Microsoft finds back the path to growth

Microsoft finds back the path to growth

High revenue growth since 1999

Microsoft posted a 27 per cent growth in revenue, making for the fastest single growth quarter since 1999.

Sales reached 13.76bn and net profit $5.92bn for the quarter that ended on 30 September.

The earnings report provided a major morale booster for the firm's stock price, which is still trading 45 per cent below its all-time peak from December 1999. Company stock has been largely flat since the end of the dotcom boom in 2001.

The introduction of Windows Vista provided a 22 per cent boost in sales for the Windows division. The Office business also demonstrated strong growth, increasing sales by 20 per cent. Microsoft introduced Office 2007 last January on the same day as Windows Vista.

Microsoft keeps struggling however to compete with Google. Advertising revenues reached $487m, a mere 11 per cent of Google's advertising income.

The online division that includes the search engine and the MSN dial up internet provider posted a 25 per cent growth in revenues to $671m. The group however saw its losses increase by 165 per cent to $262m. Microsoft attributed the loss increase to increased data centre costs, added expenses for online content and expenses related to the acquisition and integration of aQuantative.

The firm however remains boastful about the potential for the group, especially after the $5.9bn acquisition of aQuantive that closed in August.

Microsoft's endeavours into the gaming space meanwhile also are beginning to bear fruit. The entertainment group that includes the Xbox 360 game console, a game studio as well as the Zune media player increased sales by 91 per cent to $1.9bn and posted a $165m profit. Microsoft attributed the spike to increased Xbox 360 sales and the introduction of Halo 3.