John Paczkowski

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Microsoft Q1: The Wow Starts Now (Plus the Press Release)

ballmergiddytongueWhat a nice way to top off an already big week.

Posting fiscal 2010 first-quarter financials before market opening this morning, Microsoft (MSFT) said it earned 40 cents a share on revenue of $12.92 billion.

And while net income per share was down 17 percent from a year earlier thanks to declining revenue in all but one of the company’s businesses, it still bested analysts’ estimates, which called for a profit of 32 cents a share.

And although sales fell for the third consecutive quarter, dropping 14 percent to $12.9 billion, they too topped forecasts of $12.4 billion.

The software giant attributed the performance to strong Windows and Xbox demand and to cost discipline.

Shares in the company spiked more than 10 percent in premarket stock trading.

(You can peruse slides of the financial results here and a liveblog of the conference call here.)

“We are very pleased with our performance this quarter and particularly by the strong consumer demand for Windows,” said Chris Liddell, CFO at Microsoft. “We also maintained our cost discipline, which allowed us to drive strong earnings performance despite continued tough overall economic conditions.”

Here is the press release on the Q1 results (without performance tables, which you can see here):

Microsoft Reports First-Quarter Results

Windows and Xbox exceed expectations due to strong consumer demand; cost discipline drives earnings per share growth.

REDMOND, Wash.–Oct. 23, 2009–Microsoft Corp. today announced revenue of $12.92 billion for the first quarter ended Sept. 30, 2009, a 14% decline from the same period of the prior year. Operating income, net income and diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $4.48 billion, $3.57 billion and $0.40 per share, which represented declines of 25%, 18% and 17%, respectively, when compared with the prior year period.

These financial results reflect the deferral of $1.47 billion of revenue, an impact of $0.12 of diluted earnings per share, relating to the Windows 7 Upgrade Option program and sales of Windows 7 to OEMs and retailers before general availability. Adding back the deferred revenue, revenue totaled $14.39 billion, a 4% year-over-year decline, and EPS totaled $0.52 per share, an increase of 8% over the same period of the prior year.

“We are very pleased with our performance this quarter and particularly by the strong consumer demand for Windows,” said Chris Liddell, chief financial officer at Microsoft. “We also maintained our cost discipline, which allowed us to drive strong earnings performance despite continued tough overall economic conditions.”

Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 launched globally on Oct. 22 as anticipated. Also during October, Microsoft released Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 to manufacturing and in July announced a strategic partnership with Yahoo! Inc. to provide search results for their global properties.

“The worldwide launches of Windows 7, Exchange Server 2010 and Windows Server 2008 R2 are exciting milestones for Microsoft, our partners and customers,” said Kevin Turner, chief operating officer at Microsoft. “We are pleased by the early positive response we are receiving for these products.”

Business Outlook

Microsoft is reducing operating expense guidance to $26.2 billion to $26.5 billion, for the full year ending June 30, 2010.

Management will discuss first-quarter results and the company’s business outlook on a conference call and webcast at 7:30 a.m. PDT (10:30 a.m. EDT) today.


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