Microsoft beats Q3 estimates; reports Azure, Office 365 strength

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Overall, the company reported revenue of $26.8 billion for the first three months of 2018, up 16 percent from $23.2 billion during the same period in 2017. Income was a whopping $7.4 billion and diluted earnings per share were 95 cents versus analyst expectations of 85 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Earnings per share of $0.95 were up 36 per cent from the year-ago quarter and ahead of the $0.85 estimate given by analysts. On the Office 365 commercial side, revenue grew 42 percent.

The company's Azure trails market leader Inc., but continues to about double from a year earlier every quarter as Microsoft adds customers like Publicis Groupe SA and Johnson Controls International Plc and weaves artificial intelligence, data storage and security services into its cloud programs. Azure had posted an over 90% growth for the past 10 quarters. In addition to the growth of its cloud business, Microsoft also recorded wins from LinkedIn, which saw revenue increase 37% and Surface revenue increasing 32%.

The company also returned $6.3 billion to shareholders in dividends and share repurchases in the third quarter 2018, an increase of 37%.

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"We took significant steps this quarter to put (cloud) at the forefront of everything we do", Nadella told analysts on a conference call. The total amount of Office 365 commercial monthly active users (not paid subscribers, for some reason) is over 135 million. Office 365 commercial products and cloud services revenue grew 12% with Office 365 commercial revenue up 40%.

Shares in the software titan are trading at around 1.5% lower in after-hours trading following the results.

The company reported $3.5 billion in capital expenditures, its highest level yet and up 66 percent year over year.

Last, More Intelligent Computing, which includes Windows PC license revenue and the Xbox gaming franchise, saw revenue rise 13% to $9.92 billion.