Microsoft's Cloud Proves It's Worth the Big Price

CEO Satya Nadella's got something to smile about

Microsoft's earnings once again grew on the strength of its cloud services.

Much of Microsoft's recent growth has been fueled by its cloud computing business, which has benefited from companies rushing to shift their workloads to the cloud to cut data storage and software costs.

These results are up 17% year-over-year, and many people will see this as a vindication of CEO Satya Nadella's renewed focus on hardware and cloud services.

The Redmond tech company announced a revenue bump of more than 17 percent to $30.1 billion for its fourth quarter of the year, continuing its recent trend of beating Wall Street analyst expectations almost every period.

On the earnings call, Nadella said he was "especially proud" of a new five-year deal between Microsoft and Walmart, which has been widely described as a strategic alliance against Amazon.

Finally, in addition to its Q4 release, Microsoft provided a look at how it performed for the entirety of the 2018 fiscal year.

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Even Bing, Microsoft's search engine that most people consider a bit of a flop when compared to Google, did well, growing 17% year on year in the fourth financial quarter of 2018.

Productivity group revenue was up 13 percent to $9.7 billion, with operating income up 20 percent at $3.5 billion. That's on the back of a seven percent increase in Windows OEM revenue and a 23 percent jump in Windows commercial products and cloud services revenue. For the 12 months ending on June 30, Microsoft totalled revenues of $110.36 billion, which is a 14 percent jump over its total 2017 performance ($96.57 billion).

Revenue at Microsoft's productivity and business processes unit, which includes Office 365, rose 13.1 percent to $9.67 billion, topping analysts' average expectation of $9.65 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue in Personal Computing was $10.8 billion and increased 17 per cent. Gaming revenue increased 39 per cent, with Xbox software and services revenue growth of 36 per cent. Azure grew by 89% (85% CC), Server products grew by 8% (6% CC), Enterprise Mobility install base grew by 55% to 82 million, and server products and cloud services grew by 26% (24% CC). That's down slightly from an increase of 93 that the business reported in the third quarter.

"The combination of Xbox Live Game Pass subscription and Mixer are driving record levels of growth and engagement".

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