X

This is not a paywall.

Register for free to continue reading.

The news sucks. But your reading experience doesn't have to. Help us improve that for you by registering for free.



Please create a password or click to receive a login link.


Please enter your password or get a login link if you’ve forgotten


Open Sesame! Thanks for registering.

First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

We write for you

It’s a public service and we refuse to erect a paywall and force you to pay for truth. Instead, we ask (nicely and often) that those of you who can afford to, become a Maverick Insider and help with whatever you can. In order for truth not to become a thing of the past, we need to keep going.

Currently, 18,000 (or less than 0.3%) of our brave and generous readers are members; which says a lot about their characters and commitment to our country. These people are paying for a free service in order to keep it free for everyone.

They are the true South AfriCANs.(Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves.)

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Microsoft shares hit record highs, powered by growing c...

Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Microsoft shares hit record highs, powered by growing cloud sales

By Reuters
19 Jul 2019 0

Microsoft Corp on Thursday beat analysts' estimates for fourth-quarter revenue and profit, driven by continued sales increases from its cloud business and sending its shares to all-time highs.

Since Chief Executive Satya Nadella took over in 2014, Microsoft has been shifting away from its Windows operating system software and toward cloud services, in which customers move their computing work to data centers managed by Microsoft.

Revenue growth in Azure was 64% in the fiscal fourth quarter ended June 30, compared with 89% a year earlier and 73% in the prior quarter. Microsoft does not provide an absolute revenue figure for Azure, blending it into its “intelligent cloud unit,” which had revenue of $11.4 billion compared with analyst expectations of $11.0 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

(For an interactive graphic, click here https://tmsnrt.rs/2JIzvfe)

Microsoft also forecasted between $10.3 billion and $10.5 billion in intelligent cloud sales for the fiscal first quarter, with a midpoint above analyst estimates of $10.13 billion. The forecast helped send shares of Microsoft up more than 2.6% to record highs above $140 in after-hours trading.

Cloud growth powered Microsoft’s market value past $1 trillion for the first time in April. On Thursday, Microsoft’s Azure-based business segment for the first time ever reported slightly more quarterly revenue than its Windows-based segment.

“The pressure was obviously on but they executed,” said Hal Eddins, chief economist for Microsoft shareholder Capital Investment Counsel. “The cloud is such a key driver of growth for them and they seem to have painted a big bullseye on the back of AWS.”

In the cloud computing business, Azure’s chief rival is Amazon Web Services, which dominates the industry with a 32.8% market share, according to research firm Canalys. Microsoft has a share of 14.6%, while Google has 9.9%.

Microsoft has also gained ground in the past year by bundling its Azure computing service for developers along with Office and other software products for end users, such as in the more than $2 billion cloud deal it signed with AT&T Inc earlier this week.

Microsoft has tried to set itself apart from AWS by combining its traditional software that runs in a customer’s own data center with its Azure products, a strategy that Chris Voce, analyst at Forrester, said helped power the company’s results.

“Its hybrid cloud strategy has resonated with enterprises where this is a more realistic and flexible approach,” Voce said.

Revenue in Microsoft’s productivity software unit jumped 14.3% to $11.05 billion, driven by double-digit revenue growth for LinkedIn and Office 365. Analysts on average had expected revenue of $10.71 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Meanwhile, its personal computing division, home to Windows software, rose to $11.3 billion, compared with analyst estimates of $10.98 billion. The unit also includes Xbox gaming consoles, the Bing online search service and Surface laptops.

Mike Spencer, head of investor relations at Microsoft, said Windows results were fueled by customers upgrading from Windows 7, which will be retired next year, and the result of some PC customers stockpiling inventory in anticipation of possible tariffs.

“What we’ve seen is there was even maybe more pent-up demand than we anticipated,” Spencer said. He said the company did not feel any impact from sales restrictions placed on Huawei Technologies Co Ltd by the U.S. government.

Microsoft’s net income rose to $13.19 billion or $1.71 per share in the fourth quarter, from $8.87 billion or $1.14 per share a year earlier. (https://bit.ly/2JDI8Jq)

Excluding items, the company earned $1.37 per share, topping estimates of $1.21 per share.

Total revenue rose 12% to $33.72 billion, above average analysts’ estimates of $32.77 billion.

(Reporting by Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco Editing by Anil D’Silva and Matthew Lewis)

Gallery

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted