Microsoft Corporation is a US-based multinational technology company. Microsoft develops, manufactures, licenses and sells computer software, electronic devices, personal computers and information services. The company's best-known software products include the Microsoft Windows and MS-DOS operating system families, the Microsoft Office suite, the Bing search engine, and the Internet Explorer and Edge web browsers. Its most prominent hardware products are the Xbox video game consoles, Microsoft Hololens virtual reality glasses and the Microsoft Surface family of touchscreen personal computers. As of 2016, Microsoft is the world's largest software developer and one of the world's most valuable companies. The company's name is a combination of the words "microcomputer" and "software".
The company was founded in 1975 in Seattle, Washington, United States by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, two college students. The vision of these two entrepreneurs was "a computer in every home and on every desk".
A few days after reading about the Altair 8800 computer system in the January 1, 1975 issue of Popular Electronics magazine, Bill Gates contacted the computer's designer, MITS (Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems). He stated that he and his team had developed the BASIC software language that ran on the Altair 8800. Paul Allen went to MITS to demonstrate the software. Although Paul Allen had never used the Altair 8800 before, he was very successful in the demonstration. At the end of the demonstration, MITS (Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems) bought the copyright of the BASIC software language for Altair computers from Bill Gates and Paul Allen. Convinced that they had found a profitable business opportunity, Bill Gates dropped out of law school at Harvard University and founded Microsoft in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The company opened its first international office in Japan on November 1, 1978. On January 1, 1979, the company moved its headquarters to Bellevue, Washington state.
In 2020, Bill Gates resigned as Technology Advisor. Microsoft replaced him with Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella as technology advisor.