped diversify the city economically. Overall, the city still retains its charm and natural beauty.
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