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Microsoft returns to form with better than expected financial results

Microsoft has announced its fiscal figures for the quarter that ran up to the end of March, with revenue growing to $21.7 billion (£14.4 billion), outperforming analyst expectations, and growing 6 per cent year-on-year.

Redmond noted that its gross margin was $14.6 billion (£9.65 billion), and operating income for the quarter was $6.6 billion (£4.35 billion). The results included $190 million (£125 million) worth of “integration and restructuring expenses”, and Microsoft also said that it returned some $7.5 billion (£4.95 billion) to shareholders via share repurchases and dividends.

CEO Satya Nadella remarked: “Customers continue to choose Microsoft to transform their business and as a result we saw incredible growth across our cloud services this quarter. Next week at Build we’re excited to share more about how we’re empowering every individual and organisation on the planet to achieve more with the next generation of our platforms.”

Indeed, commercial cloud revenue more than doubled, thanks to a strong performance by Azure, Dynamics CRM Online and Office 365, the latter of which Microsoft boasted is now up to 12.4 million in terms of consumer subscriber numbers. That’s a major increase on the last figure of around 9.5 million we heard.

Microsoft said that on the phone front, it sold 8.6 million Lumias, with total smartphone revenue of $1.4 billion (£930 million). Surface revenue was recorded as $713 million (£470 million), up 44 per cent thanks to a successful outing in the form of the Surface Pro 3.

Search advertising was up 21 per cent, with Bing market share in the US hitting 20 per cent.

And as for Xbox Live, the online gaming service saw its usage grow 30 per cent.

Amy Hood, chief financial officer at Microsoft, commented: “We executed with strong operational and financial discipline again this quarter, and are seeing positive impact from our investments in key growth areas. We remain focused on maximising shareholder value and again increased our overall return of capital to shareholders.”