Software subscriptions push Microsoft earnings up

Microsoft reported a year-on-year increase in sales and net profit for its fourth fiscal quarter on Thursday as it benefited from multiyear software subscription deals.

Net profit for the quarter ended June 30 was US$1.92 billion, compared with $1.53 billion in the year-ago period, the Redmond, Washington, software vendor said in a statement. This year's figure was reduced by $533 million in after-tax law suit settlement charges, while last year's result included a write-off charge of $806 million, Microsoft said.

Revenue for the quarter was $8.07 billion, up 11 percent from $7.25 billion a year earlier. Growth was driven primarily by multiyear licensing deals for server products and applications such as Office in Microsoft's Information Worker unit, as well as a 25 percent revenue jump at the MSN Internet division, Microsoft said.

The revenue figures beat the $7.88 billion consensus estimate of 20 analysts polled by Thomson First Call.

Looking ahead, Microsoft expects revenue for its first quarter to come out between $7.9 billion and $8.1 billion, with earnings per share about $0.23. Last year the company reported first quarter revenue of $7.75 billion.

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