Microsoft Corporation, the company which democratized personal computing has touched another milestone this year. It became the third company in the history of the stock market to touch a 1 trillion dollar valuation in the stock markets. Before this the two other tech giants- Apple and Amazon has been crowned by this honor. However, both of these companies are now behind Microsoft in terms of market capitalization which makes it most valuable company in the world. The market capitalization of Microsoft is more than GDP of Netherlands and almost equal to that of Indonesia. If we put the company on GDP table, Microsoft would be 17th largest economy in the world.
The company was registered in 1974 by two American techies named Bill Gates and Paul Allen. In 1980, the company signed contract with International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) to develop operating system for their personal computers. This started the longtime partnership between processors of Intel Corporation (used in IBM personal computers) and Windows operating system. In early 1980s the company launched Microsoft Excel which became huge hit due to its usefulness in office works. In 1990 the company launched Microsoft Office which bundled Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint and this started the era of monopoly of Microsoft in operating system of office software business.
In 2000, Bill Gates handed over the company CEO position to Steve Ballmer, 30th employee of the company and the first business manager hired by Gates. However, Gates himself remained involved in day to day operations of the company even after Ballmer took over the CEO position. Under the leadership of Ballmer, the company expanded rapidly and nearly monopolized the newly minted markets of Asia and Europe. Ballmer handed over the leadership position to SatyaNadella, an Indian American executive in 2014. Nadella took the company in newly expanding businesses of cloud computing and smartphone manufacturing. The investors have shown confidence in the leadership of Nadella and this resulted trillion dollar valuation of company.
The company shares longtime rivalry with Apple. Both the companies were incorporated in early 1980s and expanded the later decades. They competed to dominate the consumer electronics business and rivalry in still intact. Now Apple is run by Tim Cook and Microsoft by SatyaNadella but the rivalry continues like it was in days of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. The contrasting personalities of Gates and Jobs created very much interest among people and widely covered by mass media.
In trillion dollar valuation Apple left Microsoft behind and touched the psychological mark in August last year. However, the company has once again taken over Apple in terms of market valuation and expects to hold the position in near term as there is difference of 1 trillion dollars in valuation. Both of these are among most iconic companies in the world and are credited for bringing revolutionary changes in the lifestyle of human being. It would be interesting to observe the companies in upcoming years as it has been for the last four decades. Their ‘classic rivalry’ is expected to bring many ‘revolutionary’ in human civilization in upcoming years.