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Microsoft beats forecasts as cloud boosts quarterly results

Rachel Lerman, The Seattle Times on

Published in Science & Technology News

SEATTLE -- Microsoft handily beat analysts' expectations for the first quarter of its fiscal year, as its quarterly profit rose 16 percent on the strength of its commercial cloud business.

Revenue from Azure, the company's cloud computing service, grew 90 percent during the quarter, Microsoft said. The Seattle-area company has been pushing heavily into cloud services, including Azure and its subscription-based Office 365 product.

Microsoft also announced it hit a big cloud goal it set for itself in 2015: a $20 billion annualized run rate for the commercial cloud. The company calculates the run rate by taking commercial cloud sales from the last month of the quarter and multiplying it by 12 to represent a whole year. Microsoft had said it would hit the run rate goal during this fiscal year.

Microsoft reported revenue of $24.5 billion for the quarter, up nearly 12 percent over the same period last year. Profit for the quarter climbed to $6.6 billion from $5.7 billion in the first quarter last year.

Analysts surveyed by S&P Global Market Intelligence expected the company to report $23.6 billion in revenue and 72 cents in adjusted earnings per share. Microsoft reported adjusted per-share earnings of 84 cents.

Microsoft's stock price climbed 3.8 percent to $81.74 in early after-hours trading Thursday after the results were released.

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