Cloud services bolster Microsoft results, shares soar

Thu Oct 22, 2015 7:36pm EDT
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By Devika Krishna Kumar and Arathy S Nair

(Reuters) - Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Quote) reported better-than-expected quarterly adjusted revenue for the ninth quarter in a row, boosted by burgeoning demand for its cloud products, sending its shares soaring in after-hours trading on Thursday.

The company, under Chief Executive Satya Nadella, has been shifting its focus to software and cloud services as demand for the Windows operating system slows in a weak PC market.

"The Nadella strategy is working and you are seeing the results in the quarter," Bernstein analyst Mark Moerdler said.

Microsoft's shares rose as much as 9.8 percent to $52.75 in after-hours trading, their highest since March 2000.

Microsoft has also been cutting costs and streamlining its operations to focus on more lucrative businesses.

In the latest cost-cutting exercise, 1,000 jobs, or about 1 percent of Microsoft's workforce, are being eliminated.

"The job reductions were spread across more than one business area and country and reflect adaptations to business needs," a spokeswoman said in an email. The cuts are in addition to the 7,800 jobs Microsoft said it would cut in July.

The first-quarter results announced on Thursday were the first under a new reporting structure that reduced reporting segments to three from six, designed to help the software giant show off its cloud and mobile businesses.   Continued...

An electronic Microsoft logo is seen at the Microsoft store in New York City, July 28, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar