Microsoft reported net income of US$5.9 billion in its fiscal fourth quarter, up from $4.5 billion a year earlier. Revenue rose 8 percent to $17.37 billion. For the full year, Microsoft reported revenue of $69.94 billion and net income of $23.15 billion- both figures setting records.However, Microsoft’s Windows operating system was off one percent, reflecting continued weakness for the company’s mainstay business as the rapidly growing tablet market – in particular Apple’s iPad sales – ate into sales of inexpensive consumer laptops. Microsoft does not currently compete in the tablet sector.
The Seattle-based company continued to see a fall in sales of cheap consumer notebook computers such as netbooks, largely due to the surge in sales of tablet computers like the iPad.
The iPad’s explosive growth has raised questions about Microsoft’s longtime lock on the software side of the PC market. Apple sold 9.25 million iPads during the quarter ended June 25, nearly triple the number from the same quarter last year, bringing in more than $6 billion in revenue.
On the positive side for Microsoft, the latest result reflects long-term contracts for software and services purchased by big corporate customers, which were up to more than $17 billion.
Performance of Microsoft’s business division – the group responsible for Office – achieved a 7 percent revenue jump to $5.78 billion for the quarter. But its position in some other markets is tipped to decline, especially in its key Windows business, which fell 1 percent to $4.74 billion from a year earlier.
Microsoft’s performance in consumer markets was mixed, with revenue from the entertainment-and-devices division that includes its Xbox games system jumping 30 percent to $1.49 billion.
Revenue in the online-services group – encompassing the Bing search engine – rose 17 percent to $662 million. But the division lost $2.56 billion, compared with a loss of $2.34 billion last year