updated 04:15 pm EDT, Thu April 19, 2012
Microsoft bounces back in fiscal Q3 2012
Microsoft saw its Windows unit partly return to form on Thursday as it once again reported gains. Following Windows division losses in the fall, the group has seen its revenue go up four percent to just over $4.6 billion. The segment succeeded mostly on the back of business desktops and infrastructure, Microsoft said, suggesting that home users and pro notebooks were still struggling.
Other groups were positive. The Servers & Tools division's revenue was up 14 percent to $4.6 as SQL Server and System Center drove the core. The Business Division, which handles Office 2010 and other key apps, grew nine points to $5.8 billion.
A key weak point was the Entertainment & Devices division, which was hurt to a 16 percent level owing to an overall weak console industry that Microsoft was still leading. The online division also lost about $476 million as Bing and related cloud services weren't successful in dislodging Google.
As a whole, the company posted record revenue, climbing six points to $17.4 billion made between January and March. Its profit was slightly down at $5.1 billion compared to just over $5.2 billion, although this was considered negligible as Microsoft had been given a tax benefit at the same point in 2011.
Microsoft was optimistic about lowering its costs and lowered them down to no more than $28.7 billion for the full fiscal 2012 that would stopalong with the end of June. Expenses would grow up to eight percent from that point in 2013.
The company may face a difficult spring and summer. Customers are increasingly likely to wait for the release of Windows 8, widely expected in the fall, and may start to more visibly hold off on buying PCs at both home and work. Poor Windows Phone sales and the effective non-existence of Windows 7 tablets in the market could see Apple and Google cement their positions in mobile, even with strong US sales of Nokia's Lumia 900.