Microsoft Gets Magic Revenue Boost From Nokia Phones

Source: courtesy of Microsoft Corp.
Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) reported third-quarter fiscal 2015 results after markets closed Thursday. The software behemoth reported diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.62 on revenues of $21.73 billion. In the same period last year, the company reported EPS of $0.68 on revenues of $20.4 billion. The consensus estimates called for EPS of $0.51 on revenues of $21.06 billion.

The quarter’s GAAP EPS result of $0.61 includes a negative impact of $0.01 per share in costs related to the integration of the Nokia business and in restructuring expenses for the massive layoffs in July. Excluding the effect of foreign exchange rate changes on the GAAP amounts, on a constant currency basis, revenue and gross margin would have grown 9% and 4%, respectively, and operating income and EPS would have declined 4% and 7%, respectively. Microsoft assigned a loss of $0.02 per share to the impact of foreign exchange rates.

During the quarter, Microsoft returned $7.5 billion to shareholders in the form of share repurchases and dividends.

Commercial cloud revenue rose 106% (up 111% in constant currency) and Windows volume licensing revenue declined 2% (up 1% in constant currency). The company now claims more than 12.4 million subscribers to its Office 365 Consumer subscription base, up 35% sequentially.

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Microsoft did not offer guidance in its press release, but said that it would provide guidance during its conference call.

The consensus estimate for the company’s fiscal fourth-quarter EPS is $0.60 on revenues of $22.68 billion. For the full year ending in June, EPS is forecast at $2.37 on revenues of $93.44 billion.

The company’s chief operating officer, Kevin Turner, said:

We remain focused on strong execution from our sales teams. Around the world we’re seeing high interest in deployment of our cloud and server products, as well as participation in the enterprise early adopter program for Windows 10.

Gross margin in the third quarter rose 1% (up 4% constant currency). Sales of computing and gaming hardware fell 4% on a GAAP basis and was flat on a constant currency basis.

Phone hardware added $1.4 billion to quarterly revenues, and that accounts for more than 100% of the revenue increase of the same period a year ago. Microsoft had no phone hardware revenues in the third quarter of last year.

This report pushed the share price up about 3.5% at $44.86 in after-hours trading. The stock closed at $43.34 and its 52-week range is $38.51 to $50.05. Prior to the release Thomson/Reuters had a consensus price target of around $46.75 on the company’s shares.

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