Microsoft Corporation is an American multinationalsoftware corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services 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. It is also one of the world's most valuable companies.
Microsoft was established to develop and sell BASICinterpreters for the Altair 8800. It rose to dominate the personal computeroperating 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 subsequent rise in its share price, created an estimated three billionaires and 12,000 millionaires from Microsoft employees. Since the 1990s, it has increasingly diversified from the operating system market and has made a number of corporate acquisitions. In May 2011, Microsoft acquired Skype Technologies for $8.5 billion in its largest acquisition to date.