updated 04:52 pm EDT, Thu July 19, 2012
Revenues rise to $18 billion
Microsoft posted a first-ever loss for its fiscal fourth quarter, with profits in the red by $192 million due to the troubled $6.2 billion buyout of advertising agency aQuantive. Despite the write-off, overall revenue showed a sequential and year-over-year gain to $18.06 billion.
"We delivered record fourth quarter and annual revenue, and we’re fast approaching the most exciting launch season in Microsoft history," said CEO Steve Ballmer. "Over the coming year, we’ll release the next versions of Windows, Office, Windows Server, Windows Phone, and many other products and services that will drive our business forward and provide unprecedented opportunity to our customers and partners."
The loss does not come as a surprise, as Microsoft already cautioned that it would take a one-time charge to compensate for the aQuantive blunder. The 2007 acquisition was aimed at bolstering the company's online operations, however the move failed to prevent the department from continuing to lose money. The search business has continued to grow at a modest pace, however, bringing an eight-percent gain in revenues for the recent quarter.
The company's Server & Tools segment achieved 13 percent higher revenue in the fiscal fourth quarter, as enterprise customers continue to purchase SQL Server and System Center ahead of the Windows Server 2012 launch in September. Office 2010 also continued to maintain sales, pushing a seven percent gain in revenue for the business division.
The entertainment and devices group represented another high point, with revenues up by 20 percent for the quarter as the company begins to benefit from its Skype buyout. Xbox is also said to be the top-selling console in the US for the past 18 months.
The company has confirmed October 26 as the launch date for Windows 8. The latest OS will arrive alongside Microsoft's first Surface tablets, though the Surface Pro is not expected to ship until the end of the year or early in 2013.