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Microsoft sees profits rocket 60 per cent

MICROSOFT yesterday posted a bigger-than-expected 60 per cent jump in quarterly profit, helped by strong sales of Windows 7, and said it expected business technology spending to recover this year.

The world’s biggest software maker said yesterday that net profit came to $6.7bn (£4.2bn), or 74 cents per share, for its fiscal second quarter, versus $4.2bn, or 47 cents per share, a year ago.

Microsoft’s shares rose just one per cent in after-hours trading, a relatively muted reaction that analysts attributed in part to a run-up in the stock following the launch of the Windows 7 operating system in October.

“Make no mistake, these were very good results out of Microsoft. Expectations were heightened ever the last few weeks, given fourth quarter PC shipments and good numbers from Intel,” said Andy Miedler, analyst at Edward Jones.

Windows 7 has proved to be Microsoft’s strongest-selling operating system to date after the disappointing Vista. PC sales grew 15.2 per cent last quarter.

Microsoft’s revenue rose 14 per cent to $19.02bn, including $1.71bn of deferred revenue from the Windows 7 launch in October.