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Facts about Microsoft Corp

The following are some key facts about Microsoft...

india Updated: Feb 02, 2008 10:27 IST

Microsoft Corp offered to buy Yahoo Inc, the popular Web portal, for $44.6 billion in cash and stock, seeking to join forces against Google Inc in what would be the biggest Internet deal since the Time Warner-AOL merger.

Microsoft offered to buy Yahoo for $31 per share, a 62 percent premium over Yahoo's previous closing stock price.

The following are some key facts about Microsoft:

* 1968: Eighth-grader William "Bill" Gates first introduced to computers and programming languages.

* Gates and schoolmate, Paul Allen, were inspired by an article in Popular Electronics magazine about the first personal computer, the Altair 8800, to develop a version of the

Basic programming language for the PC.

* 1973: Gates goes to Harvard University, where he lived down the hall from Steve Ballmer, now Microsoft's chief executive officer.

* 1975: 19-year-old Gates drops out of Harvard and co-founds Microsoft with Allen.

* 1980: International Business Machines Corp chooses Microsoft to write the operating system for the IBM personal computer, introduced in 1981.

* 1985: Microsoft launches Windows 1.0, the first version of the popular operating system.

* 1986: Microsoft went public on March 13 at $21 per share.

* 1986: Microsoft moves to corporate campus in Redmond, Washington.

* 1989: Microsoft introduces the earliest version of its Office software.

* Gates founds stock photography house Corbis, which he controls.

* 1994: Gates married Melinda French.

* 1997: Microsoft acquires Hotmail, a free Web-based e-mail service co-founded by Sabeer Bhatia.

* 2000: Gates and wife found the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a charitable organization.

* 2001: Microsoft enters the gaming market in November with the North American release of its gaming console the Xbox and competes with Nintendo Co Ltd's Wii and Sony Corp's PlayStation.

* 2002: Microsoft and partners launch the tablet PC.

* 2003: The company starts paying dividends in January, with its first dividend at 8 cents per share.

* 2004: Microsoft said it plans to return up to $75 billion to shareholders in dividends and stock buybacks.

* 2006: Gates says will transition out of a day-to-day role in the company in July 2008.

* 2006: Microsoft launches Zune portable music player in November -- the first Microsoft-designed device in a market dominated by Apple Inc's iPod.

* 2007: Launches Windows Vista, the latest version of its operating system in January.

* 2007: Acquires aQuantive for $6 billion in May at a time when the online advertising industry was rapidly consolidating and was its biggest acquisition till the Yahoo bid.

* 2007: Latest data as of June says Microsoft employs 78,565 people worldwide, of which more than half are from the United States. About 75 percent of U.S. staff are men.

* 2007: Harvard dropout Gates gets honorary law degree from the university in June.

* 2008: Microsoft bids $44 billion for Yahoo.

(Sources: Microsoft Web site; MSN Encarta; Reuters stories)