What Is Microsoft?
Microsoft is the world’s largest vendor of computer software, as well as a significant producer of computers and gaming hardware. It also produces a range of consumer and business desktop applications, mobile apps, cloud platforms and server software. The company’s flagship products are the Windows operating system and the Office suite of productivity software. The company also offers a variety of other consumer and business-oriented software, such as video games, computer and gaming hardware, online search (with Bing), and the Encarta electronic encyclopedia.
The company was founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, who were both students at Harvard University at the time. The two began working together on a programming language compiler for the Altair 8800 microcomputer, which was very primitive compared to modern computing hardware. After a few years of development, the pair formed Microsoft Corporation with the intention of creating a commercial product based on their programming efforts.
Over the years, the company expanded its offerings in order to stay ahead of the competition. It began producing the Windows family of computer operating systems, which remain to this day the most popular for home computers and laptops. In addition, it developed the Office suite of productivity software, which is bundled with Windows on most new PCs. Microsoft has a number of other consumer and business-oriented software, including the Internet Explorer web browser, Windows Media Player, and the Microsoft Surface series of tablet computers. It also operates several content-distribution channels, such as MSN and the MSNBC news channel.
Despite the fact that the company produces a wide variety of products, it does not have a dominant market position in any one segment of the industry. For example, its Windows operating systems hold a commanding lead in the desktop market, but they do not hold the same sway on smartphones or tablets. The same can be said of its Office productivity software, which has a large share of the market but struggles to gain traction on mobile devices.
In recent years, Microsoft has made a concerted effort to shift its corporate culture and strategy in order to better compete with the likes of Apple and Google. For example, it has begun to open source certain programs and release versions of the Windows operating system with a free license. It has also introduced a number of products, such as the Xbox gaming console and the Azure cloud platform, which aim to challenge established competitors in their respective markets.
The company’s products are used by millions of people around the world, and its impact on the technology landscape is undeniable. Its Windows 95 software helped to connect millions of users to the World Wide Web for the first time, and its Windows interface remains the standard that other operating systems have since striven to match. While it is not without its shortcomings, the company is still considered to be a tech giant in the modern economy. With a strong presence in the cloud and datacenter space, it is poised to continue its dominance into the future.