Microsoft beats forecasts as cloud boosts quarterly results

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Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) late Thursday posted market-beating fiscal first quarter earnings results, led by strong cloud and Surface revenue growth. Wall Street's crack team of financial analysts expected the company to report revenue of about $23.56 billion and earnings per share of $0.72.

Microsoft managed to grow both revenue ($24.5 billion, up 12%) and profits ($6.6 billion, up 16%), showing the gains were not simply due to cutting. Server products and cloud services revenue grew 17 percent. Surface revenue gained 12%, helped by sales of the new Surface Laptop.

"This quarter we exceeded $20 billion in commercial cloud ARR, outpacing the goal we set just over two years ago", Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement.

Following the Microsoft FQ1 2018 earnings release, the company's stock surged in after-hours trades, climbing by as much as 2.51% to $80.74.

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An promotional video plays behind a window reflecting a nearby building at the Microsoft office in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S. on May 15, 2017. This quarter, Azure revenue was up 90 percent. As usual, cloud services continue to be among the fastest growing parts of Microsoft's business.

Revenue from Microsoft's intelligent cloud business rose almost 14 percent to $6.92 billion in the first quarter ended September 30. The rise in subscription sales for Azure and for corporate and consumer versions of Office 365 also provides more stable and recurring revenue.

For the More Personal Computing segment, Microsoft reported $9.4 billion in revenue... That's not really a surprise, given that Microsoft has launched a number of new Surface products over the course of the last few months. And the Xbox division was up 1%, with a big boost to Xbox software and services offset by the lower average selling price of the Xbox One console itself.

As for Windows, revenue from companies putting Pro versions of the operating system on devices was up by 4 percent.

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