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Cloud-tastic: Microsoft Handily Beats Street Earnings Estimates in Q3

Silver lining for new CEO Satya Nadella.

Kara Swisher

Microsoft blew past analyst expectations in its third-quarter earnings report, earning 68 cents a share in the period.

Analysts had expected the software giant to earn 63 cents per share on revenue of $20.4 billion in the quarter. Q3 revenue was on target at $20.4 billion.

Still, the results were off last year’s 72 cents a share in the same period, in which revenue was $20.5 billion.

Microsoft attributed the strong results to “cloud momentum.” In normal-speak, that means the strength in helping businesses put their data into the digital ether and all the services related to that.

“This quarter’s results demonstrate the strength of our business, as well as the opportunities we see in a mobile-first, cloud-first world. We are making good progress in our consumer services like Bing and Office 365 Home, and our commercial customers continue to embrace our cloud solutions. Both position us well for long-term growth,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella in a statement.

Most of the company’s units saw solid growth. The devices and consumer revenue grew 12 percent, with strong Windows pickup. Commercial revenue was up seven percent, with Office 365 growing 100 percent and Azure revenue increasing 150 percent.

Microsoft shares were up 2.5 percent in after-hours trading to close to $41 a share on the news. The stock has been on a tear in the past year, up 34 percent.

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