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Friday, January 27, 2017
Cloud Services Boost Microsoft's Sales And Profit

Microsoft's reported a 3.6 percent rise in fiscal second-quarter profit on Thursday, bolstered by rising customer sign-ups for cloud-based services including Azure and a stabilizing personal-computer market.

Profit excluding certain items, such as a few weeks of results from newly acquired LinkedIn Corp., was 84 cents a share on adjusted sales of $25.8 billion, the software maker said Thursday in a statement.

"Our customers are seeing greater value and opportunity as we partner with them through their digital transformation," said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer at Microsoft. "Accelerating advancements in AI across our platforms and services will provide further opportunity to drive growth in the Microsoft Cloud."

Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella is positioning the company as a seller of internet-based corporate services for running applications, storing data, collaborating and enhancing worker productivity. Azure cloud services revenue almost doubled, keeping up its steady pace of growth, and both consumers and corporations continue to purchase Office 365, which includes software like Word and Excel, Microsoft said. Another surprising bright spot was the PC market, which is showing signs of life after years of contraction.

On Dec. 8, the company completed its biggest acquisition, the $26.2 billion purchase of LinkedIn. LinkedIn contributed revenue of $228 million in the quarter following the deal's close.

Azure revenue almost doubled in the recent quarter, and corporate versions of Office 365 saw sales increase 47 percent. Almost 25 million consumers are now subscribed to Office 365, the company said.

Microsoft has pledged to reach annualized revenue of $20 billion in its corporate cloud business by the fiscal year that ends in June 2018.

Second-quarter sales in the company's More Personal Computing business, including Windows and Xbox, fell 5 percent to $11.8 billion. Gaming revenue for Xbox and PC fell 3 percent.

Revenue from sales of Windows to PC maker partners rose 5 percent, and Windows commercial products and cloud services increased at the same rate.

In the Intelligent Cloud unit, comprised of Azure and server software deployed in customers' own data centers, sales increased 8 percent to $6.9 billion. Productivity revenue climbed 10 percent to $7.4 billion.

Microsoft did not provide sales figures for HoloLens but said it is "in thousands, not hundreds of thousands". With the augmented reality headset costing $3000, this is perhaps not surprising.

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