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  1. What Is
March 14, 2021updated 26 Jan 2023 11:58am

What is Microsoft?

The company saw the opportunity presented by the first personal computer and grabbed it.

By James Nunns

Microsoft is the biggest software company in the world with an annual revenue of $192 billion. It is probably most famous for the operating system Windows and Office software suite of applications.

In 1975 Paul Allen and Bill Gates founded the company, inspired by the first commercially available personal computer – the Altair 8800 – which appeared on the cover of Popular Electronics.

This computer created a demand for software to be used on home-based computers, leading Microsoft to pioneer the development of the operating systems DOS, and Windows.

The company still going strong today under the leadership of CEO Satya Nadella, who took on the role in 2014.

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Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty
Microsoft France headquarters entrance in Issy les Moulineaux near Paris


The Windows operating system has become the standard for the majority of PCs around the world, as have many of the applications created by the company, such as Microsoft Office.

Despite that. the company has continued to innovate over time and has become a major force in the cloud computing world with Microsoft Azure, which has claimed 21% of the cloud infrastructure market. The company also offers database technology in the shape of SQL Server.

Microsoft is also one of the major creators of video game consoles in the form of the Xbox series, whose first iteration released in 2001 and continues to this day with the Xbox series X and series S.

The product slate also previously included the Windows Phone, but it was discontinued in 2017.

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Who owns Microsoft?

Microsoft is a publicly traded company and as so does not have a single owner, unlike privately owned companies such as Twitter.

The ownership of the company is made up of a series of shareholders, the largest of whom being Vanguard Group, which owns 8.4% of shares, followed by BlackRock at 6.8% and State Street corp at 4.2%. CEO Satya Nadella is the single largest individual shareholder with 0.02% of the total shares.

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