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By keeping its head in the cloud, Microsoft makes it rain on shareholders

Jonathan Shieber

Thanks in part to its colossal cloud business, Microsoft earnings are drenching shareholders in dollars.

For the quarter ending March 31, 2018 the tech ringer from Redmond saw its revenue increase to $26.8 billion (up 16%), with operating income up 23% to $8.3 billion. Income was a whopping $7.4 billion and diluted earnings per share were 95 cents versus analyst expectations of 85 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Despite the earnings beat, shares of the company stock fell 1% in after hours trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

Floating much of Microsoft's success for the quarter was the continued strength of the company's cloud business, which chief executive Satya Nadella singled out in a statement.

"Our results this quarter reflect the trust people and organizations are placing in the Microsoft Cloud,"Nadella said. "We are innovating across key growth categories of infrastructure, AI, productivity and business applications."

The company also returned $6.3 billion to shareholders in dividends and share repurchases in the third quarter 2018, an increase of 37%.

The company notched wins across the board. In addition to the growth of its cloud business, Microsoft also recorded wins from LinkedIn, which saw revenue increase 37% and Surface revenue increasing 32%.

The Surface numbers are notable because it's perhaps the first indication that its hardware successes aren't necessarily limited to the Xbox (insert Zune joke here).