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 include e-mail service Hotmail and search engine Bing. Microsoft has also entered the videogame business making gaming systems under the XBox platform and introduced the popular XBox 360 in 2005. It also entered the portable music and video market with the Zune player in 2006.
The sheer dominance of the Windows operating system for computers has meant huge profits for the company. Every PC sold with Windows installed means a licensing fee that is paid to Microsoft.
Microsoft introduced a new version of the company's operating system called Windows 7 in October 2009. It also launched Kinect for the XBox 360 in November 2010. Kinect lets users play games using motion commands.
For fiscal 2011, Microsoft reported a record $69.9 billion in total revenues and $23.1 billion in net income.
Microsoft has 54,687 employees in the U.S. and 40,755 are based in the Puget Sound area of Washington. 76% of Microsoft employees are male and 41.1% are 30-30 years old.
Microsoft's real estate portfolio includes 104 sites that it owns and 522 sites that are leased for a total of 33.3 million square feet.
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 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.
The company's current operating system, Windows XP, was introduced in 2001.
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 December 13, 2011