Microsoft profits soar as cloud demand continues in pandemic

Microsoft’s profits soared during the first three months of 2021, thanks to ongoing demand for its software and cloud computing services during the pandemic

Microsoft’s profits soared during the first three months of 2021, thanks to ongoing demand for its software and cloud computing services during the pandemic.

The company on Tuesday reported fiscal third-quarter profit of $14.8 billion, up 38% from the same period last year.

“Over a year into the pandemic, digital adoption curves aren’t slowing down. They’re accelerating, and it’s just the beginning,” CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement.

Net income of $1.95 per share beat Wall Street expectations. Analysts were expecting Microsoft to earn $1.78 per share on revenue of $41 billion for the fiscal quarter ending in March, according to FactSet.

The software maker based in Redmond, Washington, posted revenue of $41.7 billion in the January-March period, up 19% from last year.

Revenue from Microsoft’s productivity segment, which includes its Office suite of workplace products such as email, grew by 15% over the same time last year, to $13.6 billion. Its cloud computing business segment grew 23% to $15.1 billion.

Microsoft’s personal computing business segment grew by 19% to $13 billion, buoyed by last year’s release of a new Xbox gaming console and an unusually strong season for PC sales across the industry. Microsoft gets licensing revenue for computers made by other manufacturers running its Windows operating system. Sales of Microsoft’s own line of Surface devices also grew by 12%.

Pent-up demand for supply-constrained consoles during the holiday season also contributed to the 34% rise in sales of Xbox content and services in early 2021.

But it’s the cloud growth that has been Microsoft’s focus as the company tries to tap into a pandemic-caused shift in big businesses, governments and other organizations doing more of their essential work online.

Microsoft’s stock, which is up about 18% so far this year, slipped about 3% in after-market trading following the release of the quarterly earnings report.

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