This may turn out to be the first earnings report where Microsoft's actual financial results are a sideshow to the main event.
Microsoft reported fiscal second-quarter results Thursday that were better than expected. The company had sales of $24.5 billion and 78 cents per share. Wall Street had expected revenue of $23.7 billion with a profit of 68 cents a share.
But the bigger news -- who will replace Steve Ballmer as the company's next chief executive? -- remains in the realm of a press release, at least for the foreseeable future. The company had nothing to say in its earnings statement about progress in its search for a new CEO, which began afterResponding to the earnings report, Microsoft shares soared in after-hours trading. The highlights of the recently concluded quarter included: his intentions to step down sometime within the following 12 months. For what it's worth, I'm again hearing rumblings that an announcement may be in the offing -- perhaps as early as next week -- but we've heard that before so take that one with the proverbial grain of salt.
- Windows OEM revenue: Down 3 percent, reflecting what the company described as "continuing softness" in the consumer PC business. At the same time, Windows OEM Pro revenue climbed 12 percent.
- Surface revenue: $893 million, up from $400 million in the first quarter.
- Xbox unit sales: 7.4 million units.
- Bing: Revenue up 34 percent.
- Commercial revenue: Up 10 percent to $12.67 billion.
Microsoft, which is hosting an analyst call this afternoon to discuss the results, said it would provide forward-looking guidance in connection with the quarterly earnings announcement on its earnings conference call.