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The Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) is the world’s largest software corporation, raking in an average revenue of 54 billion dollars a year. The company has a wide array of different products. The Microsoft Corporation’s business division rakes in the majority of yearly revenue, with the “entertainment and devices” division of the company being the most lightweight in terms of profit generation.

The renowned Windows OS has made Microsoft a household name around the world, but this is not the only product that contributes to the company’s great success.

While the company remains the king of software, Microsoft Corporation has many competitors who are legendary in their own right. Microsoft’s main competitor in business and enterprise software is the Oracle Corporation (NASDAQ: ORCL). Oracle’s claim to fame is the celebrated Oracle Database (AKA, Oracle RDBMS). Experts postulate that Oracle’s Linux-Intel hybrid database software may overtake Microsoft’s lead in the business world by the end of the decade.

The company has humble beginnings. Friends and fellow Paul Allen and Bill Gates founded Microsoft in 1975 along with a team of fellow computer programmers. After opening an international office in Japan in the year of 1978, the early Microsoft Corporation re-located their headquarters to Bellevue, Washington.

The first Microsoft OS was a Unix variant titled “Xenix”. The new OS was adapted to several platforms. Xenix featured Microsoft Word in its first incarnation, which at the time was a very basic text processing program. Microsoft Word was the first word processing software to feature bolded and italicized text settings, and was released as a free demo disk with the Nov. 1983 issue of PC World.

In the years following, the Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) would go on to develop MS-DOS, Windows 3.1, Windows for Workgroups 3.1, and many other test OS platforms that never saw market release. By the year 1993, the Windows OS was the most widely used and widely recognized OS with a graphical user interface in the world.

The impending dotcom bubble of 1996 would propel Microsoft Corporation into a web-based expedition. New versions of the Windows OS rolled out quickly in the following years as the average rate of its stock price grew rapidly. Microsoft stock is quite stable compared to some others within the sector.

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