Microsoft Earnings Exceed Forecasts

PC guy must be ecstatic.

Beating Wall Street projections in the face of a slowing economy and technology sector, Microsoft on Thursday reported double-digit increases in profit and revenue for the fiscal second quarter.

The software giant said net profit for the quarter ending December soared 79% to $4.7 billion--or 50 cents per share--from $2.6 billion, or 26 cents per share, for the same year-over-year period. Revenue, meanwhile. increased 30% to $16.37 billion.

Microsoft, and analysts--who were expecting the company to earn 46 cents per share on revenue of $15.94 billion--attributed the results to a high global demand in PCs. (Sales of Windows Vista have now exceeded 100 million licenses since its official launched a year ago.)

"We are in the midst of another strong year with great momentum heading into calendar year 2008," said Kevin Turner, Microsoft's chief operating officer. "We continue to see healthy demand from both businesses and consumers in the United States, and our growth in emerging markets is especially strong."

The news is particularly sweet for Microsoft, given that arch rival Apple Has seen its shares tank over 30% in the last month over fears that a recession would hurt sales of its pricey gadgets.

Apple issued a forecast earlier this week that profits in the current quarter will rise 8% to 94 cents a share, while sales growth will slow to 29 percent--below analysts' expectations.

With Microsoft's enterprise business booming, sales to businesses achieved double-digit revenue growth in the quarter, while its Xbox videogame business did well this part holiday season.

Microsoft issued guidance for the current quarter of revenue in the range $14.3 billion to $14.6 billion, with earnings of 43 cents to 45 cents a share--in line with analyst forecasts.

For the full fiscal year ending June 30, 2008, the company said expects earnings to be in the range of $1.85 to $1.88 per share, on revenue of $59.9 billion to $60.5 billion--exceeding Wall Street's forecast of $1.81 per share.

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