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Microsoft earnings sail past estimates

The software maker proves that its form of capitalism is working quite well, with quarterly earnings topping its own and Wall Street's predictions.

Whatever form of capitalism it is that Microsoft is practicing, it seems to be working.

Reporting second-quarter results Thursday, the company said it earned $6.48 billion, or 50 cents per share, on revenue of $16.37 billion for the three months ended December 31.

Analysts were looking for about $16 billion in revenue and per-share earnings of 46 cents per share. That's at the high end of what Microsoft forecast back in October. Investors have also been keenly interested to hear what Microsoft has to say about its own outlook as well as its sense of the broader economy.

"We are in the midst of another strong year with great momentum heading into calendar year 2008," Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner said in a statement. "We continue to see healthy demand from both businesses and consumers in the United States and our growth in emerging markets is especially strong."

For the coming quarter, Microsoft said on Thursday that it expects revenue in the range of $14.3 billion to $14.6 billion, and per-share earnings of around 43 cents to 46 cents. For its full fiscal year, which ends in June, the company estimated that revenue will be between $59.9 billion and $60.5 billion, with per-share earnings in the range of $1.85 to $1.88. Estimates for both the current quarter and fiscal year are up from prior forecasts.

A top Microsoft executive said in November that the company was not seeing any signs that economic worries were affecting Microsoft's business.