The Diverse Business of Microsoft
Before the 1990s, Microsoft was primarily a hardware supplier. However, as personal computers grew in popularity, it began to move toward consumer sales. By 1990, Microsoft had captured a larger share of the PC market. In the following decade, Microsoft expanded into the public cloud space with Windows Azure and launched its first mobile operating system, the Xbox. Today, Microsoft has a diversified line of products, including games, apps, and services.
Most of the products and services are developed in-house. For example, Microsoft’s Office Product Group focuses on business applications that span the areas of productivity, communications, education, and other information applications. These products are sold through OEMs, distributors, and direct sales programs. In addition to direct sales, Microsoft has a vast network of partner advisors. In addition, Microsoft provides licenses to its products and services through indirect channels such as licensing solution partners, distributors, and OEMs.
In 1995, Microsoft released Windows 95, a new operating system that integrated MS-DOS and Windows. It was highly successful and boosted Microsoft’s sales, with more than 100 million copies sold. MS-DOS also helped Microsoft take the lead in productivity software, outpacing longtime rivals such as Lotus and WordPerfect. The company is now responsible for more than 90% of PCs worldwide. Further, the Windows 95 operating system is the most popular in the world, and it’s available for free.
While the Windows operating system and the Office suite are still the company’s core products, the company has grown into a complex, diversified business that spans many different industries. While Windows and Office remain its foundational products, Microsoft’s business units also encompass social media, cloud services, gaming, and search advertising. Among the many acquisitions made by Microsoft during this time include LinkedIn and GitHub. This diversification has led to the company’s recent rise to dominance.
As part of its efforts to reinvent itself, Microsoft is investing heavily in its products and services. The company is also focusing on developing new devices for the market. A few years later, Microsoft purchased Skype for $8.5 billion, its biggest acquisition ever. The company integrated Skype into Outlook, Xbox, and Windows smartphones, putting it in competition with Apple’s FaceTime and Google’s Voice. In 2016, Microsoft made another massive acquisition: $26.2 billion for LinkedIn.
While many businesses are happy to pay top dollar for experienced employees, hiring managers still value those with Microsoft Office skills. A well-written resume with experience in these applications can differentiate you from other applicants. Microsoft Office skills are highly sought after by employers, with 82 percent of midrange jobs requiring a basic understanding. Whether you’re applying for a sales position or a technical support role, you’ll likely use Microsoft Office applications on a daily basis. Learning shortcuts in Excel or Word can save you countless hours when formatting documents and preparing presentations.
Azure offers application development services. After developing applications, you can host them on Azure. The service also lets you create virtual machines, integrate virtual devices, sync virtual directories, and collect metrics. In addition to these features, Azure also offers cloud versions of the popular Microsoft Office business software suite. Microsoft has also recently launched a version of its Outlook and Word suites for the web. This means that you can save and access these programs on the go.