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Microsoft posts first quarterly loss as a public company

The loss resulted from a $6.2B writedown of a soured online-advertising acquisition. The rest of its business appears healthy, though, buoyed by enterprise software while Windows 8 awaits its debut.


Microsoft's fourth quarter had a bevy of moving parts, but the results set the company up for a series of product launches including the latest Windows and Office.

The company reported a fourth quarter loss of 6 cents a share on revenue of $18.06 billion. That sum includes a goodwill impairment charge from the acquisition of aQuantive as well as deferred revenue of $540 million due to Windows upgrade offers. Excluding those items, Microsoft reported non-GAAP earnings of 73 cents a share on revenue of $18.6 billion.

Wall Street was looking for fiscal fourth quarter earnings of 62 cents a share on revenue of $18.12 billion.

In a statement, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that the next year will feature "the most exciting launch season" in the company's history. For fiscal 2012, Microsoft reported earnings of $2 a share on revenue of $73.7 billion. That tally includes charges as well as deferred revenue.

Microsoft's businesses stuck to the script of recent quarters. The server and tools unit delivered fourth quarter revenue growth of 13 percent and the business division, which features Office, was up 7 percent. Microsoft's entertainment and device division saw revenue jump 20 percent largely because it now includes Skype.

As expected, Microsoft's Windows revenue fell 13 percent in the first quarter. Windows 7 is now on more than half global enterprise desktops.


This item first appeared on ZDNet's Between the Lines blog under the headline "Microsoft's Q4 solid excluding charges; Windows 8 wait on tap."