Microsoft revenues beat forecasts, but Xbox and Bing disappoint

By Lee Kaelin on April 20, 2012, 9:00 AM

Software giant Microsoft beat analyst predictions after posting better than expected results for their latest financial quarter today, buoyed by a unexpected rise in sales of its Windows operating system, according to the latest figures reported by the Guardian.

Microsoft reported a new record high in revenue, at $17.41 billion, a 6 percent increase on last year. Profits fell however, to $5.11 billion or 60 cents a share, down slightly from $5.23 billion the previous year. The slightly lower profit margin is largely due to the Entertainment division reporting a loss of $229 million, in contrast to last year's profits of $210 million.

The Server and Tools division was the most profitable during the period, which saw revenues increase by 14 percent to $4.57 billion. Windows and Windows Live division grew four percent to $4.62 billion, with the firm pointing out that business sales were currently stronger than consumer sales. Software sales in its Business division, which includes the highly profitable Office software, rose by nine percent to $5.81 billion.

It wasn't all great success for the iconic American software firm though, with the Entertainment and Devices division, which contains both the Xbox 360 games console and its Windows Phone mobile OS groups reporting a slump of 16 percent for the period, down to just $1.62 billion. Microsoft says the currently weak games console market is to blame for the turnaround in revenue.

Despite not posting any financial results for its mobile OS, ongoing payments to Nokia and a recent charge of $250 million in marketing funds for Windows Phone certainly contributed to the drop.

Search engine money pit Bing continued to look a disaster with no clear profits in sight. Whilst recording a six percent increase in revenue to $707 million, the search engine group ultimately reported a loss of $479 million. It was however, better than the reported loss of $776 million it suffered during the same period last year. 

"We're driving toward exciting launches across the entire company, while delivering strong financial results," said chief executive Steve Ballmer, during the announcing of the financial results.

The company did note that results in the same period a year ago were boosted by a $461 million tax benefit. Shares in Microsoft rose by three percent in after-hours trading to $31.94, up from their 4PM close of trading at $31.01 upon hearing the quarterly results.

User Comments: 14

Got something to say? Post a comment
9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I own an Xbox, and I can't think of a title that's recently come out on it that I wanted to pick up.

I've been playing on the PC mostly.

Carleton Wu Carleton Wu said:

The escalating Xbox live fees is what broke the camel's back for me. Instead of shrinking the fee and maybe eliminating it altogether, they do the opposite. Not enough reason to join since multiplayer gaming is all i do--and xbox is not even server based, so what am I paying for? I moved over to PS3.

Guest said:

I purchased an Xbox. All it does is collect dust. What a waste of money, I use the PS3 a whole lot more.

killeriii said:

"Microsoft says the currently weak games console market is to blame for the turnaround in revenue."

Isn't it their job as a console developer to stimulate the market with new content? Advertise current content to promote sales?

The only reason the market is weak is because it's stagnant right now. Does Microsoft expect someone else to fix this for them?

Guest said:

Don't underestimate the power of self-denial.

Guest said:

Well if they considered making XBOX free to play online instead of forcing users to pay (and netflix, etc), that would probably help alot. 25% the cost of the console to play online is a friggin joke and is why many have chosen PS3 over the XBOX. I know that is why I bought a PS3 and my XBOX has now been collecting dust for the past 2 years.

Guest said:

I tried LIVE for a year. I just don't see the value. I bought over a hundred dollars of Arcade titles alone while I had it, but I hardly touch the 360 since I got a PS3. For starters, the system is almost useless for a serious gamer unless you have LIVE. But in large part, its because the 360 never felt like my console. Its like having a door to door salesman stop by, and after making a successful sale he sets up shop in your house, rearranges everything so you have to sift through advertisements to get to your living room, then charges you 60 dollars a year to use your own toilet. That's money you could be spending on toilet paper.

I'm planning my next PC at the moment. I might even pick up the Wii U next year. Those are the 2 main reasons why I have cut my spending as of late.

Guest said:

PC gaming is on all time high thanks to XBox Live cost.

Steam is the way forward, always some sort of discount going to on for gamers with wasy access from around the world sweet.......

Xbox gathering dust got a few titles but mainly both it to try out the Kinect which is not great with limited titles making the most of the device disappointing

PS3 on the other hand GREAT with free online gaming plus all the extra entertainment like BBC iPlayer, itv, youtube plus more making your home system complete

MrAnderson said:

This gen is starting to slow... almost everyone who was going to get one has gotten. Upcoming price drops and software will need to make the push until the other next generation arrives 2013-2014.

m4a4 m4a4 said:

When it comes to multiplayer, XBL is the best platform imo. I will rather get a game for xbox than pc if it has a mp component that I will be playing. ~4$ a month for a great service is fine to me because as long as I have a good connection, I will get a good online experience (providing the game can deliver too)...

Guest said:

"4$ a month for a great service is fine to me because as long as I have a good connection."

^ That's 1 way to look at it. Since 360 came out around November 2005, that's 6.5 years x 12 months / year x $4 = $312 in online fees. In other words, that's a lot of free games OR basically like getting PS3 for free. I know for the next console there is no way I am paying $40-50 a year to play online. Why? That's a lot of Steam games I can buy, or pretty much paying for most of my PS4 over the course of its useful life (6-7 years).

Unless the next Xbox is very powerful, next generation may see Sony winning. If it wasn't for $599 PS3 launch price, they would have done a lot better. PS4 will probably cost less than $400. Sony's exclusives are also generally better. MS better bring some insane hardware/graphics or great exclusives or it will lose the next generation.

jackal2687 said:

I think it's funny how many people bash the Xbox for having a subscription service. I gladly pay for Live for up to date software, very little gaps where cheaters can wreak havok and also for the 10 second updates.

In my case, my PS3 is collecting dust, also I must say that when it comes to "hardcore gamers", people that play MW3 or BF3 on the Xbox are much better. My stats say it all!

Xbox (MW3) 3.5 W/L Ratio, 3.2 K/D

PS3 (MW3) 19 W/L Ratio, 4.9 K/D

That is solo by the way on the PS3, because none of my friends play on it either.

Guest said:

Dont worry everyone its looking like microsoft is going to shoot itself in the foot with its next console. and its next OS too seeing as people are still buying windows 7? Im guessing that was the "Windows Operating System" this thread was talking bout.

Guest said:

Dont worry everyone its looking like microsoft is going to shoot itself in the foot with its next console. ***for gaming anyways***

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.