Microsoft Corporation is headquartered in Redmond, Washington and manufactures products that are related to computing. The company was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen on April 4, 1975. Microsoft is the world’s largest software maker measured by revenues and the second richest American company valued at $357 billion dollars (as of November 2017).
Microsoft employs 123,000 people worldwide. Microsoft’s best-known software products are the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems, Microsoft Office suite, Microsoft Dynamics business solutions, and Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform. Microsoft operates major websites such as Bing Search, Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN), and others. The company also produces a wide range of other software for home use and entertainment purposes including Cortana voice assistant technology on both PCs and smartphones.
Microsoft has consistently been one of the most valuable companies in the world since 2010 when it surpassed Exxon Mobil and it continues to rank near the top today according to Fortune 500 rankings. Forbes magazine named Microsoft Corporation America’s most innovative company for six consecutive years (2008-2014) based on their high growth rates—in 2004 Microsoft’s revenue grew by 99%, followed by 75% in 2005, Microsoft’s 2007 acquisition of video game console maker Rare Ltd. and launch of Microsoft Studios generated excitement for the company’s new direction. Microsoft has launched many successful products including Microsoft Zune, Surface tablet line, Xbox One, and Microsoft HoloLens augmented reality headset. Microsoft’s Online Services Division which generates more than 14 billion dollars per year is a particularly notable contributor to Microsoft revenues as well as its fast-growing Gaming division which saw over $7 billion in sales during the fiscal year 2016.