Technology corporation that develops, manufactures, licenses, and sells a wide range of software products and hardware devices. The company is best known for its Windows operating system and productivity software, such as Microsoft Office, but it also has a hand in the video game industry with Xbox gaming consoles and the mobile market with its Surface tablets and phones. It is also making big bets on technologies that produce less carbon dioxide when run in data centers as part of a wider push to combat climate change.
Microsoft is one of the most successful tech companies in history. Its founders had the foresight to recognize that computing was a revolution and invested massive resources in developing software that could make huge changes in industry and be used on an enormous scale. Sometimes those bets fail (like the Zune), but others have made billions and turned Microsoft into a household name (e.g. the XBox). Microsoft is unique among its competitors in that it takes on such enormous market opportunities and scales its products to reach the most people possible, rather than focus on specific niches.
This approach has caused it to face numerous monopoly investigations from regulators around the world. The EU levied the largest fine in its history against Microsoft in 2004 for violating antitrust laws by illegally bundling its multimedia software with the Windows OS to the exclusion of competing products. The US Justice Department has also investigated the company for alleged price-fixing and other antitrust violations. Microsoft did recently make concessions to its AWS customers by allowing them to use its office software on the competing platform. But it has yet to clarify whether it will do the same for Google and Alibaba customers, which would be a significant win for consumers of all kinds.