Tuesday, July 22, 2008
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.