Microsoft does better than expected

The cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street have run gasping from their executive toilets after the software king of the world surprised them by turning in some good results.

The Tame Apple Press was all geared up to claim that Microsoft was dying under competition from mobiles and tablets when Vole appeared to have surprised them too.

Vole posted a bigger-than-expected quarterly profit boosted by strong sales of its software and services for businesses. In fact it had a rather good Christmas with its new Xbox game console and Surface tablets. Its tax bill was lighter than expected too.

In fact the only thing that did not happen in the results was the announcement about who would replace Steve Ballmer as its new CEO.

Microsoft’s new Xbox One console, launched in November, helped the top line, contributing more than half to the 7.4 million unit sales in the quarter, up from 5.9 million a year ago. This is even while Sony’s cheaper PlayStation 4 appears to be winning the latest video game showdown.

Sales of the second generation of Surface tablets jumped to $893 million in the key holiday shopping quarter, more than the whole of the previous fiscal year. Vole is still not making a profit on them because making and selling the machines cost $932 million.

Overall phone revenues, which include licence fees from Nokia and royalty payments from other handset makers using Google’s Android system, jumped 50 percent to just over $1 billion in the quarter.

Overall, Microsoft reported a fiscal second-quarter profit of $6.56 billion compared with $6.38 billion, or 76 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. That easily beat Wall Street’s average estimate of 68 cents.

Overall revenue rose 14 percent to $24.5 billion, also beating Wall Street’s forecast of $23.7 billion, helped by higher sales of Microsoft’s perennially strong business offerings, including server software, the Office suite of applications and quickly growing ‘cloud,’ or Internet-based, computing services.