What Is Microsoft?

Founded in 1975 by Paul Allen and Bill Gates, Microsoft is a leading software and applications developer. The company engages in developing, licensing and supporting a variety of software products and services. Microsoft also designs and sells electronic game consoles, portable media players, business and consumer productivity applications, multimedia titles and the renowned Windows operating system. Popular Microsoft products include the Xbox, Windows, MS-DOS, Microsoft Office, Bing and Internet Explorer.

Microsoft is headquartered in Redmond, Wash., and maintains offices throughout the world. The company went public in 1986, trading under MSFT on the NASDAQ. As of 2014, Microsoft possessed a revenue of $86.83 billion, $172.38 billion in total assets and an employee base of over 128,000. Microsoft is the world’s most prominent software company in terms of revenue generated.

The company is organized into five divisions: Windows, Server and Tools, Online Services, Business, and Entertainment and Devices. The Windows division develops PC operating systems, software, hardware and online services. Server and Tools develops a variety of middleware, developer tools and software to support Windows applications. The Online division markets information designed to simplify tasks and help advertisers connect with consumers. Products under this division include MSN, adCenter, Bing and Atlas online. The company’s Business division consists of Microsoft Office products, and the Entertainment and Devices division develops products and services, such as the Xbox 360 and Xbox one, to connect and entertain consumers.