Microsoft just reported financial results below Wall Street’s expectations for the September quarter, posting $16.01 billion in revenue and profits of 53 cents per share.
The results include the impact of a Windows 8 upgrade program. Accounting rules require the company to defer revenue on Windows 7 sales that are eligible for upgrades until after the new operating system debuts next week.
On the same basis, Wall Street analysts polled in advance by Thomson Reuters had expected Microsoft to report earnings of 56 cents per share on revenue of $16.4 billion.
If the company hadn’t deferred the revenue, the overall figure for the quarter would have been flat at $17.4 billion.
The Windows Division continues to feel the effects of a difficult PC market. Microsoft says it saw a drawdown in inventory in the industry in advance of the Windows 8 launch. However, the company notes that Windows 8 pre-sales revenue is 40 percent higher than Windows 7 pre-sales revenue in the comparable time period.
Here’s a Microsoft chart showing Windows revenue trends, with the Windows business declining 9 percent from the same quarter a year ago even after adding back in the deferred revenue.
Microsoft’s chief financial officer, Peter Klein, sums things up in the earnings release: “While enterprise revenue continued to grow and we managed our expenses, the slowdown in PC demand ahead of the Windows 8 launch resulted in a decline in operating income. Multi-year licensing revenue grew double-digits across Windows, Server & Tools, and Microsoft Business Division products as businesses commit to our technology roadmap.”
In the Microsoft Business Division, home to Microsoft Office and related products, revenue fell 2 percent to $5.5 billion, due in part to a similar upgrade offer for the next version of Office. Without that revenue deferral, the division would have been up by 1 percent. Here’s that chart from Microsoft’s earnings slide deck.
Revenue in the company’s Server & Tools Division was up 8 percent, to $4.5 billion.
The company’s Online Services Division reported a 9 percent increase in revenue, to $697 million, and the division narrowed its operating loss to $364 million, from $514 million in the same quarter last year.
And the Entertainment & Devices Division, home to the Xbox business, continued to feel the impact of the sluggish console market, with revenue down 1 percent to $1.9 billion, and operating income down 94 percent, to $19 million, due primarily to payments made to Nokia as part of their Windows Phone partnership. Here’s that Microsoft slide …
Microsoft’s earnings conference call starts at 2:30 p.m., available here.