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Microsoft's Surface sales are on the upswing once again

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After a very slow start, Microsoft's Surface finally seems to be hitting its stride. The company made $713 million from Surface sales last quarter, a 44 percent jump over last year, according to its latest earnings report. And yes, it's attributing much of that to the Surface Pro 3, which also saw strong sales during the previous quarter. While any bump is good, it's easy for Microsoft to report revenue growth when it's starting from a low point. Apple sold around $9 billion worth of iPads during the last quarter, for comparison. It's also worth noting that the company's third quarter doesn't include sales of the new Surface 3, which doesn't ship until next month. It'll be interesting to see if that model ends up helping its Pro sibling come next quarter. Before the Surface Pro 3, Microsoft's Surface sales weren't exactly pretty -- at one point it had to write off nearly $900 million in unsold units.

During the company's earnings call today, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella noted that 64 percent of Surface Pro 3 users also use One Note. That's not surprising, since that device's stylus integrates directly into OneNote. Nadella pointed out that the Surface Pro 3's OneNote penetration is also nine times that of any other touch notebook.

Microsoft's Devices and Consumer group, which the Surface is a part of, saw an overall revenue bump of 8 percent compared to last year. It was also helped by strong Office 365 growth (up 35 percent, reaching 12.4 million subscriptions), Bing advertising gains (21 percent), and a 30 percent bump in Xbox Live usage. Oh yah, and it sold 8.6 million Lumia phones, down from 10.5 million from the holiday quarter. It was a different story for Xbox revenues, which fell 24 percent from last year, mostly due to price drops for the Xbox One.

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