Microsoft profit soars as pandemic speeds shift to cloud

File: US technology stalwart Microsoft. AFP/Drew Angerer 

SAN FRANCISCO - Microsoft said profit rose sharply in the recently ended quarter as the coronavirus pandemic reinforced the shift to relying on services hosted in the cloud for work, play and socialising.

The US technology stalwart reported net income of $15.5-billion in the final three months of last year, a 33 percent jump from the same period in pre-pandemic 2019.

Overall revenue rose 17 percent from a year ago to $43.1-billion, Microsoft said in its update for its fiscal second quarter.

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"What we have witnessed over the past year is the dawn of a second wave of digital transformation sweeping every company and every industry," Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said in an earnings call.

Microsoft's commercial cloud offerings took in revenue of $16.7-billion in the quarter, up 34 percent from the same period in the prior year, according to chief financial officer Amy Hood.

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"We continue to benefit from our investments in strategic, high-growth areas," Hood said.

Microsoft shares were up more than five percent after-market trades that followed release of the earnings figures.

"These were blow-out numbers that will be another feather in the cap for the tech sector as the cloud growth party is just getting started, in our opinion led by Microsoft," Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in a note to investors.


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