is an American multinational technology company with headquarters in Redmond, Washington. It develops, manufactures, licenses supports, and sells computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best-known software products are the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems, the Microsoft Office Suite, and therefore the Internet Explorer and Edge web browsers. Its flagship hardware products are the Xbox computer game consoles and therefore the Microsoft Surface lineup of touchscreen personal computers. Microsoft ranked No. 21 within the 2020 Fortune 500 rankings of the most important us corporations by total revenue; it had been the world's largest software maker by revenue as of 2016. it's considered one among the large Five companies within the U.S. information technology industry, alongside Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook.
Microsoft (the word being a portmanteau of "microcomputer software") was founded by Gates and Paul Allen on April 4, 1975, to develop and sell BASIC interpreters for the Altair 8800. It rose to dominate the private computer OS market with MS-DOS within the mid-1980s, followed by Microsoft Windows. The company's 1986 initial public offering (IPO), and subsequent rise in its share price, created three billionaires and an estimated 12,000 millionaires among Microsoft employees. Since the 1990s, it's increasingly diversified from the OS market and has made a variety of corporate acquisitions, their largest being the acquisition of LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in December 2016, followed by their acquisition of Skype Technologies for $8.5 billion in May 2011.
As of 2015, Microsoft is market-dominant within the IBM PC compatible OS market and therefore the office software suite market, although it's lost the bulk of the general OS market to Android. the corporate also produces a good range of other consumer and enterprise software for desktops, laptops, tabs, gadgets, and servers, including Internet search (with Bing), the digital services market (through MSN), mixed reality (HoloLens), cloud computing (Azure), and software development (Visual Studio).
Steve Ballmer replaced Gates as CEO in 2000 and later envisioned a "devices and services" strategy. This unfolded with Microsoft acquiring Danger Inc. in 2008, entering the private computer production marketplace for the primary time in June 2012 with the launch of the Microsoft Surface line of tablet computers, and later forming Microsoft Mobile through the acquisition of Nokia's devices and services division. Since Satya Nadella took over as CEO in 2014, the corporate has scaled back on hardware and has instead focused on cloud computing, a move that helped the company's shares reach their highest value since December 1999.