Multiplatform Microsoft sees new areas of growth, with bumps along the way

Multiplatform Microsoft sees new areas of growth, with bumps along the way

Microsoft-as-a-Service is promising, but company finds old habits are expensive to break

Under Steve Ballmer, Microsoft had two sacred cows: Windows and Office. Now that refrain has changed: Mobile first. Cloud first. Even if that means it's not on Windows first.

And as my colleagues Nicole Henderson and and Lisa Schmeiser break down, there's some signs of hope, but a lot of pain coming, too.

Nicole noted that there's two clear payoffs emerging from that strategy:

Among the bright spots was Office 365 where subscription revenue grew 63 percent. Microsoft Azure revenue rose 120 percent while server products and cloud services grew 5 percent, respectively. Usage of Azure compute and Azure SQL database more than doubled year over year.

But those two exciting new areas weren't enough to offset broader declines in its more traditional businesses, particularly OEM sales, which dropped 2% and phone sales, which plummeted 47% to $746 million, as reported by SuperSite.

And while its never pleasant to report that earnings are down (by a lot: Last quarter, Microsoft booked $3.76 billion, or 47 cents a share, down from $4.99 billion, or 61 cents a share during the same quarter a year ago), Satya Nadella is making solid progress on moving Office from being an application to a service that goes with you, handling everything from cloud storage to regular updates on whatever device you're on.

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