Portal:Business and economics/Selected article/January 2008
Microsoft Corporation, or often just MS, is an American multinational computer technology corporation with 79,000 employees in 102 countries and global annual revenue of US $51.12 billion as of 2007. It develops, manufactures, licenses and supports a wide range of software products for computing devices. Headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA, its best selling products are the Microsoft Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software. These products have prominent positions in the desktop computer market, with market share estimates as high as 90% or more as of 2003 for Microsoft Office and 2006 for Microsoft Windows, in line with Bill Gates's vision "to get a workstation running our software onto every desk and eventually in every home".
Founded 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. The company released an initial public offering (IPO) in the stock market, which, due to the ensuing rise of the stock price, has made four billionaires and an estimated 12,000 millionaires from Microsoft employees. Throughout its history the company has been the target of criticism for various reasons, including monopolistic business practices—both the U.S. Justice Department and the European Commission, among others, brought Microsoft to court for antitrust violations and software bundling.
Microsoft has footholds in other markets besides operating systems and office suites, with assets such as the MSNBC cable television network, the MSN Internet portal, and the Microsoft Encarta multimedia encyclopedia. The company also markets both computer hardware products such as the Microsoft mouse and home entertainment products such as the Xbox, Xbox 360, Zune and MSN TV. Known for what is generally described as a developer-centric business culture, Microsoft has historically given customer support over Usenet newsgroups and the World Wide Web, and awards Microsoft MVP status to volunteers who are deemed helpful in assisting the company's customers.