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Microsoft Cloud Push Gains Ground on Azure, Office 365

27 October 2017, 12:53 | Hattie Nash

Microsoft earnings: 84 cents a share vs 72 cents EPS expected

Satya Nadella chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp. smiles during the Microsoft Developers Build Conference in Seattle Washington U.S. on Wednesday

Something Microsoft can be proud of is the report that the company exceeded its goal of $20 billion in annualized revenue run rate for its commercial cloud business, which includes Azure cloud, the Office 365 productivity suite and Dynamics 365, the company's enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management tool.

Under chief executive Satya Nadella, Microsoft's cloud business - which includes products such as Office 365, Dynamic 365 and the flagship Azure computing platform - has emerged as a major growth driver.

Overall, Microsoft posted $6.58 billion in net income, or 84 cents a share, compared with a profit of $5.67 billion, or 72 cents a share, a year ago. At the same time, as new data centers come online and become more efficient, Microsoft has been making progress in increasing the profitability of these services, with commercial cloud gross margin widening to 57 percent.

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Microsoft today announced its quarterly earnings for its first financial quarter of 2018 (yes, I know it's early, but that's how Microsoft's financial quarters work). Azure margins were also helped by developments in the core hardware and software, she said. Microsoft doesn't break out revenue for its Windows business. It is a market where Microsoft competes with Salesforce.com Inc., among others, and one in which the company has placed growing emphasis. Xbox software and services jumped up 21 percent overall to make up for losses in hardware sales. The rise in subscription sales for Azure and for corporate and consumer versions of Office 365 also provides more stable and recurring revenue.

Despite Microsoft's More Personal Computing division remaining relatively flat (which, historically is a good thing) there were gains to be had for a few standout products. The segment declined earlier in 2017 owing to aging Surface Pro products that consumers shunned.

Operating income was $7.7 billion and increased 15%. Industrywide, global PC shipments fell 3.6 percent in the period, according to Gartner Inc. The company had guided for between $23 billion and $23.7 billion, and in the year-ago quarter. Analysts had estimated $8 billion.



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