Cloud business lifts Microsoft's quarterly results

AP Photo/Eric Risberg

Microsoft's latest earnings report shows CEO Satya Nadella is making progress in his push to embrace cloud computing. The company said Thursday that revenue from cloud services, including software delivered over the Internet, more than doubled in the last quarter. That helped lift quarterly profit and revenue above expectations.

The tech giant still makes most of its money from selling traditional software for businesses and home computers. But Nadella acknowledges that traditional software has an uncertain future, as people buy fewer personal computers and businesses switch to software that can be accessed online, instead of installing programs on individual machines. Microsoft spent $4.5 billion last year to expand its own computer centers that support cloud services. That's a little more than Microsoft expects to make in revenue from commercial cloud services this year, but analysts say the market is growing.

The Redmond, Washington, company reported net income of $4.54 billion, or 54 cents per share, for its fiscal first quarter that ended in September — beating analysts' consensus estimate of 49 cents per share, according to FactSet. That's down from $5.24 billion, or 62 cents per share, a year ago, due to over $1 billion in costs to restructure its business and integrate its purchase of Nokia devices. The company also spent more on sales, marketing and research and development during the three month-period.

Revenue grew to $23.20 billion from $18.53 billion, also topping the $22.01 billion forecast by analysts.

Shares jumped over 3 percent in after-hours trading.

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