Microsoft posts quarterly loss but beats Wall Street

Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:32pm EDT
 
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By Bill Rigby

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp reported its first quarterly loss as a public company on Thursday as it took a previously announced hit for writing down the value of its ailing online unit, but held up better than expected in the face of stagnant computer sales.

Excluding the multibillion-dollar write-down, which was signaled earlier this month, and factoring in some deferred Windows revenue, the world's largest software company actually exceeded Wall Street's expectations, boosting its shares in after-market trading.

"It looks good, given the dicey economic environment and the weakness we already know about in PCs," said Brendan Barnicle, an analyst at Pacific Crest Securities.

After several years of stumbling behind mobile and Internet trailblazers Apple Inc and Google Inc, and a decade-long static share price, some expectation is building that Microsoft can re-establish itself as a tech leader with its new, touch-friendly Windows 8 system, due out on October 26, and an accompanying tablet of its own design.

"There's a lot of anticipation for the next Microsoft products. They are regaining credibility with enterprises," said Trip Chowdhry, an analyst at Global Equities Research.

Alongside Windows 8 and its new Surface tablet - which it hopes will challenge Apple's all-conquering iPad - Microsoft is set to release new phone software and a new web-oriented version of its highly profitable Office suite of applications over the next 12 months.

These, and other products, "will drive our business forward and provide unprecedented opportunity to our customers and partners," said Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, in a statement.

FIRST NET LOSS   Continued...

 
A variety of logos hover above the Microsoft booth on the opening day of the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas January 10, 2012. REUTERS/Rick Wilking