Microsoft revenue beats as remote work feeds cloud demand, boosts Teams

Microsoft signage is seen on March 13, 2020 in New York City. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Microsoft reported quarterly revenue above Wall Street estimates on Wednesday (April 29), boosted by higher demand for its cloud platform Azure and collaboration app Teams, and as people locked in their homes due to the pandemic played more games on Xbox consoles.

The company's shares, which rose over 12 per cent this year, were up about 5 per cent in extended trading.

Microsoft said Windows benefitted from increased demand to support remote work and learning scenarios, offset in part by supply chain constraints in China that improved late in the third quarter.

Microsoft said on Wednesday that supply chain constraints due to the coronavirus pandemic had delayed some of its spending to build Azure data centres.

Revenue was also helped by demand for the company's cloud services. However growth in Azure slowed to 59 per cent in the reported quarter, compared to a growth of 62 per cent in the second quarter.

Microsoft said revenue for its "commercial cloud", a combination of Azure and the cloud-based versions of software such as Office, rose 39 per cent to US$13.3 billion (S$18 billion).

The business' gross profit margin, a key measure of cloud profitability that Microsoft has told investors it expects to improve, was 67 per cent versus 63 per cent last year.

Microsoft also said capital expenditure was US$3.9 billion, up from US$3.4 billion a year earlier and lower than the US$4.5 billion the previous quarter as the company spends on data centers to support Azure.

The coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent shift to work from home has boosted user engagement on Microsoft's Teams app that saw video calls rocketing 1,000 per cent in the month of March.

Teams, which competes with Zoom Video Communications Inc's video conferencing app and Slack Technologies Inc , has benefited from these measures in many countries, hitting 44 million users last month.

Microsoft said revenue in its Intelligent Cloud segment, that includes Azure, rose 27 per cent to US$12.28 billion, beating analysts' estimates of US$11.87 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The tech giant's revenue rose 15 per cent to US$35.02 billion in the third quarter ending March 31, beating estimates of US$33.66 billion.

Net income rose to US$10.75 billion, or US$1.40 per share, from US$8.81 billion, or US$1.14 per share, a year earlier.

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