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Microsoft Corporation

legal form Corporation
ISIN US5949181045
founding April 4th 1975
Seat Redmond , Washington , United States
United StatesUnited States 
management Satya Nadella
Number of employees 156,439 (2020)
sales 125.8 billion USD (FY 2018/19)
Branch Hardware and software development
cloud computing
As of July 18, 2019

Building # 17 on the Microsoft campus in Redmond , Washington

The Microsoft Corporation [ maɪ.kɹoʊ.sɒft ] is an international hardware and software developers and technology company headquartered in Redmond , a suburb of Seattle in the US state of Washington . With approximately 148,000 employees and sales of 125.8 billion US dollars, the company is the world's largest software manufacturer and one of the largest companies in the world . Satya Nadella has been Chief Executive Officer (CEO) since February 4, 2014 . The company is known for its Windows operating systemand its office software package Office .

Microsoft was founded on April 4, 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The company moved to Bellevue, Washington, on January 1, 1979. On February 26, 1986, the company moved to its present location, the corporate campus in Redmond (Washington). Steve Ballmer was CEO from 2000 to 2014, succeeding Gates . The word Microsoft is a suitcase word from the English microcomputer and software .

After initial successes with a BASIC - interpreter in the late 1970s, the company introduced its 1981 operating system MS-DOS before that on behalf of IBM had been developed. The IBM PC and its PC- based replicas were primarily equipped with this DOS operating system in the 1980s . In the 1990s, the Windows graphical operating system and Microsoft's office software suite Office became the market leader in the field of personal computers.

Market position

Microsoft Office logo since 2019
PC operating systems market share in Germany

Market share and user numbers

Microsoft has been the market leader in PC operating systems and office packages since the 1990s . The company is also represented in the entertainment and service industries with the products Xbox , Xbox 360 , Xbox One , Windows Mobile and (formerly Hotmail ). While Microsoft dominated the entire operating system market before the 2010s, the company now only plays a dominant role in the field of personal computers . However, the market share is also falling in this area (see graphic). In 2016, the global share of the Windows operating system in the large and growing smartphone and tablet market was less than 2 percent; In the server sector, Windows only had a share of around a third worldwide, behind the most widespread server operating system Linux and just ahead of the similarly widespread Unix systems.

Due to Microsoft's dominant position on the desktop market and the great importance of computer technology in general, the company also influences other areas such as the labor market or language .

Profitability and Market Capitalization

With a return on sales of between 25 and 33 percent between 2005 and 2014, Microsoft was one of the particularly profitable stock corporations worldwide after the turn of the millennium. However, the extremely unfavorable takeover of Nokia's mobile phone division in spring 2014 and the lull in the global market for personal computers that has set in since then at the latest has significantly reduced profitability recently (return on sales in 2015 and 2016: 13 percent and 19.7 percent respectively) . With the takeover of Nokia employees in 2014, the number of employees worldwide rose to its highest level of 128,076 and has been falling since then. According to the Financial Times Global 500 list, Microsoft is regularly one of the most expensive companies in the world by market capitalization .

Sales and profit development

Business and employee development
(respective fiscal year)
year Employees Sales
in million US $
Balance sheet profit
in million US $
2005 61,000 39,778 12,250
2006 71.172 44,280 12,600
2007 78,565 51,120 14,070
2008 91,259 60,420 17,680
2009 92,736 58,440 14,570
2010 88,596 62,484 18,760
2011 90,412 69,943 23,150
2012 94,290 73,723 23,600
2013 99.139 77,850 21,860
2014 128.076 86,830 22,070
2015 117.354 93,580 12,190
2016 114.074 85,320 16,790
2017 124,000 89,950 21,204
2018 135,000 110,360 16,571
2019 144,000 125,843 39,240
2020 156,439 143.015 44,281


Microsoft has spent over $ 63 billion on its ten largest acquisitions . The following table lists them:

rank Companies Adopted for Accepted
1 LinkedIn $ 26.2 billion 2016
2 Skype $ 8.5 billion 2011
3 GitHub $ 7.5 billion 2018
4th Nokia ’s Devices &
Services Business
$ 7.2 billion 2014
5 aQuantive $ 6.3 billion 2007
6th Mojang $ 2.5 billion 2014
7th Visio Corporation $ 1.5 billion 2000
8th Navision $ 1.4 billion 2002
9 Yammer $ 1.2 billion 2012
10 Fast Search & Transfer $ 1.2 billion 2008

organization structure

After CEO Steve Ballmer published his Devices and Services strategy for the further development of Microsoft in October 2012 , he announced a fundamental organizational realignment of the company in July 2013.

The five business units only introduced in 2008 have been replaced by:

  • Cloud and Enterprise Engineering Group led by Scott Guthrie
  • Devices and Studio Engineering led by Julie Larson-Green
  • Operating Systems Engineering Group led by Terry Myerson
  • Applications and Services Engineering led by Qi Lu

Management level

A listing of the management level:

Surname position Companies
Satya Nadella Chief Executive Officer Microsoft
Judson Althoff Executive Vice President Microsoft
Chris Capossela Chief Marketing Officer and

Executive Vice President

Jean-Philippe Courtois President and

Executive Vice President

Kurt DelBene Chief Digital Officer and

Executive Vice President

Scott Guthrie Executive Vice President Microsoft
Kathleen Hogan Executive Vice President Microsoft
Amy Hood Chief Financial Officer and

Executive Vice President

Rajesh Jha Executive Vice President Microsoft
Peggy Johnson Executive Vice President Microsoft
Kevin Scott Chief Technology Officer and

Executive Vice President

Harry Shum Executive Vice President Microsoft
Brad Smith President Microsoft
Phil Spencer Executive Vice President Microsoft

Supervisory board members

A list of the members of the supervisory board:

Surname Joined employment
John W. Thompson February 2012 Microsoft
Bill Gates - -
Reid Hoffman March 2017 Greylock Partners
Hugh Johnston September 2017 PepsiCo
Teri List-Stoll October 2014 Gap Inc.
Charles Noski November 2003 Bank of America Corp.
Helmut Panke November 2003 BMW AG
Sandra E. Peterson December 2015 Clayton, Dubilier & Rice
Penny Pritzker November 2017 PSP Partners
Charles W. Sharp October 2014 Wells Fargo & Company
Arne Sorenson November 2017 Marriott International Inc.
John W. Stanton July 2014 Trilogy Partnerships
Padmasree Warrior December 2015 Fable Group Inc.

Management level of the subsidiaries

A list of the management level of the subsidiaries:

Surname position Companies
Jeff Weiner Chief Executive Officer LinkedIn
Shannon Brayton Chief Marketing Officer LinkedIn
Nina McQueen Chief People Officer and

Vice President

Steve Sordello Chief Financial Officer and

Senior Vice President

Nat Friedman Chief Executive Officer GitHub
Erica Brescia Chief Operating Officer GitHub
Carrie Olesen Chief Human Resources Officer GitHub
Mike Taylor Chief Financial Officer GitHub
Jason Warner Chief Technology Officer GitHub
Jonas Mårtensson Chief Executive Officer Mojang
Vu Bui Chief Operating Officer Mojang
Karin Severinson Chief Financial Officer Mojang
Daniel Frisk Chief Architect Mojang


Microsoft offers operating systems and application programs as well as hardware such as mice , joysticks (the further development of Sidewinder gamepads and joysticks has been discontinued), keyboards and other input devices, as well as (since the takeover of Navision) ERP software. Since 2001, Microsoft has branded Xbox and game consoles to. Microsoft continues to sell the Windows Phone operating system and, as a successor, Windows 10 Mobile for the mobile communications market. From 2006 to 2011 Toshiba built the Zune MP3 player on behalf of Microsoft . In the associated Zune Marketplace, similar to the iTunes Store , Microsoft offered music in which so-called Microsoft Points were used as a means of payment. In 2012, Microsoft launched the Xbox Music service to replace the Zune Marketplace. The service has been called Groove Music since 2015 . Under the name Microsoft Surface , Microsoft offers tablets in which the hardware is bundled with the software.

Operating systems

Windows 8.1 start screen

The Group's main product today, Microsoft Windows , had two lines up to 2001:

  • The systems based on MS-DOS ( Windows 1 to Windows 3.0 , Windows 3.1 , Windows 3.11 for workgroups, Windows 95 (4.0), which for the first time was (partially) based on 32-bit architecture and introduced a new user interface, Windows 98 (4.1 ) and Windows ME (4.9)). With the appearance of Windows XP, the old MS-DOS-based line was no longer continued, and its support has now also been discontinued.
  • The so-called NT-rail ( N ew T echnology ). This comes from a development of IBM's OS / 2 and from then on called itself Windows NT (with versions 3.1, 3.5, 3.51 and 4.0). In 1996, the appearance of the user interface from Windows 95 was adopted. Some time later, Windows 2000 (NT 5.0), Windows XP (NT 5.1) and Windows Server 2003 (NT 5.2) followed. On January 29, 2007 Microsoft released Windows Vista (NT 6.0, also Longhorn ). The successor Windows 7 (NT 6.1) was published on October 22, 2009.
  • Windows 8.1 (NT 6.3) was released on October 18, 2013 .
  • The current version of Microsoft Windows was presented on September 30, 2014. Windows 10 has been available since July 29, 2015. Windows 7 and Windows 8 users were entitled to upgrade to Windows 10 free of charge for one year.
  • On October 2, 2019, a new operating system for tablets was presented at the Surface Event : Windows 10X should appear in 2020 with the new Surface Neo . Laptops should also be supported.

As PCs gradually moved into the living room, Microsoft developed the Windows XP Media Center Edition (Windows MCE) operating system variant , with which a normal PC with the appropriate hardware can be converted into a media center . Windows XP Media Center Edition is based on Windows XP, but has been expanded to include specific functions (such as the recording function for films, TV guides, etc.).

In addition, from 2002 the company sold the Microsoft Windows Mobile operating system , which was used on mobile devices. This was replaced in 2010 by the newly developed Windows Phone ; the latter was in turn replaced by the new successor Windows 10 Mobile at the beginning of 2016.

Microsoft has been selling the Linux distribution Suse Linux Enterprise since 2007 . According to Heise , Microsoft has climbed to third place among Linux providers with the sale of coupons worth 240 million US dollars.

Most PCs have a Microsoft operating system installed. The only significant exceptions are Apple with its own operating system macOS (5% market share ) and various Linux distributions (<1% market share).

A new line based on systems that only consist of one or more touch-sensitive displays and are to be integrated into surfaces (e.g. tables) is currently under development with Microsoft PixelSense (formerly Surface ) and is already being used in hotels in test use.

Application programs

The best known application programs from Microsoft are:

The office programs Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, Outlook, PowerPoint and Publisher are sold together as a so-called office package . The latest version of Microsoft Office is Office 2019 for Windows and Office 2019 for Mac . The Microsoft Office package is offered in different editions that differ greatly in terms of scope and price.

Server products

Some popular server products from Microsoft are (sorted alphabetically):

Development environments, frameworks and compilers

In March 2004 Microsoft released the Windows Installer XML as free software .

Television platform

Microsoft Mediaroom logo

Microsoft Mediaroom (formerly “Microsoft IPTV Edition”) is a television platform based on IP networks. TV channels broadcast via Microsoft Mediaroom can only be received by a set-top box with Microsoft Mediaroom operating system or Microsoft's Xbox 360 . Mediaroom end devices do not support reception via the DVB-IPTV standard . Mediaroom is used by BT (UK), SingTel (Singapore), Telekom Entertain (Germany), Portugal Telecom (Portugal), Swisscom (Switzerland), AT&T (United States), Reliance (India) and MTS Allstream (Canada). In 2013 Microsoft sold Mediaroom to the Swedish company Ericsson .


Microsoft offers IT consulting and support services worldwide to support customers and partner companies in planning, operating and optimizing their IT infrastructure based on Microsoft products. Microsoft Services employs over 9720 people in 88 countries and 7 regional service centers. The safeguarding of business-critical IT systems as well as other consulting services for error prevention are offered under the label Microsoft Premier Support Services , while topics such as updating or re-evaluation of an IT architecture, project-specific consulting and kernel infrastructure are offered under Microsoft Consulting Services . With Azure , Microsoft has been offering a cloud computing platform for Everything as a Service (EaaS) since 2010 .


The best-known series distributed by Xbox Game Studios (formerly Microsoft Studios ) include the Halo series, Age of Empires , Minecraft (bought by Microsoft), Forza Motorsport series and the Microsoft Flight Simulator , the further development of which was initially discontinued. In 2014 the license for the flight simulator engine was handed over to Dovetail Games .


The current Microsoft Press logo

Specialized literature is primarily sold under the Microsoft Press label .


Mobile technology / software

Microsoft offers hardware and software for mobile applications, for example the Zune MP3 player , the Windows Phone mobile operating system , Windows Mobile and, earlier, the relatively unsuccessful Microsoft KIN . In September 2013, Microsoft bought the mobile communications division of the Finnish manufacturer Nokia , with which a strategic partnership had already been entered, for 5.44 billion euros . The takeover was completed on April 25, 2014, and since then mobile phone production has operated as a subsidiary under the name Microsoft Mobile.



Bill Gates 2004 in Copenhagen
History of Microsoft's Logos
logo Time and description

Microsoft logo (1982) .svg
Microsoft "Blibbet" logo, submitted to the USPTO on August 26, 1982 and used until 1987.
Microsoft logo (1987) + slogan (1994) .svg
Microsoft "Pac-Man" logo, designed by Scott Baker and used from 1987 to 2006, with the motto: "Where do you want to go today?"
Microsoft logo (1987) + slogan (2006) .svg
Microsoft logo, used from 2006 to 2011, with the motto: “Your potential. Our passion. "
Microsoft logo (1987) + slogan (2011) horizontal.png
Logo of Microsoft, used from 2011 to 2012 with the motto: "Be What's Next."
Microsoft logo (2012) .svg
Microsoft's current logo, introduced on August 23, 2012 to symbolize the diversity of the Microsoft product portfolio.

In 1975 the student developed Bill Gates with Paul Allen and Monte Davidoff on a programmed by Paul Allen emulator for the processor Intel 8080 programming language Altair BASIC 2.0 for the computer Altair 8800 the company MITS (Micro Instrumentation Telemetry Systems). The software was initially available in two versions: Altair BASIC 4K and Altair BASIC 8K . On July 22, 1975, Gates and Allen signed a distribution agreement with MITS in Albuquerque . In addition to a one-off payment of $ 3,000  , the contract stipulated that Gates and Allen should receive $ 30 for each 4K BASIC, $ 35 for the 8K-BASIC and even $ 60 for the Extended Edition (BASIC with manual), if an Altair buyer ordered the software together with the kit from which the Altair 8800 first had to be soldered together. The name "Micro-Soft" was created on November 29, 1975 when Gates and Allen had to worry about an advertising campaign .

As “General Licensors” they received an additional 10 dollars for each BASIC above the 8K version that was ordered together with the computer. Customers who had already assembled such an Altair without purchasing the software at the same time paid $ 500 for the Altair BASIC 4K or $ 750 for the 8K version to get their computers working in the first place. Gates and Allen received half of these sales from MITS as licensors . The contract with MITS was limited to $ 180,000. It contained a clause according to which Microsoft was granted the right to sell the software to other computer manufacturers. MITS demanded royalties for this . Another clause required the young company to set up telephone customer service with one person as soon as sales exceeded $ 2,500 a month. A second person was needed once it reached $ 5,000 per month in sales. As a result, Bill Gates could not continue his studies.

Gates and Allen signed a contract with each other, which regulated the tasks in the company and the profit distribution. Monte Davidoff, who programmed the floating point functions of Altair BASIC, was paid a one-time payment of $ 2,400. Gates and Allen shared $ 1,516 in earnings for the first month.

As with version 2.0, the development of Altair BASIC 3.0 required special programming skills due to the small memory of the Altair. Bill Gates had to resort to unusual methods to reduce the memory requirements as much as possible. This Gates code would often drive future Microsoft employees to despair when they had to revise it for maintenance purposes. At the same time, these programming methods were also helpful in proving the illegal use of Microsoft program parts to other software manufacturers, because Gates was the only one who could explain the code.

The development cost for Altair BASIC was $ 40,000. The biggest costs were caused by the purchased computing time on the mainframe of a data center , in which Allen first developed an emulator for the Intel 8080 in order to be able to tackle the BASIC at all. In order to save costs, Gates initially designed large parts of the BASIC in pencil on a notepad.

Given that cost, it's hardly surprising that Bill Gates was frustrated when 50 beta copies were released before Altair BASIC was officially released .

Microsoft developed its own BASIC interpreter from Altair BASIC called Microsoft BASIC , which quickly became known through its implementation on the various home computers of the time. Other manufacturers licensed the Microsoft BASIC code and developed it further independently (e.g. Apple and Commodore ), or they developed alternatives with a syntax that is largely compatible with Microsoft BASIC (e.g. Atari ); both strategies thus contributed to the further spread of this language. BASIC was so widespread that practically every computer system sold at the time had a BASIC available.

In addition to the BASIC interpreter , Microsoft also developed compilers and the like during these years . a. for BASIC, Fortran and COBOL . These were initially based on the CP / M operating system.

Microsoft later tried, in cooperation with other companies, to introduce a home computer standard called MSX , which was supposed to prevail against the large number of mutually incompatible home computers. He was temporarily successful, particularly in Europe and Japan. However, the following development put an end to the era of the home computer as well as the MSX.

In 1980 Microsoft also offered Xenix , a Unix- like operating system. Due to the resource thirst for this system at the time, Microsoft stopped further development and sold it to SCO in 1987 .

Business with BASIC and the other programming languages ​​did not do particularly well in 1979–1980. In order to open up an additional group of customers, Microsoft had even produced the "Microsoft Softcard", an expansion card with a Z80 processor for the very successful Apple II computer, which enabled the Apple computer to use the software written for CP / M by To run Microsoft. However, the card quickly became an important independent sales driver for the young company and surpassed the programming languages ​​in importance, as many buyers were primarily looking for the opportunity to use the successful CP / M-based office programs of other companies, such as WordStar . It was already becoming apparent that the market for finished application programs far exceeded that for programming languages ​​in terms of sales potential in the long term. Based on this knowledge, Microsoft began to give up its almost exclusive focus on programming languages.

Development of MS-DOS for IBM

Microsoft's meteoric rise only began through a cooperation with IBM . In 1980, due to their delayed entry into the home computer business with their IBM PC, IBM needed an operating system as quickly as possible and turned to Bill Gates' company. However, Microsoft did not have its own operating system, so Gates sent the IBM negotiators to Digital Research , which developed and sold CP / M. But Gary Kildall , the boss and founder of Digital Research, was not present. So IBM talked to Kildall's wife, Dorothy. IBM merely submitted a confidentiality agreement about IBM's purchase intentions for signature to postpone negotiations, but Dorothy Kildall hesitated and would not sign anything until her husband was back. After waiting three hours in vain, the IBM negotiators finally left Kildall's office.

Bill Gates' mother Mary had contacts with John Opel , President of IBM , through the United Way charity, in which she was on the board . Through this connection she paved the way for her son to become "Big Blue". Initially, Bill Gates wanted to refrain from doing business with IBM, but after a meeting with Allen, Microsoft finally turned to IBM and signed a contract for $ 186,000 for an operating system that laid the foundation for Microsoft's success and whose historical significance was probably not one of the then suspected those involved. Microsoft bought two days later for 50,000 dollars from the company Seattle Computer Products , the operating system 86-DOS , a CP / M version, which initially than during the development QDOS ( " q uick and d irty o perating s ystem" was called) . The programmer Tim Paterson was bought in and hired for Microsoft. QDOS was basically an imitation of CP / M and had some functions taken directly from it. Paterson, Gates and Allen carried out all kinds of modifications to the software under the code name "Project Chess", which was then shipped to IBM under the name MS-DOS. The changes in the operating system provided that CP / M programs could be executed under MS-DOS, but MS-DOS programs did not run under CP / M. It was only after the market launch that IBM discovered that they had purchased a CP / M variant , and they paid Digital Research $ 800,000 to waive legal action against IBM.

Old Microsoft logo
(1982 to 1987)

Although the quality of MS-DOS remained well below the state of the art - even in Intel- internal dossiers it only earned a damning verdict - the PC, which came on the market in the fall of 1981 for just under $ 3,000, was a great success. The cause was an open license policy by IBM, which also allowed third-party manufacturers to produce the PC, so that prices fell due to competition, as well as the need of customers to establish a standard that was most likely to be expected from IBM, the market leader in mainframe computers at the time. Partial source code downward compatibility with CP / M also contributed to the success of MS-DOS , which made it possible to make common software such as WordStar , dBase II or Microsoft's BASIC available under MS-DOS after a few modifications and a new assembly deliver. This principle of taking small steps while maintaining downward compatibility was also often criticized because the technical possibilities of the hardware were not fully used and progress was thus delayed. Due to a serious illness, Paul Allen left Microsoft in 1983, but remained the main shareholder alongside Gates. The rapidly growing company had more and more liquid funds. Nevertheless, for example, Christmas bonuses were given to employees in the form of shares. Many of these employees became millionaires within a few short years because of those stakes worth a few hundred dollars.

Graphical user interface

Although its main competitor, Apple, introduced the Apple Lisa , a forerunner of the Macintosh , in 1983 , a graphical user interface that saved users from entering commands via the keyboard, the PC ultimately dominated the market.

A lawsuit by Apple due to copyright infringement through the graphical user interface was refused in 1995 after a process lasting several years. Apple also filed a lawsuit against Windows 95, which was released in the same year. At the time, Apple was already in dire straits as a company. A settlement was therefore reached in which Microsoft averted Apple's bankruptcy by acquiring Apple's non-voting shares and making a payment of an unknown amount, and Apple withdrew its lawsuit in return.

Although the window technology had already been introduced under Unix systems under the name X Window System in 1984 , Microsoft managed to secure the name “Windows” as a trade name, albeit only after a lawsuit against the US Patent and Trademark Office .

In the early to mid-1990s, Microsoft brought out more entertainment, knowledge and children's software in the Microsoft Home product line , trying to attract more private customers.

Problematic action against digital research

Microsoft had now reached a market position from which a policy of crowding out the competition came into the realm of the possible and was also practiced. It was not always within the scope of legality. Thus, the disclosure revealed the internal correspondence in the context of antitrust proceedings that 1991 had been taken with the approval of the management a version of Windows 3.1 in circulation, which indicated a fake error message when Windows 3.1 on DR-DOS , the operating system of competitor Digital Research instead was installed by MS-DOS. Since Digital Research waived a lawsuit due to its dependence on Microsoft, Novell founder Ray Noorda bought the rights to DR-DOS for $ 400,000 and filed the lawsuit. Three weeks before the trial began in January 2000, he settled himself with Microsoft for a severance payment of more than $ 200 million. It is uncertain whether Ray Noorda passed on something of the digital research won, especially since digital research disappeared from the market some time later.

Linking other companies to their own products

Microsoft had already provoked investigations by the Cartel Office in connection with the introduction of Windows 3.0 . In order for application software programmers to remain competitive, they need information about the specification of the new interfaces in good time before a new operating system version is released. Microsoft made this information available only under confidentiality agreements in which the developers undertook not to develop software for other operating systems for three years. Microsoft also granted discounts to PC manufacturers if they were willing to pay license fees not only for every Windows installation but also for PCs equipped with other operating systems , so that Microsoft also earned money from the competition. After several years of investigation, the Cartel Office agreed to a settlement in which Microsoft only promised to refrain from this contract policy in the future.

Cooperation with IBM for OS / 2

Old Microsoft logo (1987 to 2012)

Microsoft worked with IBM to develop the OS / 2 operating system , version 1.0 of which appeared in 1987. Conceptually and thanks to its 16-bit and later 32-bit technology, OS / 2 represented a significant leap in quality and was equipped with structures that Microsoft was only able to offer again years later with Windows NT . It was agreed that IBM should develop the user interface and Microsoft the kernel, which also happened up to version 2.0. Due to the simultaneous success of Windows 3.0, Microsoft decided to orient the programming interfaces for the successor OS / 2 version 3.0 to Windows instead of OS / 2 version 2.0, thus provoking a crisis of confidence between the contract partners. Microsoft left this cooperation in 1991 and IBM had to develop OS / 2 on its own, the next version of which appeared in 1994 as OS / 2 Warp 3 .

Despite the technical superiority of the 32-bit generation of OS / 2 in both versions 2.x and Warp 3, users continued to rely on the DOS-based Windows 95 and some also on Windows 3.x. In addition to marketing errors by IBM, Microsoft's announcement of the appearance of a Windows version with the code name " Chicago " for the beginning of 1994, which should be able to handle both 16- and 32-bit technology, contributed to this development, which many customers thought of a change on OS / 2. In fact, this Windows appeared in August 1995 under the name Windows 95. This business policy is also known as the announcement of vaporware .

Windows NT development

After the end of the collaboration with IBM, Microsoft continued to develop its operating system according to its own ideas. This operating system, which was initially intended as a successor to OS / 2 version 2.0 , was then released in 1993 as Windows NT 3.1 . Deliberately not "1.0" chose as version number, you wanted instead of 3.1 to connect to Windows (for Workgroups) 3.1 to create and thus equal to the market with a higher number. Bill Gates was able to win over David N. Cutler for the development of the architecture . The latter had developed VMS , among other things , and at that time was considered to be the developer with the greatest experience in the development of operating systems to date.

Like VMS, NT was given a 32-bit kernel architecture around which a 16-bit subsystem was created for compatibility with Windows 3.11 , and a 32-bit subsystem for the Win32s interface (Windows 3.1 and Windows for Workgroups). The POSIX subsystem was introduced for Unix software . All subsystems were designed by David Cutler in such a way that none could cause the other to crash, as they were running in protected (separate) storage systems (English: Protected Mode ). As a real preemptive system, the kernel distributed the CPU time to the respective subsystems using a time slice method. As a result, the kernel functioned as a multitasking and multiuser system , which brought with it a level of complexity that was previously unknown in PCs, but rewarded the user with stability and unprecedented possibilities in the home area.

Rick Rashid , who among other things had developed the UNIX MACH kernel , could be won over for the architecture of the memory management . The HAL was introduced between the hardware level and the subsystems . HAL was the one a neutral intermediate layer on different hardware platforms, as well as first MIPS - and PowerPC - processors also in addition to the Intel supported processors. On the other hand, the choice of the name HAL was also a tribute to the (allegedly infallible) supercomputer HAL Series-9000 from the science fiction classic 2001: A Space Odyssey . Either 21 diskettes or three boot disks plus a CD-ROM were required for installation.

So-called old pigtails were consequently cut off with NT , i.e. compatibility downwards ended, which led to an outcry from many users. The (then) high hardware requirements were also criticized at the time. On DOS compatibility control of the microkernel was waived insofar as DOS no longer up to that served as a basis, but as a 16-bit subsystem now incumbent. As a result, the system could no longer be programmed directly, i.e. close to the hardware, as it used to be, which in turn meant that NT could not be used in some specialist areas for a long time. Technically, NT was neither based on MS-DOS nor on OS / 2 , but initially also provided their programming interfaces.

While NT 3.1 still seemed very sluggish, this point was completely eliminated with the successor NT 3.51, as the latter was characterized by speed and extreme stability. The graphical user interface was set up as a further subsystem that was under the control of the microkernel and thus could not crash the PC. A blocked graphics driver could be remote, i. H. restarted from another PC. The entire architecture and many services of the server version were already included in the workstation version. Small peer-to-peer networks could be set up easily and securely. In Microsoft's philosophy, NT should serve as the "development platform" and the less expensive Windows 95 should become the "end user" platform. For this purpose, a graphical user interface that can be loaded subsequently was offered for NT 3.51. This was then the outlook for NT 4.0. However, the CAD customers mistrusted this constellation and then chose the much more expensive NT as the platform, on the grounds that experience shows that the software runs most stably on the platform on which it was also developed and debugged , i.e. made error-free.

In order to become a major player for the CAD market, Microsoft implemented OpenGL , based on the 3D interface IRIX GL created by Silicon Graphics . With advances in hardware could be 4.0, using bootable on NT CDs the three boot disks and skip directly to a CD boot , which simplified the installation significantly.

As a result, Microsoft tried to place Windows NT in the market against Unix and OS / 2, which was very successful in many areas. In particular, the market for workstations and servers was to be wrested from IBM with its AIX- Unix. When NT 5.0 went into beta at the end of 1999, Microsoft's marketing department decided at short notice to rename it to Windows 2000 . However, this led to uncertainty and the market remained on NT 4.0 for a relatively long time . Windows 2000 was offered in two versions: Windows 2000 Professional for the workstation and Windows 2000 Server for the server. With Windows XP (internal: NT 5.1) Microsoft used this marketing trick again in 2001. Here, too, a certain reluctance was felt for a long time, especially among business customers: Many were skeptical about the "new" product, which was not least due to the fact that, due to the naming, the origin and continuity of NT 4.0 was not immediately and obvious to laypeople.

Under Windows NT 4.0 , support for OS / 2 , 16-bit and text-based programs was retained. POSIX and OS / 2 were no longer offered under Windows XP (i.e. NT 5.1) , especially since these two subsystems could not use the XP security systems either. Support for MIPS and PowerPC processors has also been discontinued. On the initiative of Bill Gates, the separate graphic subsystem of NT 3.51 was removed and positioned one level lower and thus closer to the kernel (and thus closer to the CPU). With regard to the development of computer games, this brought more speed, but on the other hand also the risk of loss of stability. An unstable graphics driver could now crash the system. To prevent this, Microsoft introduced certification of the driver software. Drivers that conformed to Microsoft standards were given the status WHQL-tested.

At the end of 2001 Windows XP (internally: NT 5.1) appeared with the variants XP Home (for private users) and XP Professional (for business users ). XP Home differed from Windows XP Professional primarily through a stripped down rights management and limited network services. Windows XP was gradually discontinued from 2008 onwards. In April 2014, technical support was finally ended. New PCs and laptops were only sold with Windows Vista. Only niche products with low hardware requirements are still offered (as of July 2008) with Windows XP (Mediacenter). While the server and client had the same version number until Windows 2000 (NT 5.0), the Microsoft strategists from Windows XP onwards chose a new name for the server: Windows 2003 Server (NT 5.2). With the introduction of Windows Vista (NT 6.0), the matching server was named Windows Server 2008 .

The successor to Windows Vista was christened Windows 7 for marketing reasons , but internally bears the version number 6.1. With the server variant of NT 6.1, the strong relationship to NT 6.0 is also evident in the marketing name: Windows Server 2008 R2.

Market Strategic Delay in Intel Innovations

Since Windows had not kept pace with the audio and video capabilities of the PC's x86 processors , shortly before the market launch of Windows 95, Intel planned to offer other hardware and software manufacturers their own driver interfaces and so-called APIs , so that this could already be done announcing multimedia business to enter. Since this software should also be made available for other operating systems and would also enhance Windows 3.1, which Microsoft had already written off, Microsoft threatened in mid-1995 in negotiations with Intel that it would only continue to support the Intel platform if these developments were discontinued. Intel gave in. Even Windows 98, developed years later, was not yet equipped with all of the capabilities that Intel wanted to provide in 1995.

Beginning of the "browser war"

Microsoft initially underestimated the potential of the emerging Internet , so Netscape was able to gain a foothold in this market segment with its browser. Microsoft followed suit with Internet Explorer (IE), which was developed under time pressure , and it was not until Windows 95 that the MSN portal, the "Microsoft Network", was developed as a direct response to AOL and Compuserve , which until then had divided the public online market.

Microsoft tried to help Internet Explorer achieve a breakthrough through a strategy of product bundling with the operating system, which was viewed by critics as anti-competitive. Microsoft also successfully put Compaq under pressure by canceling the distribution license for Windows 95, as Compac initially shipped its PCs with Netscape instead of IE. The so-called browser war began . The US Department of Justice saw the bundling of products and this procedure as a violation of the settlement previously concluded. However, Microsoft was initially able to fend off the corresponding lawsuit in 1998 after three years of appeal. In the European Union , however, a program had to be installed from Windows 7 onwards that enabled the selection of an alternative browser; this is no longer necessary since December 18, 2014. This was automatically displayed the first time Windows was run.

Undermining software standards

In 1996 Microsoft acquired a license for Java , a platform-independent programming language from Sun Microsystems , and developed its own development environment and its own Java implementation under the name Visual J ++ . In the process, however, a proprietary Java variant was created that partially accessed Windows directly instead of the operating system-independent Java Virtual Machine , as the Java concept had intended. In this way, many application software developers produced products that could only run under Windows. After a legal dispute with Sun in 2003, Microsoft only supported the MSJVM (Microsoft Java Virtual Machine) sporadically in the form of security updates until 2007. Accordingly, Sun's Java is used again almost everywhere today, and most professional applets are compatible with it today.

Microsoft followed this policy of adopting software standards and subsequent modification in numerous other cases. The WWW standard HTML for websites and CSS are affected . For years, most web designers oriented themselves to the special display method of Internet Explorer, with the result that many websites were not displayed correctly by the browsers of the competition, which were based on the official standards. The character set standard ISO 8859-1 , JScript , ECMAScript and DOM , the TCPA standard and various network protocols are also affected .

Likewise, as a competitor to the MP3 format, the company's own WMA format was developed to combat MP3. Microsoft's e-mail products also work with their own extensions and small deviations from international standards.

Antitrust lawsuit and threatened split

As a result of these developments, the Justice Department and 19 states filed an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft in May 1998 , the core of which was the browser war and the use of Java. However, the antitrust proceedings came too late for Netscape, which wanted to develop its Navigator into an operating system-independent basis for its own Office variant. It was acquired by AOL in October 1998. On the basis of a memo from 1996 from the confiscated internal correspondence, it was possible to prove that Microsoft had deliberately and tacitly increased the proportion of incompatible Java components so that the developers did not notice that they were writing Windows-specific Java applications.

When, due to antitrust lawsuits and efforts by the United States Department of Justice in the late 1990s, a split of Microsoft into "baby bills" was discussed, a division of the group into an Internet company, 3 operating system companies and an application company with Office and Internet Explorer offer suggested. The tripartite division of the operating system division was supported by two other respected US economists, William D. Nordhaus , professor at Yale, and Frederic Michael Scherer, professor emeritus at Harvard since 2006 and former director of the Federal Trade Commission .

The ruling in the first instance of June 2000 called for Microsoft to split into two separate companies for operating systems and application software. After George W. Bush , whose campaign agency Century Strategies was closely linked to Microsoft, won the US presidency in 2001, Charles James was appointed the new head of the Cartel Office. James, who had already pleaded for the maintenance of Microsoft as a unit before taking office, confirmed the antitrust violations and illegal business practices in the appeal hearing, but the judgment regarding the division of Microsoft was overturned.

Microsoft continued the policy of product bundling, as in the case of the Windows XP integrated media player.

New operating system and change in leadership

On July 22, 2004, Microsoft announced that, following the settlement of material legal disputes, it intended to release the high cash reserves that had been accumulated due to legal uncertainty. In December 2004, Microsoft paid a special dividend of $ 3.00 per share. The total payout, including the quarterly dividend, was $ 34.4 billion, the highest dividend ever paid by a company.

As a result of the antitrust proceedings, Microsoft agreed with the EU Commission to offer a Windows version without an integrated media player in Europe. Windows XP Edition N was launched in July 2005 as the first generation of these N versions. Other N editions of Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 followed.

In October 2005 Microsoft presented five “free” software licenses as part of the shared source program. Two of them, the Microsoft Permissive License (Ms-PL) and the Microsoft Community License (Ms-CL), meet the criteria for free software licenses , according to the Free Software Foundation Europe . After these two licenses were renamed Microsoft Public License and Microsoft Reciprocal License , they were recognized by the Open Source Initiative on October 12, 2007 . In addition, Microsoft released so-called Express versions of some Visual Studio applications (C #, C ++, Basic, Web Developer). Originally, these versions should only be available for free download from Microsoft for one year. However, because of the large community , Microsoft decided that they should stay free forever. They would have to be registered after 30 days, but could be used indefinitely free of charge. Apart from a few minor restrictions, they are almost identical to the corresponding full versions. "Small restrictions" means e.g. Specifically, for example, it is not possible to write graphic Windows programs with Visual C ++; this is only possible after downloading a larger, but free, additional package (the Microsoft SDK ). Then, although MFC programs can still not be developed, programs with a graphical user interface are also possible without using the .net framework.

On June 15, 2006, Gates announced that he would retire from Microsoft's day-to-day business by July 2008 and leave the previous chief technology officer Ray Ozzie as Chief Software Architect.

In May 2007, Microsoft took over the online advertising company aQuantive for around six billion US dollars. In October of the same year, Microsoft also acquired a minority stake in the online social network Facebook for $ 240 million ; an exclusive agreement was reached on the international advertising marketing of Facebook by Microsoft.

At the beginning of 2008 information leaked to the public that Microsoft had a developed system for recording the body functions of users (US patent application 20070300174), which in turn drew criticism from data protectionists.

After Microsoft had tried unsuccessfully to take over the Internet company Yahoo in May 2007 , the software giant started a new attempt in February 2008 and offered 44.6 billion US dollars. Yahoo also rejected this offer, whereupon Microsoft set a three-week period for an agreement in early April 2008. This period expired on April 27, 2008, whereby Microsoft did not respond with the threatened hostile takeover of the Yahoo group.

For the first time since going public, Microsoft closed the 2008/2009 financial year with a decline in sales and profits. By July 2009, the software group had cut 5,000 jobs worldwide due to the economic crisis and the ongoing lull in the PC market.

Kinect , a body control system for the Xbox 360 game console, was developed together with PrimeSense and released in November 2010. After the market share of the outdated Windows Mobile operating system fell, Microsoft introduced Windows Phone in 2010 and started a cooperation with Nokia for future mobile communications products. The release of the new operating system brought some changes to the company logo and the products and services offered. On March 23, 2011 Microsoft and 23 other companies joined Deutsche Telekom , Google and Yahoo among others , the Open Networking Foundation , a non-profit organization to implement a new cloud computing initiative, which innovations in this area based on small updates z. B. should accelerate for private networks.

The idea of Windows 8 in June 2011 in Taipei. Microsoft's webmail service was launched on July 31, 2012. On June 18, 2012, CEO Steve Ballmer presented the first PC with Microsoft hardware: the Microsoft Surface . Microsoft Surface RT, as the first version, has an Nvidia Tegra 3 processor, 32/64 GB flash memory and an integrated 1 megapixel camera. It was released in Germany on October 26, 2012, together with Windows 8. On October 29, 2012, Microsoft Windows Phone 8 appeared with the new support for multi-core processors and microSD cards as well as the integration of Internet Explorer 10 .

Since 2013, Microsoft has been one of the first main members of the FIDO alliance , which developed the industry standard Universal Second Factor (U2F) for generally applicable two-factor authentication .

The Kinect receiving device was upgraded for the new Microsoft console Xbox One and the innovations were presented in May 2013. The new Kinect is equipped with an HD camera, a more powerful processor, fine motion detection and a heart rate monitor. The Xbox One is equipped with a BluRay drive, 8 GB of RAM and a 500 GB hard drive. At the E3 fair in Los Angeles in 2013, Microsoft presented games such as Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag , Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts , all of which were offered for the Xbox One.

In March 2013, the Patent Tracker , a tool for searching for patents in the Microsoft database, was launched. On July 19, 2013, Microsoft shares experienced the biggest crash since going public in 2000 and recorded a loss of around 24 billion euros. On September 3, 2013, Microsoft took over the mobile communications division of Nokia .

After Steve Ballmer announced his resignation as CEO in August 2013, Satya Nadella , previously employed in the company's cloud computing segment, succeeded him in February 2014. Likewise, Bill Gates resigned as chairman to focus on his position as technical advisor to the company; he is succeeded by John W. Thompson.

Environmental profiling

In January 2020, Microsoft announced plans for the company to recover from all of the carbon footprint it has caused since 1975 by 2050 . Microsoft also supplies in the United Nations' " AI for Earth " project, Microsoft claims to supply more than 500 organizations with programs based on artificial intelligence (AI). In April of the same year, President Brad Smith presented the AI platform Planetary Computer , which aims to help scientists, conservation organizations and customers of the company fight the global extinction of species . According to Microsoft, the new system could use satellite images to analyze the density of trees in forests more quickly or feed an algorithm with measurement data from water bodies in order to calculate the risk of flooding in different areas. Together with the environmental analysis association GEO , Microsoft has launched a funding program for which research projects that want to use the "Planetary Computer" project can apply.

Subsidiaries in German-speaking countries


Microsoft Deutschland GmbH was founded in 1983 and its headquarters are in Munich-Schwabing . Regional offices are located in Aachen ( European Microsoft Innovation Center ) from 2003 to 2013, Bad Homburg vor der Höhe , Berlin , Böblingen , Hamburg , Cologne and Walldorf . The company employs over 2,700 people in Germany. From mid-September 2012 to spring 2016, Christian P. Illek was the chairman of the management board (previously Ralph Hauptter held the position for 2 years and Achim Berg for three years). In spring 2016, Sabine Bendiek took over the management of Microsoft Germany. Since Hauptter took over responsibility for Microsoft in Greater China as CEO in April 2012 , Jane Gilson has been running Microsoft Germany on an interim basis. In 2013 Microsoft decided to concentrate on the three main locations in Munich, Cologne and Berlin and to dissolve Böblingen, Bad Homburg and Hamburg. On November 8, 2013, the company announced that it would relocate its headquarters from Unterschleißheim to Schwabing in the north of Munich in the summer of 2016 .

Since mid-September 2016, the head office has been located on Walter-Gropius-Straße in Schwabing. There is a 26,000 square meter modern office complex.


Microsoft has been present in Switzerland since 1989 and, as Microsoft Schweiz GmbH, employs over 620 people in Wallisellen , Bern , Basel and Geneva .


Microsoft Austria GmbH was founded in 1991 and is based in Vienna . The company employs 350 people.


Like many large American corporations whose main business is selling intellectual property, Microsoft hardly pays taxes. For this, controversial rebooking tricks such as Double Irish With a Dutch Sandwich are used.

In November 2017, Microsoft is listed in the Paradise Papers publications .


Many critics refer to Bill Gates' monopoly attitude . According to them, Microsoft's corporate strategy is anti-competitive and not customer-oriented. According to the critics, the most important changes to new product versions are based in particular on the following motivations:

  • Difficulty in using products from other manufacturers (e.g. due to changes in standards or constant expansion of the operating system to include additional functions that are already offered by third-party providers).
  • Creation of a compulsion to switch to the latest version (e.g. by creating incompatibilities, obligation of OEM manufacturers to switch to the latest operating system platform)
  • Securing the monopoly position (e.g. through file and software incompatibilities, network incompatibilities, marketing)

The dominant position in the market for PC operating systems is largely attributed to the talent of founder Bill Gates for conquering markets. The quality of Microsoft products is the subject of much and heated discussion among experts. Critics sometimes branded the origin and distribution policy of the first Microsoft products, which were decisive for success, as unethical (cheap purchase and marketing of software that was expressly designed as a disposable system). In addition, Bill Gates was accused of having accustomed the general public to the dubious "truth" that errors in software and sudden failures of computers during operation, so-called crashes, are to be accepted as normal. As a result of a clever marketing and influence policy by Microsoft, almost every new PC today is delivered with a pre-installed Windows system.

The undermining of software standards and the exploitation of Microsoft's monopoly-like market position are also criticized.

Windows-only discounts

Microsoft offers major manufacturers exceptionally favorable terms for OEM software . As part of the antitrust proceedings of the US Department of Justice against Microsoft, it became known in 2001 that Microsoft made these conditions non-transparent and, in some cases, linked them with the obligation not to deliver any desktop computers without a Microsoft operating system. This procedure was prohibited for the future by the out-of-court settlement in the antitrust proceedings.

Product bundling

The high market share for operating systems represents a quasi-monopoly and makes it easier for Microsoft to quickly spread new technologies on the market via the Windows platform. This was z. B. achieved with Internet Explorer, which was pre-installed in (updated) Windows 95 versions and was even merged with the system in later Windows versions. At times, Internet Explorer achieved a market share of up to 85% and outperformed its competitor Netscape with its competitive advantage. This browser war ultimately triggered the US antitrust proceedings against Microsoft in 1997. In the European Union, Microsoft was also obliged to offer the operating system without Windows Media Player .

Infringements of Competition

Microsoft is often criticized and disciplined. Since 2004, the European Commission has imposed numerous fines on Microsoft for violating competition laws. Conditions were imposed on the group with regard to the disclosure of interface specifications and the decoupling of products. The main criticisms of Microsoft are

  1. the abuse of his position as a market leader for an anti-competitive contract policy towards economically dependent companies,
  2. the anti-competitive bundling of various products,
  3. the undermining of established software standards with the aim of customer loyalty to Microsoft as a result of incompatibilities: " Embrace, Extend and Extinguish ",
  4. Long-time unresolved security gaps in operating systems and applications and
  5. the delay in software innovations for corporate strategic motives.

Numerous lawsuits are pending on the first three points of criticism. The discontent with business policy and the quality of the products, which in the eyes of the critics often lag behind the state of the art, has contributed significantly to the emergence of an open source movement that wants to offer better alternatives to proprietary products such as those from Microsoft. With the publication of the internal " Halloween Documents " in 1998, it became known that Microsoft analysts saw free software , in particular GNU / Linux , as a strong competitor and suggested strategies to combat it.

Data breaches

In 2002 Microsoft received the “Lifetime Award” from the German Big Brother Awards . The negative award was given “primarily for his services in the widespread introduction of control technology for copyrights: Digital Rights Management ”. Microsoft made a positive impression because it had the award personally picked up by its then German corporate data protection officer, Sascha Hanke, which no award winner had dared to do before.

In addition, the group came under fire for spying on user behavior with the help of its own media player . Even Microsoft Active Protection Service and the virus scanner Microsoft Security Essentials came in for criticism to serve the collection of user information.

In 2018 there was another German Big Brother Award for the company - this time in the technology category for the telemetry that can hardly be deactivated (that is the transmission of diagnostic data) in " Windows 10 " .

On September 18, 2020, the Baden-Württemberg Minister of Education, Susanne Eisenmann, received a BigBrotherAward in the digitization category because she wants to introduce Office 365 at schools in her federal state. Laudator Leena Simon criticized the fact that while the data from teachers and students on servers BE REDUCED by Microsoft and there is not out of reach of US - intelligence services were protected. That would also be the case if the servers were in Europe. In addition, Microsoft could bypass the ban on product advertising in schools. Eisenmann had previously tried to legitimize the use of MS 365 through a data protection impact assessment commissioned by Microsoft partner PricewaterhouseCoopers . This study has not been published. The state data protection officer Stefan Brink was allowed to view them and, in a letter to the Ministry of Culture, gave no good hair to them: "There currently seem to be structural features of the processing envisaged that make the possibility of a data protection-compliant use without significant adaptation of the data processing by Microsoft appear questionable"

Employee appraisal

In November 2013 - after years of criticism - Microsoft fundamentally changed its system of employee assessment (or assessment of their performance).

So far, Microsoft used the so-called stack ranking (known in other companies as forced ranking) according to the concept of the vitality curve : Within a team there had to be a fixed percentage of top people, mere mortals and "underperformers" - no matter how good the team overall and the individual employees really were in their everyday work. Even if a boss was extremely satisfied with all the people on his team: He was forced to identify and name alleged “underperformers”; the " normal distribution " must be observed.


Litigation with the European Union

The European Commission that imposed several fines on Microsoft

After the software company Sun Microsystems lodged a complaint with the EU Commission against its competitor Microsoft in 1998 , the European Commission under Mario Monti imposed a fine of 497 million euros in March 2004 after four years of investigations. The Commission and the complainants, the European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS) and the Software and Information Industry Association , had accused Microsoft of having used its dominant position in the Windows PC operating system in an anti-competitive manner to achieve market leadership in the server market. In addition, an anti-competitive bundling of the operating system with application software was found again. The EU Commission demanded that the competition be provided with interface information for communication with Windows server systems that had previously been kept secret, and that a Windows version be offered without Microsoft's media player . Microsoft subsequently offered a Windows without a media player, but at the same price as the version with a media player; therefore the stripped-down version found almost no buyers. On July 12, 2006, the EU Commission imposed a fine on Microsoft in the amount of 280.5 million euros for failing to meet the requirements set in March 2004. On September 17, 2007, a European court of first instance dismissed Microsoft's complaint against the European Union and declared the fine of 497 million euros to be justified. In October 2007 Microsoft promised to meet the most important requirements of the competition authority and waived the appeal against the judgment; that ended the litigation.

On February 27, 2008, the Commission again imposed a fine of 899 million euros for failing to meet the requirements set in 2004 to disclose interface information to competitors. At the end of June 2012, the European Court of Justice confirmed the fine, but the amount was reduced to EUR 860 million. This is the highest penalty imposed on a company by an EU court up to that point. The penalties paid to date thus totaled over 1.6 billion euros.

On March 6, 2013, the EU again fined Microsoft for violating antitrust law, this time in the amount of 561 million euros. The commission accused the group of having failed in the period from May 2011 to July 2012 with the Windows 7 operating system to offer users not only the in-house Internet Explorer but also competitor browsers for surfing the Internet. In this way, Microsoft exploited its dominant position and forced customers to use their own products.

Further processes

  • In May 2003, Microsoft reached an agreement with AOL Time Warner in the Netscape litigation . Microsoft subsequently paid $ 750 million.
  • In July 2003, the dispute over force feedback technology was settled with the payment of US $ 26 million to the game input device manufacturer Immersion .
  • In the dispute over US Patent No. 5,838,906, Microsoft was sentenced on August 11, 2003 to pay around 521 million US dollars to the software company Eolas Technologies . The patent infringed by Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser enables access to interactive programs that are embedded in web pages.
  • Microsoft and Be Inc. reached an out-of-court settlement on September 6, 2003, whereupon the manufacturer of the BeOS operating system withdrew the lawsuit brought against Microsoft for distortion of competition.
  • On October 3, 2003, a lawsuit was filed against Microsoft alleging that the software manufacturer was promoting the spread of viruses, worms and other attackers through poor security mechanisms and its business practices, and that Microsoft did not sufficiently inform customers about the dangers.
  • More than 30 patent infringement lawsuits have been filed against Microsoft: Sun for Java, Intertrust for DRM technology, for streaming technology . In March 2005, Microsoft paid $ 60 million in royalties to to resolve its patent litigation.
  • Microsoft and Sun settled their legal battles in April 2004, with Microsoft paying SUN $ 700 million for the antitrust offenses and $ 900 million for the use of patents. At the same time, both companies announced a broad cooperation.
  • Gateway dropped all antitrust claims against Microsoft in April 2005 for a payment of $ 150 million.
  • After around 10 years of litigation, Microsoft and IBM agreed to pay $ 775 million. In addition, IBM received $ 75 million in credit for Microsoft software. Among other things, Microsoft is accused of putting IBM Corporation at a disadvantage when purchasing software .
  • RealNetworks withdrew on October 11, 2005 from antitrust proceedings in the European Union and South Korea and from a lawsuit in the USA. Microsoft previously agreed to pay the network streaming specialist $ 761 million.
  • In 2007, a class action lawsuit against Microsoft and the trading company Best Buy was approved by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco - despite concerns - on the basis of the RICO Act . The lawsuit was brought in April 2000 by James Odom, who accused the two companies of fraud by exchanging customer information when making purchases on credit cards without informing the customers concerned. After investing US $ 200 million in Best Buy , Microsoft had committed to promoting this company, in return the retailer was supposed to promote Microsoft products.
  • According to Heise online , in April 2009 a jury in Rhode Island sentenced Microsoft to pay $ 388 million in damages. According to the jury in the process, which began in October 2003, the process used by Microsoft to license Windows XP and some Office products infringes a patent owned by Uniloc. In the meantime, however, the judgment has been overturned on appeal.


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  • The Microsoft Story (2013)
  • The Microsoft Dilemma (2018)


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Commons : Microsoft  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
 Wikinews: Microsoft  - on the news

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