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Microsoft's 2Q earnings dip despite Windows 8 lift

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 24, 2013 at 6:35 pm •  Published: January 24, 2013
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Microsoft earned $6.4 billion, or 76 cents per share, during the final three months of 2012. That was down 4 percent from $6.6 billion, or 78 cents per share, a year earlier.

The company's total revenue rose 3 percent from the previous year to $21.5 billion.

The earnings were a penny above the average estimate of analysts surveyed by FactSet, while the total revenue fell below analysts' projections by about $100 million.

Microsoft's stock shed 44 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $27.19 in Thursday's extended trading, after the release of results. The stock has remained stuck below its price before Windows 8 and Surface came out, signaling that investors aren't pleased with the products' performance so far.

"This is going to be a 'show-me' year for Microsoft, and there was nothing to really shout about in this quarter," Olson said. "So what we are seeing is sort of a shrug from investors."

Microsoft is still trying to working with device makers to come up with the proper mix of machines at different prices to appeal to consumers and corporate customers, said Peter Klein, the company's chief financial officer.

"This is a big, ambitious reimagining of Windows and this quarter was the first step in that process," Klein told analysts in a Thursday conference call.

Besides debuting Windows and Surface during the most recent quarter, Microsoft also released a new version of its operating system for smartphones.

If Microsoft's revamped software for tablets and smartphones catches on, it would help the company overcome a downturn in PC sales, which has reduced licensing revenue during the past year. Worldwide PC shipments fell 3.5 percent last year, marking the industry's first annual decline since 2001, according to the research firm Gartner Inc.

Despite Microsoft's high hopes and an elaborate marketing campaign, Windows 8 appears to have gotten off to a tepid start. Technology reviews have panned the software as too confusing and cumbersome to navigate, and none of the hundreds of devices running on Windows 8 emerged as a breakout hit during the holiday season.

A big chunk of Microsoft's Windows revenue in the holiday-season quarter came from sales that were made before the new operating system's release. Excluding revenue that had been deferred from previous quarter, Windows revenue increased 11 percent from the same period in 2011.

Reiterating information released earlier this month, Microsoft said it has licensed more than 60 million copies of Windows 8. That puts the redesigned system on the same early sales trajectory as its predecessor, Windows 7, after it came out in 2009. It's unclear how many of the devices that have licensed Windows 8 are still sitting on store shelves.

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AP Technology Writer Barbara Ortutay in New York contributed to this story.