Cloud business boosts Microsoft's quarterly revenue, shares rise
By Deborah M. Todd
(Reuters) - Sharp growth in its commercial cloud computing business helped lift Microsoft Corp's (MSFT.O: Quote) quarterly revenue above Wall Street's expectations, sending the technology company's shares up more than 4 percent in after-hours trading.
The new and growing cloud business - essentially selling computing services and storage in its data centers to corporate customers - is one of the priorities for Chief Executive Satya Nadella, who took the helm of the world's largest software company in early 2014
Nadella has refocused the company on cloud and mobile in the face of stagnation in its traditional PC-based Windows business.
"Only two companies are setting the tone of enterprise computing, Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS," said Trip Chowdhry, managing director of Global Equities Research, referring to Amazon.com Inc's (AMZN.O: Quote) web services unit.
"These are the only two initiators in the whole enterprise space that are going to see growth in excess of 80 percent year-over-year for at least two or three years.”
Microsoft's revenue in what it calls its "intelligent cloud" businesses, which includes the Azure cloud platform and server software, rose 7 percent to $6.7 billion.
Revenue for Azure - which customers can use to host their website, apps or data - grew 102 percent, but Microsoft did not say what the actual revenue figure was.
That makes an annual "run rate" of $12.1 billion for cloud-related revenue, up sharply from over $8 billion a year ago. Microsoft calculates run rate by multiplying revenue in the final month of the quarter for its cloud businesses by 12. Continued...