Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) reported a strong third-quarter earnings beat Wednesday on the back of continuing strength in its cloud computing business, coming in at $1.14 per share to top analysts’ estimates by 14 cents. The company also reported quarterly sales of $30.6 billion, beating the Street estimate of $29.84 billion by more than 2.5 percent.
Earnings per share were up 20 percent over the quarter a year ago, while revenue beat last year’s second quarter number by 14.1 percent.
Microsoft’s cloud business, known as Azure, again drove the company’s success and CEO Satya Nadella acknowledged the company’s present is now reliant on cloud computing – much different than its software-based past.
“We are accelerating our innovation across the cloud and edge so our customers can build the digital capability increasingly required to compete and grow,” Nadella said in a press release.
“Demand for our cloud offerings drove commercial cloud revenue to $9.6 billion this quarter, up 41 percent year-over-year,” added Amy Hood, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Microsoft.
- Operating income was $10.3 billion and increased 25 percent.
- Net income was $8.8 billion and increased 19 percent.
- Diluted earnings per share was $1.14 and increased 20 percent.
- The company returned $7.4 billion to shareholders in the form of share repurchases and dividends in the quarter
Microsoft started this week as the second biggest company in total market capitalization at about $950 billion behind Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) at $965 billion.
Microsoft’s stock closed at $125.01 Wednesday but shares were trading up nearly 2 percent at $127.53 after hours.