With more than 80% of computers running Windows, the Microsoft logo certainly won’t be leaving our screens any time soon. And despite the advent of a slew of trendy young competitors, mainstay business products such as Office help Microsoft retain its stranglehold of the IT market.
- Friendly, flexible working environment
- Solid brand name to have on your CV, especially for engineers
- Extensive benefits package and perks
- The UK office can be overly political and bureaucratic
- High turnover
- Pay is low
- Little local decision making as the power hub is in Redmond, WA
Bill Gates had a simple, yet wildly ambitious, vision: “A computer on every desk and in every home”. And by jove – in the developed world at least – he’s almost bleedin’ gone and done it. What young William astutely recognised is that software, not hardware, would be the key to realising his dream of the computer as an everyday household appliance. So while today its reputation for innovation may be slipping – with a seemingly endless line of in vogue products launched by trendy young competitors, such as Apple and Google – not so long ago, Microsoft was the industry’s young, upstart pioneer.
Microsoft’s meteoric rise began when 20 year-old Harvard geek, William H. Gates, wrote a programming language with his childhood friend, Paul Allen. The result of the two pals’ efforts was BASIC – one of the most important programming languages of the 1980s. Gates didn’t even bother completing his third year of uni, dropping out to work on software full-time. Allen soon followed suit, along with student, Steve Ballmer – now the company’s chief executive.
In 1981, IBM launched its first home and office computer. It was a major success and solely ran Microsoft software, including the basic operating system, MS-DOS. And although IBM’s model was to be copied and emulated by all and sundry of the computer manufacturing world, every PC sold, no matter the brand, ran on the ubiquitous MS-DOS. At this point, Microsoft had just 32 employees.
Up until then, the IBM PC only displayed white text on a black screen, but the revolution was just round the corner... In 1983, Microsoft released Windows, a Graphical User Interface that allowed its users to click on icons to launch programs – the model that computers still use today. However, it wasn’t until the third version of Windows, imaginatively named 3.0, that Microsoft’s operating system really started to make waves. Picking up on 3.0’s potential, third parties began writing software for Windows, making it the number one platform in the home PC market. And it was no coincidence that later that year Microsoft became the first PC software company to post revenues of more than $1 billion.
Today, more than 90% of computers worldwide run Windows. And no PC is complete without one version or another of Microsoft Office. Even with the advent of free downloadable alternatives from competitors such as Google, the Microsoft Office suite remains the choice for many a business and home. Other Microsoft products have fared less well in the face of stiff competition and changing market trends. New gadgets, such as portable MP3 players, multi-function mobile phones and other wireless handhelds, have become the growth areas of the industry. And while the company has had some success in these areas, in many cases – such as with the music player, Zune – it’s been one of Microsoft’s increasing number of competitors that has released the market leader.
Future uncertainties aside, Microsoft remains a household name and one of the biggest companies in the industry. In fact, its headcount has more than doubled over the past few years, with 78,000+ now employed worldwide. And with the international success of products such as the Xbox 360 games console, the Microsoft logo certainly won’t be leaving our screens any time soon.Read all 7 employee quotes
Unsurprisingly for one of the industry’s top players, Microsoft schemes come attached with a 2:1 minimum. The Microsoft Academy for College Hires or MACH – ironically an acronymic sound-alike of a main rival – gives its graduates the option of three streams: sales, marketing or technical.
Sales focusses on working with and learning from existing sales managers and clients. The technical stream doesn’t stipulate a computer degree, but don’t bother applying unless you know your DIMM from your iSCSI. The marketing branch not only gives its graduates the inside track on both general and Microsoft specific techniques, but also the chance to pick up a Chartered Institute of Marketing qualification too.
But whichever stream you choose, you’ll be submitted to a combination of training and work experience, potentially across an international as well as domestic site. Applications are made via email, with last submissions taken in January for a September start. Expect a series of online assessment tests (SHL) before getting your foot in the door.
Microsoft is also active on campus, with a schedule packed with university visits. So check out the company’s website to see if your uni’s listed – there’s no excuse for being unprepared!
No. of graduate roles: 40
Graduate Salary: Competitive
Great opportunity, gained amazing life skills which I feel I can apply to my degree and in the future.InternHelpful?
Very satisfied, promotion of the importance of maintaining a good work- life balance.InternHelpful?
Amazing resources available for training, high focus on personal development and increasing your skills and abilities.InternHelpful?
Treated as a full time employee and not just as an intern. Regularly asked for opinions and idea's which were taken on board and in some cases implemented.InternHelpful?