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Microsoft beats Q3 revenue expectations on strength of cloud and PC sales

Microsoft (MSFT) reported its fiscal Q3 2021 earnings after the closing bell on Tuesday, beating analysts' expectations on the top and bottom lines. Here are the most important numbers from the report compared with what analysts were expecting for the quarter.

Revenue: $41.7 billion versus $41.05 billion expected

Earnings per share: $2.03 versus $1.78 expected

Intelligent Cloud: $15.12 billion versus $14.9 billion expected

More Personal Computing: $13.04 billion versus $12.6 billion expected

The company's stock was down more than 3% following the release of the report.

Microsoft’s biggest growth driver, and the component of its business that has pushed its market capitalization close to $2 trillion, is its Azure cloud division. For the quarter, the company saw $15.12 billion in revenue from the segment, a 23% year-over-year increase.

“Over a year into the pandemic, digital adoption curves aren’t slowing down. They’re accelerating, and it’s just the beginning,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “We are building the cloud for the next decade, expanding our addressable market and innovating across every layer of the tech stack to help our customers be resilient and transform.”

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Analysts had been looking to Azure's performance to get a sense of where Microsoft stood a year after the pandemic began.

“With workforces expected to have a heavy remote focus on the other side of a vaccine being deployed, we believe the cloud shift is just beginning to take its next stage of growth globally,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives wrote in a research report ahead of Microsoft’s earnings announcement.

“We believe this disproportionally benefits the cloud stalwart out of Redmond, as [Microsoft CEO Satya] Nadella & Co. are so well positioned in its core enterprise backyard to further deploy its Azure/Office 365 as the cloud backbone and artery,” Ives added.

In his own analyst report, UBS’s Karl Keirstead noted that he is hearing through industry checks that Microsoft’s Azure is gaining ground among larger enterprises.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella delivers the keynote address at Build, the company's annual conference for software developers Monday, May 6, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella delivers the keynote address at Build, the company's annual conference for software developers Monday, May 6, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

“Overall cloud adoption is so strong that it’s a tailwind for all three of the big cloud providers, but on the margin we heard more anecdotes suggesting that Microsoft Azure is gaining ground among larger enterprises, likely as it monetizes its installed base and sells a broader cloud suite (Office 365, Teams, etc),” Keirstead said.

In addition to Azure, Microsoft saw year-over-year growth of 19% in its More Personal Computing segment thanks to a 10% year-over-year increase in Windows OEM revenue, a 10% year-over-year increase in Windows commercial products and cloud services revenue, and a 35% jump in Xbox and gaming revenue.

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