Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational technology corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, that specializes in the development of consumer electronics and computer software. It also produces cloud computing services through its Azure platform. The company is one of the largest software vendors worldwide.
Microsoft is best known for its operating systems. However, it is also a leading provider of e-mail and other services. Besides operating systems, the company has developed a number of consumer electronics, including video game consoles.
In 1975, Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They derived the name from the words microcomputer and software. Their initial products were a BASIC interpreter for the Altair 8800, a primitive early computer.
Microsoft’s first operating system, MS-DOS, was released in 1981 with the IBM PC. Most personal computer manufacturers licensed it. During the 1980s, it outsold rival CP/M. By 1992, nearly 90 percent of the world’s PCs had adopted Microsoft’s OS.
Windows was a major improvement on previous versions of the OS. However, it encountered initial problems with older computer peripherals. Eventually, Microsoft replaced Internet Explorer with Microsoft Edge.
Microsoft’s rapid growth, however, led to resentment among its competitors. Its business model of retaining its existing customers and forcing other firms to sell its OS to customers who preferred not to use other programs, also sparked complaints.
In 1995, Microsoft released Internet Explorer, which was bundled with its Windows operating system. It aggressively persuaded computer makers and Internet service providers to distribute it.