Microsoft posts bumper Q4, with Windows, Surface, Azure all up

Microsoft Beats Estimates on Cloud Services Gaming and Software Growth

Leaving out that charge, operating income was $35.1bn this year, up 17 per cent on $29bn last year.

"Our early investments in the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge are paying off, and we will continue to expand our reach in large and growing markets with differentiated innovation", Mr. Nadella said on a conference call on Thursday. Alex Zukin, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, told the Associated Press that the "threat of Amazon" would work in Microsoft's favor as e-commerce companies seek a cloud computing platform that is not run by a competitor.

Revenue in Intelligent Cloud was $9.6 billion and increased 23 per cent.

On the productivity side of the coin, Office, Dynamics, LinkedIn saw revenues jump 13 percent in the quarter to $9.7 billion; Office 365 commercial revenue grew 38 percent.

Microsoft has officially capped off a barnstorming year, announcing $110 billion in revenue - the first time the company has ever topped $100 billion - thanks to massive growth in both the cloud and gaming markets.

Jefferies, on the other hand, one of the two bears with the equivalent of sell ratings tracked by Bloomberg, questioned the ultimate margins of Microsoft's cloud computing service known as Azure.

"Exceptional sales execution delivered double-digit revenue growth across all segments and strong progress against our strategic priorities, anchored by commercial cloud revenue growing 53 per cent year-over-year to $6.9 billion", said Amy Hood, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Microsoft.

Wall Street was looking for fourth quarter earnings of $1.08 a share on revenue of $29.2 billion.

Switching gears to the More Personal Computing category, revenue increased by 17 percent, moving up to $10.8 billion. Microsoft's Surface business also saw significant growth for the quarter, posting a 25 percent gain over the same time previous year.

Speaking to financial analysts on a conference call, Nadella made a point of praising Azure, noting Microsoft's recently signed mega-deal with Walmart to provide all of the cloud backend for the USA big-box behemoth. The revenue brought in by Surface products was up 25%, and gaming had a healthy 39% increase. "The combination of Xbox Live, Game Pass subscriptions and Mixer are driving record levels of growth and engagement".

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