What Is Microsoft?


Microsoft is the world’s largest computer software company and offers a wide variety of products, including operating systems, productivity suites, hardware and cloud services. The company was founded in 1975 by Harvard University classmates Bill Gates and Paul Allen. Its most recognizable products are Windows and Office. Microsoft’s headquarters are in Redmond, Washington, and it has offices worldwide. Its stock is traded under the ticker symbol MSFT.

In the 1990s, Microsoft deepened its position in operating systems with Windows, which added a graphical user interface and better matched Apple Computer’s Mac OS for ease of use. The company also became the leader in productivity software with its Word processing and Excel spreadsheet programs, outdistancing longtime rivals such as Lotus and WordPerfect.

The company has a global presence with subsidiaries in countries around the world to harvest local markets and to funnel profits back to the corporate headquarters for distribution among shareholders. The most significant of these is the European subsidiary in London, which was established in 1992 and now employs more than 8,000 people.

More recently, Microsoft has been gaining ground in the AI (artificial intelligence) space. The company debuted new software tools for cybersecurity and a AI-powered tool that can help companies avoid being ripped off by cybercriminals. It has also been adding to its Azure cloud computing infrastructure with a new artificial intelligence chip to reduce its reliance on chip maker Nvidia.

This shift is largely thanks to Satya Nadella, who replaced Steve Ballmer as CEO in February 2014. Nadella has pushed the company to embrace change and refocus on innovation. It is arguably now more competitive than ever against the likes of Apple and Google.

The company continues to make major investments in research, development and innovation, with several labs around the world. These include the main lab in Redmond, as well as locations in Beijing (1997); Cambridge, Massachusetts (2008); Bengaluru, India (2011); and New York City (2013). In addition, Microsoft has a number of research partners worldwide, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford University.

Despite these positive signs, there is still much more to be done for Microsoft to improve its standing in the industry and restore its former monopoly power. Many of its products, such as Internet Explorer and Edge, are not considered the fastest or best-designed, but it is hard to imagine going digital without a Microsoft system. It is a system that nearly everyone has grown up with and one that most know how to use, even if it is not the most aesthetically pleasing or fun to use. This is a huge part of its legacy and why it is still so well-known today.

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