Microsoft's 2Q earnings dip despite Windows 8 lift

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The results announced Thursday are the first to include Windows 8. (Reuters) The results announced Thursday are the first to include Windows 8. (Reuters)
SummaryThe results announced Thursday are the first to include Windows 8.

software _ didn't fare as well. Revenue in the Office division declined 10 percent, a shortfall that may have spooked some investors. Analyst Josh Olson of Edward Jones believes many of Microsoft's corporate customers may have held off on buying Office because a new version of that program is scheduled to come out early this year.

Microsoft earned $6.4 billion, or 76 cents per share, during the final three months of the year. That was down 4 percent from $6.6 billion, or 78 cents per share, a year earlier.

The company's total revenue rose 3 percent from last year to $21.5 billion.

The earnings were a penny above the average estimate of analysts surveyed by FactSet, while the total revenue fell below analysts' projections by about $100 million.

Microsoft's stock shed 43 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $27.20 in Thursday's extended trading, after the release of results. The stock has remained stuck below its price before Windows 8 and Surface came out, signaling that investors aren't pleased with the products' performance so far.

“This is going to be a `show-me' year for Microsoft, and there was nothing to really shout about in this quarter,'' Olson said. “So what we are seeing is sort of a shrug from investors.''

Besides debuting Windows and Surface during the most recent quarter, Microsoft also released a new version of its operating phone for smartphones.

Moorhead called the Surface and the new software line-up the ``keys to Microsoft's future.''

If Microsoft's revamped software for tablets and smartphones catches on, it would help the company overcome a downturn in PC sales, which has reduced licensing revenue during the past year. Worldwide PC shipments fell 3.5 percent last year, marking the industry's first annual decline since 2001, according to the research firm Gartner Inc.

Despite Microsoft's high hopes and an elaborate marketing campaign, Windows 8 appears to have gotten off to a tepid start. Technology reviews have panned the software as too confusing and cumbersome to navigate, and none of the hundreds of devices running on Windows 8 emerged as a breakout hit during the holiday season.

A big chunk of Microsoft's Windows revenue in the holiday-season quarter came from sales that were made before the new operating system's release. Excluding revenue that had been deferred from previous quarter, Windows revenue increased 11 percent from the same period in 2011.

The Surface also hasn't been able to mount a significant challenge to Apple Inc.'s trend-setting iPad, Amazon.com Inc.'s

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