Cloud-driven Microsoft crosses $100bn revenue for first time

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Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) unveiled its latest quarterly earnings results after the bell on Thursday, posting profit that came in well ahead of analysts' expectations.

Net income rose to $8.87 billion, or $1.14 per share, in the fourth quarter ended June 30 from $8.07 billion, or $1.03 per share, a year earlier. The phenomenal growth of Azure pushed up revenue growth for Microsoft's server and cloud division to 26 percent.

Microsoft said it now runs three reporting segments: Intelligent Cloud (covering Azure, Windows Server, Visual Studio, Enterprise Services, and SQL Server), and More Personal Computing (including hardware, Xbox, Windows as well as search and advertising), and Productivity and Business Processes (covering Exchange, Skype Office, SharePoint, and Dynamics).

Professional social network LinkedIn, which Microsoft acquired in 2016, saw its revenue increase by 37%, the firm said.

Revenue rose to $30.09 billion from $25.61 billion.

The company reported $110.4 billion in revenue over the past 12 months, marking the first time it has passed the $100 billion mark.

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Stock in the Redmond, Washington-based company rose 8 per cent during the quarter, exceeding the 2.9 per cent increase in the Standard and Poor's 500 Index.

This involved sacrificing sacred cows, becoming more open to open source, and reorienting popular Microsoft apps and platforms like Office 365 to perform in a mobile-first world dominated by Android and iOS. He noted that the $1.8 billion increase in Intelligent Cloud revenue was driven nearly exclusively by Azure.

While Microsoft has reorganized its structure and de-emphasized its Windows PC operating system efforts - once the company's flagship business - corporate sales of the software still generate considerable revenue.

CEO Satya Nadella credited "early investments" in cloud services for the results.

During the Q&A, he said Azure usage "continues to drive a lot" of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) "growth for us as people are sort of looking basically to lift and shift a lot of their current data center workloads". Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting the company to forecast revenue of $27.38 billion, below the midpoint of its guidance. These costs aren't included in Microsoft's GAAP fiscal year numbers. That's a 23% increase from Q4 2017, during which the segment pulled in $7.4 billion, and yet another clear sign that Microsoft's pivot to the cloud is proving ever more prescient. Unlike many online publications, we don't have a paywall or run banner advertising, because we want to keep our journalism open, without influence or the need to chase traffic.

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