微软 was founded by Paul Allen and Bill Gates on April 4, 1975, to develop and sell BASIC interpreters for Altair 8800. It rose to dominate the personal computer operating system market with MS-DOS in the mid-1980s, followed by 微软 Windows. The company's 1986 initial public offering, and subsequent rise in its share price, created three billionaires and an estimated 12,000 millionaires among 微软 employees. Since the 1990s, it has increasingly diversified from the operating system market and has made a number of corporate acquisitions. In May 2011, 微软 acquired Skype Technologies for $8.5 billion in its largest acquisition to date, and in June 2017 announced plans to acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion.
As of 2015, 微软 is market dominant in both the IBM PC-compatible operating system (while it lost the majority of the overall operating system market to Android) and office software suite markets (the latter with 微软 Office). The company also produces a wide range of other software for desktops and servers, and is active in areas including Internet search (with Bing), the video game industry (with the Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles), the digital service