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Microsoft shuffles its ledger

Software maker adjusts financial reporting for its operation, combining several of its business units.

As part of its continued reorganization, Microsoft plans to change its financial reporting structure and combine several of its business units.

The software maker said Monday it will now break its results into five categories rather than the seven it had previously used. It will combine its entertainment and mobile device units, and will merge the unit that includes Office with its Microsoft Business Solutions unit.

The move is separate from, and in addition to, the decision last September to create three separate divisions within the Redmond, Wash.-based company. At that time, Microsoft said it would keep its seven business units for the purposes of financial reporting.

As part of the move, Microsoft is re-allocating the financial results of its Exchange business. It is moving them from the Server and Tools unit to the Microsoft Business division, which covers Office, Microsoft Business Solutions and other corporate software. The company is also sending its MSN unit to the Online Services Group, which will now include MSN and Windows Live.

"Today's news further aligns the company around three operating divisions--Microsoft Platforms and Services Division, Microsoft Business Division, and Microsoft Entertainment and Devices Division--previously created to achieve greater agility in managing future growth and execute on Microsoft's software-based services strategy," the company said in a statement.

The changes are being made as of the new fiscal year, which started July 1. On Thursday, Microsoft is scheduled to report its results for the fiscal fourth quarter of last year. It will report the past quarter's results using the seven business units and give forecasts based on the new five-unit structure.