Microsoft is a multinational technology company headquartered in Redmond, Washington, in the United States. It was founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen with the primary goal of developing and selling BASIC interpreters for the Altair 8800. Since then, Microsoft has become one of the world's technology giants, known for its Windows operating system and Office productivity suite, among other products and services.
Microsoft got its start in the world of microcomputers in the 1970s. In 1980, IBM chose Microsoft to develop an operating system for its new personal computers, which led to the release of MS-DOS. Nonetheless, it was the launch of Microsoft Windows in 1985 that put Microsoft on the path to becoming a dominant technological power.
In the 1990s, Microsoft released its Office productivity suite, which included programs such as Word and Excel. During this period, Microsoft also entered the Internet world with the release of Internet Explorer.
The company continued to innovate in the twenty-first century with the introduction of its Xbox video game console, Windows Phone mobile operating system and Windows Azure cloud operating system. In 2014, Satya Nadella took over as CEO of Microsoft, replacing Steve Ballmer and taking the company in new directions, with a strong focus on cloud and artificial intelligence.
Microsoft offers a wide range of products and services. Some of the most notable include:
Corporate social responsibility is a fundamental aspect of Microsoft's operation. The company strives to operate ethically and sustainably, and to have a positive impact on society.
Microsoft has committed to being carbon negative by 2030, meaning the company plans to remove more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits. In addition to reducing its own carbon emissions, Microsoft is also investing in carbon removal technologies.
On inclusion and diversity, Microsoft is working to create an inclusive company culture and to increase the diversity of its workforce. The company has several programs aimed at increasing representation of underrepresented groups in technology, including women, people of color, and people with disabilities.
Microsoft has had a significant cultural impact throughout its more than four decades of existence. Its software, from operating systems to productivity apps, has influenced the way people work, play and communicate.
Windows, in particular, has been instrumental in popularizing personal computing, making computers accessible and useful to millions of people around the world. Microsoft's Office suite, which includes programs such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, has transformed the way people and businesses create and share documents, spreadsheets and presentations.
Moreover, Microsoft's Xbox has had a significant impact on the video game industry, offering a platform for some of the world's most popular and revolutionary games.
Microsoft's cultural impact also extends to its efforts to improve access to technology and computer science education, especially for underrepresented and underserved populations.