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Microsoft tops analysts' expectations in Q2 as cloud revenue soars 46%

·Technology Editor
·3 min read
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Microsoft (MSFT) reported its fiscal Q2 earnings after the closing bell on Tuesday, beating analysts' expectations with its cloud services revenue jumping 46%.

The announcement comes just a week after the Redmond, Washington-based tech giant made headlines with news that it will acquire troubled gaming behemoth Activision Blizzard (ATVI) for $68.7 billion.

Here are the most important numbers from the report, compared with what analysts were expecting.

  • Revenue: $51.7 billion versus $50.9 billion expected

  • Earnings per share: $2.48 versus $2.31 expected

  • Intelligent Cloud: $18.3 billion versus $18.3 billion expected

  • Productivity & Business Processes: $15.9 billion versus $15.9 billion expected

  • More Personal Computing: $17.4 billion versus $16.7 billion expected

Shares of Microsoft were off more than 3% following the announcement.

While the company reported that Azure and other cloud services revenue grew by 46%, that was slightly down from Q1 when Microsoft reported 50% growth in the category.

"As tech as a percentage of global GDP continues to increase, we are innovating and investing across diverse and growing markets, with a common underlying technology stack and an operating model that reinforces a common strategy, culture, and sense of purpose," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement.

Microsoft, which was named Yahoo Finance’s Company of the Year for 2021 due to its impressive stock performance and cloud business, has seen its stock price slide as of late. Shares have fallen from a Nov. 15 high of $343.11 per share to $291.52 at the market open on Tuesday.

Year-to-date, Microsoft’s stock was down 12.7% as of midday Tuesday, while the broader S&P 500 was down 7.5%. Amazon, Microsoft’s biggest competitor in the all important cloud space, was down more than 15.4%. Over the last 12 months, however, Microsoft’s stock price is up a whopping 29.9%, while the S&P 500 is up just 14.8%. Amazon’s shares are down 12.1%.

Microsoft made waves last week when it announced its plans to purchase Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. The deal, which is expected to close in 2023 pending regulatory approval, will make Microsoft a gaming juggernaut, thanks to Activision Blizzard’s library of games including “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft.”

The company will likely use its influx of gaming properties to further build out its Game Pass gaming service, which offers a cloud gaming component for $14.99 per month. Microsoft could also use Activision Blizzard’s intellectual property as a means to build out its own version of the metaverse.

It will likely be some time before those plans come to fruition, though, which means Microsoft’s chief strategy will be to bring Activision Blizzard’s games to Game Pass, and turn the service into a must-have for gamers around the world.

In the meantime, the company will have to address the cultural issues at Activision Blizzard that sparked a series of lawsuits and investigations related to alleged sexual harassment and workplace discrimination.

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