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Windows 7 was launched in October, finally offering a new alternative to its much maligned Vista operating system.

Global HQ: Redmond, Washington, US Website: www.microsoft.com

Global leader: Steve Ballmer, CEO

Local leader: Kevin Ackhurst, country manager, New Zealand

Core activity: Software and services

Revenue: US$58.4 billion (FY08-09 ended June 30)

Key customers: ASB Bank, Beca, Bank of New Zealand, Air New Zealand, The Warehouse, Carter Holt Harvey, Fonterra, Westpac, NZ Defence Force, JB Hi-Fi

Employees: 92,736

Surely the standout event for Microsoft this year was the rebranding of its search services in cooperation with Yahoo! The new Bing engine was as an official, some say last-ditched, attack on Google’s dominance in the search arena.

Windows 7 was launched in October, finally offering a new alternative to its much maligned Vista operating system. At the time of writing, Microsoft was still involved in a copyright dispute with Canadian software developer i4i that could yet prolong its OS nightmares.

The company also took aim at the smartphone market in October, launching a range of new Windows Phone mobile devices using its new Windows Mobile 6.5 software.

In its most recent quarterly results, Microsoft revenue fell 17 percent year-on-year to US$13.1 billion. In 2010, Microsoft lists online and search, mobility and its Xbox gaming console as key focus areas. It is also working

on Project Natal, which will allow gamers to ditch the controller. Rachael Bolton

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Tags strategic 100 2009

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