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(Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA, The most successful software company in the industry. Microsoft's software and Intel's hardware pioneered the PC and revolutionized the computer industry. Founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, its Windows operating systems are the de facto standards on the desktop and major contenders in the server arena. Microsoft Office is the most successful application suite in history. The company also has a thriving business in programming languages, which are its roots, as well as in numerous other software categories.

Gates and Allen were two college students when they wrote the first BASIC interpreter for the Intel 8080 microprocessor. MBASIC was licensed to Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems to accompany its Altair 8800 kit. By the end of 1976, more than 10,000 Altairs were sold, and versions were licensed to Radio Shack, Apple and others. Although the company became a leader in microcomputer programming languages, its outstanding success was caused by fitting IBM PCs with DOS in 1981 and non-IBM PCs with MS-DOS. In 1990, Windows 3.0, its third version of Windows, was enormously popular. Later, Windows 95 and Windows NT cemented Microsoft's leadership.

After the explosion of the Web, Microsoft gave away its Internet Explorer (IE) browser and then integrated it into Windows. IE became the leading on-ramp to the Internet, and the company embraced the online world with MSN Network and numerous MSN-branded applications and services (see MSN).

Although Microsoft is known for its software, it is also a very large hardware company, offering mice, keyboards, Webcams and the very successful Xbox gaming console and Kinect motion sensing. In 2013, Microsoft acquired the handset division of Nokia, giving it complete control over its mobile phone platform (see Windows Phone). Introduced in 2015, the HoloLens is a venture into augmented reality (see Windows Mixed Reality). See Windows, DOS, Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, Xbox, Kinect, Microsoftie and Altair.

William H. Gates, III
Bill Gates has become the most widely known business entrepreneur in the world, regardless of industry. (Image courtesy of Microsoft Corporation.)

The Microsoft Campus
This is the main building of the sprawling Microsoft campus. (Image courtesy of Microsoft Corporation.)
References in periodicals archive ?
Software company Microsoft Corp has issued a warning regarding 'critical' security flaws in its Business Exchange software and Windows operating system.
In today's enterprise, customers need an environment that is predictable, reliable and cost-effective," said Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft Corp.
During a recess before the beginning of Microsoft's redirect at the antitrust trial in Washington yesterday afternoon, Microsoft Corp spokesperson Mark Murray was asked why the company recorded Windows sales on bits of paper and whether it had ever considered using Microsoft Money or Excel.
SAN FRANCISCO - A judge has ordered Microsoft Corp.
Under the new deal Microsoft Corp will provide Amazon.
The power of 64-bit computing is helping us deliver the best customer and partner experience," said Brent Callinicos, corporate vice president, World Wide Licensing & Pricing, Microsoft Corp.
It was something else entirely Wednesday, when Apple co-founder and prodigal son Steven Jobs announced Microsoft Corp.
Microsoft and Windows Mobile are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp.
High-quality, real-time VC-1 and AVC encoding is a critical component in the end-to-end delivery of IPTV services from Microsoft TV," said Phil Corman, director of worldwide partner development of the Microsoft TV Division at Microsoft Corp.
Nasdaq:INTU), Parsam Technologies, Citigroup (NYSE:C) and Microsoft Corp.

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