Sunday, July 27, 2008
The most common editions of the operating system are Windows XP Home Edition, which is targeted at home users, and Windows XP Professional, which offers additional features such as support for Windows Server domains and two physical processors, and is targeted at power users, business and enterprise clients. Windows XP Media Center Edition has additional multimedia features enhancing the ability to record and watch TV shows, view DVD movies, and listen to music. Windows XP Tablet PC Edition is designed to run ink-aware applications built using the Tablet PC platform. Two separate 64-bit versions of Windows XP were also released, Windows XP 64-bit Edition for IA-64 (Itanium) processors and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition for x86-64. There is also Windows XP Embedded, a componentized version of the Windows XP Professional, and editions for specific markets such as Windows XP Starter Edition.
Windows XP is known for its improved stability and efficiency over the 9x versions of Microsoft Windows.It presents a significantly redesigned graphical user interface, a change Microsoft promoted as more user-friendly than previous versions of Windows. New software management capabilities were introduced to avoid the "DLL hell" that plagued older consumer-oriented 9x versions of Windows.It is also the first version of Windows to use product activation to combat software piracy, a restriction that did not sit well with some users and privacy advocates. Windows XP has also been criticized by some users for security vulnerabilities, tight integration of applications such as Internet Explorer 6 and Windows Media Player, and for aspects of its default user interface. Later versions with Service Pack 2, and Internet Explorer 7 addressed some of these concerns.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Using the improved search features in Windows Vista, you can search from many places, including the Start menu, Control Panel, and any folder. No matter where you are, you can usually find what you want, even if the item you're searching for is in a different location.
The Search box on the Start menu is one of the most convenient ways to find things on your computer. Just open the Start menu and start typing. You don't even need to click inside the box first. As you type, the search results appear above the Search box in the left pane of the Start menu.
The Search box on the Start menu will search your programs and all of the folders in your personal folder (which includes Documents, Pictures, Music, Desktop, and other common locations). It will also search your e mail messages, saved instant messages, appointments, and contacts. It performs the same tasks as the Run command, giving you a quick way to open programs, files, folders, and—when you're connected to the Internet—websites.
The Search box in a folder will search within the current location by default, though you can expand the search to include additional locations as well.
All these and lots more ease of use then why wait just upgrade your operating system to the brand new windows os Vista.
After you upgrade to Windows Vista and begin to explore, you might wonder where some of your old favorite features are, and how to perform the tasks you used to do in Windows XP. We've improved many features in Windows Vista and renamed a few programs to better reflect what they do. We’ve also moved some things around so they’ll be easier for you to use and find.
If you’re accustomed to Windows XP, this article will help make the transition to Windows Vista even easier for you.
What's new on the Start menu?
The information on the Start menu is organized more efficiently than in Windows XP, with an improved programs list and a new search feature to make it easier to find any program, folder, or file you're looking for, just by typing its first few letters. The Start menu is still the place to turn your computer off or log off, but there are also new buttons for locking your computer or putting it into a low-power state called sleep mode.
Searching and organizing
In every folder in Windows, the Search box appears in the upper right corner. When you type in the Search box, Windows filters the view based on what you’re typing. Windows looks for words in the file name, tags that you’ve applied to the file, or other file properties. To find a file in a folder, type any part of a file name in the Search box to find what you're looking for. You can also use Search folders when you don’t know where a file is located or when you want to do an advanced search using more than just a single file name or property.
Features such as Windows Firewall and Windows Defender can help keep your computer more secure. Windows Security Center has links for checking your computer's firewall, antivirus software, and status. User Account Control (UAC) can help prevent unauthorized changes to your computer by requiring permission before performing actions that could potentially affect your computer's operation or that change settings that affect other users.
Windows Aero is the premium visual experience of Windows. It features a translucent glass design with subtle window animations and new window colors. Part of the Windows Aero experience is Windows Flip 3D, which is a way to preview your open windows in three-dimensional stacks, as well as taskbar buttons with live, thumbnail-sized window previews.
Sync and sharing
Sync with other devices such as portable music players and Windows Mobile devices. With Sync Center, you can keep devices in sync, manage how your devices sync, start a manual sync, see the status of current sync activities, and check for conflicts.
You can also share files and folders with people on your network, even if they use a computer that's not running Windows. When you share files and folders, other people can open and view the files and folders just as if they were stored on their own computer. And they can make changes, if you allow that.
Windows Easy Transfer
Windows Easy Transfer is the best way to transfer your files and settings from your old computer. You can do this using an Easy Transfer Cable, CDs or DVDs, a USB Flash drive, a network folder, or an external hard disk. You can transfer: user accounts, files and folders, program settings, Internet settings and favorites, e-mail settings, contacts, and messages.
Ease of Access Center
The new Ease of Access Center replaces Accessibility Options in earlier versions of Windows. The Ease of Access Center comes with several improvements and new features, including centralized access to accessibility settings and a new questionnaire that you can use to get suggestions for accessibility features that you might find useful.
Parental Controls makes it easy for parents to designate which games their children are allowed to play. Parents can allow or restrict specific game titles, limit their children's play to games that are rated at or below a certain age level, or block games with certain types of content that they don't want their children to see or hear.
Backup and Restore Center
The Backup and Restore Center makes it easier to back up your settings, files, and programs when and where you choose, with the convenience of automated scheduling. You can back up to a CD or DVD, an external hard disk, another hard disk on your computer, a USB flash drive , or to another computer or server connected to your network.
Use the Network File and Sharing Center to get real-time network status and links to customized activities. Set up a more secure wireless network, connect more securely to public networks in hotspots, and help monitor your network security. Access files and shared network devices, such as printers, more easily and use interactive diagnostics to identify and fix network problems.
Windows Meeting Space
Collaborate with and distribute documents to other people online. Share your desktop or any program with other session participants, distribute and co-edit documents, and pass notes to others. Windows Meeting Space works in a meeting room, a favorite hotspot , or where no network exists.
Windows Media Center
Enjoy all your favorite digital entertainment—including live and recorded TV, movies, music, and pictures—in one place with the Windows Media Center menu system and remote control. Windows Media Center in Windows Vista includes enhancements for expanded support of digital and high-definition cable TV, an improved menu system, and the ability to create a consumer-electronics-quality living-room experience, as well as new options for multi-room access to your entertainment through Media Center Extenders, including Microsoft Xbox 360.
Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption
Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption can help protect the information on your computer, even if your computer is lost or stolen. BitLocker encrypts the entire system drive, including files needed for startup and logon, which can improve security by preventing hackers from accessing important system files.
Mobile PC features
Use the Mobility Center to adjust settings you regularly change when you move from place to place (such as volume and screen brightness) and to check your connectivity status. Use a secondary, or auxiliary, display to check for your next meeting, read e‑mail, listen to music, or scan news without opening your mobile PC. You can also have an auxiliary display on a device, such as a cell phone or TV.
Tablet PC features
Improve handwriting recognition by personalizing the handwriting recognizer. Use flicks to navigate and perform shortcuts with your pen. See pen actions more clearly with optimized cursors. Use the Input Panel to handwrite, or use the soft keyboard anywhere on your screen. Use the touch screen to perform actions with your finger (the touch screen is only available if you have a touch-enabled Tablet PC).
And Lots more to ENJOY !
Windows XP Service Pack 3 is a service pack that is cumulative back to the last currently-supported service pack. This means that Windows XP Service Pack 3 contains all the fixes that were included with Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2). If you have already installed Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3), you do not have to install Windows XP SP2.
Note You must have either Windows XP Service Pack 1a or Windows XP Service Pack 2 installed in order to install Windows XP Service Pack 3.
How to obtain
You can use Windows Update or the Microsoft Download Center to obtain Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3).
Check for updates on Windows Update
1. Visit the following Microsoft Web site: http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com
2. Click Express Install (Recommended).
3. If your computer qualifies, Windows XP SP3 will be one of the updates that are automatically selected. Click Install.
4. Review and accept the End User License Agreement (EULA).
Windows XP SP3 will be downloaded to your computer, and the Windows XP Service Pack 3 Setup Wizard will help you install it.
Obtain the latest Windows XP service pack from the Microsoft Download CenterIf you have trouble obtaining the service pack from Windows Update, you can obtain the standalone update package from the Download Center.
The following file is available for download from the Microsoft Download Center:
Download the Windows XP Service Pack 3 package now. (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=5B33B5A8-5E76-401F-BE08-1E1555D4F3D4)
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
But unless pirates get caught with their hands deep in the Vista cookie jar a pirated version of the operating system will function identically with the genuine product. Now, unlike Windows XP which was sent barefoot into the world, Vista comes with a built in Software Protection Platform that automatically reacts if the code has been or the product key have been mismanaged.
In this context, Microsoft has worked to emphasize the benefits associated with acquiring and using genuine software. "Improved user interface and innovative visuals and navigation with Windows Aero. Speeds up PC performance with readily available USB devices using Windows ReadyBoost. On-going access to updates and downloads such as Windows Media Player. Full features and protection from spyware and malware with Windows Defender. Access to product support from Microsoft," the Redmond company revealed.
Of course that once the Windows Genuine Advantage mechanism does identify a pirated version of Vista, restrictions are set in place to drastically ruin the ride for pirates. And in the end, the Reduced Functionality Mode simply makes it all not worthwhile. A pirated copy of Vista, once detected will deliver "constant desktop warning if user is running a non-genuine version. Great new features are disabled, such as Window Aero and Windows ReadyBoost. Updates and downloads are denied, such as new releases of Windows Media Player and Windows Internet Explorer 7. Information stored on the PC may be exposed to on-going risks from spyware, and malware. PCs will go into reduced functionality mode if not activated with a valid product key," Microsoft explained.
The results of the analysis show that Windows Vista has an improved security vulnerability profile over its predecessor. Analysis of security updates also shows that Microsoft improvements to the security update process and development process have reduced the impact of security updates to Windows administrators significantly compared to its predecessor, Windows XP.
Download: Windows Vista One Year Vulnerability Report
The just-announced update, which will go out via Windows Update (WU) and install automatically on most Vista machines, will detect two cracks commonly used to activate pirated copies of the operating system. The cracks evade Vista's built-in counterfeit-detection technology by sidestepping product activation and spoofing a legitimate installation.
One of the cracks, "Grace Timer," extends Vista's activation grace period, which is normally 30 days, until the year 2099. The other, called OEM BIOS, modifies system files and the PC's BIOS to mimic the product activation done by computer-makers at the factory.
Both will be blocked by Vista SP1, the major update that will hit WU as an optional download in mid-March and automatically download and install the next month.
February's Vista update, however, will only detect cracks, notify the user and offer up a solution, said Alex Kochis, senior product manager for Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage program, in a post to the team's blog. It will not disable, block or cripple the cracks.
"It's important to note that this update does not disable the exploits it finds," said Kochis. "It simply alerts customers that exploits exist." At the same time it rolls out the crack-detection update, Microsoft will also post a separate removal tool for download, Kochis added. "In the future, we will integrate the removal of the exploits with the detection," he said.
William Henry "Bill" Gates III (born October 28, 1955) is the co-founder, chairman, former chief software architect, and former CEO of Microsoft Corporation. He is also the founder of Corbis, a digital image archiving company. Forbes magazine's The World's Billionaires list has ranked him as the richest person in the world for the last twelve consecutive years. In 1999, Gates' wealth briefly surpassed $100 billion making him America's first centibillionaire. According to the Forbes 2004 magazine, Bill Gates's net worth was approximately $46.6 billion. When family wealth is considered, his family ranks second behind the Walton family.
Gates is one of the best-known entrepreneurs of the personal computer revolution. He is widely respected for his foresight and ambition. He is also frequently criticized as having built Microsoft through unfair or unlawful business practices. Since amassing his fortune, Gates has pursued a number of philanthropic endeavors, donating large amounts of money (about 52% of his total fortune) to various charitable organizations and scientific research programs through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, founded in 2000. 2008 June bill retires from Microsoft & Devotes Himself to Philanthropy after Retirement.
The people have spoken. Windows XP rules.
Forget, for a moment, Mac OS X and Linux with their puny 8% combined market share. First, just consider how the "upgrade" from XP to Windows Vista is going.
Microsoft gamely touts increasing Vista adoption, but the backlash against XP's successor is unprecedented. I would call it a near-disaster. When is the last time a petition was circulated that gathered more than 100,000 signatures to save an operating system?
Dell Inc. has caved in to customer demand and reversed its Vista-only policy for many of its computers. Earlier, Dell had pointed out to Microsoft several mistakes made with the Vista rollout, including confusing marketing, broken drivers, hardware compatibility issues and other problems, according to a class-action lawsuit about Vista marketing.
If you want the best operating system available today, there is only one choice: Windows Vista.
You heard me right: Vista, the operating system that people love to hate. The system that has been blamed, it seems, for everything from global warming to the U.S. economic meltdown.
I'm here to tell you that the conventional wisdom is flat-out wrong. Vista is a solid, hard-working operating system that will run whatever software you need with simplicity and grace. And it doesn't suffer from the world of woes that affect its competitors.
Interface, tweakability and extras
Why is Vista the best operating system? The interface is a good place to start. Vista has a straightforward elegance, featuring transparent windows that niftily whoosh into and out of place when you minimize or maximize them.
Mac OS X: All you need in one dynamite package
Computing nirvana isn't difficult to find. If you want a simple-to-use computer that can run virtually any application you need on stylish hardware that gives you easy online access and instant connectivity to all types of satellite devices, just go to an Apple store and buy a Macintosh.
A complete software/hardware ecosystem
When it comes to integration, no other operating system can boast the unity of purpose and results that exist on the Mac platform. While the competition is busy mashing feature after feature into poorly designed products, Apple Inc. focuses on what's important: creating a software/hardware ecosystem that gets out of the way so you can do what you bought a computer to do -- work, make movies, build Web sites, communicate or crunch data.
You know what I'm taking about -- all those annoying little things that add up when using Windows. Plug in a mouse on a PC, and a little dialog box pops up exclaiming that it just sensed you plugged in a mouse, and after installing the driver, it's ready to go! This isn't a shuttle launch; I just plugged in a mouse. I'll know the operating system recognizes it as soon as I can move the pointer, so stop bugging me with alert boxes!
Linux: Light on its feet and ready to strut its stuff
Let's get the unpleasant part out of the way first: If running Adobe Premiere is the most important thing in your life, or you want to play Halo, Linux isn't going to do it for you, at least right at the moment. While most Windows software can run under Linux in one fashion or another, applications that make extensive use of hardware drivers or high-end graphics may not work right.
But for everything else, Linux is definitely the way to go.
Unlike Mac OS and Windows, Linux is free as air and open to development by folks who are motivated by the desire to make the technology better, rather than by corporate tech farms whose real interest is the bottom line. Which is all very nice, but is it any good as a desktop operating system? You bet.
Size and speed
Let's start with the hardware footprint: With the possible exception of BSD, Linux's 'sister,' Linux is the lightest thing you'll ever install on your computer. While the minimum required hardware for Windows has been bloating, and Macs need more and more horsepower to run OS X, you can still dig out your old 486 and fire up Linux without problems.
Since the dawn of time -- or, at least, the dawn of personal computers -- the holy wars over desktop operating systems have raged, with each faction proclaiming the unrivaled superiority of its chosen OS and the vile loathsomeness of all others.
No matter how fierce the language or convincing the arguments, however, these battles began to seem somewhat irrelevant to regular working stiffs. While Mac OS, OS/2, Linux and many other desktop operating systems have all had their devotees over the years, the truth is that the majority of home and business users have simply used the current version of Windows as a matter of course.
Windows Vista has changed all that. Never has a Microsoft operating system been greeted with such a lack of enthusiasm from consumers and businesses alike. Whether it's because of Vista's confusing array of versions, its hefty hardware requirements, its driver issues or its invasive security features, users are resisting the upgrade to Vista and considering other options, from Mac OS X to Linux to just sticking with Windows XP,saying thank you very much.
Each is positive that his operating system is the best and will try his hardest to convince you of that -- and is not above taking a few swipes at the competition. These are not rational, disengaged reviews; these are opinionated essays meant to sway your point of view.
* Stability You want to make sure that the Operating System you are going to use is functional. A buggy Operating System is more or less useless. From my experience, XP is the most practical Windows Operating System to use at the moment. I’m relatively new to Linux, but my favorite distro is Ubuntu, due to the ease of my migration over from XP. MacOS X I know absolutely nothing about, but I have heard that Leopard is somewhat more buggy than previous versions. I haven’t tried it, this is only what I have heard.
* Compatibility (Hardware) This is mostly for Windows and Linux, as OS X hardware is pretty much controlled by Apple. Check to make sure that your video card, sound card, printer, motherboard, and etc has drivers for, or is compatible with the Operating System of your choice. Some dated hardware will not be supported by some of the newer Operating Systems (speaking mostly to Vista). Make sure that everything you have will work in the future.
* Support Know where to go for help. You are bound to run into problems whenever doing something for the first time. Find websites or communities with experienced users of the product that you can reach to for help when you need it. Example: When I first installed Ubuntu, the X Server could not detect my graphical hardware no matter what I did. I went to the Ubuntu forums, and I was directed to a program called Envy that automatically setup the X Server for me, and installed the latest nVidia drivers for my video card.
* Have a Life Line Data is bound to be lost when installing and uninstalling Operating Systems. Make sure that all critical data on your current OS is backed up, and can be restored in your new OS. When in doubt, I recommend partitioning the empty portion of your hard drive. Then install the OS you want, and try it out. This way, your entire system hasn’t been hosed, and you can revert to what you were using before. Dual booting is also a great option for compatibility (hardware and software). My current setup is 370gb Ubuntu and 130gb XP. This is so Ubuntu (my primary OS) has enough room for documents or work-related files, and Windows has enough for programs that have no equivalent in Linux (Good for gamers who want Linux, but don’t want to sacrifice performance with something like WINE or a virtual machine).
* Can the OS do what you want it to do? A key point for Linux is the eye candy. It’s great, we love it. Eye candy is why a lot of people get Linux over Windows or OSX. But this isn’t practical. If a program you need for school or your work is only available in Windows, and you are running a pure OS X or Linux machine, you need to either find a comparable application, run a virtual machine, or reinstall Windows. This is another reason I strongly recommend not confining yourself to only one Operating System. Different Operating Systems are good at different things. Take advantage of this and use all at your disposal.
See the video
I've always had a secret desire to own a Mac. Of course, I didn't do anything to get one, but today I've made my first step: I've installed FlyakiteOSX (mirror), which is an application that transforms Windows XP in a Mac OSX. Like magic. The package is more than a simple skin, it makes subtle changes:
* Command Console looks like the Terminal
* every folder can have a different color
* Spotlight clone with Google Desktop
* new effects for icons and folders
* shadows for windows and taskbar
* new cursors, screen savers, boot screen, wallpaper, Jaguar sounds
* new look for Internet Explorer, Outlook Explorer, Office
If you go to the site, you'll see a small version of an online Mac OSX desktop. The setup has about 30MB, but the result is a beautiful new operating system that makes your work on your computer more enjoyable.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Microsoft Windows scored a significant success with Windows 3.0, released in 1990. In addition to improved capabilities given to native applications, Windows also allows a user to better multitask older MS-DOS based software compared to Windows/386, thanks to the introduction of virtual memory. It made PC compatibles serious competitors to the Apple Macintosh. This benefited from the improved graphics available on PCs by this time (by means of VGA video cards), and the Protected/Enhanced mode which allowed Windows applications to use more memory in a more painless manner than their DOS counterparts could. Windows 3.0 can run in any of Real, Standard, or 386 Enhanced modes, and is compatible with any Intel processor from the 8086/8088 up to 80286 and 80386. Windows 3.0 tries to auto detect which mode to run in, although it can be forced to run in a specific mode using the switches: /r (real mode), /s ("standard" 286 protected mode) and /3 (386 enhanced protected mode) respectively. This was the first version to run Windows programs in protected mode, although the 386 enhanced mode kernel was an enhanced version of the protected mode kernel in Windows/386.
Due to this backward compatibility, Windows 3.0 applications also must be compiled in a 16-bit environment, without ever using the full 32-bit capabilities of the 386 CPU.
A "multimedia" version, Windows 3.0 with Multimedia Extensions 1.0, was released several months later. This was bundled with "multimedia upgrade kits", comprising a CD-ROM drive and a sound card, such as the Creative Labs Sound Blaster Pro. This version was the precursor to the multimedia features available in Windows 3.1 and later, and was part of the specification for Microsoft's specification for the Multimedia PC.
The features listed above and growing market support from application software developers made Windows 3.0 wildly successful, selling around 10 million copies in the two years before the release of version 3.1. Windows 3.0 became a major source of income for Microsoft, and led the company to revise some of its earlier plans.
Microsoft is a multinational computer technology corporation. The History of Microsoft began on April 4, 1975, when it was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in Albuquerque. Its current best selling products are the Microsoft Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software.
Starting in 1980, Microsoft formed an important partnership with IBM which allowed them to bundle Microsoft's operating system with computers that they sold, paying Microsoft a royalty for every sale. In 1985, IBM requested that Microsoft write a new operating system for their computers called the OS/2; Microsoft wrote the operating system, but also continued to sell their own version of it, which was in direct competition with the OS/2. The Microsoft version eventually overshadowed the OS/2 in terms of sales. When Microsoft launched several versions of Microsoft Windows in the 1990s, they had captured over 90% market share of the world's personal computers.
The company has now become largely successful. As of 2007, Microsoft has a global annual revenue of US$51.12 billion and nearly 79,000 employees in 102 countries. It develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of software products for computing devices.
The first independent version of Microsoft Windows, version 1.0, released on November 20, 1985, lacked a degree of functionality and achieved little popularity. It was originally going to be called Interface Manager, but Rowland Hanson, the head of marketing at Microsoft, convinced the company that the name Windows would be more appealing to consumers. Windows 1.0 was not a complete operating system, but rather extended MS-DOS, and shared the latter's inherent flaws and problems.
Furthermore, legal challenges by Apple limited its functionality. For example, windows can only appear "tiled" on the screen; that is, they cannot overlap or overlie one another. Also, there is no trash can (place to store files prior to deletion), since Apple believed they owned the rights to that paradigm. Microsoft later removed both of these limitations by signing a licensing agreement.
Microsoft Windows version 2 came out on December 9, 1987, and proved slightly more popular than its predecessor. Much of the popularity for Windows 2.0 came by way of its inclusion as a "run-time version" with Microsoft's new graphical applications, Excel and Word for Windows. They can be run from MS-DOS, executing Windows for the duration of their activity, and closing down Windows upon exit.
Microsoft Windows received a major boost around this time when Aldus PageMaker appeared in a Windows version, having previously run only on Macintosh. Some computer historians date this, the first appearance of a significant and non-Microsoft application for Windows, as the beginning of the success of Windows.
Versions 2.0x uses the real-mode memory model, which confines it to a maximum of 1 megabyte of memory. In such a configuration, it can run under another multitasker like DESQview, which use the 286 Protected Mode.
Later, two new versions were released: Windows/286 2.1 and Windows/386 2.1. Like previous versions of Windows, Windows/286 2.1 uses the real-mode memory model, but was the first version to support the HMA. Windows/386 2.1 has a protected mode kernel with LIM-standard EMS emulation, the predecessor to XMS which would finally change the topology of IBM PC computing. All Windows and DOS-based applications at the time were real mode, running over the protected mode kernel by using the virtual 8086 mode, which was new with the 80386 processor.
Version 2.03, and later 3.0, faced challenges from Apple over its overlapping windows and other features Apple charged mimicked the "look and feel" of its operating system and "embodie[d] and generate[d] a copy of the Macintosh" in its OS. Judge William Schwarzer dropped all but 10 of the 189 charges that Apple had sued Microsoft with on January 5, 1989.
Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) is an American multinational computer technology corporation. It develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of software products for computing devices. Microsoft's best-selling products are the Microsoft Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software. These products have prominent positions in their respective markets, with market share estimates as high as 90% or more for Microsoft Windows as of 2006 and for Microsoft Office as of 2003. One of Bill Gates' key visions for the company was to "to get a workstation running our software onto every desk and eventually in every home".
Founded to develop and sell BASIC interpreters for the Altair 8800, Microsoft rose to dominate the home computer operating system market with MS-DOS in the mid-1980s. The company released an initial public offering (IPO) in the stock market, which, due to the ensuing rise of the stock price, has made four billionaires and an estimated 12,000 millionaires from Microsoft employees.
Throughout its history the company has been the target of criticism for various reasons, including monopoly status and anti-competitive business practices including refusal to deal and tying. The U.S. Justice Department and the European Commission, among others, have ruled against Microsoft for various antitrust violations.
Microsoft has footholds in other markets besides operating systems and office suites, with assets such as the MSNBC cable television network, the MSN Internet portal, and the Microsoft Encarta multimedia encyclopedia. The company also markets both computer hardware products such as the Microsoft mouse and home entertainment products such as the Xbox, Xbox 360, Zune and MSN TV. Known for what is generally described as a developer-centric business culture, Microsoft has historically given customer support over Usenet newsgroups and the World Wide Web, and awards Microsoft MVP status to volunteers who are deemed helpful in assisting the company's customers. The company's official website is one of the most visited on the Internet, receiving more than 2.4 million unique page views per day according to Alexa.com, which ranked the site 14th amongst all websites for traffic rank on June, 2008.