Microsoft profits up, Intel down slightly

Microsoft Tuesday reported a net profit of US$2.79 billion, or 26 cents per share, for its fiscal third quarter, which ended March 31. That compares with $2.74 billion, or 25 cents per share, for the same period last year.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call had forecast a profit of 24 cents per share.

Intel's first quarter 2003 earnings were slightly down compared to the same period last year, as higher demand for its processors was offset by lower demand for its flash memory products, Intel said in a release Tuesday. The company did manage to exceed Wall Street's expectations for the quarter.

Microsoft's revenue rose to $7.84 billion from $7.25 billion in the third quarter of 2002, compared with the $7.75 billion projected by analysts.

"We reported another quarter of strong revenue and operating income results in a very tough environment," said John Connors, Microsoft's chief financial officer, in a statement.

"While there is obviously a great deal of economic uncertainty ahead, our ongoing investment in R&D has resulted in a broad product pipeline, including upcoming releases of Windows Server 2003, Visual Studio.Net 2003, Exchange 2003 and Office 2003. We believe that these innovative products will enable our customers to get more productivity and value out of their IT investments," Connors said.

Microsoft said revenue for its fourth quarter, which ends on June 30, is expected to be in the range of $7.8 billion to $7.9 billion. The company said operating income is expected to be between $3.1 billion and $3.2 billion, while earnings per share are projected at 23 or 24 cents.

Intel's revenue for the first quarter was $6.75 billion, down slightly from revenue of $6.78 billion in the first quarter of 2002. Net income was $915 million, also down from $936 million in the first quarter of last year. The Santa Clara, Calif., company reported earnings per share of 14 cents.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had predicted the company would post earnings per share of 12 cents and revenue of $6.69 billion.

Second-quarter revenue is expected to come in between $6.4 billion and $7.0 billion, although Intel hedged its predictions by noting in its release that "continued uncertainty in global economic conditions makes it particularly difficult to predict product demand and other related matters."

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