IBM TIE-UP SPEARHEADED SUCCESS
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.