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Microsoft Rides High On Vista, Office, 'Halo'

Microsoft's usually sluggish stock rose 11% in after-hours trading yesterday after the company surprised analysts by boosting its annual sales forecast by $2 billion. Microsoft attribute the outcome to strong sales of products, including Windows Vista, Office 2007, computer server software and the "Halo 3" video game.

The company continues to experience growing pains in its online division, however, posting a larger operating loss in that area as it continues to build the costly infrastructure it believes it needs to compete with Google and Yahoo.

Microsoft overall saw its profits rise 23%, to $4.29 billion. Companywide revenues hit $13.76 billion, up 27 %--the company's highest first-quarter growth rate since 1999. "It took everybody by surprise," says Sid Parakh, analyst at McAdams Wright Ragen.



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