Microsoft today reported earnings for its fourth fiscal quarter of 2016, its first earnings report after announcing its proposed acquisition of LinkedIn. The company’s earnings came in at a non-GAAP revenue of $22.6 billion ($20.6 billion GAAP) and $0.69 of non-GAAP per-share profit ($0.39 GAAP), and were well above expectations. Like in previous quarters, the results reflect strong growth in Microsoft’s cloud businesses.
Wall Street expected the company to report earnings per share of $0.58 on revenue of $22.14 billion.
The company’s stock was trading up 3.5 percent right after the earnings were announced.
As Microsoft’s director of investor relations Zack Moxcey told me after the earnings announcement, the GAAP results this quarter still reflect the charges Microsoft took related to its phone business and adjustments for Windows 10 revenue deferrals. He also attributed part of Microsoft’s higher than expected earnings to the company’s lower than expected tax rate.
In the year-ago-quarter, Microsoft’s revenue was $22.2 billion, but earnings per share came to a $0.40 loss because of the $7.5 billion charge Microsoft took related to its acquisition of Nokia. Without the charge, the company’s earnings per share would have been $0.62.
“This past year was pivotal in both our own transformation and in partnering with our customers who are navigating their own digital transformations,” said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer at Microsoft. “The Microsoft Cloud is seeing significant customer momentum and we’re well positioned to reach new opportunities in the year ahead.”
Like in previous quarters, analysts will be especially interested in Microsoft’s cloud revenue. In its Q3 report, Microsoft said revenue from its “Intelligent Cloud” business had grown to $6.1 billion, up 3 percent (or 8 percent in constant currency). Azure revenue had grown 120 percent year-over-year while its server products and cloud services revenue had increased 5 percent.
This quarter, Intelligent Cloud revenue hit $6.7 billion and Azure revenue grew 102 percent year-over-year.
Microsoft has long said that it expects its commercial cloud business to hit a $20 billion run rate by 2018. In Q3, it reported that its run rate was $9.4 billion. With this new report, that number has now hit $12.1 billion, which Microsoft prominently highlighted in its earnings release. Moxcey told me that the company is standing by its plan to reach a $20 billion run rate by 2018.
Sadly, Microsoft doesn’t provide geographic breakdowns of its revenue numbers, but Moxcey attributed some of the growth in the company’s Azure business to Microsoft’s wide geographic footprint with regard to Azure regions.
As far as Intelligent Cloud goes, Moxcey also noted that the company doubled its customer base for its enterprise mobility solutions year-over-year (it now has 33,000 customers), and that the installed base grew nearly 2.5x year-over-year.
Here is a breakdown of Microsoft’s numbers for its other business units:
Productivity and Business Processes (this includes Office, consumer Office and Dynamic, among other products): $7.0 billion, compared to $6.3 billion in revenue in the last quarter. Microsoft attributes this to strong growth across its productivity services and especially the fact that Office 365 commercial revenue grew 54 percent year-over-year and that its Dynamics CRM paid seats are growing at more than 2.5x year-over-year.
More Personal Computing (including Windows, Devices, Gaming and Search): $8.9 billion in revenue, compared to $12.7 billion in the last quarter. Phone revenue, unsurprisingly, declined 71 percent, but the company’s revenue from its Surface line continues to increase and was up 9 percent in the last quarter (mostly driven by the Surface 4 and Surface Book).
Windows OEM consumer revenue grew 27 percent. For the commercial market, it grew 2 percent (which sounds low, but is far better than in previous quarters). Because Microsoft’s revenue in this area is largely driven by new purchases, Microsoft doesn’t expect the end of the free update offer to have a markable influence on next quarter’s results.
Microsoft also announced that Xbox Live now has 49 million monthly active users and that its search advertising revenue was up 16 percent, largely due to the deeper integration of its search tools into Windows 10. During today’s earnings call, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also noted that Windows 10 users have now asked Cortana 8 billion questions to date.
For the full year, Microsoft reported $92 billion in non-GAAP revenue and $2.10 in adjusted earnings per share. The company’s operating income was $27.9 billion on a non-GAAP basis.