What is Microsoft?

Microsoft is a large, multinational software company based in Seattle, Washington. Microsoft ships over 400 products and has about 93,000 employees.


Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1975. They initially produced a programming language, BASIC, for the Altair computer. Since then, they have expanded into producing programming tools, the Windows operating system, the Microsoft Office suite of applications, Windows Server and Tools, Online Services, and Entertainment and Devices.

Microsoft Products

Microsoft's products are many and can be categorized into several different groups:


The Windows operating system is the most popular operating system in existence today. It ships on over 90% of new computers. It has often been criticized for its instability and insecurity. Also, Microsoft's antitrust case was focused around their bundling Internet Explorer with Windows.Windows is their most profitable product.


The Microsoft Office is an office productivity suite. It consists of several interrelated software packages, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and Publisher, among others.

Online Services

Microsoft's online services include products like Windows Live Messenger (an instant messaging product) and MSN.

Entertainment and Devices

This includes things such as Windows Mobile for cell phones, the Zune (which is a digital music player), and the XBox 360.


Microsoft has taken a lot of critisicm in recent years, due in part to their anticompetitive nature, privacy, and misrepresentation of facts in marketing.


Microsoft has had a history of crushing smaller software companies by using the monopoly it holds with Windows. There has been concern about bundling Internet Explorer with Windows, and also with the inclusion of Windows Media Player with Windows.

Privacy Concerns


As a large company, people have worried about their power to collect and retain information about the users of Windows. Also, there have been some concerns with their joining the Trusted Computing Platform Alliance.


Misrepresenting Facts

There has been recent concern about their misrepresentation of facts with a recent marketing campaign about Linux. In addition, there is concern about their submitting patents for things they claim are novel inventions, when in fact, they are not novel at all (examples needed).