Microsoft Tops Profit Estimates

SAN FRANCISCO -- Microsoft (MSFT) topped first-quarter expectations Thursday but lowered its full-year earnings outlook.

Profit at the Redmond, Wash., software company rose 2% to $4.4 billion, or 48 cents a share, from $4.3 billion, or 45 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Analysts were looking for earnings of 47 cents a share on net income of $4.4 billion.

Revenue grew 9.4% to $15.1 billion, from $13.7 billion in the same quarter of last year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected $14.8 billion.

Shares of Microsoft, which fell through much of the week, were up 48 cents, or 2.2%, in recent after-hours trading to $22.80.

Unearned revenue rose 16% year over year to $13.5 billion but declined 12% sequentially.

For the second quarter, Microsoft projected revenue ranging from $17.3 billion to $17.8 billion and EPS of 51 cents to 53 cents. Analysts were expecting revenue of $18 billion and earnings of 55 cents a share.

The company lowered its full-year expectations to a range of $64.9 billion to $66.4 billion in revenue and EPS of $2 to $2.10. The company had previously projected revenue ranging from $67.3 billion to $68.1 billion and EPS of $2.12 to $2.18. Analysts were expecting full-year revenue of $67.7 billion and EPS of $2.11.

Business software competitor Oracle ( ORCL) last month reported 18% revenue growth to $5.42 billion for its first fiscal quarter, which ended in August. For the second quarter, Oracle projected top-line growth of 12% to 15% in constant currency.

And IBM ( IBM), which sells Windows software with its servers but also competes with Microsoft with its Lotus and WebSphere brands, reaffirmed full-year earnings guidance last week.

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