Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational technology company with headquarters in Redmond, Washington. It develops, licenses and sells computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, related services, its best known software products are the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems, the Microsoft Office suite, the Internet Explorer and Edge web browsers. Its flagship hardware products are the Xbox video game consoles and the Microsoft Surface lineup of touchscreen personal computers; as of 2016, it is the world's largest software maker by revenue, one of the world's most valuable companies. The word "Microsoft" is a portmanteau of "microcomputer" and "software". Microsoft is ranked No. 30 in the 2018 Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations by total revenue. Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen on April 4, 1975, to develop and sell BASIC interpreters for the Altair 8800, it rose to dominate the personal computer operating system market with MS-DOS in the mid-1980s, followed by Microsoft Windows.
The company's 1986 initial public offering, subsequent rise in its share price, created three billionaires and an estimated 12,000 millionaires among Microsoft employees. Since the 1990s, it has diversified from the operating system market and has made a number of corporate acquisitions, their largest being the acquisition of LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in December 2016, followed by their acquisition of Skype Technologies for $8.5 billion in May 2011. As of 2015, Microsoft is market-dominant in the IBM PC-compatible operating system market and the office software suite market, although it has lost the majority of the overall operating system market to Android; the company produces a wide range of other consumer and enterprise software for desktops and servers, including Internet search, the digital services market, mixed reality, cloud computing and software development. Steve Ballmer replaced Gates as CEO in 2000, envisioned a "devices and services" strategy; this began with the acquisition of Danger Inc. in 2008, entering the personal computer production market for the first time in June 2012 with the launch of the Microsoft Surface line of tablet computers.
Since Satya Nadella took over as CEO in 2014, the company has scaled back on hardware and has instead focused on cloud computing, a move that helped the company's shares reach its highest value since December 1999. In 2018, Microsoft surpassed Apple as the most valuable publicly traded company in the world after being dethroned by the tech giant in 2010. Childhood friends Bill Gates and Paul Allen sought to make a business utilizing their shared skills in computer programming. In 1972 they founded their first company, named Traf-O-Data, which sold a rudimentary computer to track and analyze automobile traffic data. While Gates enrolled at Harvard, Allen pursued a degree in computer science at Washington State University, though he dropped out of school to work at Honeywell; the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics featured Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems's Altair 8800 microcomputer, which inspired Allen to suggest that they could program a BASIC interpreter for the device. After a call from Gates claiming to have a working interpreter, MITS requested a demonstration.
Since they didn't yet have one, Allen worked on a simulator for the Altair while Gates developed the interpreter. Although they developed the interpreter on a simulator and not the actual device, it worked flawlessly when they demonstrated the interpreter to MITS in Albuquerque, New Mexico. MITS agreed to distribute it, marketing it as Altair BASIC. Gates and Allen established Microsoft on April 4, 1975, with Gates as the CEO; the original name of "Micro-Soft" was suggested by Allen. In August 1977 the company formed an agreement with ASCII Magazine in Japan, resulting in its first international office, "ASCII Microsoft". Microsoft moved to a new home in Bellevue, Washington in January 1979. Microsoft entered the operating system business in 1980 with its own version of Unix, called Xenix. However, it was MS-DOS. After negotiations with Digital Research failed, IBM awarded a contract to Microsoft in November 1980 to provide a version of the CP/M OS, set to be used in the upcoming IBM Personal Computer.
For this deal, Microsoft purchased a CP/M clone called 86-DOS from Seattle Computer Products, which it branded as MS-DOS, though IBM rebranded it to PC DOS. Following the release of the IBM PC in August 1981, Microsoft retained ownership of MS-DOS. Since IBM had copyrighted the IBM PC BIOS, other companies had to reverse engineer it in order for non-IBM hardware to run as IBM PC compatibles, but no such restriction applied to the operating systems. Due to various factors, such as MS-DOS's available software selection, Microsoft became the leading PC operating systems vendor; the company expanded into new markets with the release of the Microsoft Mouse in 1983, as well as with a publishing division named Microsoft Press. Paul Allen resigned from Microsoft in 1983 after developing Hodgkin's disease. Allen claimed that Gates wanted to dilute his share in the company when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease because he didn't think he was working hard enough. After leaving Microsoft, Allen lost billions of dollars on ill-conceived or mistimed technology investments.
He invested in low-tech sectors, sports teams, commercial real estate. Despite having begun jointly developing a new operating system, OS/2, with IBM in
Waiting for Godot
Waiting for Godot is a play by Samuel Beckett, in which two characters and Estragon, wait for the arrival of someone named Godot who never arrives, while waiting they engage in a variety of discussions and encounter three other characters. Waiting for Godot is Beckett's translation of his own original French play, En attendant Godot, is subtitled "a tragicomedy in two acts"; the original French text was composed between 9 October 1948 and 29 January 1949. The premiere, directed by Roger Blin, was on 5 January 1953 at the Théâtre de Paris; the English language version premiered in London in 1955. In a poll conducted by the British Royal National Theatre in 1990, it was voted the "most significant English language play of the 20th century"; the play opens on an outdoor scene of two bedraggled companions: the philosophical Vladimir and the weary Estragon who, at the moment, cannot remove his boots from his aching feet muttering, "Nothing to be done." Vladimir takes up the thought loftily, while Estragon vaguely recalls having been beaten the night before.
His boots come off, while the pair ramble and bicker pointlessly. When Estragon decides to leave, Vladimir reminds him that they must stay and wait for an unspecified person called Godot—a segment of dialogue that repeats often; the pair cannot agree on where or when they are expected to meet with this Godot. They only know to wait at a tree, there is indeed a leafless one nearby. Estragon dozes off and Vladimir rouses him but stops him before he can share his dreams—another recurring activity between the two men. Estragon wants to hear an old joke, which Vladimir cannot finish without going off to urinate, since every time he starts laughing, a kidney ailment flares up. Upon Vladimir's return, the jaded Estragon suggests that they hang themselves, but they abandon the idea when the logistics seem ineffective, they speculate on the potential rewards of continuing to wait for Godot, but can come to no definite conclusions. When Estragon declares his hunger, Vladimir provides a carrot, at which Estragon idly gnaws, loudly reiterating his boredom.
"A terrible cry" heralds the entrance of Lucky, a silent, baggage-burdened slave with a rope tied around his neck, Pozzo, his arrogant and imperious master, who holds the other end and stops now to rest. Pozzo barks abusive orders at Lucky, which are always followed, while acting civilly though tersely towards the other two. Pozzo enjoys a selfish snack of chicken and wine, before casting the bones to the ground, which Estragon gleefully claims. Having been in a dumbfounded state of silence since the arrival of Pozzo and Lucky, Vladimir finds his voice to shout criticisms at Pozzo for his mistreatment of Lucky. Pozzo explains his intention to sell Lucky, who begins to cry. Estragon takes pity and tries to wipe away Lucky's tears, but, as he approaches, Lucky violently kicks him in the shin. Pozzo rambles nostalgically but vaguely about his relationship with Lucky over the years, before offering Vladimir and Estragon some compensation for their company. Estragon begins to beg for money when Pozzo instead suggests that Lucky can "dance" and "think" for their entertainment.
Lucky's dance, "the Net", is shuffling. The monologue begins as a coherent and academic lecture on theology but dissolves into mindless verbosity, escalating in both volume and speed, that agonises the others until Vladimir pulls off Lucky's hat, stopping him in mid-sentence. Pozzo has Lucky pack up his bags, they hastily leave. Vladimir and Estragon, alone again, reflect on whether they met Lucky before. A boy arrives, purporting to be a messenger sent from Godot to tell the pair that Godot will not be coming that evening "but tomorrow". During Vladimir's interrogation of the boy, he asks if he came the day before, making it apparent that the two men have been waiting for a long period and will continue. After the boy departs, the moon appears, the two men verbally agree to leave and find shelter for the night, but they stand without moving, it is daytime again and Vladimir begins singing a recursive round about the death of a dog, but twice forgets the lyrics as he sings. Again, Estragon claims to have been beaten last night, despite no apparent injury.
Vladimir comments that the bare tree now has leaves and tries to confirm his recollections of yesterday against Estragon's vague, unreliable memory. Vladimir triumphantly produces evidence of the previous day's events by showing Estragon the wound from when Lucky kicked him. Noticing Estragon's barefootedness, they discover his forsaken boots nearby, which Estragon insists are not his, although they fit him perfectly. With no carrots left, Vladimir is turned down in offering Estragon a radish, he sings Estragon to sleep with a lullaby before noticing further evidence to confirm his memory: Lucky's hat still lies on the ground. This leads to his waking involving him in a frenetic hat-swapping scene; the two wait again for Godot, while distracting themselves by playfully imitating Pozzo and Lucky, firing insults at each other and making up, attempting some fitness routines—all of which fail miserably and end quickly. Pozzo and Lucky reappear, but the rope is much shorter than during their last visit, Lucky now guides Pozzo, rather than being controlled by him.
As they arrive, Pozzo trips over Lucky and they together fall into a motionless heap. Estragon sees an opportu