Aptly known as "the software giant," Microsoft's mission critical business is to have "a personal computer on every desk and in every home." It has practically succeeded in that regard, and in the process, has became a household name. Based in Redmond, Washington, Microsoft was founded in 1975 by two young men, Bill Gates and Paul Allen (one of whom was a college dropout). Now Bill Gates is one of the richest men in the world (as is Paul Allen), due to a number of initiatives. One of his most revolutionary ideas not only made technology a powerful tool for all of us but created a new industry that changed our world: namely, the operating system for the desktop computer.
Historical perspective: In July 2012, Microsoft posted its first quarterly loss in its 26 years as a public company. The company reported a loss of $492 million, largely as a result of taking a $6.2 billion write-down on its failed online ad business, aQuantive.