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Microsoft posted a robust 38% increase in profits last year—earning $61 billion, the fourth-largest sum among Fortune 500 companies—as revenue rose 17.5% to $168 billion. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. The company’s hardware teams coped with a global chip crisis that led to a shortage of Xbox game consoles, but reveled in successes with the release of new Surface laptops and tablet devices. Its software divisions took some lumps, including a disappointing release of Windows 11 (fewer than 1% of 10 million PCs surveyed by IT firm Lansweeper upgraded to the new system) and an early 2021 cybersecurity attack involving Microsoft’s Exchange email software that affected tens of thousands of customers. On the geopolitical front, Microsoft pulled its LinkedIn social platform from China in October 2021 after facing increased content restrictions from the government. In March 2021, the company unveiled its virtual reality platform Microsoft Mesh; it later won a $22 billion contract to supply U.S. Army combat troops with augmented reality headsets. Microsoft took its place in the stock-market record books in June 2021, when it became only the second company in U.S. history, after Apple, to reach a $2 trillion market valuation.
Thiago Prudencio—SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images
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