Microsoft stock rose more than 4 percent on Wednesday after the company reported better-than-expected earnings for its fiscal first quarter. The company will hold a conference call to discuss the results with analysts at 5:30 p.m. Eastern.
Here are the key numbers:
- Earnings: $1.14 per share, excluding certain items, vs. $0.96 per share as expected by analysts, according to Refinitiv.
- Revenue: $29.08 billion, vs. $27.90 billion as expected by analysts, according to Refinitiv.
Microsoft’s revenue rose 19 percent year over year overall, according to a statement. Analysts polled by Refinitiv had been modeling 13.7 percent growth — just under the 14 percent growth Microsoft had across its entire 2018 fiscal year.
Microsoft continues to emphasize the growth from its business-focused cloud services, which are tracked under the Commercial Cloud revenue metric. The company is challenging public cloud market leader Amazon Web Services with its Azure business, adding business users for its Office 365 cloud productivity app portfolio that competes with Alphabet‘s Google G Suite and seeking to take market share from Salesforce with its Dynamics 365 software.
What’s different now is that Microsoft is starting to include commercial LinkedIn revenue, which includes products like LinkedIn Recruiter, in the Commercial Cloud tally. In a presentation to investors last month, Microsoft showed how adding commercial LinkedIn to Commercial Cloud revenue for the 2018 fiscal year would bump up the total by about $3.4 billion, reflecting an increase approaching 15 percent.
Commercial Cloud ultimately came in at $8.5 billion, up 47 percent year over year. Syed Talha Saleem, equity research associate at Credit Suisse, told CNBC in an email that he was expecting Commercial Cloud to hit $8.3 billion in revenue.
Azure’s revenue was up 76 percent, slipping from 89 percent growth one quarter ago. In recent days a few analysts indicated they were expecting an Azure growth slowdown. In a distributed to clients on Sunday Evercore ISI analysts led by Kirk Materne predicted 78 percent growth.
“While this level of deceleration may seem overly cautious given the momentum behind Azure in the market, we believe it is instructive for investors to understand that much of this deceleration is due to the leveling off of growth for the company’s Enterprise Mobility & Security (EMS) products, which are seat based, vs. any major deceleration in the IaaS/PaaS offerings,” the Evercore analysts wrote.
Microsoft hasn’t disclosed how much revenue Azure brings in, but the Evercore analysts estimated that it generated more $7.74 billion in the 2018 fiscal year. At that size, Azure would have represented 7 percent of Microsoft’s total annual revenue.
The company’s biggest business segment, More Personal Computing — which includes Windows, devices, gaming and search ads — fetched $10.7 billion in revenue, up 15 percent. The segment came in above the FactSet consensus estimate of $10.18 billion.
The Productivity and Business Processes segment, which includes Office, Dynamics and LinkedIn, did $9.8 billion in revenue, which was up 19 percent and ahead of the FactSet consensus estimate of $9.39 billion. The company had 32.5 million Office 365 consumer subscribers in the fiscal first quarter, up sequentially from 31.4 million.
Microsoft’s Intelligent Cloud segment, containing server products and cloud services (including Azure) along with consulting and support, grew 24 percent with $8.6 billion in revenue. The results exceeded the $8.29 billion FactSet estimate.
With respect to guidance, analysts are expecting a total of $32.25 billion in revenue for the second quarter of the 2019 fiscal year, implying 11.5 percent growth, according to Refinitiv.
Microsoft’s stock fell more than 5 percent ahead of the earnings release on Wednesday, in its worst day of trading since Oct. 10. The stock is down almost 11 percent in the past month, but it’s still up almost 20 percent since the beginning of the year.
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