Thanks **Hari **for your specific information.
I see now that the key points in my OP were not obvious.
There are many, many pieces of information about Microsoft, and there’s a lot that I know about the history of the company. But, I’m wondering specifically about company ownership for the employess before Microsoft went public in 1986.
Yes, we know that the company started small and became huge, and, yes, many employees became rich along the way. But the previous sentence can apply to many companies.
I’m wondering specifically about pre-1986 Microsoft when there was no public market for the buying and selling of Microsoft shares, and especially during the Albuquerque years (from 1975 to 1978) and the early Bellevue years after Ballmer joined in 1980.
Employees who took shares then instead of higher salaries would have to have had a good reason to believe that those shares would someday be marketable, or have some condition that the shares could be sold back to the company for cash. What “story” did those early Microsoft employees buy and how did Gates and Allen sell them on it? Or did Microsoft not offer shares until shortly before the IPO in 1986?
Again, of course, non-publicly traded companies do offer shares to employees, but I’m wondering specifically about how and when Microsoft’s shares were offered.
At a deeper level, I’m wondering whether the offering of shares was a key factor in Microsoft’s subsequent success, or was it peripheral, or, in some ways, counterproductive. But, I doubt that it can ever determined.
Also, I think that the answers to my questions are probably in a biography of Gates, Allen, or one of those early employees but I haven’t found any specific reference yet.