Microsoft Corporation is a very big company which makes computer software and videogames all over the world. Bill Gates and Paul Allen started the company in 1975. Microsoft makes Windows, Microsoft Office (including Microsoft Word), Internet Explorer, MSN, and the Xbox 360. These are just the most popular products - they make a lotof other ones too.
Most Microsoft programs cannot be downloaded for free - people have to buy them in a shop or online. Some products (like the Windows operating system) are already installed when people buy a new computer.
Windows is Microsoft's best-known product. It is an operating system, which means that it is the basic softwarethat makes people's computers work and lets other programs work. Most computers have some kind of Windows, like Windows XP or Windows Vista.
Microsoft Office is also very popular, and it lets people write documents on their computer with Microsoft Word, make charts and graphs with Microsoft Excel, make presentations with Microsoft PowerPoint, and do many other things.
Internet Explorer lets peoplelook at things on the Internet. Microsoft makes other programs on the Internet. A lot of it is called "Windows Live"-"service", with the name "Windows Live" put in front of the name of the service, like Windows Live Hotmail.
The Xbox and the new Xbox 360 are videogame "consoles", which means they let people play videogames on their TV. Microsoft is one of three big companies that make consoles. Theother two are Nintendo and Sony. Xbox Live lets people play online against other people anywhere in the world.
Microsoft also makes many PC games.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT, HKEX: 4338) is a multinational computer technology corporation that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of software products for computing devices. Headquartered in Redmond, Washington,USA, its most profitable products are the Microsoft Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software.
The company was founded in 1975, to develop and sell BASIC interpreters for the Altair 8800. Microsoft rose to dominate the home computer operating system market with MS-DOS in the mid-1980s, followed by the Windows line of operating systems. Many of its products haveachieved near-ubiquity in the desktop computer market. One commentator notes that Microsoft's original mission was "a computer on every desk and in every home, running Microsoft software." Microsoft possesses footholds in other markets, with assets such as the MSNBC cable television network and the MSN Internet portal. The company also markets both computer hardware products such asthe Microsoft mouse and the Microsoft Natural keyboard, as well as home entertainment products such as the Xbox, Xbox 360, Zune and MSN TV. The company's initial public stock offering (IPO) was in 1986; the ensuing rise of the company's stock price has made four billionaires and an estimated 12,000 millionaires from Microsoft employees.
Throughout its history the company has been the targetof criticism, including monopolistic business practices and anti-competitive strategies includingrefusal to deal and tying. The U.S. Department of Justice and the European Commission, among others, have ruled against Microsoft for antitrustviolations. (See also United States v. Microsoft, European Union Microsoft competition case.)
The Microsoft Business Divisionproduces Microsoft Office, which is the company's line of office software. The software product includes Word (a word processor), Access (a personal relational database application), Excel (a spreadsheet program), Outlook (Groupware, frequently used with Exchange Server),PowerPoint (presentation software), and Publisher (desktop publishing software). A number of other products were added later with the...