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Microsoft Q2 earnings: Beats on top and bottom line on strength of cloud

Daniel Howley
Technology Editor

Microsoft reported its Q2 2020 earnings on Wednesday, beating analysts' expectations on the top and bottom line on the strength of its cloud services.  Here are the big numbers from the report compared to what Wall Street expected, as compiled by Bloomberg.

Revenue: $36.9 billion versus $35.7 billion expected

Earnings per share: $1.51 versus $1.32 expected

Intelligent cloud: $11.87 billion versus $11.43 billion expected

Productivity: $11.83 billion versus $11.43 billion expected

The stock was up 2% after the announcement.

Microsoft's (MSFT) Azure has been the star of the show during the company's run across the $1 trillion threshold and it was the same for Q2 2020, with revenue for the service increasing by 64% in the quarter.

"In our opinion Microsoft remains in an enviable position heading into 2020 on the heels of its cloud success (JEDI trophy win) and is firing on all cylinders around its Office 365 and Azure strategic vision based on our recent checks," Wedbush's Dan Ives wrote in his analyst note ahead of Microsoft's earnings.

In fact, Ives says that Microsoft appears poised to beat out Amazon's (AMZN) Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the coming cloud adoption cycle.

Microsoft Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Satya Narayana Nadella speaks at a live Microsoft event in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S.,October 26, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

"While AWS remains the leader in cloud, we believe [Microsoft] is starting to clearly 'close the gap' as Redmond is seeing an acceleration of spending among enterprises around public/hybrid cloud deployments, especially with the momentum through its all-important partner channel," Ives added.

It's not just the Azure side of the equation, though. Microsoft's cloud strategy also involves its Office 365 software suite, which includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and, more importantly, its Teams chat app.

For the quarter, the Office 365 commercial business saw 27% revenue growth.

Stewart Butterfield, CEO of Slack, presents during the business messaging company's event in San Francisco, California, U.S. January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach

As of November, Microsoft reported that it has 20 million daily active users on Teams, while Slack (WORK) reported in October that it had just 12 million daily active users (DAUs). Slack, however, issued a statement around the time it announced its 12 million DAUs, saying that not all companies count such metrics the same way, and that it's difficult to make a true apples-to-apples comparison across brands.

Outside of the cloud and Teams, Microsoft has some potential future growth on its hands in the More Personal Computing segment, which includes consumer and commercial Windows 10 sales. That's because the company has officially ended support for its Windows 7 operating system. And while companies can continue to use it, they'll be charged by Microsoft to do so.

That could lead to a boost to Windows 10 purchases from commercial and consumer users who want to ensure their machines have the latest software and security updates.

"Although the uplift to Microsoft can be difficult to calculate given the company’s complex licensing dynamics, our partners have noted that upgrading to a newer version of Windows (server and desktop OS) leads to a pricing increase in almost all cases," Goldman Sachs' Heather Bellini wrote in an analyst note.


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