Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational technology company that develops and sells a wide range of consumer and enterprise software, hardware, and services, and other consumer electronics. Founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1975, the company has been based in Redmond, Washington, since 1986.
One of the world's largest and most successful technology companies, Microsoft's global revenue has increased relatively consistently since its conception, with the figure standing at 90 billion U.S. dollars in the 2017 financial year. That same year, the company’s net income topped 21 billion U.S. dollars, greatly improved from 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 and women in the United States - and subsequently the world - each with a multi-billion dollar fortune to their name.
Historically, Microsoft has generated the majority of its revenue from the commercial licensing of its software and various operating systems, although current business reporting records its largest segment as 'More Personal Computing'. This is perhaps unsurprising, considering that the segment contains Windows OS sales, searching advertising revenues, and gaming revenues from Xbox software and hardware. Microsoft Windows continues to dominate the personal computer operating system market and Microsoft's gaming consoles also continue to perform well, with the Xbox One gaming console selling 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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