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Early History Microsoft Corporation is a software company based in Redmond, Washington.

Microsoft's flagship product, the Windows operating system, is the single most popular operating system for home desktop use. Its other desktop products, namely Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, and Windows Media Player, are either bundled directly with the Windows operating system, or are often sold together with Windows as preinstalled software on new computer systems. Additionally, the company manufactures and sells computer hardware such as keyboards and mice, and owns or possesses interest in several content-distribution channels such as MSNBC, the MSN Internet portal, and the Microsoft Encarta electronic encyclopedia. The Microsoft Windows operating system started life as an optional addition to the MS-DOS operating system. The idea of a graphical user interface was pioneered by Apple Computer's Apple II and Macintosh. However, due to prior work with IBM, Microsoft successfully convinced the hardware giant to ship Microsoft Windows preinstalled on IBM personal computers. This monumental step had piggybacked Windows to be one of the most recognized software titles in history. The Microsoft Office suit of applications (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Access) began life as Microsoft Works, an Apple Macintosh application that provided the functions of a word processor, spreadsheet, and database all in one. Microsoft's popular Internet Explorer web browser was originally a rebranded version of Spyglass Mosaic. Microsoft products have traditionally been plagued with security problems, leading to an entire malicious software industry today. Although all major operating systems and computer programs have been subject to attack at one time or another, Microsoft's latency at resolving issues, and the simple number of them, has tarnished the company's image. Microsoft has a policy of releasing patches to its software on the second Tuesday of every month via Microsoft Update, with no more than 10 major changes to its products at those times. Thus, exploits that are discovered around mid-month are not corrected for at least four weeks, and in many cases eight or twelve weeks can go by before a patch is released for a security issue. Microsoft Corporation has promised that its new Windows Vista operating system will be more secure than previous offerings such as Windows XP, however the ten patches a month policy has not been changed. The History Of Microsoft Microsoft was formed by a Harvard College Dropout called Bill Gates. Bill Gates was born William Henry Gates III on October 28, 1955. He was born to a family that was successful in business, living a comfortable upper middle class life in Seattle, Washington. Early in his elementary school days, Bill Gates quickly shot to the head of the class, consistently outscoring his peers in most subjects, but especially math and science. His parents

soon enrolled him in Lakeside Prep School, where the atmosphere was intellectual enough to stimulate the young Gates. This move to Lakeside would prove historic, for it was here, in the spring of 1968, that he was introduced to computers. At that time, computers were still too large and expensive for the school to purchase one of its own. Over the next ten months or so, the school struck agreements with various corporations who allowed the students to use their computers. Bill Gates, his buddy Paul Allen and a handful of others quickly took to computing. In fact, they began to skip classes, opting instead to stay in the computer room and write programs, read computer books and find out exactly how these machines worked. They soon learned to hack the system, and altered and crashed valuable files until they were banned from the computer. Soon, however, Bill and his friends were actually hired by the computer company to find bugs and explore weaknesses in the system, which kept causing the computers to crash. Instead of paying the boys for their time, they were granted something even better--unlimited computer time. Gates has been quoted as saying that that was the time when he got into computers fulltime. "I mean, then I became hardcore. It was day and night," he said. The boys used their time eating, drinking and breathing computers. They studied manuals, explored the system, and hounded the employees with questions until they had formed a base of knowledge that would eventually lead to the formation of Microsoft. The computer company that was hiring the group went out of business in 1970, and the boys had to find alternate sources for computer time. They were soon hired by Information Sciences Inc. to write a program for payroll. This time they actually earned money as well as enjoying the unlimited computer time. It was during this time that the group gained notoriety for their skill in computer programming. They were hired or contracted by various organizations to find bugs and fix them. Each job helped Gates and his friends learn their skill and delve ever deeper into the world of programming. In the fall of 1973, Gates left for Harvard University. He enrolled as a prelaw student, but spent most of his time in the campus computer center, programming away. He stayed in touch with Paul Allen and they continued to talk about future projects and the possibility of one day having their very own business. Allen even moved to Boston to be closer to Gates, so they could continue working on projects. Allen continually urged Gates to quit school and work with him full-time, and Gates was unsure of what he wanted to do. This was soon to change. One year later, Paul Allen saw the first microcomputer on the cover of a magazine. He bought the magazine and went immediately to show it to Gates. They realized the time was right. The home PC business was about to explode and someone would need to provide software for the machines. By stretching the truth somewhat, Gates arranged for a meeting with the Altair manufacturers. He had called them to let them know he had a program written for them. After the appointment was made, Gates and Allen stayed up for nights, feverishly writing the program he had promised. It worked perfectly at the meeting, and everyone was impressed. They sold the program, and saw that this was something they could do for real. Within a year, Gates had dropped out of Harvard and Microsoft was formed.

The company went through some rough first years, but eventually were able to license MS-DOS to IBM. The IBM PC took the public by storm, and its success signaled the success of Microsoft. Microsoft continued writing software, for businesses as well as the consumer market. In 1986, the company went public, and Gates became a 31-year old billionaire. The next year, the first version of Windows was introduced, and by 1993 a million copies per month were being sold. In 1995, Gates knew that the Internet was the next area of focus, and the course of Microsoft shifted dramatically. The popular Internet Explorer browser soon became a bestseller. Today, Microsoft software is everywhere. Head office photo

Vision statement Create experiences that combine the magic of software with the power of Internet services across a world of devices."
Mission statement At Microsoft, we work to help people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential. This is our mission. Everything we do reflects this mission and the values that make it possible. Our Values As a company, and as individuals, we value: Achievement Integrity and honesty. Passion for customers, for our partners, and for technology. Openness and respectfulness,Taking on big challenges and seeing them through. Constructive self-criticism, self-improvement, and personal excellence. Accountability to customers, shareholders, partners, and employees for commitments, results, and quality

At lot of things have changed in the world of games since what are now the current-gen consoles were released many moons ago, but its not just more pixels and particles being thrown around under the hood. Between online multiplayer and co-op, in-game voice chat, and social networking, gaming has become more about the community that ever before. Today, Microsoft have released figures for one of the more competitive aspects of this new gaming experience: achievements. Since the Xbox 360s release in late 2005, 6.3 billion achievements have been unlocked, say Microsoft. These achievements add up to a current incredible total of 176,802,201,383 Gamerscore points across all Xbox Live-connected users. The average Gamerscore is apparently 11,286, which makes my total of 240 really quite embarassing. In addition, Microsoft have released some more general figures for Xbox Live, revealing that 20 million people sign in to the service every day, and more than four billion hours of online play have been logged since Live launched on the original Xbox in 2002.
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