Microsoft posts bumper Q4, with Windows, Surface, Azure all up

Satya Nadella

Microsoft hits $100bn in revenue for the first time thanks to cloud, Surface growth

The company reported quarterly profit of $8.9 billion, or $1.14 per share. Alex Zukin, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, told the Associated Press that the "threat of Amazon" would work in Microsoft's favor as e-commerce companies seek a cloud computing platform that is not run by a competitor.

A large reason for that is the continued strength of Microsoft's cloud and Office efforts, which have been exceptional performers for the company for some time.

This brings the full-year revenue to $110.4 billion (up 14 percent on the 2017 financial year), with operating income of $35.1 billion (up 21 percent) and net income of $16.6 billion, a drop of 35 percent, attributed to the impact of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act's $13.8 billion repatriation tax.

"We had an incredible year, surpassing $100 billion in revenue as a result of our teams' relentless focus on customer success", said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft.

"Our early investments in the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge are paying off, and we will continue to expand our reach in large and growing markets with differentiated innovation", Nadella said on a conference call on Thursday.

He thinks Commercial Cloud revenue rose 51%, to $6.9 billion, including $4.2 billion of Office 365 revenue, and sales for Microsoft's Azure cloud business of $2.3 billion, up 84%.

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MSFT could exceed expectations meaningfully in the quarter, especially in its More Personal Computing business segment which includes Windows.

Its popular Surface laptop-turned-tablet range earned a 25 per cent increase in revenue, which Microsoft attributed to strong performance by its latest editions against low comparable numbers previous year. But the star, as always, was Azure, which grew revenues 89 percent.

Microsoft had fired several thousand employees a year ago as it announced a huge do-over in its sales strategy.

The numbers boded well for Microsoft's biggest acquisition in recent years, of professional networking site LinkedIn. Windows commercial products and cloud services revenue grew by 23% (19% CC). By active users, this is just people who have used the service over the last month, and it's an 8% increase since the last financial quarter.

Switching gears to the More Personal Computing category, revenue increased by 17 percent, moving up to $10.8 billion.

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