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Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational technology corporation which produces computer software , consumer electronics , personal computers , and related services headquarted at the Microsoft Redmond campus located in Redmond, Washington , United States.
Its best-known software products are the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems , the Microsoft Office suite , and the Internet Explorer and Edge web browsers. Its flagship hardware products are the Xbox video game consoles and the Microsoft Surface lineup of touchscreen personal computers. Microsoft ranked No. The company\’s initial public offering IPO , and subsequent rise in its share price, created three billionaires and an estimated 12, millionaires among Microsoft employees.
As of [update] , Microsoft is market-dominant in the IBM PC compatible operating system market and the office software suite market, although it has lost the majority of the overall operating system market to Android. Since Satya Nadella took over as CEO in , the company has scaled back on hardware and has instead focused on cloud computing , a move that helped the company\’s shares reach its highest value since December Earlier dethroned by Apple in , in Microsoft reclaimed its position as the most valuable publicly traded company in the world.
Childhood friends Bill Gates and Paul Allen sought to make a business using their skills in computer programming. Gates enrolled at Harvard University while Allen pursued a degree in computer science at Washington State University , though he later dropped out to work at Honeywell. Microsoft eventually became the leading PC operating systems vendor. In , Microsoft introduced the Microsoft Office suite which bundled separate applications such as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel.
On July 27, , the Department of Justice\’s Antitrust Division filed a competitive impact statement which said: \”Beginning in and continuing until July 15, , Microsoft induced many OEMs to execute anti-competitive \’per processor\’ licenses. Under a per-processor license, an OEM pays Microsoft a royalty for each computer it sells containing a particular microprocessor, whether the OEM sells the computer with a Microsoft operating system or a non-Microsoft operating system.
In effect, the royalty payment to Microsoft when no Microsoft product is being used acts as a penalty, or tax, on the OEM\’s use of a competing PC operating system. Since , Microsoft\’s use of per processor licenses has increased. Following Bill Gates\’ internal \”Internet Tidal Wave memo\” on May 26, , Microsoft began to redefine its offerings and expand its product line into computer networking and the World Wide Web.
Internet Explorer was not bundled with the retail Windows 95 boxes, because the boxes were printed before the team finished the Web browser, and instead was included in the Windows 95 Plus!
On January 13, , Bill Gates handed over the CEO position to Steve Ballmer , an old college friend of Gates and employee of the company since , while creating a new position for himself as Chief Software Architect. Critics decried the alliance as a way to enforce indiscriminate restrictions over how consumers use software, and over how computers behave, and as a form of digital rights management : for example the scenario where a computer is not only secured for its owner, but also secured against its owner as well.
Microsoft Corp. Department of Justice in Increasingly present in the hardware business following Xbox, Microsoft in released the Zune series of digital media players, a successor of its previous software platform Portable Media Center. These expanded on previous hardware commitments from Microsoft following its original Microsoft Mouse in ; as of the company sold the best-selling wired keyboard Natural Ergonomic Keyboard , mouse IntelliMouse , and desktop webcam LifeCam in the United States.
That year the company also launched the Surface \”digital table\”, later renamed PixelSense. Released in January , the next version of Windows, Vista , focused on features, security and a redesigned user interface dubbed Aero. Relatively strong sales of both products helped to produce a record profit in Gates retired from his role as Chief Software Architect on June 27, , a decision announced in June , while retaining other positions related to the company in addition to being an advisor for the company on key projects.
Windows 7\’s focus was on refining Vista with ease-of-use features and performance enhancements, rather than an extensive reworking of Windows. As the smartphone industry boomed in the late s, Microsoft had struggled to keep up with its rivals in providing a modern smartphone operating system, falling behind Apple and Google -sponsored Android in the United States.
Microsoft implemented a new strategy for the software industry, providing a consistent user experience across all smartphones using the Windows Phone OS. This nonprofit organization is focused on providing support for a cloud computing initiative called Software-Defined Networking.
Following the release of Windows Phone , Microsoft undertook a gradual rebranding of its product range throughout and , with the corporation\’s logos, products, services and websites adopting the principles and concepts of the Metro design language. The Kinect , a motion-sensing input device made by Microsoft and designed as a video game controller , first introduced in November , was upgraded for the release of the Xbox One video game console.
Kinect\’s capabilities were revealed in May an ultra-wide p camera, function in the dark due to an infrared sensor, higher-end processing power and new software, the ability to distinguish between fine movements such as a thumb movement , and determining a user\’s heart rate by looking at their face.
On July 19, , Microsoft stocks suffered their biggest one-day percentage sell-off since the year , after its fourth-quarter report raised concerns among the investors on the poor showings of both Windows 8 and the Surface tablet.
In line with the maturing PC business, in July , Microsoft announced that it would reorganize the business into four new business divisions, namely Operating System, Apps, Cloud, and Devices.
All previous divisions will be dissolved into new divisions without any workforce cuts. Thompson took on the role of chairman, in place of Bill Gates, who continued to participate as a technology advisor. In Q1 , Microsoft was the third largest maker of mobile phones, selling 33 million units 7. It aims to help enterprises protect their data as it moves between servers and devices. In March the company also established guidelines that censor users of Office from using profanity in private documents.
In April the company further expressed willingness to embrace open source initiatives by announcing Azure Sphere as its own derivative of the Linux operating system. Later in the month it converted Microsoft Teams to gratis. In August , Toyota Tsusho began a partnership with Microsoft to create fish farming tools using the Microsoft Azure application suite for Internet of things IoT technologies related to water management.
Developed in part by researchers from Kindai University , the water pump mechanisms use artificial intelligence to count the number of fish on a conveyor belt , analyze the number of fish, and deduce the effectiveness of water flow from the data the fish provide. The project promotes the idea of Firmware as a Service. December also saw the company discontinue the Microsoft Edge project in favor of Chromium backends for their browsers.
On February 20, , Microsoft Corp said it will offer its cyber security service AccountGuard to 12 new markets in Europe including Germany, France and Spain, to close security gaps and protect customers in political space from hacking.
On July 31, , it was reported that Microsoft was in talks to acquire TikTok after the Trump administration ordered ByteDance to divest ownership of the application to the U. According to Microsoft, the future of xCloud on iOS remains unclear and potentially out of Microsoft\’s hands.
Apple has imposed a strict limit on \”remote desktop clients\” that means applications are only allowed to connect to a user-owned host device or gaming console owned by the user. The increased necessity for remote work and distance education drove demand for cloud computing and grew the company\’s gaming sales. On June 24, , Microsoft announced Windows 11 during a livestream.
The announcement came with confusion after Microsoft announced Windows 10 would be the last version of the operating system; set to be released in Fall In October , Microsoft announced that it began rolling out end-to-end encryption E2EE support for Microsoft Teams calls in order to secure business communication while using video conferencing software. Users can ensure that their calls are encrypted and can utilize a security code which both parties on a call must verify on respective ends. Microsoft plans to incorporate Ally.
The company is run by a board of directors made up of mostly company outsiders, as is customary for publicly traded companies. Stanton , John W. Thompson , Emma Walmsley and Padmasree Warrior. There are four committees within the board that oversee more specific matters. On March 13, , Gates announced that he is leaving the board of directors of Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway to focus more on his philanthropic efforts. According to Aaron Tilley of The Wall Street Journal this is \”marking the biggest boardroom departure in the tech industry since the death of longtime rival and Apple Inc.
On January 13, , The Wall Street Journal reported the Microsoft\’s board of directors plans to hire an external law firm to review its sexual harassment and gender discrimination policies, and to release a summary of how the company handled past allegations of misconduct against Bill Gates and other corporate executives. As of July , with the company\’s nine stock splits , any IPO shares would be multiplied by ; if one were to buy the IPO today, given the splits and other factors, it would cost about 9 cents.
Under U. The two-year contract may result in follow-on orders of more than , headsets, according to documentation describing the bidding process. One of the contract\’s tag lines for the augmented reality technology seems to be its ability to enable \”25 bloodless battles before the 1st battle\”, suggesting that actual combat training is going to be an essential aspect of the augmented reality headset capabilities.
Microsoft is an international business. As such, it needs subsidiaries present in whatever national markets it chooses to harvest. An example is Microsoft Canada, which it established in In , Microsoft commissioned research firms to do independent studies comparing the total cost of ownership TCO of Windows Server to Linux ; the firms concluded that companies found Windows easier to administrate than Linux, thus those using Windows would administrate faster resulting in lower costs for their company i.
As part of the \”Get the Facts\” campaign, Microsoft highlighted the. NET Framework trading platform that it had developed in partnership with Accenture for the London Stock Exchange , claiming that it provided \” five nines \” reliability.
After suffering extended downtime and unreliability   the London Stock Exchange announced in that it was planning to drop its Microsoft solution and switch to a Linux-based one in In , Microsoft hired a political pollster named Mark Penn, whom The New York Times called \”famous for bulldozing\” his political opponents  as Executive Vice-president, Advertising and Strategy.
Penn created a series of negative advertisements targeting one of Microsoft\’s chief competitors, Google. The advertisements, called \” Scroogled \”, attempt to make the case that Google is \”screwing\” consumers with search results rigged to favor Google\’s paid advertisers, that Gmail violates the privacy of its users to place ad results related to the content of their emails and shopping results, which favor Google products.
Tech publications like TechCrunch have been highly critical of the advertising campaign,  while Google employees have embraced it. In July , Microsoft announced plans to lay off 18, employees. Microsoft employed , people as of June 5, , making this about a 14 percent reduction of its workforce as the biggest Microsoft lay off ever.
This included 12, professional and factory personnel. Previously, Microsoft had eliminated 5, jobs in in line with the Great Recession of — The firings came as a second wave of the layoffs that were previously announced. This brought the total number to over 15, out of the 18, expected cuts. Microsoft provides information about reported bugs in their software to intelligence agencies of the United States government, prior to the public release of the fix.
A Microsoft spokesperson has stated that the corporation runs several programs that facilitate the sharing of such information with the U. In addition we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers. If the government has a broader voluntary national security program to gather customer data, we don\’t participate in it.
During the first six months in , Microsoft had received requests that affected between 15, and 15, accounts. On July 1, , as part of this program they opened the first of many Microsoft Transparency Center, that provides \”participating governments with the ability to review source code for our key products, assure themselves of their software integrity, and confirm there are no \” back doors. In April , the company sued the U.
Microsoft argued that it was unconstitutional for the government to indefinitely ban Microsoft from informing its users that the government was requesting their emails and other documents, and that the Fourth Amendment made it so people or businesses had the right to know if the government searches or seizes their property. The DoJ had \”changed data request rules on alerting the Internet users about agencies accessing their information. MSDN also offers subscriptions for companies and individuals, and the more expensive subscriptions usually offer access to pre-release beta versions of Microsoft software.
Helpful people can be elected by peers or Microsoft employees for Microsoft Most Valuable Professional MVP status, which entitles them to a sort of special social status and possibilities for awards and other benefits. Noted for its internal lexicon , the expression \” eating your own dog food \” is used to describe the policy of using pre-release and beta versions of products inside Microsoft in an effort to test them in \”real-world\” situations.
Microsoft is an outspoken opponent of the cap on H-1B visas , which allow companies in the U.
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