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Microsoft Corporation

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(Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA, www.microsoft.com) The most successful and influential software company. Microsoft's software and Intel's hardware pioneered the PC and revolutionized the computer industry. Founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, its Windows operating systems are the de facto standards on the desktop and major contenders in the server arena. Microsoft Office is the most successful application suite in history. The company also has a thriving business in programming languages, which are its roots, as well as in numerous other software categories.

Gates and Allen were two college students when they wrote the first BASIC interpreter for the Intel 8080 microprocessor. MBASIC was licensed to Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems to accompany its Altair 8800 kit. By the end of 1976, more than 10,000 Altairs were sold, and versions were licensed to Radio Shack, Apple and others. Although the company became a leader in microcomputer programming languages, its outstanding success was caused by fitting IBM PCs

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