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Microsoft Reports Strong Quarter, aQuantive Write-Down Hurts

Fri, 07/20/2012 - 6:52am
Andrew Berg

Microsoft wrapped up its fiscal fourth quarter of 2012 with its first loss due to a misled 2007 acquisition of online advertising company aQuantive, which resulted this quarter in a $6.2 billion write-down and subsequent $492 million loss overall.  

Aside from the write-down, Microsoft reported solid earnings for the quarter. Revenue hit $18.6 billion, up 7 percent year over year, with operating income at $6.9 billion, up 12 percent.  

Peter Klein, Microsoft's CFO, touted the release of Windows 8 in an earnings call as another step towards establishing itself in the mobile arena. 

"With Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, we see a great opportunity to benefit from the trend towards smart mobile devices," Klein said, according to a transcript of the call provided by Seeking Alpha."We feel that we are uniquely positioned to address the security and manageability challenges that CIOs are dealing with today as a result of this trend. And for users, we offer compelling experiences across devices with data and services that are connected seamlessly via the cloud."

Microsoft has been slowly piecing together a compelling ecosystem, with Windows 8 emerging as the glue that will tie together its cloud, mobile, content and gaming products. Windows Phone 8 is based on the same core technologies that power Windows 8 and the company hopes it will create one seamless environment across devices. 

Microsoft yesterday reported approximately 100,000 apps in the marketplace and Windows Phone unit sales grew more than 50 percent sequentially. 

On the downside, Microsoft's primary mobile OEM partner, Nokia, yesterday reported dismal earnings. Nokia told investors Wednesday that it had shipped just 600,000 devices in North America.  

Bolstering Microsoft's reinvention of its mobile offerings are is its Servers and Tools division as well as its cutting-edge gaming offering, the XBox 360. The company's Entertainment and Devices division revenue grew 20 percent for the fourth quarter and 8 percent for the full year, which the company said reflects the addition of Skype. Xbox has now been the top-selling console in the U.S. for 18 consecutive months.  

During its fiscal 2012, Microsoft launched new television and video partnerships for Xbox Live, and announced Xbox SmartGlass, which connects phones, PCs, and tablets with the Xbox 360 console.

Share of Microsoft were flat in early trading Friday at $30.14.  

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