back to article Microsoft surprises Street with double-digit growth

Amid mumblings and grumblings that it had lost its mojo, Microsoft surprised Wall Street by reporting revenues and earning for its fourth fiscal 2011 quarter that exceeded the moneymen's expectations. "Throughout fiscal 2011, we delivered to market a strong lineup of products and services which translated into double-digit …


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  1. Arctic fox

    This will no doubt appease some of their shareholders?

    We will likely see the Windows division doing better rather earlier than the release of Win8! The upgrade/churn cycle in the business sector is beginning to pick up speed again with the phasing out of XP and it is likely that that will be reflected in the present 12 month period's sales of Win7. However, it is certainly also true that the overall potential of conventional Windows sales on your desktop pc is being affected by the changes in the consumer electronics market (tablets etc). *There* I would agree we are going to have to wait to see how Win8 does in order to see what the long term future holds for the Windows division.

    1. deegee
      Thumb Up


      I agree. Quite a few of the other companies that I know are talking about large network/workstation upgrades for next year, which will mean upgrades to Windows 7 or 8.

  2. Robert E A Harvey

    "crossing their collective fingers"

    Perhaps instead of crossing their fingers they should get their fingers out?

    I think a radical re-think on things like WGA, support for DCMA, continually asking for the distribution cd even though we are now on SP3, multiple confusing versions, forcing hardware vendors, and silly prices might change my mind about shunning their OS.

    A serious look at removing the restrictive practices on data formats, allowing a choice of menu or ribbon UI, fixing some long-standing bugs in VBA, properly integrating the various members, reviewing predatory pricing, might change my mind about shunning their office suite.

    They remind me of the car makers of Detroit, waiting till people buy what they make instead of making what people want.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      continually asking for the distribution cd even though we are now on SP3....

      Then clear you have no idea how to install. I have NEVER been asked for the instlation cd since ooo windows 98, and that's only because we installed from a network drive, frogot to install the CAB's and then deleted the share....

    2. h4rm0ny

      @Robert E A Harvey

      I think you're a little confused. DMCA (you got the letters in the wrong order) is the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. It's about copyright infringement and circumvention of copyright and it isn't a 'Microsoft thing'. Part of that act allows you to request a site take down your copyrighted material if you find it on there. That's not a Windows thing. If you mean DRM which I'm going to presume you do, and that you think that Windows shouldn't support it, well I've come to disagree. I like to rent movies. I can now do so via BlinkBox. I click a button and can start watching, or I can download a copy in 20 minutes if I'm worried about buffering. I can do that because Windows 7 offers a DRM system. It's probably not unbreakable but I don't care - it's good enough for the content producers to be willing to rent me movies online. Refusing to support DRM in Windows would just remove a possible business model. Nobody has to use it, but it's there if we want. Not having to go to a store or wait for a DVD in the post is worth the downside of.... what was the downside for me again?

      As to Windows Genuine Advantage, is that really a problem for anyone other than pirates? I bought my copy of Windows, installed it, it asked me to enter the licence key and to register itself with Windows HQ which I let it. And I was done. Must have taken about a minute.

      Restrictive data formats? Well I can export from Word in a number of open standards any time that I want, just as I can export from Photoshop in photoshop's own format or something else, or from GIMP as something other than .xcf if I choose. I can even change the defaults so that *all* my documents save as ODF if I want.

      Offering both ribbon AND menu? Possibe I suppose, but I really don't want to have the prospect of talking people through two different interfaces for the same program. And the reaction of most users to finding that there are TWO interfaces to a program would be one of bafflement. The ribbon has been around for years. I'm amazed there are still people who find it difficult to use, especially in the IT community. And if you don't find it difficult, then hasn't it done its job?

      "They remind me of the car makers of Detroit, waiting till people buy what they make instead of making what people want."

      You might want to look around - loads of people think Windows 7 is a pretty darn good job and we like it.

      1. Hardcastle the ancient

        export from word

        You can only export from Word if you have Word.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Yes, but you can import into Open/Libre office.

  3. GrantB

    Reading elsewhere

    Online is actually a big money pit - that gain in revenue was brought for millions.

    And Entertainment & Devices Division Revenue apparently includes the Android revenue.

    Love to know how much of the growth was due to Android vs WP7 Phone

    1. Arctic fox
      Thumb Down

      It ought to be obvious that..........

      ..........any revenues due to Android phones for MS are a drop in the ocean compared with their other sources of revenue in that division. You have noticed that that division includes a couple of devices that you may have heard of that are making MS a touch more money than anything from patent income due to Android, haven't you? You are surely not suggesting that the growth of *45%* in that area of the company was due to, roughly, £3 a phone from HTC and equivalent from the two or three other minor players who have settled with MS?

      1. Magnus_Pym

        ... but it isn't...

        If Microsoft could trumpet great success in one particular line of top rank products or services they would have done. We would see headline like. 'WinPho massive success' or 'Xbox revenues soar'. In the past f they have success with something they can publicise they publicise it. What does that tell you. Obvious isn't it.

  4. Mikel

    Well that's the quarterlies for MS

    And now that that's over, the stock will decline because that's what MSFT stock does after quarterlies. The content of the quarterly, the revenues and profits seem to hold no sway. After their quarterly report, Microsoft stock goes down.

    It makes no sense, but it is what it is.

    IBM is now poised to pass Microsoft in market cap, leaving MSFT in the dust for the final time. That makes Microsoft the third largest US technology company. GE, Google and AT&T are likely to pass them in the next year and bump them out of the top five tech companies, and it seems likely they'll fall out of the top ten overall.

    People are losing their fear of this monster. Its fangs are pulled.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The MSFT share price might be in the doldrums and others market capitalization might pass it. But MS still has a great business with bumper profits.

    I recall MS being written off in the 90s - they'd missed the boat on the internet, Netscape was the next generation platform that everything was going to be built on. 15+ years later, they're still raking in big profits, Office and Windows are still market leading cash cows, they have a great business with the Xbox that has moved them into the living room. And Win Phone 7 looks like they've finally got a serious effort at getting into mobile.

    They need to fire Steve Balmer and get Bill Gates back, even if it is just to do the odd product roll-out and he can spend the rest of his time curing cancer and malaria.

    Google looks like a sound business, but Apple to me seems overpriced.

  6. Giles Jones Gold badge

    The Sony effect

    Many PS3 owners ditched their consoles and went to XBox.

    So surely much of the recent console sales are just due to the failures of Sony? Kinect has helped too and making a SDK for Windows was a smart move.

  7. Psymon

    I think this is only the start

    When I first heard about MS buying Skype for a ludicrous amount of money, I thought "Meh, another blue-sky venture", but the more I thought about it, the more I realised that this is gonna be big. Really big.

    About 18 months ago, we upgraded our phone system due to the company we bought it from going under. We replaced the lot with a new VOIP system.

    The handsets were expensive, the software was expensive, the new POE switches were expensive, and the manhours in setting up a complex VLAN to support it... You get the idea.

    The reasons we went with a digital VOIP system were many, but included the fact that we could use our existing ethernet infrastructure. As it turns out, the CAT5 wiring is about the only thing that our phones have in common with the rest of our IT infrastructure, and at the end of the day, it still only handles voice calls.

    Now imagine Skype being intergrated into Active Directory and Exchange/outlook. The potential savings are incredible. You can buy a USB microphone/speaker in any formfactor you desire for next-to-nothing.

    Contact details, routing and out-of-office, all become non-issues, as you already have these set up and configured within AD/Exchange - your phone simply follows your login. Changes and feature adding

    Of course, this is all omitting the ADDED features, such as video, conference calling, instant messaging...

    1. Ru

      Not at all

      Look up 'Microsoft Lync' and 'Microsoft Office Communicator'. They've had all of the functionality you're talking about for some time, now. The purchase of skype was about the brand and its users, not its technology.

      1. Hardcastle the ancient


        Office communicator works OK, up to the point where you try and transfer a file or open a whiteboard of some sort, and discover that your corporate busybodies have switched off everything useful.

        I quite like communicator and netmeeting, although why there need to be two of them I can't imagine. They work well enough, a bit like IRC did in the early 1990s. You can certainly get stuff done with them.

        Of course, killing communicator is an art in its own right, as it seems to think Outlook depends upon it even if you don't have outlook open. And outlook stinks like week-old fish anyway. But bugs are what we are used to from M$ and as long as you are happy to keep sending the crash reports you can achieve a fair bit with communicator and netmeeting.

        The extras aren't bad, shame about the main lump.

  8. Turgut Kalfaoglu

    One is born every day

    A sucker is born every day and they will continue to buy microsoft products - or rather, have no choice in the matter because the PC they buy, will come with it.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows is the big problem...

    ...every Microsoft product needs Windows, if Windows marketshare decrease then everything else will be following.

    Microsoft is in big trouble, it is invisible yet but it will be obvious in less than a year.

    1. CmdrX3

      You mean like Microsoft Office for Mac.....

      or Microsoft Age of Empires II & III for Mac. There are a few even older titles as well.

      How you have got from better than expected quarterly results to "Microsoft is in big trouble" other than through your own wishful thinking is beyond me.

  10. DJ

    Perhaps they could use the profits

    to keep Hotmail up for more than a hour at a time?

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