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Welcome to the Microsoft board. This FAQ is intended to answer many frequently asked questions. It is also meant to help our friends get a quick start in researching MSFT. You will find many links that will help you find the information you need to make Foolish decisions about investing in MSFT.

Please be mindful that the world moves quickly and so the information you get from this FAQ, and the linked references in subject to change before the FAQ changes. There is no substitute for doing your own research.

If you are new to the Motley Fool discussion boards click on this link to go to the Discussion Board Help screen. You can learn how to navigate the boards, how to make italics and bolds and the posting guidelines are listed here:

A final word. This is a Microsoft investment board. You can find loads of good information that will help you make good choices. You will also find loads of other stuff. The point is that it is up to you to make your own choices. My favorite bit of advice from The Motley Fool comes from their disclaimer:

If you ignore our advice to do independent research of industries, companies, and stocks, choosing instead to trade solely on information, "tips," or opinions found in our forum, you have made a conscious, willing, free, and personal decision to do so. You have also probably made a mistake

Happy investing!

Table of Contents

What is Microsoft?
Where is it located?
How long has Microsoft been around / When was it incorporated?
How long has it been public?
What stock splits have occurred?
How do stock splits work?
Does Microsoft pay dividends?
Does anyone know of some analysts covering Microsoft?
What products does Microsoft make?
What is Microsoft's web page?
Who are the executive officers?
I thought Bill Gates was CEO. When did that change, and where is he now?
Are there other web sites about Microsoft?
Does the Motley Fool have some links about the company?
Who else has MSFT links?
Hot topic -- DOJ Lawsuit
Hot topic -- Linux
Hot topic -- XBox
Hot topic -- .NET
Can you help me with my software?
I can't believe that you left this off the FAQ!

What is Microsoft?

Microsoft is the world's largest software company.
It is the second most admired company in the US.
It is third most admired company in the world.
It is number 79 on the fortune 500.
It is number 201 on the Global 500.
It is number 28 on the Fortune Best Companies to Work for.

Where is it located?

Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, Washington, 98052-6399

(425) 882-8080

How long has Microsoft been around / When was it incorporated?

Bill Gates and Paul Allen sold their first product (BASIC for the Altair) on Feb 1, 1975. The trade name "Microsoft" was registered on 11/26/1976 and a formal partnership agreement between Paul Allen and Bill Gates was executed on 2/3/1977. On 6/25/1981 Microsoft was reorganized as a privately held corporation.

How long has it been public?
Microsoft was taken public or 3/13/1986 at $21.00 per share.

For an extended timeline please refer to:

Where can I find recent filings by Microsoft? has links to SEC filings for FY 1997 and later.

What stock splits have occurred?

Sept. 18, 1987 2 for 1
April 12, 1990 2 for 1
June 26, 1991 3 for 2
June 12, 1992 3 for 2
May 20, 1994 2 for 1
December 6, 1996 2 for 1
February 20, 1998 2 for 1
March 26, 1999 2 for 1

1 share of MSFT purchased at the IPO (3/13/1986) for $21 is now 144 shares worth $10,080 for a total return of 47,900%, which is an annualized return of 47.4%. (2/18/2002)

For more information on Microsoft stock history please refer to:

How do stock splits work?

The Motley Fool has a Stock Split FAQ

Don't panic if your brokerage account does not imediately show your new shares, it may take a day or two (maybe three) but it will happen.

A good rule for splits is that if it seems unfair, it's probably not done that way. This is a guarantee that is not true for many things, but it is true for splits.

Does Microsoft pay dividends?


Does anyone know of some analysts covering Microsoft?

This gives a list of covering brokers and a history of their recommendations.

What products does Microsoft make?

Microsoft's product offering is huge.

For a comprehensive list please look at the dropdown box in

What is Microsoft's web page?

Microsoft's home page is

Are there other web sites about Microsoft?

There are plenty of Microsoft web pages, from support to financials to software updates.

Some important websites, related to finance, include:
Investor Relations:
Delayed Quote:
Key Financial Data:
Financial Data with market comparisons:
Company Snapshot:
Stock Chart:
Earnings Estimates:
Stock Performance:
A research tool:

Does the Motley Fool have some links about the company?

Obviously, you found the MSFT board. The Motley Fool also has covered MSFT in some recent articles, including...

A comparison of the Microsoft and Coca Cola financial statements

The resident TMF Miscrosoft basher Rob Landley (aka TMFOak)

and a Foolish rebuttal

A Rule Meaker analysis update

It won't hurt to read the Rule Maker Buy Report

Who else has MSFT links?

Who are the executive officers?

There are lots of Executives. The executives listed below make up the Business Leadership Team. For a complete list of executives complete with biographies and photographs refer to

Steve Ballmer - Chief Executive Officer
William H. Gates - Chairman and Chief Software Architect
Richard Belluzzo - President and Chief Operating Officer
Jim Allchin - Group Vice President Platforms
John Connors - Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
Orlando Ayala - Group Vice President Worldwide Sales, Marketing and Services Group
Robert J. Bach - Senior Vice President Games Division/Chief Xbox Officer (CXO)
Doug Burgum President, Great Plains, Senior Vice President, Business Solutions
David Cole - Senior Vice President Services Platform Division
Jon DeVaan - Senior Vice President TV Division
Richard P. Emerson - Senior Vice President Corporate Development Strategy
Paul Flessner - Senior Vice President .NET Enterprise Servers
Kevin R. Johnson - Sr. Vice President US Sales, Marketing and Service
Joachim Kempin - Senior Vice President OEM Division
Mich Mathews - Corporate Vice President Marketing Division
Yusuf Mehdi - Corporate Vice President, MSN Personal Services & Business
Bob Muglia - Senior Vice President Enterprise Storage Services Group
Craig Mundie - Senior Vice President Chief Technical Officer Advanced Strategies and Policy
Bill Neukom - Executive Vice President Law & Corporate Affairs
Jeff Raikes - Group Vice President Productivity and Business Services
Dr. Richard F. Rashid - Senior Vice President Research
Eric Rudder - Senior Vice President Developer and Platform Evangelism
Steven Sinofsky - Senior Vice President Office
Linda Stone - Corporate Vice President Corporate and Industry Initiatives
Brian Valentine - Senior Vice President Windows Division
David Vaskevitch - Senior Vice President Chief Technical Officer Business Platform
Henry P. Vigil - Corporate Vice President Consumer Strategy and Partnerships
Deborah N. Willingham - Senior Vice President Human Resources

I thought Bill Gates was CEO. When did that change, and where is he now?

Steve Ballmer was appointed President and CEO on January 13, 2000. Bill Gates remains in place as Chairman and has taken the new position of Chief Software Architect.

For more information on Bill Gates please refer to his web site: and

For more information on Steve Ballmer please refer to:

The Microsoft press release on the appointment.

Since then Richard Belluzzo was named President.

Hot topic -- DOJ Lawsuit

What exactly is the legal definition of a monopoloy?

Judge Jackson's Findings of Fact

Judge Jackson's Conclusions of Law

Judge Jackson's Final Judgement

The Appeals Court Ruling

A good antitrust primer

For a little more detail. United States Code Title 15 - Commerce & Trade - the laws themselves: This case is concerned with Chapter 1, Sections 1 & 2.

Just about everything. You can find a wealth of information here, both pro and anti Microsoft. This page has links to the complaints, testimony, rulings, motions, articles, rebuttals, other sites ...

The often referred to but seldom read appeals court ruling in the contempt case

A must read--TMFCheeze proposes his own remedies:

Hot topic -- Linux

Try reading PietrzakFool's well written post on the open source world view. You may not agree but he does a good job explaining what the Linux folks believe.

Andy does Linux:

Hot topic -- XBox

Hot topic -- .NET

Can you help me with my software?

This is an investment board so we try not to get mired down in technical questions. You can try the "Help with ths STUPID Computer" board:

I can't believe that you left this off the FAQ!

I am very much aware that this FAQ is incomplete. If you have suggestions or updates please reply to this post.
I can't guarantee that I will incorporate every suggestion, but I will consider them.

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