Multinational computer technology corporation, Microsoft was founded in April 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen. Its current best-selling products are the Microsoft Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software. In 1980, Microsoft formed a partnership with IBM which allowed it to bundle Microsoft’s operating system with IBM computers, with Microsoft receiving a royalty payment for every sale.
Five years later, Microsoft wrote OS/2, a new operating system, at IBM’s request, but continued to sell their own competing version of it. The Microsoft version eventually overshadowed OS/2 in terms of sales, and when Microsoft launched several versions of Microsoft Windows in the Nineties, it captured over 90% market share of the world’s personal computers.
The company is hugely successful. Its global annual revenue in 2007 was $51.12bn (£28.67bn) and the corporation employs nearly 79,000 people in 102 countries. It develops, manufactures, licenses and supports a wide range of software products for computing devices.