Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) - Get Report reported strong fiscal first-quarter top- and bottom line beats after the closing bell Wednesday, October 24.

The software giant reported earnings of $1.14 per share, topping analysts' expectations of 96 cents per share. The company also reported revenue of $29.08 billion versus Wall Street's expectation of revenue of $27.90 billion; net income rose 34% year over year to $8.8 billion. 

Microsoft's stock was up about 3% after hours on the news, although it fell more than 5% during the day's trading in a rough day for the markets, with the Dow falling more than 600 points.  

Microsoft's growth has coincided with the company's decision in recent years to pivot away from its legacy software business to focus more on the cloud and artificial intelligence. Microsoft's "Azure" cloud business has been able to increase its market share steadily and is currently second behind Amazon Inc.'s (AMZN) - Get Report  "AWS" cloud platform in terms of market share. 

"We like the solid revenue growth we are seeing in Azure and believe the longer-term customer commitments speaks to the product improvements we have been hearing about in recent months," said Zev Fima, analyst for Jim Cramer's Action Alerts Plus Portfolio, which owns Microsoft. "These commitments should give investors more confidence in future earnings and help push the stock higher at a time when data center growth is in question -- a view we have disagreed with. Microsoft remains one of the most attractive ways to play the cloud thanks to its relatively low P/E compared to Amazon and best-in-class hybrid model."

Amazon Web Services currently has a 41.5% share of the cloud market, according to a recent report from Cloud Security Alliance, which is down from the more than 60% market share it enjoyed at the end of 2017. Meanwhile Microsoft's Azure has increased its market share to 29.4%.

In the fiscal first quarter, Azure revenues grew 76% year over year (Microsoft doesn't break out actual sales figures for Azure), while overall revenue in the Intelligent Cloud division increased 24% to $8.6 billion.

Microsoft's gaming revenue rose 44% year over year to $2.73 billion. Meanwhile revenues in its productivity and business processes division increased 19% to $9.8 billion. 

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