What is Microsoft?
Founded in 1975, Microsoft is one of the world’s largest publishers of operating systems and applications. It has offices in over sixty countries, and is headquartered in Redmond, Washington. Its core business is personal computing and computer software. It is also a major producer of electronic game systems, computer peripherals, and consumer electronics. The company has been involved in a number of controversies, including the use of “permatemp” employees and its monopolistic business practices.
Microsoft has been accused of using its market dominance to discourage competitors from entering the market, and it has been sanctioned by the U.S. Department of Justice for violations of antitrust laws.
In the early 1990s, Microsoft shifted its focus from supplying hardware and software to producing and selling a wide range of consumer products. These products included Microsoft Word, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint. Microsoft’s products also include corporate server operating systems (Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, and Windows 2008 R2), as well as e-mail and web-based services. The company’s flagship hardware product is the Xbox video game console.
Microsoft is also involved in the development of cloud computing and virtual reality. The company introduced the Surface tablet computer in 2012. The first Surface tablet was released in 2012. Surface has since been superseded by multiple subsequent Surface models. The company also offers Microsoft 365 Lists, which is a new service that keeps users in sync and allows them to share lists with others. The company also operates research labs in Bengaluru, India, and in Cambridge, England.
Microsoft also has sales offices in more than sixty countries, including the United States. It has a main research and development center in Redmond, Washington, as well as labs in Bengaluru, India, and Cambridge, England. Microsoft is also the owner of the professional social media site LinkedIn.
Microsoft has also faced criticism for its security practices. In 2003, the U.S. Department of Justice launched an investigation into Microsoft’s practices. The Department argued that Microsoft was attempting to stifle competition by limiting the use of its web browser, Internet Explorer, on its Windows operating system. The investigation eventually resulted in a settlement with Microsoft. However, the settlement did not require Microsoft to remove Internet Explorer from Windows.
Microsoft has also been accused of employing a “vendor lock-in” model in which it prevents competitors from developing competing products. Critics believe this tactic is used to eliminate competitors from emerging markets such as digital music distribution.
Microsoft also has been accused of overworking its employees. According to an article in the Seattle Times in 1989, Microsoft employees often work “over their heads.” Oftentimes, employees work long hours, without medical benefits. It has also been criticized for its use of permatemp employees, who work without benefits. It has been said that Microsoft employees become so dependent on Microsoft products and services that they become a burden to the company.
Microsoft also has been accused of overpricing its products. During the Great Recession of 2007-09, Microsoft’s profits remained consistent.