Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational technology company, which develops and sells a wide range of consumer and enterprise software, hardware, services, and electronics. Founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1975, the company is currently based in Redmond, Washington.
Long seen as one of the world's largest and most successful IT companies, Microsoft's global revenue has increased relatively consistently since its conception, with the figure standing at 85 billion U.S. dollars in 2016. That same year, the company’s net income topped 16 billion U.S. dollars, higher than 2015 but down from its 2011 peak of 23 billion dollars. The company's success has translated into personal wealth for those closely involved in its formation. Predictably, both Bill Gates and Paul Allen have both amassed large fortunes on the strength of Microsoft's growth. They are joined by Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's 30th employee and former CEO, as some of the richest men in the United States - and the world - each with multibillion-dollar fortunes to their names.
Historically, Microsoft has generated the majority of its revenue from its commercial licensing business segment. This is perhaps unsurprising, considering that the segment traditionally included licensing for Microsoft Office, the most commonly-used suite of office/productivity software, as well as Microsoft's enterprise server operating systems. Recent changes to reporting have meant that the new largest segment is More Personal Computing. This comprises Microsoft Windows, which continues to dominate the personal computer operating system market, as well as Microsoft devices such as the Surface, gaming revenue from consoles, and search advertising. Microsoft's gaming consoles also continue to perform well, with the Xbox One gaming console sold around 6 million units in 2016.
In 2016, Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for 26 billion U.S. dollars. The deal marked Microsoft’s biggest acquisition to date, well surpassing the 8.5 billion U.S. dollars paid for Skype in 2011. In 2014, Microsoft acquired gaming-software company, Mojang, for 2.5 billion U.S. dollars. Mojang's flagship game, Minecraft, has been one of the top-selling games on iOS, and brings in significant revenue from sales, merchandising, and licensing. Since 2014, Microsoft has made a number of strategic purchases of smaller vendors, including developers of key mobile, cloud, and analytics software and platforms.
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