Fortune 500 rank: 36
2009 profit: $14.6 billionTech's economic bellwether struck an encouraging note at the end of 2009. Hot sales of Windows 7 proved that Microsoft's new operating system was no Vista and helped boost revenue at its OS unit by nearly a third. Meanwhile its new Bing search engine gained share on Google and Yahoo.
Microsoft might want to forget the rest of the year however. Earnings fell 17% amid the recession as sales declined for the first time ever.
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