REDMOND, Wash. ( TheStreet) -- Microsoft's ( MSFT) fourth-quarter results could provide a boost to a host of other tech companies as the software giant eyes a vast pile of PC dollars during the coming months. The tech giant beat Wall Street's estimates with its fourth-quarter numbers and painted a rosy picture of the broader computer market during a conference call to discuss the results on Thursday.
"The PC market continues to thrive," said Bill Koefoed, Microsoft's general manager of investor relations, during the call. "We estimate that it grew between 22% and 24%
during the fourth quarter ." Microsoft CFO Peter Klein added that Microsoft is also entering its new fiscal year with good momentum thanks to strong PC demand. "We expect the PC refresh cycle to continue through fiscal 2011," he added. The company expects revenue from its Windows and Windows Live division to grow in line with PC market growth. Microsoft expects full-year operating expense guidance of $26.9 billion to $27.3 billion, Klein added. Microsoft's bullishness spells good news for chipmakers such as Intel ( INTC) and AMD ( AMD) and PC manufacturers such as Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) and Dell ( DELL). There was, however, no word on recently rumored Microsoft layoffs during the conference call, although Klein did confirm that Microsoft's fourth-quarter headcount was down 4% on the same period last year. Microsoft's PC numbers do not include tablets. The tech behemoth was quizzed about this emerging market during Thursday's conference call. "We think that tablets are very interesting," responded Klein somewhat vaguely, acknowledging that the technology is opening up new opportunities. "We continue to work on that." The software giant's shares dipped 23 cents, or 0.89%, to $25.72 on Thursday, as the Nasdaq fell 1.46%. -- Reported by James Rogers in New York Follow James Rogers on Twitter.