Microsoft is a major vendor of computer software and has a large portfolio of software products. Best known for the Windows family of operating systems and the Office suite of desktop software products, Microsoft also produces many I.T. infrastructure systems such as Exchange, SQL Server or Sharepoint, the .Net 'managed' software platform and the Visual Studio suite of software development tooling.

Founded in 1975 to produce the eponymous Microsoft BASIC interpreter, the company grew on the sales of operating system offerings for the IBM Personal Computer and its clones. Additional products such as personal productivity softwre (Word, Excel) and server systems completed an integrated product offering for information technology customers, particular in the small-to-medium enterprise (SME) sector.

From the latter part of the 1990s commodity server hardware grew substantially in power, and Microsoft's server-side products such as SQL Server gained rapidly in market penetration. Microsoft is now a major vendor of enterprise software and SQL Server has the second highest market share by revenue of any database management system.

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