Microsoft is the world's largest software company. It is the developer of the Windows operating system that powers 90% of the world's personal computers. It also makes business software including Microsoft Office which includes very popular programs Word, Excel and Powerpoint.
Microsoft also operates the MSN network of websites which includes search engine Bing. Microsoft is also in the videogame business making gaming systems under the XBox platform. The company released the latest gaming system, XBox One, on November 22, 2013.
The dominance of the Windows operating system for computers has meant huge profits for the company over the past two decades. Every PC sold with Windows installed means a licensing fee that is paid to Microsoft. However, PC growth has slowed with the rise of Apple's iPad and tablet computers.
For fiscal 2013, Microsoft reported revenues of $77.85 billion, up from $73.72 billion, and $21.8 billion in net income.
In April, the company officially acquired Nokia's Devices and Services business for $7.2 billion. The acquisition will be part of Microsoft Devices Group, overseeing an expanded devices business that includes Lumia smartphones and tablets, Nokia mobile phones, Xbox hardware, Surface, Perceptive Pixel (PPI) products, and accessories.
Microsoft announced in July it would cut 18,000 employees worldwide with 12,000 expected from the Nokia division.
As of April 2014, Microsoft had 61,756 employees in the U.S. and 43,351 are based in the Puget Sound area of Washington. 71.8% of Microsoft employees are male and 45.4% are over 40 years old.
Microsoft's real estate portfolio includes 117 sites that it owns and 628 sites that are leased for a total of 35.6 million square feet.
Satya Nadella was named the new CEO of Microsoft in February, replacing Steve Ballmer. Founder Bill Gates is also relinquishing his Chairman role but will be a Technology Advisor to the new CEO. Nadella previously held the position of Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group.
Microsoft was founded in 1975 by Bill Gates -- a Harvard dropout -- and friend Paul Allen. In 1979, the founders moved to Bellevue, WA from Albuquerque, NM. In 1981, the young company struck a major licensing deal with IBM to run its operating system MS-DOS 1.0 on IBM personal computers. Microsoft managed to maintain control over the operating system without ceding ownership to IBM.
As the growth in personal computers continued, Microsoft licensed its operating system to other manufacturers and evenutally created a standard for computers worldwide.
Microsoft went public in 1986 and introduced its first Office suite of applications in 1989. In 1990, Microsoft launched Windows 3.0 and Windows 95 in 1995.
Windows XP was introduced in 2001. Windows Vista was released in 2007.
The company acquired Internet communications company Skype in October 2011 for $8.5 billion.
The success of Microsoft software has made co-founder Bill Gates one of the world's richest men. Gates has set up his own charitable foundation with his wife Melinda where he plans to give away a significant portion of his wealth. The foundation is focused on causes relating to education and health. Gates left Microsoft as a full-time employee on June 27, 2008 to devote more time to his charitable foundation. He remains non-executive chairman of the company.
Microsoft entered the portable music and video market with the Zune player in 2006 but discontinued the line in 2012.
Microsft launched a new redesigned version of its operating system software Windows 8 in October 2012 along with its own tablets called Surface. Windows 8 has been criticized for its interface and radical design.
Microsoft has 38,336 employees in the U.S. and 28,900 are located in Washington State. The workforce is overwhelmingly male at 75%. The average worker age according to the company is 36 years old.
Microsoft offers excellent benefits to workers and is known for paying employees well. Medical, dental, vision coverage is included as well as life insurance. Paid health club membership is provided. Free soft drinks are offered to all employees.
The company recently announced added benefits to retain workers including a 15% increase in spending on employee stock awards, on-site laundry and dry cleaning, discounts on pet and auto care and free towel service.
Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP)
Matching Charitable Donations
Tuition Assistance Program
Updated August 14, 2014