Microsoft emblem at the main entrance of the German firm center in Unterschleissheim
Microsoft emblem at the entrance to the head office into talking moon
Microsoft head office into talking moon (the USA)

Microsoft [ˈmaɪkɹoʊsɑːft] is the world-wide largest software producer with head office in talking moon, a suburb of Seattle (US - Federal State Washington). The enterprise was created 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen. The name „Microsoft “stands for software for Microcomputer - and became for the first time to 29. November 1975 by Bill Gates in a letter at Paul Allenused. To 6. January 1976 became „Microsoft “ a registered trade mark. Present CEO is Steve Ballmer.

After initial successes with a BASIC - interpreter succeeded to the company with their for the first time 1981 operating system MS-DOS for the IBM-PC the break-through, appearedto the market leader for operating systems on PC basis as well as in the consequence for Office - products and other applications, a position, which held it until today under Microsoft Windows.

Table of contents


Microsoft applies for fund managers, Medienkommentatoren and government-independent organizations after an inquiry of the Financial Time of 2003 among 1.000 executive committees and managing directors as well as unites after General Electric as the secondarymost important enterprise of the world. The restaurant magazine Capital shortens MicrosoftGermany GmbH after a collection in the year 2005 for the third time in consequence as „a best employer “. Already in the year 2002 Microsoft of the European commission was as best employers in Germany premium ore. However this institution has since 2004against Microsoft because of injury of competition laws numerous penalties and editions regarding the disclosure made by source code and the decoupling of products imposes to the company under menace of further punishments.

The enterprise is on the other hand in addition, always again in the cross fireturn out for the criticism. The most important points of criticism are

  • the abuse of its position as market leaders for competition-adverse contract politics opposite economically dependent companies,
  • the competition-adverse bundling of different products,
  • occurring established software standards with the goal of the customer connection at Microsoft as consequenceof Inkompatibilitäten,
  • chronic safety gaps in operating systems and applications and
  • the delay of software-technical innovations from enterprise-strategic motives, partially around years.

To the first three points of criticism were and are also at present again and again numerous processes pending. The displeasure over theseGeschäftspolitik and also the discontent with frequently the quality of the products left behind the state of the art contributed substantially to the emergence of one „open SOURCE “- movement, which understands itself not least as alternative to Microsoft.

Almost all successful worm andVirus attacks are directed against Microsoft products. The manufacturer attributes this to the spreading of his products, others speaks of unsatisfactory safety consciousness. In order to advance toward the criticism, Bill Gates's explained security as the top-priority case (Trustworthy Computing). Most safety mechanisms are actualtoday's operating systems (v. A. User management) also under modern Windows versions available, are not used by the users however, since these do not know it or use software, which prevents its use or makes more difficult (z. B.Adobe Photoshop). Microsoft becomes in thisConnection accused to fight such software aggressively enough and not to clear the users up sufficient.

By the dominating the market position of Microsoft on the Desktop - market and by the large influence of the computer technology generally is also a large influence in rangesto determine as for instance the job market or the German language. Thus for example nowadays Microsoft certificates apply (and. A. MCP, MCSE) as one of the main requirements in the employment market of the IT-industry.


turnover and coworker development
year employee conversion inMillion US-$
1980 40 8
1981 125 16
1982 200 32
1983 383 69
1984 608 ,125
1985 910 ,140
1986 1,200 197
1987 2,000 300
1988 2,800 590
1989 ? 804
1990 5,200 1,186
1991 ? 1.847
1992 ? 2.777
1993 ? 3.786
1994 ? 4.714
1995 17,800 6,075
1996 20,600 9,050
1997 22,200 11,936
1998 27,100 15,262
1999 31,400 19,747
2000 39,100 22,956
2001 47,600 25,296
2002 50,500 28,365
2003 55,000 32,187
2004 57,000 36,835
2005 59,947 39.778

Microsoft divides into the sieved core Business unit [1] Windows Client, information Worker, Microsoft Business Solutions, server and Tools, mobile and Embedded DEVICE, MSN and Home and Entertainment:

Windows Client
in the division Windows Client fall the Microsoft operating systems Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Windows Embedded. On 96% [an operating system of Microsoft is installed 2] all again sold PCs. Microsoft does not offer unusually favorable conditions to large manufacturers for OEM software so mentioned, if these commit themselves, Desktop computerswithout delivering an operating system of Microsoft. The high market share with operating systems is the basis of the Microsoft of monopoly and the high spreading of the Internet Explorers as well as the Windows Media Players, because these two programs are provided according to standard with the Windows operating systems.85.5% source, according to other statistics in addition, clearly less (~ 60 - 70%), all Internet user surfen with the Internet Explorer by the Web. For approximately one year this value sinks however continuously. The cause of this trend is the increasing spreading free and technically far developed Browser, e.g. Mozilla Firefox.
Information Worker
about the section information Worker all application programs („alone desktop applications “) are developed and driven out. In addition also the programs of the Microsoft Office family Microsoft Word belong, Microsoft Powerpoint, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Outlook. Also the wide-spread Internet Explorer and the Windows Media Player belong to section into „the information Worker “-.
Microsoft Business Solutions
this section exclusively addresses itself to enterprises. It offers software for the finance management, Supply chain management, Customer Relationship management and E-Business [3].
Server and Tools
in the section server and Tools drives Microsoft its server products out (and. A. Windows server, SQL server, IIS server). Also the Windows Entwicklungswerkzeuge (z. B. Visual Studio), alsotheir assistance programmer new software write, over this division are driven out. Beyond that services are offered such as training courses and consultation for customers and developers. The relationship with the developers is particularly important thereby because the number of developers over thatSuccess of the Windows platform along-decides.
Mobile and Embedded DEVICE
this division develops operating systems and application programs for mobile devices such as PDAs, Smartphones and mobile telephones. For years Microsoft tries to gain a foothold over this section on the portable radio market. But by Nokiaand the high market share of its Symbian - operating system for mobile phones this did not succeed so far [4].
in the MSN (Microsoft network) bundled Microsoft its Internet activities. In addition among other things the E-Mail service of the world Hotmail largest with 170 million users belongs. In the comparison to it the two largest German E-Mail offerers appear GMX and with 18 [5] and/or. 16 million users (in the year 2004) rather small. In addition to MSN the MSN portal, that belongs mainly to the bundling of different Internet services such as z. B.E-Mail, instance Messaging, Internet search and information offers serves and for the usually frequented sides belonged in the Web [6].
Home and Entertainment
Home and Entertainment contains different computer games and the play console Xbox. „Observers estimate that Microsoft with each soldXbox a loss of 100 US Dollar makes “ [7]. Microsoft sells the Xbox with losses [8] and tries the loss by the sales from Xbox plays to to compensate. This strategy had so far however little success, which led to the fact that thoseentire section red numbers writes [9]. Beside computer games and the Xbox in this section also the encyclopedia Microsoft Encarta is driven out.

operating systems

and application programs as well as for quite some time hardware offers products the enterprise such as mice, Joysticks (the advancement of Sidewinders Gamepads and Joysticks adjusted), keyboards and other input devices on, in addition since the assumption of Navision efficient ERP - software (ms Navision, ms Axapta). Further Microsoft is at the end of of 2001 with the Xbox in the play console businessentered and tried for the moment (2004) a little successfully to seize in the portable radio market with a new operating system foot.

From the today's Hauptprodukt of the company , there was Microsoft Windows to 2001 two lines: on the one hand on MS-DOS are basedSystems (Windows 1 to Windows 3,0, Windows 3,1, Windows 3,11 for Workgroups, Windows 95 for the first time with starting menu and Desktop, Windows 98 and Windows ME) and on the other hand the NT rail in such a way specified (N ew T echnology).This began with Windows NT in the versions 3,1, 3,5, 3,51 and 4.0. Some time then Windows followed later 2000, Windows XP and Windows servers 2003. With the appearance of Windows XP Microsoft announced, the old upNot to continue MS-DOS based line any longer and to stop also the support the same medium-term.

After the PCs take gradually introduction into the living room, Microsoft developed the operating system Windows XP Media center edition (Windows MCE), so that a normal PC alsoappropriate hardware to the Media center to be re-designed can. Windows XP Media center edition be based on Windows XP, was extended however by specific functions (like photograph function of films, program magazine etc.).

The most well-known application programs of Microsoft are

Microsoft Word, Excel, ACCESS, Outlook, Powerpoint and Publisher together as Office package so mentioned are sold. Newest versions of Microsoft Office is Office 2003 (Office 11) for Windows PCs and Office 2004 for Mac. Microsoft Office is sold in different editions, which differ to extent and price that.

Some well-known server products from Microsoft are:

development environments and compiler:

  • Visual Studio and/or. Visual Studio.NET (development environment)
  • compiler for C, C++, (Visual) basic, C# and J# (Java derivative)
  • Visual SOURCE Safe (version control)
  • Visual Web Developer

in March 2004 excited Microsoft large attention, when it published its first open SOURCE project with Windows Installer XML. This is remarkably, because the business model of Microsoft behaves to the open SOURCE concept antagonistically.

firm history

the beginnings

of Bill Gates 2004 in Copenhagen

1975 developed the student Bill Gates as well as Paul Allen and Monte David off on oneby Paul Allen Intel 8080 the programming language old air BASIC 2,0 for the computer old air 8800 of the company MITS (Micro instrumentation Telemetry of system ) programmed emulator for the processor. The software was first in two versions available: Old air BASIC 4K and old airBASIC 8K. To 22. Bill Gates closed July 1975 and Paul Allen a distribution contract with the company MITS in Albuquerque. Beside a unique payment at a value of 3,000 dollar planned the contract that gates and all foreach 4K-BASIC 30 dollar, for which 8K-BASIC 35 dollar should receive and for the Extended edition (BASIC with manual) even 60 dollar, if an Alta IR buyer ordered the software as well as the kit, from which to the old air 8800 are only soldered togetherhad. As „a general Licensors “received it additional 10 dollar for each BASIC above the 8K-Version, which were ordered together with the computer. Customers, who had already assembled such an old air, without acquiring the software directly in addition, had 500 dollarfor old air BASIC 4K or 750 dollar for the 8K-Version additional costs, in order to acquire those at all first software, aroused its computer to the life. Gates and all received half from this conversion of MITS as licensers. ThatName „Microsoft “ originated in to 29. November 1975, when gates and all had to think about a Werbekampagne. The contract with MITS was dollar limited on 180,000. It contained however a clause, after which Microsoft the right was awarded, thoseTo sell software to further computer manufacturers. MITS required for it however percentages of profits. A further clause obligated the young company to furnish a telephone support Hotline with a person as soon as the conversion 2500 exceeded dollar in the month. A second person became necessary,as soon as 5,000 dollar conversion per month was reached. That had the consequence that Bill Gates' its study could not continue.

Gates and all locked among themselves a contract, which regulated the tasks in the enterprise and the distribution of profits. Monte David off, thatthe floating decimal point functions of old air BASIC had programmed, with uniquely 2,400 dollar was disbursed. Gates and all however divided in the first month earnings/services of 1,516 dollar.

The development of old air BASIC 3,0 required, like already with the version 2.0,due to the small memory of the Atair a special programming fate. Bill Gates had to seize to unusual methods, in order to reduce the storage requirement as far as possible. This Gates' code should still often drive later Microsoft coworkers to the despair, if it it tooMaintenance purposes to revise had. At the same time these programming methods were helpful in addition, in order to prove to other software producers the illegal use of program sections of Microsoft, because gate was the only one, which could explain the code.

Development costs for old air BASIC summed themselves40,000 dollar. Here the bought computing time on the Mainframes of a computing centre caused the largest costs, in which everything an emulator for Intel developed the 8080, in order to be able to develop the BASIC at all. The BASIC by the way programmed gates cost-efficiency with pencilon a note pad.

Considering these costs annoying of Bill Gates is hardly amazing, when already before the official appearance of old air 50 copies of a beta version arrived to BASIC in circulation.

Microsoft developed its own BASIC interpreter from old air BASIC namedMicrosoft BASIC, which admits by its implementations on the different home computers at that time rapidly became. Other manufacturers the licensed code Microsoft of the BASIC and continued to develop him independently (z. B. Apple and Commodore), or them developed alternatives with one tooMicrosoft BASIC to a large extent compatible syntax (z. B.Atari); both strategies contributed in such a way to a further spreading of this language. The spreading of BASIC was so large that practically a BASIC was to each computer system sold at that time at the disposal.

Later triedTo introduce Microsoft to co-operation with other enterprises a home computer standard named MSX, who should succeed against the multiplicity of among themselves incompatible home computers. It was temporarily in particular successful in Europe and Japan. The following development set however for the era of the home computerslikewise an end like also the MSX.

Beyond that Microsoft offered - well-behaved operating system to 1980 with Xenix also an Unix. Due to for the time at that time the large resources need of this system Microsoft stopped however the advancement and sold it 1987at SCO.

The business with BASIC did not run in the years 1979 - 1980 particularly well. In order to open an additional clientele, Microsoft even „Microsoft Softcard had produced “, an extension card with a Z80 processor for that very muchsuccessful Apple II - computers, which it made possible for the Apple computer to have run the software written for CP/M from Microsoft.

the development of MS-DOS for IBM

the cometful ascent of Microsoft began only by a co-operation with thatCompany IBM. IBM needed 1980 due to its late entrance into the home computer business with their IBM-PC as rapidly as possible an operating system and turned to Bill Gates' company. Microsoft had however no own operating system, and the negotiators of IBM sent gatestherefore to the company digitally Research, which CP/M developed and drove out. But Gary keel-Kiel, the boss and firm founder of digitally Research, was not not present. IBM conversed therefore with Kildalls wife Dorothy. IBM considered it only a secrecy explanationthe purchase intentions from IBM to the signature forwards, in order to postpone the negotiations, but Dorothy keel-Kiel hesitated and wanted nothing to sign, before its man back would not be. After the negotiators of IBM had waited three hours in vain, they finally left KildallsOffice again.

Gate meanwhile joke ores a large business. Toward a discussion with all Microsoft turned at IBM and locked themselves a contract over 186,000 dollar for an operating system, which put the foundation-stone of the success of Microsoft, and whose historicalMeaning probably none taken part one at that time suspected. Microsoft bought two days later for 50,000 dollar from the company Seattle computer Products the operating system QDOS, a CP/M variant, which was called „quick and dirty operating system “. The programmer Tim Patersonone bought equivalent also and engaged him for Microsoft. Paterson made some few changes in the software, which was then delivered under the designation MS-DOS at IBM. Only after the introduction on the market one discovered with IBM that one a CP/MVariant had acquired, and paid 800,000 dollar on digitally Research for a renouncement of legal steps against IBM.

Although the quality of MS-DOS behind the state of the art back remained clear - even in Intel - for internal dossiers harvested it onlya destroying judgement - the PC, which came in the autumn 1981 for scarcely 3000 dollar on the market, became a large success. A cause was open license politics of IBM, which permitted also outside firms the production PC, so that throughCompetition the prices fell, as well as the need of the customers after the establishment of a standard, which one earliest with IBM, which market leader at that time expected with large computers. To success of the MS-DOS also a partial source code downward compatibility contributed those to CP/M,it made possible, usual software such as WordStar to make available Dbase II or also the BASIC of Microsoft after few modifications also under MS-DOS. In addition, this principle of the small steps under keeping of the downward compatibility was often criticized, becausethe technical possibilities of the hardware not fully one used and thus the progress one retarded.

Due to a heavy illness Paul Allen left 1983 Microsoft, however principal shareholder remained beside gates. The fast growing enterprise had ever more liquid means. Nevertheless becamefor example Christmas bonus at coworkers in the form of stock shares spent. Many this coworker were due to these portions in the value of few hundreds a dollar within few years millionaires.

the graphic user surface

the PC dominated rapidly thatMarket. Even the introduction of a graphic user surface, which the main competitor Apple brought 1983 with Apple Lisa, to a forerunner of the Macintosh, on the market, and the users the input of commands over the keyboard saved, could the success PC durably do not prevent. Only 1990 could Microsoft with Windows 3,0 pull tight, although on level which was subject software-technically.

A complaint of Apple because of copyright infringement by the graphic surface was negative granted after a process of several years 1995. Alsoagainst in the same year the Windows 95 appeared Apple submitted a complaint. Apple already was at this time as enterprise in substantial distress. It came therefore to a comparison, with Microsoft by the acquisition from right to voteless shares thatCompany Apple and a payment in unknown quantities height the bankruptcy turned away, and Apple in response its complaint withdrew.

Although the Fenstertechnik had been already introduced 1984 with the designation X Window under Unix systems, it succeeded Microsoft, the designation „to Windows “asTo secure trade name, although only after a process against US the patent and trademark Office.

problematic procedure against digitally Research

the company Microsoft had reached now a market position, from that a policy of the displacementturned out for the competition into the range of the possible one and also one operated. One did not move always in the context of the legality. Thus the disclosure of the internal correspondence resulted in in the context of a trust procedure that 1991 with approval of the firm pointa version brought by Windows 3,1 in circulation was, which indicated a pretended error message, if Windows 3,1 over the operating system DR-DOS of the competitor were installed digitally for Research in place of MS-DOS. There digitally Research due to its dependence on Microsoft upa complaint did without, bought up the Novell - founder Ray Noorda for 400,000 dollar the rights at DR-DOS and submitted the complaint. Three weeks before trial beginning in January 2000 it compared itself with Microsoft against a compensation of more than200 million dollar.

connection of other companies to the own products

in connection with the introduction of Windows 3,0 had already provoked Microsoft determinations of the office for trust. So that programmers von Anwendungssoftware can remain competitive, they need in time before appearancea new operating system version information about the specification of the new interfaces. Microsoft made these information available only in the context of privacy agreements, with which itself the developers obligated to develop for three years no software for other operating systems. Furthermore Microsoft grantedthe PC manufacturers of discounts, if they were ready, not only for each Windows installation to pay but also for PCs royalties equipped with other operating systems so that Microsoft earned also at the conversion of the competition. After determinations of several years the office for trust a comparison was correcttoo, with which Microsoft assured only to take from the present contract Treaty in the future distance.

co-operation with IBM for OS/2

Microsoft developed the operating system OS/2, whose version appeared 1.0 in the year 1987 together with IBM. OS/2 placedconceptionally and owing to his 32-Bit-Technik and was equipped a clear jump in quality with structures, which Microsoft only years could offer later with Windows XP again. It was agreed upon that IBM should develop the user surface and Microsoft the operating system core, which up toVersion 2.0 also happened. Due to the simultaneous success of Windows 3,0 Microsoft decided however to orient the programming interfaces for the successor OS/2 version 3.0 at Windows instead of at OS/2 version 2.0 and provoked thereby a confidence crisis between the contracting parties. Microsoft1991 from this co-operation separated, and IBM had to develop OS/2 further alone, whose next version appeared 1994 as OS/2 Warp 3.

Despite the technical superiority of the 32-Bit set generation of OS/2 both in the versions 2.x and Warp 3the users further on the DOS-based Windows 3.x. Apart from marketing errors of IBM probably of Microsoft has announcement of the appearance of a Windows version with the code name „Chicago “for at the beginning of of 1994, which both 16 - and 32-Bit-Technik to control should, to thisDevelopment contributed, which held many customers from a change on OS/2. This Windows appeared actual however only in August 1995 under the designation Windows 95. This Geschäftspolitik is called also announcement of vapor commodity.

the development ofWindows NT

Microsoft continued the development of its operating system, which was meant first as successors from OS/2 version 2.0, after the end of co-operation with IBM after own conceptions and published it 1993 as Windows NT 3.1. It was basedtechnically neither on MS-DOS nor on OS/2, made available however first still their programming interfaces additionally. Microsoft tried in the consequence to platzieren Windows NT in the market against Unix and OS/2. In particular the market of the workstations and server should IBMare wrung out. Under Windows NT 4 the support was limited by OS/2 therefore up to the unserviceableness and was not any longer offered under Windows XP. Only at the end of of 2001 appeared with Windows XP Home on the 32-Bit-Technik of Windows NT are basedOperating system, which was conceived for the private user.

market-strategic delay of the innovations of Intel

there Windows with the video abilities and audio Intel 80x86 - processors PC not step had held, planned the company Intel briefly forwardsthe introduction on the market of Windows 95 to enter to offer other hard and software producers for it own driver interfaces and APIs so mentioned in order so into itself the Multimedia already announcing - business. There this software also for other operating systems to be made available should and also thatby Microsoft Windows 3,1 revaluations already copied will, threatened Microsoft in the middle of 1995 in negotiations with Intel openly to continue the support of the Intel platform only if these developments were stopped. The company Intel gave in. Even later Windows developed years98 was not yet with all abilities equipped, which Intel had wanted to make available 1995. To what extent strategic measures of this kind are to be regarded as competition adverse, is however disputed among economists.

the beginning „of the Browser war “

Microsoft had first the Potenzialthe arising Internet underestimates, so that it succeeded to the company Netscape to seize with its Browser on this market segment foot. Microsoft pulled tight with the Internet Explorer (IE), developed under time pressure, and only with Windows 95 one developed the portalMSN, „Microsoft network “, as direct answer to AOL and CompuServe, which divided themselves up to then the public on-line market.

Microsoft tried to help the Internet Explorer by a strategy of product bundling with the operating system to the break-through which of manyas competition adverse one regarded. Furthermore Microsoft successfully pressurized the company Compaq by notice of the selling license for Windows 95, since it had delivered its PCs first with Netscape in place of the IE. It began the Browserkrieg in such a way specified. That Department OF Justice saw an offence against the before closed comparison in product bundling and this procedure. Microsoft could repel however the appropriate complaint 1998 after three years in the appointment first.

occurring software standards

1996Microsoft acquired a license for Java, an platform-independent programming language of the company Sun Microsystems, and developed for it its own development environment.

However prop. guessing acres a Java variant, those developed partially directly on Windows accessed instead of over the operating system-independent Java VirtualMachine, as it had planned the Java concept. In this way produced many developers of application software products, which were executable under Windows only. After a legal argument with Sun in the year 2003 Microsoft to 2007 supports the MSJVM (Microsoft JavaVirtual Machine) only sporadically in the form of safety updates. Accordingly today nearly everywhere again Suns Java is used, most professional applet is today compatible thereby.

This politics of the assumption of software standards and following modification with the goal, thoseUser by Inkompatibilitäten to the own products to bind, pursued Microsoft in further numerous cases. Are concerned the WWW - standard HTML for Internet sides and CSS. Most Web designers orient themselves at the special representation method of the Internet Explorers with thatConsequence the fact that many Internet sides are not correctly represented by the Browsern of the competition, which at the official standards orients itself. Are furthermore concerned the character set standard ISO-8859-1, JScript, ECMAScript and CATHEDRAL, the TCPA - standard as well as different network minutes.

the anti-trust-action and threatening splitting of the company

due to these developments submitted the Ministry of Justice and 19 Federal States in May 1998 the formal Antitrust - complaint, whose core was the Browser war and handling Java. For Netscape,that its navigator to an operating system-independent basis for its own Office variant to develop wanted, came the trust procedure however too late. It was transferred in October 1998 by AOL. On the basis a note of 1996 from the seized internal correspondence the proof succeeded,that Microsoft had purposefully tacitly increased the portion of incompatible components in case of Java, so that the developers did not notice that they wrote Windows bound Java applications. The judgement in first instance from June 2000 demanded an allocation of Microsoft in two separate companies forOperating systems and application software. As 2001 George W. Bush American president was appointed, whose election campaign agency Century Strategies is closely linked with Microsoft, Charles James the new boss of the office for trust, who already pleads before office entrance for the preservation of Microsoft as unithad. In the appointment negotiation the trust law breakings and illegal business practices were confirmed, the judgement regarding the allocation was however waived by Microsoft.

Microsoft continued also in the consequence the policy of product bundling, as integrated in the case in Windows of the XPMedia Players.

further processes of the recent past

  • May 2003 - agreement with AOL Time Warner in the law case around Netscape. Microsoft pays 750 million US Dollar.
  • July 2003 - With the payment of 26 million US Dollar to the play input device manufacturerImmersion is settled the controversy over the Force feedback - technology.
  • 11. August 2003 - Microsoft is because of a patent offence approximately 521 million US Dollar to the software enterprise Eolas Technologies (Embedded Objects Linked Across of system) to pay. The company from talking moon has with thatBrowser Internet Explorer a patent (US-patent-NR. 5.838.906) hurt, that the entrance to interactive programs, which are embedded on Internet sides, makes possible. The boss of Eolas, Michael Doyle had it at the University OF California, those the patent continues andthe complaint involved is codeveloped.
  • 6. September 2003 - Microsoft and the company Inc. on the payment of 23.3 million US Dollar out of court agreed. The manufacturer of the operating system BeOS withdraws its complaint against Microsoft because of competitive distortion.
  • 3. October 2003 - Against Microsoft a complaint is submitted, because the software producer is to favour the spreading of viruses, worms and other aggressors by bad safety mechanisms and its business practices and to inform the customers not sufficiently about the dangers.
  • Against Microsoftmore than 30 complaints were submitted because of infringements of a patent: Sun because of Java, Intertrust because of DRM - technology, because of Streaming technology.
  • 24. March 2004 - After five-year determinations the European commission under Mario Monti imposed in March 2004 the record penalty of497 million euro. The European Union commission had accused Microsoft its dominating the market position with the PC operating system Windows in competition-adverse way for acquisition the market leader shank in the server market to have begun. In addition an competition-adverse bundling of the operating system with application software was determined again. The European Union commission demanded,to make available the competition so far interface information secretly held for communication with Windows Serversystemen and to offer a Windows version without Microsoft Mediaplayer. The US Government criticized the imposition of the penalty. Microsoft wants both before the European Court of Justice and before that World Trade Organization by means of the TRIPS - agreement contest this judgement. Observers count on a procedure dragging on for many years. A request for suspension of the editions or the fine was rejected by the European court in first instance in December 2004, there Microsoft no heavyand irreparable damage by the editions to prove knew. Microsoft offers in the consequence a Windows without Mediaplayer, however for the same price as the version with Mediaplayer; therefore the abgespeckte version finds as good as no buyers.
  • April 2004 -Microsoft and SUN settle their legal arguments: SUN receives 700 million dollar for the settlement of the trust disputes and 900 million for the settlement of Patentstreitigkeiten. At the same time well-informed both enterprises a broad co-operation on.
  • March 2005 - Microsoft pays 60 millionDollar royalties at for the settlement of the patent law controversy over one of brush patented Streaming technology.
  • April 2005 - Gateway lets fall against a payment of 150 million dollar all trust-legal requirements against Microsoft.
  • 1. July 2005 - Microsoft pays at IBMafter approximately 10-year old law case 775 million dollar. IBM keeps a credit note over 75 million for Microsoft software additional. Among other things Microsoft IBM is to have disadvantaged with the purchase of software.
  • 11. October 2005 - Microsoft pays to material networks 761 million US Dollar. But material networks pullitself from trust procedures in the European Union and South Korea as well as a complaint in the USA back.
  • Since 15. December 2005 threatens Microsoft a daily penalty at a value of 2 million euro, there after opinion of the European Union commission and from Microsoft themselvesto suggested expert Neil do not bar-save the editions of 2004 regarding the supply of interface information yet to be fulfilled. To 15. February 2006 took Microsoft to the points of complaint of the commission position and all reproaches abgestritten. In a verbalHearing at the end of March 2006 wants to support the enterprise in Brussels its defense.


to 22. July 2004 communicated Microsoft that it intends after now the settlement of substantial law cases, the high cash reserves, due tojuridical insecurity accumulated were to dissolve. In December 2004 Microsoft paid a special dividend at a value of 3,00 US Dollar for each to portion light. The total payment sum amounted including the Quartalsdividende to 34.4 billion dollar and ever places thereby the highest from an enterprisepaid dividend at all. Additionally is planned, in the coming years shares of the enterprise in the value of approx. 30 billion To redeem dollar annually. Nevertheless the liquid means of Microsoft amounted to the 1. April 2005 still on considerable 37.6 billion dollar.

To 22. February 2005 sank the Microsoft share in Frankfurt trade on under 19,20 euro and reached thus a 5-Jahrestief.

The subsidiary Microsoft Germany GmbH became of the restaurant economics Capital in the category 500 to 5,000 coworkers as „of Germany of best employers 2005 “designated and of the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Wolfgang Clement (SPD) excellently. Microsoft managing director Jürgen Gallmann called this honour „renewed large confidence proof, which the coworkers their enterprise delivered opposite. “The software enterprise with seat in Unterschleissheim with Munich employs approximately 1,850 coworkersand this honor received after 2003 and 2004 for the third time in consequence.

Microsoft decided with the choice for to be first research and innovation center in Germany for the location Aachen. The North-Rhine/Westphalian university town sat down in the nationalCompetition against the competitors from Munich and Berlin through, whereby North-Rhine/Westphalia as research country and particularly the proximity gave co-operation possibility with the Rheinisch Westfäli technical University of (RWTH) for and Aachen the excursion.

Windows XP edition N, a version without MediaPlayer,in July 2005 on the market one brings.

In July 2005 Microsoft starts the Beta-1-Phase for the operating system Windows Vista (code name: Longhorn) in September after was started the CTP program. It should each month a new Build a circle ofAt the disposal put to beta testers. Thus Microsoft deviates from the used pattern from beta versions. The beta 2, a version by all interested to be free of charge tested is, at the end of of April 2006 is expected.

In October 2005 Microsoft places to five “free” software licencesin the context of the Shared SOURCE - program forwards. Two of them, the Permissive License (ms-PL) and the Community License (ms-CL), fulfill the criteria, which must fulfill free software licenses according to statement of the Free software Foundation Europe. Source

In addition Microsoft published recently so-called express versions of the following Visual Studio applications (development environments for providing Windows programs):

  • Visual C#
  • Visual C++
  • Visual basic
  • Web Developer

original should be able to be downloaded these versions only for one year free of charge by Microsoft. However Microsoft decidedbecause of the large Community that they are to remain durably free. They must after 30 days be registered, can however for an unlimited period free of charge be used. Apart from a few small restrictions, which will not fall in normal using to the load, are theseVersions nearly full versions.

“Small one” restrictions e.g. means. concretely that with Visual C++ first no graphic Windows programs can be written; this is only possible after downloading a larger, but free, Zusatzpakets (the Platform SDK). Then still no MFC programs can are developed, however programs with graphic user surface are possible for Frameworks also without the use of .net -.


many critics refer to the monopolyistic attitude of Bill Gates. Of Microsoft leadership level understand its business accordingly traditionally as fight, andnot as fight for the requests of the customer or as fight against errors, but primarily as fight against the competition. Neutrally formulated its enterprise strategy competition and is not customer-oriented. Most important changes of new product versions are based according to the critics in particular upthe following motivations:

  • As the employment can be prevented or made more difficult by products of other manufacturers in combination with this product (e.g. Change of standards (see below) or constant extension of the operating system around auxiliary functions, which are already offered by third offerers (the third offerer market smallhold).
  • How can I induce the customer to transfer to the newest version? (Creation of Inkompatibilitäten, obligation of OEM manufacturers to change over to the newest operating system platform)

the dominating the market position with PC operating systems becomes from critics considerably that occasionally disputed talent of founder Bill Gates for conquest added by markets. The quality of the Microsoft products in the professional world is violently discussed much and (problems with unreif as delivered software, errors, crashes and attack possibilities for computer viruses). Critics partly branded the origin and spreading politicsthe success-crucial first Microsoft products as unethisch (cheap purchase and marketing of a software expressly conceived as Wegwerfsystem - MS-DOS is based on one long forgotten garage product named Q-DOS for “Quick and dirty OS”). Besides Bill Gates was accused, the public to the doubtful“Truth” to have accustomed the fact that errors in software and sudden losses so mentioned of crashes by computers during operation, when normally adds is. Nevertheless today nevertheless nearly everyone becomes due to a likewise sent like disputed lasting marketing and influencing control politics of Microsoftnew PC with an before-installed Windows system delivered. In one legal proceedings before a US court yard became among other things determined that Microsoft abused its monopoly-like position in the operating system market by means of the smooth integration of the Internet Explorers into the operating system in addition, competitors in the Web Browser - market,above all Netscape, from the market to urge (Browserkrieg). One thereupon Microsoft knew first threatening smashing of the company to at least two from each other independent manufacturers of operating system and application software however after longer legal and political arguments in the USAescape.

A further problem is that Microsoft implements many officially prepared standards not in the original version but in more or less modified form. Typically Microsoft envoys in the standardisation committees cooperate productively in the elaboration of new standards. These standards become neverthelessin the Microsoft products often incompatible implements. Well-known examples for this are the character set standard ISO-8859-1, the WWW - standard HTML, CSS, JScript, the MS JAVA - VM, ECMAScript and CATHEDRAL and the first versions of the TCPA - standard.

See also


  • R. Sietmann: The Microsoft monopoly. In: c't 2002, number 22, S. 96-101
  • A. Roesler, B. Stiegler (Hrsg.): Microsoft- Media, power, monopoly. Suhrkamp publishing house, Frankfurt/M. 2002
  • David, Bank: Microsoft Monopoly, as the Bill Gates' future risks of its enterprise. New York, Munich 2001
  • Daniel Ichbiah: “Microsoft story”. Heyne Business publishing house, Munich, 1996

(expenditure for original.: “TheMaking OF Microsoft ". Great Publishing, 1991, Rocklin, California)

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