While Gates enrolled at Harvard, Allen pursued a degree in computer science at Washington State University, though he later dropped out of school to work at Honeywell.

which inspired Allen to suggest that they could program a BASIC interpreter for the device.

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After a call from Gates claiming to have a working interpreter, MITS requested a demonstration.

Since they didn't yet have one, Allen worked on a simulator for the Altair while Gates developed the interpreter.

Since the 1990s, it has increasingly diversified from the operating system market and has made a number of corporate acquisitions—their largest being the acquisition of Linked In for $26.2 billion in December 2016,, Microsoft is market-dominant in the IBM PC-compatible operating system market and the office software suite market, although it has lost the majority of the overall operating system market to Android.

The company also produces a wide range of other consumer and enterprise software for desktops and servers, including Internet search (with Bing), the digital services market (through MSN), mixed reality (Holo Lens), cloud computing (Azure) and software development (Visual Studio).Since Satya Nadella took over as CEO in 2014, the company has scaled back on hardware and has instead focused on cloud computing, a move that helped the company's shares reach its highest value since December 1999.In 1972 they founded their first company, named Traf-O-Data, which sold a rudimentary computer to track and analyze automobile traffic data.For this deal, Microsoft purchased a CP/M clone called 86-DOS from Seattle Computer Products, which it branded as MS-DOS, though IBM rebranded it to PC DOS.Following the release of the IBM PC in August 1981, Microsoft retained ownership of MS-DOS.Steve Ballmer replaced Gates as CEO in 2000, and later envisioned a "devices and services" strategy.