2019 Vault Rankings
At a Glance
Excellent benefits, perks and compensation packages
Good work environment and many opportunities to work on latest technology
Very strong résumé presence
Big company bureaucracy and office politics
Microsoft has a well-earned reputation as a top employer and top firm in its field.
About Microsoft Corporation
Microsoft is one of the world's leading technology companies with products that include the Windows operating system, Office productivity applications, and Azure cloud services. LinkedIn, its business-oriented social network, is used by millions to make connections; some 36 million software developers visit the company's GitHub platform; and, outside the office, Microsoft's Xbox gaming system is second only to Sony's PlayStation. Microsoft's customers range from consumers and small businesses to the world's biggest companies and government agencies. Geographically, Microsoft's revenue is evenly split between the US and the other countries. In the eyes of investors, this adds up to a trillion-dollar market capitalization.
Microsoft operates three business segments: More Personal Computing, Productivity and Business Processes, and Intelligent Cloud.
The More Personal Computing segment generates about 35% of revenue by selling products and services for end users, developers, and IT managers across devices. Included are Windows operating system products; devices, including the Surface tablet, phones, and PC accessories; gaming such as Xbox hardware and Xbox Live; video games; HoloLens virtual reality technology; and third-party video game royalties; and search advertising.
The Productivity and Business Processes segment, about one-third of sales, covers productivity, communication, and information products and services across devices and platforms. Among the products are Office, Office 365 (the cloud version), Exchange, SharePoint, Skype and Skype for Business, and the Dynamics ERP and CRM products. Office products and cloud services by themselves account for about a quarter of total revenue. LinkedIn is part of the segment.
The Intelligent Cloud segment, about 30% of revenue, consists of its public, private, and hybrid server products and cloud services headlined by the Azure cloud computing service. Other products and services include SQL Server, Windows Server, Visual Studio, and System Center.
Microsoft, headquartered in Redmond, Washington, operates in some 210 countries. Sales are split between the US, which accounts for 51% of revenue, and other countries, which provide the balance of sales.
Internationally, Microsoft operates research and development centers in China and India; data centers in Ireland, Singapore, and the Netherlands; and operations and facilities in Ireland, and the UK. The company also has offices in India, China, Canada, Australia, Germany, Japan, and the UK.
Sales and Marketing
Microsoft sells through multiple channels to a wide range of customers as well as conducting sales online and through OEMs, distributors, and resellers, as well as retailers. Maintaining its brand identity and keeping itself in front-of-mind for potential consumer and commercial buyers is a key strategy to ongoing sales, and to that end the company spends about $18 billion annually on sales and marketing activities.
Customers include consumers, small and medium organizations, large global enterprises, public-sector institutions, internet service providers, application developers, and OEMs.
Microsoft's revenue has grown at a 15% clip in each of the past two years, fueled by higher sales in each of its business segments, while net income reached a company high in 2019.
Revenue totaled $125.8 billion in 2019 (ended June), up about $15.5 billion from 2018. The Intelligent Cloud segment's revenue rose 21% year-over-year, driven by server products and cloud services. Growth in Office and LinkedIn products fueled an increase in Productivity and Business Processes sales, while stronger contributions from Surface, Gaming, and Windows boosted revenue in the Personal Computing segment.
Net income jumped to $39.2 billion in 2019, $22.6 billion more than 2018, due to higher revenue and a tax bill that was about $15.4 million less year-over-year.
Microsoft's coffers held $11.3 billion in cash in 2019 compared to $11.9 billion the year before. In 2019, operations generated $52.2 million in cash, while investing activities used $15.7 million and financing activities used $36.8 million.
In the past several years Microsoft has reoriented its products to the cloud, which has driven sales higher. Microsoft's commercial cloud business, which includes Azure, Office 365 Commercial, the commercial portion of LinkedIn, and Dynamics 365 accounted for more than 73% of the company's revenue growth in 2018 and 2019. Revenue from the Azure cloud services business, which ranks second in size only to Amazon.com's Amazon Web Services, jumped 64% in 2019 from 2018.
The company offers customers subscriptions to cloud-based versions of its familiar Office productivity suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), and other popular programs that fueled robust growth in 2018 and 2019.
The addition of LinkedIn, acquired in 2016, has returned dividends, with a 25% revenue increase, while GitHub, acquired in 2018, continues to draw software developers.
In gaming, Microsoft is due to offer a new game-streaming service, Project xCloud, which will begin public trials in late 2019. To furnish new games for its Xbox system, Microsoft has about doubled first-party game studios through acquisitions for its subscription services like Xbox Game Pass.
The company might seem invulnerable, but Microsoft faces unrelenting competition throughout its portfolio. Amazon, IBM, Google are top rivals in web services and Apple and Google compete in operating systems and software. Those two companies also have thriving mobile phone businesses, which Microsoft lacks. In gaming, Electronic Arts, Activision-Blizzard, and others offer blockbuster games to players.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In 2019 Microsoft acquired Movere, a developer of software for moving data to cloud computing environments. The deal will help Microsoft migrate customers to its Azure cloud. Movere's technology helps IT administrators figure out the best options when they move data into the public cloud.
Microsoft in 2019 acquired BlueTalon, a private company that develops data governance and compliance software. BlueTalon's products help companies determine where data is, who can access it, and keep track of it on a variety of systems including Hadoop, Spark, and PostgreSQL. The software lets user run queries on sensitive data, while not revealing the underlying information. Microsoft plans to incorporate BlueTalon into its Azure Data Governance group.
In another 2019 transaction Microsoft acquired jClarity, a Java support services company. The deal should help Java workloads run more efficiently on Microsoft's Azure cloud services.
In 2018 Microsoft bought GitHub, a software code sharing and collaboration service, for $7.5 billion. About 28 million software developers post code on GitHub, which is the largest source of software code (much of it open source) in the world. While GitHub continues to operate independently within Microsoft, the Microsoft corporate vice president of developer services became GitHub's CEO.
In other 2018 acquisitions, Microsoft beefed up its artificial intelligence capabilities. The acquisition of XOXCO, agreed to in late 2018, would add conversational AI to Microsoft's portfolio. XOXCO, based in Austin, Texas, created the first commercially available bot for Slack that helps schedule meetings, and Botkit, which provides the development tools used by developers on GitHub. Other AI-related acquisitions in 2018 were of Lobe, Bonsai, and Semantic Engines. Microsoft also bought several other small firms in 2018, including FlipGrid, Ninja Theory, Undead Labs, Playground Games, Compulsion Games, Chalkup, PlayFab Inc., and Avere Systems.
In June 2017 Microsoft moved to bolster the security of its enterprise software by acquiring Hexadite. The company develops tools for automatically investigating security incidents and remedying them. Microsoft expects Hexadite's products to strengthen and extend its enterprise security offerings. The price was reported to be about $100 million.
Microsoft in April 2017 bought Deis, a startup software company, to aid in its competition with Amazon Web Services and Google to provide cloud services. Deis provides open-source software that helps companies build applications on top of cloud services. With Deis, Microsoft seeks to make it easier for developers to write applications for its Azure cloud services. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Other 2017 deals included Cloudlyn, Swing Technologies, AltspaceVR, Cycle Computing, International Software, Open Build Service, Donya Labs, and Maluuba.
Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft (originally named Micro-soft) in 1975 after Gates dropped out of Harvard at age 19 to sell a version of the programming language BASIC. While Gates was at Harvard, the pair wrote the language for Altair, the first commercial microcomputer. The company was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and grew by modifying BASIC for other computers.
Gates and Allen moved Microsoft to their native Seattle in 1979 and began developing software that let others write programs. The modern PC era dawned in 1980 when IBM chose Microsoft to write the operating system for its new machines. Although hesitant at first, Gates bought QDOS, short for "quick and dirty operating system," for $50,000 from a Seattle programmer, renaming it the Microsoft Disk Operating System (MS-DOS).
Allen fell ill with Hodgkin's disease and left Microsoft in 1983. In the mid-1980s Microsoft introduced Windows, a graphics-based version of MS-DOS that borrowed from rival Apple's Macintosh system. The company went public in 1986, and Gates became the industry's first billionaire a year later. Microsoft introduced Windows NT in 1993 to compete with the UNIX operating system, popular on mainframes and large networks.
The early 1990s brought monopoly charges from inside and outside the industry. In 1995 antitrust concerns scotched a $1.5 billion acquisition of personal finance software maker Intuit.
1 MICROSOFT WAY
Redmond, WA 98052-8300
Phone: 1 (425) 882-8080
Employer Type: Publicly Owned
Stock Symbol: MSFT
Stock Exchange: , NASDAQ
CEO: Satya Nadella
President and Chief Legal Officer: Bradford L. Smith
Chairman: John W. Thompson
Employees (This Location): 2,759
Employees (All Locations): 144,000
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