Microsoft's Cloud Drives an Earnings Beat for Company
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

Cloud computing lifted Microsoft (MSFT) to a fiscal second-quarter earnings beat on Wednesday.

Earnings per share came to $0.96 on a non-Gaap basis, well above forecasts of 87 cents per share, according to analysts polled by FactSet. Revenues increased 12% to $28.9 billion, topping expectations of $28.4 billion.

Microsoft shares were up by less than 1% to $95.01 in after-hours trading.

CEO Satya Nadella said that Microsoft's investments in the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and other areas would accelerate growth in the future. 

Azure revenue grew 98% in the quarter, though Microsoft does not break out revenues for the cloud computing unit. Azure helped drive a 56% increase in Microsoft's commercial cloud revenues, which came to $5.5 billion in the quarter.

OMG Microsoft earnings! Via @TheStreet $MSFT $FB https://t.co/n73E2aGJYs

— Brian Sozzi (@BrianSozzi) January 31, 2018

Look for more detail on the cloud computing competition on Thursday, when Alphabet (GOOGL) reports results for Google Cloud Platform and Amazon (AMZN) discloses results for Amazon Web services.

Revenues from LinkedIn, which Microsoft acquired for $26.2 billion in 2016, grew 475% to $1.3 billion.

The Xbox One X launch drove a 14% gain in sales of the gaming consel, and an 8% gain in gaming revenue. 

Microsoft's cash and equivalents hit $142.8 billion, much of it overseas. 

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act resulted in a $13.8 billion net charge on a Gaap basis, Microsoft said.

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