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Microsoft Corporation leading American computer software company Microsoft develops and sells a wide variety of computer software products in more than fifty countries Microsofts Windows operating systems for personal computers are the most widely use operating systems in the world Microsoft had revenues of 144 billion for the fiscal year ending June 1998 and employs more than 27000 people in 60 countries Microsoft has its headquaters in Redmond WashingtonMicrosofts other well known products include Word a word processor Excel a spreadsheet program Access a database program and PowerPoint a program used for making business presentations These products are sold separately from Windows as a part of Microsoft Office Microsoft also makes Back Office an integrated set of server products for businesses Microsofts Internet Explorer allows users to browse the World Wide Web Among Microsofts other products are reference applications games finical software programming languages for software developers eg Visual Basic input devices such as pointing devices and keyboards and computer related booksMicrosoft operates The Microsoft Network MSN a collection of news travel financial entertainment and information Web sites Microsoft and the National Broadcasting Company NBC jointly operate MSNBC a twenty four hour news talk and information cable television channel and companion Web siteMicrosoft was founded in 1975 by William H Gates III and Paul Allen The pair had teamed up in high school via their hobby of programming on the original PDP-10 computer from the Digital Equipment Corporation In 1975 Popular Electronics magazine featured a cover story about the Altiar 8800 the first personal computer The article inspired Gates and Allen to develop the first version of the BASIC programming language for the Altiar They licensed the software to Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems MITS the Altiars manufacturer and formed Microsoft originally Micro-soft in Albuquerque New Mexico to develop versions of BASIC for other computer companies Microsofts early customers included fledgling hardware firms such as Apple Computer maker of the Apple II computer Commodore
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