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An overview of Microsoft, the world’s largest software company

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In 1975, at a time when most Americans used typewriters, Bill Gates and Paul Allen found the world’s largest software company. This article contains key facts about Microsoft as well as its brief history.

On April 4, 1975, Bill Gates and his boyhood buddy Paul Allen launched Microsoft (a portmanteau of “microcomputer software”) to create and market BASIC interpreters for the Altair 8800. MS-DOS enabled Microsoft to dominate the personal computer operating system industry during the mid-1980s

Paul Allen, a Honeywell programmer, was walking around Harvard Square in late 1974 when he came upon the cover of the January 1975 edition of Popular Electronics, which featured the Altair 8800, the first microcomputer. Allen purchased the magazine and hurried to Harvard College’s Currier House to present it to his high school classmate Bill Gates. They spotted the opportunity to create a BASIC implementation for the system.

Gates contacted Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems (MITS), an Altair producer, and offered to demonstrate the implementation. Allen and Gates did not have an interpreter or an Altair system at the time of the demo, but with the aid of Monte Davidoff, they constructed one in the eight weeks leading up to it. The interpreter functioned when Allen travelled to Albuquerque to meet with MITS, and MITS agreed to distribute Altair BASIC.

Allen relocated to Albuquerque, and Gates soon followed, leaving Harvard to co-found Microsoft there. By the end of 1976, the firm had generated $16,005 in revenue.

Allen coined the phrase Micro-Soft, which is a combination of the words microcomputer and software. The firm was registered under that name with the Secretary of State of New Mexico on November 26, 1976, when it was hyphenated in its early versions. The company’s first foreign office, dubbed “ASCII Microsoft” (now known as “Microsoft Japan”), opened in Japan on November 1, 1978, and Bill Gates used the name “Microsoft” for the first time on November 29, 1979. Because it was difficult to hire skilled programmers in Albuquerque, the firm relocated to Bellevue, Washington, on January 1, 1979.

From January 2000 until February 2014, Steve Ballmer succeeded Bill Gates as CEO, having joined the business on June 11, 1980. On June 25, 1981, the corporation reformed to become an incorporated entity in its native state of Washington (with a further change of its name to “Microsoft Corporation, Inc.”). Bill Gates was named president and chairman of the board of directors, while Paul Allen was named executive vice president, as part of the reorganisation. Allen left the firm in 1983 after being diagnosed with Hodgkin cancer, however he remained on the board as vice-chairman.

The first products that Microsoft made were various variants of Microsoft BASIC, such as the Apple II (Applesoft BASIC) and Commodore 64 (Commodore BASIC), and was also included with early IBM PCs as the IBM Cassette BASIC.

Microsoft Firm is today known as a global technology corporation based in Redmond, Washington, that manufactures computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and associated services. The Microsoft Windows operating system, the Microsoft Office suite, and the Internet Explorer and Edge web browsers are among its most well-known software products.

Microsoft was placed No. 21 on the Fortune 500 list of the top US firms by total revenue in 2020; as of 2016, it was the world’s largest software manufacturer by revenue. Along with Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Apple, and Meta, it is one of the Big Five American information technology corporations (Facebook).

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