There are many companies and corporations in the business world nowadays. Nevertheless, only some of them have a great influence on different industries during a lengthy period. Clear example of it is Microsoft Corporation – the cutting-edge producer of computer software. The greatest entrepreneur Bill Gates founded it in 1975. The company has come through different stages of transformations in its historical development as Bill Gates has tried to adjust the production to the actual needs of customers. For instance, to compete with others companies producing software such as Apple (whose computers include a user-friendly interface missing in DOS), Bill Gates has created Windows operating system. Moreover, in 1996, Microsoft introduced Internet Explorer to appeal to growing needs of people to be on the Internet (Shelly, 2012, p. 205).
Firstly, in order to understand why Microsoft Corporation is on the top of the business world, it is necessary to analyze the way of its historical development. It is almost impossible to do without analysis of the life path of its creator, Bill Gates. At the age of 13, Bill became programming computers. At Harvard, he continued his hobby. Together with his friend Steve Ballmer, he wrote a version of programming BASIC. In 1975, Bill left Harvard and together with his friend, Paul Allen, formed Microsoft. Their goal was to develop software for the newly emerged PC market (Gates, 1998, pp. 25-26). Originally, the company was situated in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Nevertheless, when IBM introduced the first PCs in 1980, Microsoft was given a chance to develop an operating system for the computer hardware, and moved to Seattle to perform this task. Gates and Allen made some changes in the operating system, called the Quick and Dirty Operating System. They gave the new name for it – DOS. After making improvements, DOS was licensed to IBM. From that time, Microsoft software became the standard for PCs around the world. However, to deal with competitors, Microsoft Corporation could not stop at this stage of development. That is why, in 1983, Microsoft created Windows operating system, which provided users with such benefits (graphical interface) that were proposed also by the Apple system. This innovation gained success in the society and allowed Microsoft to retain leading position on the PC market. Subsequently, in 1986, the company launched IPO, which provided Microsoft with the necessary money to develop new products, and buy out smaller competitors. In addition, Microsoft Corporation gave away Internet Explorer adjusting to the growing need of the Web. In 1990, Bill Gates introduced Windows 3.0 and provided further competition for Apple software. By the 1990s, the company held a monopoly in the field of operating systems of PCs, as almost 80% of the world’s PCs used its software (Geisst, 2009, p. 179).
Nowadays, Microsoft Corporation can be defined as the leading company in the field of software. It is known worldwide for such applications as MS-Office Suite consisting of Word (word processor), Excel (spreadsheet), Power Point (presentations), Outlook (e-mail and news), and Access (database). Nevertheless, it is not only famous because of its software, but also because of hardware as it offers keyboards, mice, and Xbox gaming console. In addition, in 2013, Microsoft started to expand its power in the sphere of mobile technologies. It acquired the handset division of Nokia (Economides, 2003, p. 3).
Secondly, the benefits of Microsoft Corporation cannot be clearly noticed without regarding concrete case studies. The first one is concentrated on the company SunSmart Energy, which is situated in the U.K. It is “a startup company that designs, sells, and installs solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, which convert solar energy into electricity” (Microsoft, 2012). To attract customers and occupy the leading position on the market, the manager of it, Matt Thorington, has chosen the strategy of close contact with customers. Microsoft has helped SunSmart Energy to bring this idea into life. It provides it with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, the customer and sales management tools, which can be accessed over the Internet. With this program, SunSmart Energy gains such benefits as cost-effective purchasing model, based on a per month and per user basis, increased profitability through tight control of costs, and direct communication and connection with the customers (Microsoft, 2012). Nevertheless, Microsoft is vital not only for the business environment, but also for social one. The second case study reveals the importance of Microsoft for people with special needs. Ignacia Picas is a student at Colegio San Benito, a primary level school in Santiago. She is blind. However, it does not prevent her from successful studying. Windows accessibility programs, integrated in Microsoft Office application and compatible screen reading software play a very great role in it. They give her the opportunity to perform a full range of different activities in the class and be in the same league with other students (Microsoft, 2012). Despite of all benefits that are clearly defined in these case studies, there are some of them, which point out weak sides of Microsoft Corporation. For example, the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department accused Microsoft of violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1998 (Geisst, 2009, p. 180). The initial trial judge admitted the guilt of Microsoft for monopolization, and ordered the company to break into two parts (Geisst, 2009, p. 180).
According to the historical path of its development and concrete examples of case studies, main benefits of Microsoft Corporation can be defined. The biggest one of them is the adjustment to the needs of the time. It means that managers of Microsoft work constantly on the improvement of software and hardware as well as introduction of new models as it gives the opportunity to follow modern tendencies of life. Another benefit is the diversity of products, which appeal to the needs of big companies and every citizen in particular. It becomes clear from both case studies. In the first example, Microsoft Corporation provides the company with the program that allows its constant connection with customers and tight control of the costs. In the second one, it allows people with special needs to feel comfortable in the society. The third advantage is strong leadership. Bill Gates has not only created a strong initial base for the company, but also adjusted it to the needs of the turbulent times. For example, to overcome the competitor, Apple Corporation, Bill Gates has introduced Internet Explorer, Microsoft Windows, and Windows 3.0. Nevertheless, the drawbacks of Microsoft Corporation should not be underestimated. The biggest of them that it is almost complete monopolist in the sphere of computer software. Therefore, it does not give customers opportunity for choice. In addition, the cost of the production is under the tight control of Microsoft Corporation. Consequently, it means that the government does not have many possibilities to regulate it.
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Finally, it becomes clear that the advantages of Microsoft Corporation overcome the disadvantages. According to it, the future of Corporation will be based on them. As the tendency of the near future is predicted to be formulated in such a way – to get more benefits from the combination of ordinary things, the Microsoft will follow this modern tendency. That is why the motto of the future is “to make a pizza to feed a billion of people” (Chen, 2011, p. 81). The goal of the Microsoft is to use its software on every type of computing gadget that exists. Even in 1994, Microsoft started to explore the option of collaborating with cable television companies like Time Warner and TCI in the development of software standards for the delivery of television – based information services (Hamel & Prahalad, 1996). That is why this system of relations will be improved and expanded. It will definitely provide many companies with many benefits. For instance, they will have the opportunity to receive effectiveness from the combination of different resources. From my point of view, it is a good idea to make the clocks with Microsoft Windows software and instant connection to the Internet. Employees will have the opportunity to be controlled on the workplaces and send their offers and requests to the managers immediately.
To sum up, Microsoft Corporation is a large diversified computer software manufacturer with one of the highest evaluations in the world. It has come a long way of development and improvement from the small company, situated in Albuquerque, New Mexico to one of the largest corporations in the world. According to the regarded case studies with SunSmart Energy Company and blind college student, Ignacia Picas, such benefits of Microsoft as the adjustment to the needs of the time, diversity of products, and strong leadership can be defined. Nevertheless, the case about the violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act by Microsoft shows that the biggest disadvantage of this company is monopolization of power. As advantages of the company overcome the drawbacks, the future of it will be based on them. Accordingly, it is possible to predict that Microsoft will expand its power on all possible gadgets, following the modern needs of time.
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