Founded in 1975 by Harvard College dropout Bill Gates and childhood friend Paul Allen, Microsoft is now one of the world’s leading software companies. It develops hardware and software, and has offices in more than 60 countries. Microsoft is known for its home computers, but it also sells computer peripherals, electronic game systems, computer software, and entertainment products.
Microsoft is headquartered in Redmond, Washington. It also has sales offices throughout the world. The company’s products include the Windows operating system, Office, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Access.
In 2011, Microsoft acquired Skype for $8.5 billion. The company also owns Hexadite, Mojang, and Github. Microsoft has also recently focused on cloud computing. It launched a new cloud computing platform, Windows Azure, in 2008.
Microsoft entered the entertainment industry in the mid-1990s with a range of products and services, including Xbox, Windows Live, Skype, and Windows Phone. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 gaming console system was released in 2005 and quickly captured second place in the video gaming market.
Microsoft was accused of using monopolistic business practices and was sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Justice. It was also accused of overworking its employees. In response to these accusations, Microsoft changed its sales practices.
Microsoft has also been criticized for its use of permatemp employees, who do not receive medical benefits. This practice has also been referred to as a Velvet Sweatshop. The term was originally used in 1989 by the Seattle Times.
Microsoft was the first software company to achieve $1 billion in annual revenue. It also held the top position in the personal computer market for several years.