Microsoft Corporation is a multinational computer technology corporation that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of software products for computing devices. Headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA, its most profitable products are the Microsoft Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software. As of the third quarter of 2009, Microsoft was ranked as the third largest company in the world, following PetroChina and ExxonMobil.

The company was founded on April 4, 1975, to develop and sell BASIC interpreters 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.”