Steve Ballmer at Microsoft Surface event

It's Microsoft's turn at quiet-before-the-storm quarterly results, and that's evident in the fiscal first quarter earnings it just dropped on our laps. The Redmond team is reporting $16.01 billion in revenue, but a more modest than usual $5.31 billion in profit over the summer -- while it's healthier than the Q4 loss stemming from the aQuantive write-off, it's not as impressive as the $7.2 billion profit from a year ago. While a tough PC market is partly to blame, it's equally hard to say that Microsoft couldn't have done better. There's a real chance that some of its customers have been holding back on purchases in anticipation of the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 launches; it's already setting aside $1.36 billion in revenue for Windows and Office upgrades. The company is unquestionably preparing itself for a giant spike in demand once at least Windows 8 rolls around later this month, so we'd say that the real litmus test will be the results we get after the holidays.

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Microsoft Reports First-Quarter Results

Oct. 18, 2012

Upcoming launches of key products and services position Microsoft for long-term profit growth.

REDMOND, Wash. - Oct. 18, 2012 - Microsoft Corp. today announced quarterly revenue of $16.01 billion for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2012. Operating income, net income, and diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $5.31 billion, $4.47 billion, and $0.53 per share.

These financial results reflect the deferral of $1.36 billion of revenue and $0.13 of diluted earnings per share, due to the Windows Upgrade Offer, pre-sales of Windows 8 to OEMs prior to general availability, and the Office Offer.

"The launch of Windows 8 is the beginning of a new era at Microsoft," said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer at Microsoft. "Investments we've made over a number of years are now coming together to create a future of exceptional devices and services, with tremendous opportunity for our customers, developers, and partners."

The Server & Tools business reported $4.55 billion in first-quarter revenue, an 8% increase from the prior year period, driven by double-digit revenue growth in SQL Server and more than 20% growth in System Center revenue. In September, Microsoft continued to enrich its server offerings with the launch of Windows Server 2012.

The Microsoft Business Division posted $5.50 billion in first-quarter revenue, a 2% decrease from the prior year period. Adjusting for the impact of the Office Offer, Microsoft Business Division non-GAAP revenue increased 1% for the first quarter. Microsoft's productivity server offerings – including Lync, SharePoint, and Exchange – continued double-digit revenue growth.

"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," said Peter Klein, chief financial officer at Microsoft. "Multi-year licensing revenue grew double-digits across Windows, Server & Tools, and Microsoft Business Division products as businesses commit to our technology roadmap."

The Windows & Windows Live Division posted revenue of $3.24 billion, a 33% decrease from the prior year period. Adjusting for the impact of the Windows Upgrade Offer and pre-sales of Windows 8 to OEMs prior to general availability, Windows division non-GAAP revenue declined 9% for the first quarter. Windows 8 will become generally available October 26, 2012.

"We're incredibly excited to be approaching general availability of Windows 8 and Windows RT," said Kevin Turner, Microsoft chief operating officer. "We've already certified more than 1,000 systems for Windows 8 from our hardware partners, ranging from the smallest tablets and convertibles to touch-enabled ultrabooks and all-in-ones to the most powerful desktop computers."

The Online Services Division reported revenue of $697 million, a 9% increase from the prior year period. Online advertising revenue grew 15% driven primarily by an increase in revenue per search.

The Entertainment and Devices Division posted revenue of $1.95 billion, a decrease of 1% from the prior year period. Xbox continues to be the top-selling console in the U.S., where it now has 49% market share. Windows Phone 8 will launch this fall with an expanded array of products, prices, carriers, and markets. Skype continued its rapid growth and now has over 280 million users.

Business Outlook

Microsoft reaffirms fiscal year 2013 operating expense guidance of $30.3 billion to $30.9 billion.

Webcast Details

Peter Klein, chief financial officer, Frank Brod, chief accounting officer, and Bill Koefoed, general manager of Investor Relations, will host a conference call and webcast at 2:30 p.m. PDT (5:30 p.m. EDT) today to discuss details of the company's performance for the quarter and certain forward-looking information. The session may be accessed at http://www.microsoft.com/investor/. The webcast will be available for replay through the close of business on Oct. 18, 2013.

Adjusted Financial Results and Non-GAAP Measures

In addition to financial results reported in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), we have provided certain non-GAAP financial information to aid investors in better understanding the company's performance. For first quarter fiscal year 2013 revenue, operating income, and earnings per share growth, we included the impact of revenue deferred during the first quarter of fiscal year 2013 relating to the Windows Upgrade Offer, pre-sales of Windows 8 to OEMs prior to general availability, and the Office Offer. Presenting these measures without the impact of these items gives additional insight into operational performance and helps clarify trends affecting the company's business. For comparability of reporting, management considers this information in conjunction with GAAP amounts in evaluating business performance. These non-GAAP financial measures should not be considered as a substitute for, or superior to, the measures of financial performance prepared in accordance with GAAP.