Microsoft beats forecasts on revenue and profit [The Seattle Times]
(Seattle Times (WA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) April 19--Bolstered yet again by its corporatecustomers, Microsoft exceeded analysts' estimates for the third quarter of its fiscal year, posting $17.41 billion in revenue, a 6 percent increase year-over-year.
The company, which reported its results Thursday, posted $5.11 billion in profit, down from $5.23 billion a year ago.
Earnings per share reached 60 cents, exceeding the Zacks consensus analysts' estimate of 57 cents. Earnings per share were 61 cents in the year-ago quarter.
The Zacks consensus estimate for quarterly revenue was $17.1 billion.
And that's all ahead of some big launches expected later this year: Windows 8, Office 15, Windows Phone 8.
"We're super pleased," said Lisa Nelson, Microsoft's director of investor relations, who added that operating income grew 12 percent as a result of revenue growth and cost-cutting.
Earnings per share were lower than they were a year ago, Nelson said, because last year, the company had a one-time tax benefit of 5 cents per share, related to a partial settlement with the Internal Revenue Sservice.
Windows revenue went up 4 percent to $4.62 billion, helped by big companies buying both PCs and Windows 7.
Sales of business PCs grew 8 percent, and 40 percent of enterprise desktop PCs are now on Windows 7, Nelson said.
Microsoft also benefited from a PC market that didn't do as badly as some analysts had predicted. Research firm Gartner said this month that PC shipments grew 1.9 percent in the first quarter of 2012, exceeding its earlier projection of a 1.2 percent decline. Research firm IDC said PC sales were up 2.3 percent for the quarter, exceeding its earlier forecast of a 0.9 percent decline.
Here's how Microsoft's other divisions did:
--The Business division (includes Office, Lync, SharePoint, Exchange, Dynamics) reported revenue of $5.81 billion, a 9 percent year-over-year growth.
Nelson did not share updated figures for the sales of Office 2010 (the company had said several months ago that 200 million Office 2010 licenses have been sold), but said it continues to surpass expectation seven quarters after its launch. She also declined to share numbers on Office 365 but said there was "lots of momentum there."
--Server and Tools reported revenue of $4.57 billion, a 14 percent increase -- its eighth consecutive quarter of double-digit revenue growth.
Nelson said the division showed strength across its portfolio, but singled out SQL Server, with a double-digit growth that she declined to put a number to, and Systems Center, with 20 percent growth.
--Entertainment and Devices (which includes Xbox and Windows Phone), however, was a sore spot, with a drop of 16 percent to revenue of $1.62 billion.
Nelson attributed that to the softness of the gaming console market as a whole. There was good sales momentum in October and November but that started to slow in December, she said.
During the quarer, Microsoft sold 1.4 million Xbox consoles, compared with 2.7 million in the same quarter a year ago. Still, the Xbox remained the country's top-selling gaming console for the 15th consecutive month.
Sales figures for Windows Phone were not disclosed.
--Though the Online Services division (which includes Bing and MSN) continues to lose money, it posted revenue of $707 million, a 6 percent increase. And it cut its losses by $300 million, which Nelson said resulted from increased monetization and cost cutting.
Microsoft shares closed Thursday at $31.01, down 13 cents. In after-hours trading it was up 2.87 percent, to $31.90.
Janet I. Tu: 206-464-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @janettu.
(c)2012 The Seattle Times
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