Earnings rise at Microsoft

MICROSOFT matched market expectations for its first-quarter earnings yesterday, turning a solid performance despite weakness in the PC market that hit sales of its flagship Windows software.

The software giant’s strong foothold in the business market helped insulate it from the slowdown in consumer spending, and it said it had set a new record for revenues.

The group’s sales hit $17.4bn (£11bn) in the quarter to the end of September, seven per cent higher than the same period in 2010, Microsoft said, while net profit rose six per cent to $5.7bn.

“Our product portfolio is performing well, and we’ve got an impressive pipeline of products and services that positions us well for future growth,” said chief finance officer Peter Klein.

Its Office platform for companies was the strongest performer, helping its business division post an eight per cent rise in revenue to $5.6bn, while its servers division grew at 10 per cent year-on-year.

Sales of its flagship Windows software package were $4.9bn in the quarter, up two per cent year-on-year, breaking a run of three consecutive quarters of falling revenues.

But its shares fell as much as 1.2 per cent in after-hours trading.