Microsoft is all set to produce a line of small touch-screen devices powered by Windows. It semms that the reason behind launching of this series is to give a strong competition to 7-inch tablets like the iPad Mini and Amazon Kindle Fire. Peter Klein, Microsoft’s chief financial officer, told investors and analysts on a conference call Thursday that the new devices will be available in coming months at competitive prices.Microsoft Corporation is struggling to extend its software into smartphones and tablets as consumers are turning away from PCs, the foundation of its empire. Over the winter, it launched two larger tablets under the Surface brand. And in October, the company took a large stake in Barnes & Noble’s digital unit, which sells a line of entertainment-oriented 7-inch tablets under the Nook brand.
The software company’s net income was $6.1 billion, or 72 cents per share, for the financial third quarter, which ended in March. That was up 18 per cent from $5.1 billion, or 60 cents per share, a year ago, and beat the forecast of analysts polled by FactSet, at 68 cents. However, analysts have trimmed their forecasts quickly in the last few weeks – a month ago, they were expecting Microsoft to post 77 cents in earnings.
Last week, research firm IDC said PC sales fell 14 percent in the quarter, a record. It blamed, in part, Microsoft’s new Windows 8, which makes a clean break with the look and workings of old Windows in order to work better with touch screens. Buyers seems daunted by the new interface, IDC said.
Revenue was $20.5 billion, up 18 per cent from a year ago and matching analyst forecasts.
Both earnings and revenue were skewed by software accounting practices. Microsoft offered a $15 upgrade to Windows 8 for Windows 7 PCs purchased June 2 or later. It wasn’t able to start recognising the full value of the software licenses until these offers were redeemed or expired. In the latest quarter, Microsoft was able to recognize $1.1 billion of such deferred Windows revenue, greatly boosting the overall figure.
At the company’s largest division, Business, revenue rose 8 per cent from a year ago to $6.3 billion. The increase was 5 per cent adjusting for upgrade offers for the new Office suite.
The Redmond, Washington-based company’s shares rose 79 cents, or 2.7 per cent, to $29.58 in extended trading, after the release of the report.
Microsoft also said CFO Klein is leaving at the end of the fiscal year, in June. He has been in his current role for four years and at the company for 11 years. The company plans to name a new CFO from its finance team in the next few weeks.
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