Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) is an American multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, United States that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services related to computing. It is the largest software corporation in the world measured by revenues.
Microsoft was established on April 4, 1975 to develop and sell BASIC interpreters for the Altair 8800. It rose to dominate the home computer operating system market with MS-DOS in the mid-1980s, followed by the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems. The company's 1986 initial public offering, and the subsequent rise in the share price, created an estimated three billionaires and 12,000 millionaires from Microsoft employees. In May 2011, Microsoft acquired Skype for $8.5 billion in its largest acquisition to date.
As of 2012 Microsoft is market dominant in both the PC operating system and office suite markets (the latter with Microsoft Office). The company is also active in areas including internet search (with Bing), the video game industry (with the Xbox and Xbox 360 consoles), the digital services market (through MSN), and mobile phones (via the Windows Phone OS).
In the 1990s, critics began to contend that Microsoft used monopolistic business practices and anti-competitive strategies including refusal to deal and tying, put unreasonable restrictions in the use of its software, and used misrepresentative marketing tactics; both the U.S. Department of Justice and European Commission found the company in violation of antitrust laws.