Microsoft Corporation is a leading provider of computer software and services. It has offices in more than sixty countries and is one of the biggest information technology companies in the world.
Microsoft is the world’s leading manufacturer of office suites and operating systems. The company also manufactures hardware and computer peripherals.
One of the best known products of Microsoft is its Internet Explorer web browser. Its other notable products are the Xbox video game console, Skype, and the Windows smartphone operating system.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft has expanded its operations to include cloud computing and enterprise software. Its latest acquisition is the professional social networking site LinkedIn.
In the 1990s, Microsoft’s rapid growth sparked resentment from rivals. In response, the company changed its business practices, including a new sales strategy and an increased focus on devices.
Despite its growth, Microsoft was accused of using monopolistic practices. It was found to have violated the Sherman Antitrust Act (1890). A settlement followed, but a subsequent appeals court found Microsoft to have violated the agreement.
As a result of this investigation, Microsoft was fined $611 million by the European Union. This is the largest fine in the history of the organization.
Netscape successfully sued Microsoft to get the Justice Department to reopen the investigation. Although the lawsuit failed, it did allow Microsoft to change its sales tactics.
In 2001, Microsoft launched its first gaming console, the Xbox. Although it quickly surpassed Nintendo Wii as the most popular game system, it faced strong competition from Sony PlayStation.