Microsoft Software is an American company with global offices (it is one of the world’s most valuable companies). It was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975 and, in 2000, Bill Gates stepped down as CEO in favour of Steve Ballmer.
Microsoft initially sold BASIC interpreters; and entered the OS market in 1980 when IBM employed it to deliver MS-DOS for the IBM PC (it ported an existing CP/M product to the 8086). After that it got into the people-centric office productivity space, refining the mouse (invented around 1967 by Doug Engelbart at SRI) and first introduced its office suite in 1980. In 1985, it released Microsoft Windows, a graphical extension to MS-DOS, which revolutionised the business desktop. It then took over the ISV market with Visual Basic and, from about 1995, began to redefine its offerings, finally accepting the inevitability of the World Wide Web and expanding into the server side; business applications; and computer networking; as well as diversifying into new areas like entertainment and devices. Microsoft now offers a broad spectrum of hardware and software products, and services, aimed at both home (personal) and business applications. It dominates the office suite market and its SQL Server Relational DBMS (originally developed in co-operation with Sybase but since almost completely rewritten) is now one of the big three databases.
Of Microsoft’s eight (in 2013) operating divisions, Bloor is most concerned with Microsoft Business Solutions (branded Microsoft Dynamics, including 4 different ERPs, CRM, and Microsoft Health Solutions); Microsoft Office Division (productivity, collaboration and enterprise social products and services and speech technologies); Server and Tools Division (Microsoft infrastructure software, developer tools and cloud platform, incluidng cloud); and the Windows and Windows Live Division (all its Windows businesses and Internet Explorer). Other divisions deal with Online Services (portal and advertising services); its Interactive Entertainment Business and Windows Phone.