MICROSOFT has posted a fall in profits despite a boost in sales from the technology giant’s new Windows 8 operating system.
Net profit for the last three months of the year was £4.1bn, down 4% from a year earlier, while revenue was up 3% at £13.6bn. The Windows arm of the firm performed well, with revenues up by a quarter following the launch of Windows 8.
Much of Microsoft’s revenue growth was eaten up by an increase in spending on sales and marketing, while stronger earnings at the Windows division were partly offset by a decline in sales of the company’s Office products.
“Our big, bold ambition to re-imagine Windows as well as launch Surface and Windows Phone 8 has sparked growing enthusiasm with our customers and unprecedented opportunity and creativity with our partners and developers,” said chief executive Steve Ballmer.
Analysts said the company benefited from operating in a number of different technology sectors, protecting it from weakness in the PC market.
The company did not release sales figures for its new tablet computer Surface... its answer to Apple’s hugely successful iPad.
“I don’t think they want to provide that because it won’t be impressive,” technology analyst Patrick Moorhead said.
Microsoft’s results come a day after Apple reported record quarterly revenues of £34bn. However, flat profits, disappointing iPhone sales figures and fears about future growth prospects pushed Apple shares down 12% on Wednesday, wiping more than £30bn off the company’s value.