Cloud helps Microsoft beat growth expectations

Columbia Sportswear activates Microsoft Cloud to strengthen consumer engagement

Microsoft FY18 Q2 earnings: $28.9 billion in revenue backed by cloud, Office growth

Adjusted EPS, excluding the one-time charge, rose 20 percent to Dollars 0.96.

One surprising result, perhaps, is the eight per cent hike in Microsoft's gaming revenues, seemingly being attributed to sales of the Xbox One X, which helped drive a 14 per cent increase in Xbox hardware revenue.

At the time of writing, Microsoft stock was down about 1% to around $95 per share.

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"With growth of 98%, it's hard to see the Azure story as anything but a great success", said JP Gownder, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, speaking to Cloud Pro. It also started offering customers the ability to host their workloads in France, bringing the number of regional options for data centre services to 42, and signed a seven-year deal to be the primary cloud provider for Chevron.

Operating income was $8.7 billion and increased 10%.

The company's own forecast, offered during its conference call on October 26, was for revenue of $27.8 billion to $28.6 billion, which at the time was better than expected. Overall, Microsoft (MSFT) reported better-than-expected earnings (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/shares-of-microsoft-slide-as-software-giant-reports-a-quarterly-loss-on-tax-cuts-2018-01-31) for its fiscal second quarter, even as the company reported a net loss because of a whopping $13.8 billion charge associated with changes in the us tax code. "I do, in general, expect our strong performance in Azure to continue", chief financial officer Amy Hood said in an interview. Gross margin for that business widened to 55%, up seven points compared to a year earlier.

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But analysts focusing on CEO Satya Nadella's cloud-obsessed tactic were buoyed by the quarter.

The technology giant's revenue was up 12% on 25.8 billion dollars (£18.2 billion) from the same period in 2016. Productivity sales, mainly Office software, climbed 25% to nearly $9bn.

Prior to a post-earnings call Wednesday with analysts, Nadella has not yet commented on what it will do with an estimated $130 billion in overseas cash. The company reported fiscal second quarter non-GAAP earnings of $7.5 billion, or 96 cents a share, on revenue of $28.9 billion, up 12 percent from a year ago. CEO Satya Nadella's continued focus on the importance of cloud also seems to be paying off, with revenue across the Intelligent Cloud division up 15% to $7.8 billion.

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