PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 April, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 April, 2000, 12:00am

Microsoft was founded 25 years ago by Bill Gates and Paul Allen.

It became the world's undisputed leader in software technology thanks to the near-universal use of its Windows operating system.

The company tied up with IBM, which ran personal computers using MS-DOS - a system Microsoft acquired for a mere US$50,000 (HK$338,450).

The success of IBM PCs and the clones they spawned firmly set MS-DOS as the industry standard. It soon ran 80 per cent of all PCs in use worldwide.

Microsoft cemented its domination with Windows 95, which enabled users to start a computer program by the click of a mouse on a screen icon.

Bill Gates had been able to gather around him able and fiercely dedicated advisers. His employees - dubbed 'Microserfs' by company critics - would work 80 hours a week without complaint and even accepted salary cuts when deemed necessary.

The company today employs 35,000 people in 60 countries and as of Monday had a stock market capitalisation of some US$473 billion.