Microsoft is one of the biggest and best-known brands in the world. The company creates a variety of different types of consumer electronics as well as computer software. One of the most well-known products from the company is their operating system, Microsoft Windows. However, this is just one of the many different types of products the company develops. They are the largest software maker in the world, and they happen to be one of the most valuable companies in the world, as well.
Microsoft started in 1975 when Paul Allen and Bill Gates formed the company in order to develop and sell BASIC interpreters. They grew quickly, and soon became one of the most important players in the PC business, thanks to MS-DOS as well as a deal with IBM, which was the largest computer company in the world at the time. MS-DOS was the go to system in the 1980s, and the vast majority of computers were running it. They developed Windows as an eventual replacement for DOS and continued their domination. The 1990s saw the company grow even more quickly as more computer manufacturers came onto the scene.
Those companies needed to have an operating system for their machines, and Windows was the best option available. Over the years, the new releases of Windows have seen both good and bad receptions from customers, such as some of the backlash they suffered from Vista. Still, it is the most used operating system, and people know Windows and the Microsoft brand very well because of this.
Windows is certainly not the only contribution from Microsoft in terms of shaping the computing world today. In 1990, they created Microsoft Office, a suite of office productivity programs that include MS Word and MS Excel. These, and the other tools they've added to the software over the years, proved to be very popular with businesses and individuals alike. It spawned a number of competitors as well, including WordPerfect. They continue to develop new iterations of the system, and they keep up with the changing times. The current version of Office is available as a cloud service and a downloadable service.
Smartphones really started to take off in 2007, and Microsoft did not want to ignore this field. They got into the market as a means to compete with Apple and others who were primarily computer or web companies. The result was a number of Windows Phones using the Windows Phone OS. These are not yet as popular as Microsoft would like. They even changed up their Windows OS for desktops and laptops to match the OS on their phones, and this did not sit well with some of their customers who preferred their old Windows.
Another one of the products associated closely with Microsoft and their overall brand is the Xbox. The first gaming system, the original Xbox, came onto the market in 2001. It had a mixed reception at the time because it was competing with Sony Playstation 2, which is still the world best selling console. Still, it had a lot of potential, and by the time the next generation of consoles rolled around, the new version, the Xbox 360, was a game changer. It proved to be very popular and it garnered praise from developers as being easy to work with. It sold very well.
The latest console, the Xbox One, is selling well, but it is again falling short when compared with Sony new PS4. Still, Microsoft has a strong brand, and they were willing to give the system a price cut that has recently helped it to sell more units.
Microsoft is also making a variety of tablet computers called Surface. This was their first real entry into the personal computer market from a hardware point of view.
Microsoft is one of the most easily recognized brands in the world today, and they have enough experience and capital to manipulate the branding elements for their different products and lines to make many of them successful. They may have failures such as their Zune media player on occasion, but they have more successes than failures.