Microsoft Corporation (NYSE: MSFT) was formed in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, as they rushed to create an operating system for the Altair 8800 microcomputer. The Altair 8800 was arguably the first microcomputer that kicked off the computer revolution, and with it came Altair Basic, a licensed version of Microsoft Basic. Microsoft Basic was the company's first licensed commercial product, as it licensed various versions to Apple Computers (NASDAQ: AAPL), Commodore and IBM (NYSE: IBM). Revenues for the company totaled just $16,005 in 1976.
The iconic tipping point came when IBM was planning to launch a personal computer but lacked an operating system. While Microsoft did not have an operating system, Bill Gates successfully bluffed IBM to win the contract on Aug. 12, 1981. Rather than program one from scratch, Gates negotiated a deal to purchase the 86-DOS product from Seattle Computer Products for less than $100,000 and licensed it to IBM for a royalty fee on every PC it would produce. The IBM PC launch turned out to be an unprecedented success, catapulting Microsoft's gross sales to $55 million in 1983. Microsoft launched the first iteration of its Windows franchise in 1985.
The company went public in 1986 at $21 per share. Since then, Microsoft has achieved a market capitalization of $1,633.93 billion, as of January 4, 2021. Microsoft's most popular brands include Windows, Office 365, Bing, MSN, Skype, Exchange and cloud applications Azure, SQL Server and .NET. Microsoft is a component in the big three benchmark indexes: Dow Jones Industrial Average index, Standard and Poor's 500 (S&P 500) index, and the Nasdaq-100 index.
Here are the four largest mutual fund invested in Microsoft as of January 2021.
Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX)
The Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTSMX) is the largest mutual fund owner of Microsoft. The $1 trillion fund owns 213 million shares of Microsoft as of November 30, 2020. This mutual fund is designed to give broad exposure to the total US. stock market by including small-cap, mid-cap and large-cap growth and value stocks. Microsoft shares represent the fund's second-largest position and amount to 4.5% of net total assets in the portfolio of 3,551 stocks.The minimum investment is $3,000.
Vanguard 500 Index Fund Investor Shares (VFINX)
The industry's first index fund for individuals is the second-largest mutual fund holder of Microsoft. The Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VFINX) owns 155 million shares, or about 2.05%, of the company as of November 20, 2020. The fund is invested in 509 stocks covering a diversified spectrum of the largest US. companies mirroring the S&P 500 index. The $620.2 billion fund has allocated 5.3% of its total assets to Microsoft. The minimum investment is $3,000.
SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY)
The one stop shop for an overview of the market, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY), was created in the early '90s as the first ever Exchange Traded Fund (ETF). The $329 billion fund owns 79 million shares, or 1.03%, of Microsoft as of December 31, 2020. SPY tracks a market cap weighted index of large and midcap stocks, which are selected by the S&P committee. The fund is invested in 500 stocks, with 5.31% of the fund's portfolio invested in Microsoft. The ETF's minimum investment is $3,000.
Vanguard Institutional Index Fund Institutional Shares (VINIX)
The $255 billion Vanguard Institutional Index Fund Institutional Shares (VINIX) is the fourth-largest mutual fund holder of Microsoft with 65 million shares, or .86% of the company. This institutional fund tracks the S&P 500 Index following a passively managed, full-replication approach invested in 505 stocks. Microsoft shares represent 5.90% of the fund's total portfolio assets. This is the institutional version of the Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VINIX) with identical holdings and allocations, but only for institutional investors. The minimum investment is $5 million.