Microsoft Beats Expectations Thanks to Cloud Business

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Mark Lennihan/AP/Shutterstock (10434360b)Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talks during a company event, in New YorkMicrosoft Event, New York, USA - 02 Oct 2019.
Mark Lennihan/AP/Shutterstock / Mark Lennihan/AP/Shutterstock

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) reported its fourth-quarter earnings today. The earnings beat analysts’ expectations.

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The company reported $2.03 earnings per share, compared to the consensus EPS forecast for the quarter of $1.64 based on 15 analysts’ forecasts, according to Zacks Investment Research. This represents a 34% increase compared to the corresponding period of last fiscal year, according to the earnings statement.

“What we have witnessed over the past year is the dawn of a second wave of digital transformation sweeping every company and every industry,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, in the earnings statement. “Building their own digital capability is the new currency driving every organization’s resilience and growth. Microsoft is powering this shift with the world’s largest and most comprehensive cloud platform.”

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For the quarter, the company reported revenue of $43.1 billion, a 17% increase compared to the corresponding period of last fiscal year. This also beats analysts’ expectations, which had forecasted consensus revenue of $40.2 billion, according to Barron’s.

“Accelerating demand for our differentiated offerings drove commercial cloud revenue to $16.7 billion, up 34% year over year,” Amy Hood, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Microsoft, said in the statement. “We continue to benefit from our investments in strategic, high-growth areas.”

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The company says that revenue in productivity and business processes was $13.4 billion, a 13% increase, with LinkedIn revenue increasing 23%. Revenue in Intelligent Cloud was $14.6 billion, an increase of 23% driven by Azure revenue growth of 50%. Revenue in “More Personal Computing” was $15.1 billion, a 14% increase driven by Xbox content and services revenue, which increased 40%.

“This current work-from-home environment is further catalyzing more enterprises to make the strategic cloud shift with Microsoft across the board with Azure growth remaining brisk,” Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives wrote in a research note, according to Barron’s. “In many cases we are seeing enterprises accelerate their digital transformation and cloud strategy with Microsoft by six to 12 months as the prospects of a semi remote workforce for the foreseeable future looks here to stay.”

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a former full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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