Microsoft Corporation is a very big company which makes computer software and videogames all over the world. Bill Gates and Paul Allen started the company in 1975. Microsoft makes Windows, Microsoft Office (including Microsoft Word), Internet Explorer, MSN, and the Xbox 360. These are just the most popular products - they make a lot of other ones too.
Most Microsoft programs cannot be downloaded for free - people have to buy them in a shop or online. Some products (like the operating system, Windows) are already installed when people buy a new computer.
Windows is Microsoft's best-known product. It is an operating system, which means that it is the basic software that makes people's computers work and lets other programs work. Most computers have some kind of Windows, like Windows XP or Windows Vista.
Microsoft Office is also very popular, and it lets people write documents on their computer with Microsoft Word, make charts and graphs with Microsoft Excel, make presentations with Microsoft PowerPoint, and other things.
Internet Explorer lets people look at things on the Internet. Microsoft makes other programs on the Internet. A lot of it is called "Windows Live"-"service", like Windows Live Hotmail.
The Xbox and the new Xbox 360 are videogame "consoles", which means they let people play videogames on their TV. Microsoft is one of three big companies that make consoles. The other two are Nintendo and Sony. Xbox Live lets people play online against other people anywhere in the world.
Microsoft also makes many PC games.

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