Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) is a multinational computer technology corporation that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of software products for computing devices.
As of the third quarter of 2009, Microsoft was ranked as the third largest company in the world, following PetroChina and ExxonMobil. It is also one of the largest technological corporations in the world.
Microsoft possesses footholds in other markets than just IT software, with assets such as the MSNBC cable television network and the MSN Internet portal. The company also markets both computer hardware products such as the Microsoft mouse and the Microsoft Natural keyboard, as well as home entertainment products such as the Xbox, Xbox 360, Zune and MSN TV.
The company's initial public stock offering (IPO) was in 1986; the ensuing rise of the company's stock price has made four billionaires and an estimated 12,000 millionaires from Microsoft employees.
The company was founded on April 4, 1975, to develop and sell BASIC interpreter for the Altair 8800. Microsoft rose to dominate the home computer operating system market with MS-DOS in the mid-1980s, followed by the Windows line of operating systems. Many of its products have achieved near-ubiquity in the desktop computer market. One commentator notes that Microsoft's original mission was "a computer on every desk and in every home, running Microsoft software."
Throughout its history the company has been the target of criticism, including monopolistic business practices and anti-competitive strategies including refusal to deal and tying. The U.S. Department of Justice and the European Commission, among others, have ruled against Microsoft for antitrust violations. (See also United States v. Microsoft, European Union Microsoft competition case.)
The management and finances of Microsoft's products are currently arranged into five business divisions:
- Windows & Windows Live Division - The Microsoft Windows product family, the Windows Live online services, and managing relationships with OEMs
- Server and Tools: Server software products, services and solutions, including: Windows Server, SQL Server, Visual Studio, Silverlight, System Center products, Forefront security products, Biz Talk, and Microsoft Consulting Services.
- Online Services Division: Consists of an online advertising platform with offerings for publishers and advertisers, and online information offerings such as Bing and the MSN portals and channels.
- Microsoft Business Division: Includes the Microsoft Office suites, desktop programs, servers, and services and solutions; Microsoft Dynamics; and Unified Communications business solutions.
- Entertainment and Devices Division: Xbox, Xbox Live, Zune, Mediaroom, mobile and embedded device platforms, Surface computing platform, and Windows Automotive.
Board of Directors
The company is run by a Board of Directors consisting of ten people, made up of mostly company outsiders (as is customary for publicly traded companies).
Current members of the board of directors are:
- Satya Nadella - Chief Executive Officer
- Bill Gates - Chairman
- Dina Dublon - Former Chief Financial Officer, JPMorgan Chase
- Raymond Gilmartin - Former Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Merck & Co., Inc.
- Reed Hastings - Founder, Chairman and CEO, Netflix, Inc.
- Maria M. Klawe - President, Harvey Mudd College
- David F. Marquardt - General Partner, August Capital
- Charles H. Noski - Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Bank of America Corporation
- Dr. Helmut Panke - Former Chairman of the Board of Management, BMW AG
The ten board members are elected every year at the annual shareholders' meeting, and those who do not get a majority of votes must submit a resignation to the board, which will subsequently choose whether or not to accept the resignation.
There are five committees within the board which oversee more specific matters. These committees include the Audit Committee, which handles accounting issues with the company including auditing and reporting; the Compensation Committee, which approves compensation for the CEO and other employees of the company; the Finance Committee, which handles financial matters such as proposing mergers and acquisitions; the Governance and Nominating Committee, which handles various corporate matters including nomination of the board; and the Antitrust Compliance Committee, which attempts to prevent company practices from violating antitrust laws.
Other Corporate Structures
There are several other aspects to the corporate structure of Microsoft. For worldwide matters there is the Executive Team, made up of sixteen company officers across the globe, which is charged with various duties including making sure employees understand Microsoft's culture of business. The sixteen officers of the Executive Team include the Chairman and Chief Software Architect, the CEO, the General Counsel and Secretary, the CFO, senior and group vice presidents from the business units, the CEO of the Europe, the Middle East and Africa regions; and the heads of Worldwide Sales, Marketing and Services; Human Resources; and Corporate Marketing. In addition to the Executive Team there is also the Corporate Staff Council, which handles all major staff functions of the company, including approving corporate policies. The Corporate Staff Council is made up of employees from the Law and Corporate Affairs, Finance, Human Resources, Corporate Marketing, and Advanced Strategy and Policy groups at Microsoft. Other Executive Officers include the Presidents and Vice Presidents of the various product divisions, leaders of the marketing section, and the CTO, among others.
Criticism of Microsoft has followed various aspects of its products and business practices. Issues with ease of use, robustness, and security of the company's software are common targets for critics. In the 2000s, a number of malware mishaps have targeted security flaws in Microsoft Windows and other programs. Microsoft is also accused of locking vendors and consumers into their products, and of not following and complying with existing standards in its software. Total cost of ownership comparisons of Linux to Windows are a continuous point of debate.
The company has been the subject of numerous lawsuits by several governments and other companies for unlawful monopolistic practices. In 2004, the European Union found Microsoft guilty in the European Union Microsoft competition case. Additionally, EULAs for Microsoft programs are often criticized as being too restrictive.
Wikipedia (issue: Microsoft )
|Bill Gates • Paul Allen|
|Board of directors|
|Steve Ballmer · James Cash, Jr. · Dina Dublon · Bill Gates · Raymond Gilmartin · Reed Hastings · Maria Klawe · David Marquardt · Charles Noski · Helmut Panke · Jon Shirley|
|Senior Leadership Team|
|Satya Nadella (CEO) · Scott Guthrie · Amy Hood (CEO) · Qi Lu · Terry Myerson · Harry Shum · Kevin Turner (COO)|
|Joe Belfiore · Richard Rashid (SVP) · S. Somasegar (SVP)|
|Engineering groups (Accessories · Mobile) · Digital Crimes Unit · Garage · Press · Research · Studios · .NET Foundation · Outercurve Foundation|
|Algeria · Egypt · India · Japan · Pakistan|
|Operating systems (Microsoft Windows) · Software (Office · Servers · Visual Studio) · Band · HoloLens · Lumia · Surface · Xbox|
|Bing · Channel 9 · CodePlex · Developer Network · MSN · Office.com · OneDrive · Outlook.com · Microsoft TechNet · Windows Store|
|Build · MIX · PDC · TechEd · WinHEC · WPC · OneDrive · Outlook.com · TechNet · Windows Store|
|Bundling of Microsoft Windows · iLoo · Internet Explorer · _NSAKEY · Windows · (2000 · ME · XP · Vista) · Xbox 360|