In its ongoing transformation from an enterprise oriented business to cloud-focused commercial solutions provider, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) delivers eighth consecutive quarterly earnings beat. Driven by revenue growth, margin expansion, and LinkedIn acquisition, EPS for the quarter to 30 June came in at $0.83, including a $0.23 tax-related gain compared, to the year-ago quarter’s $0.39.
Tax-benefit to the tune of $1.8 billion, which beefed up the bottom-line, were partially offset by a $306 million cost related to its sales and marketing restructuring plan. Here’s what else helped MSFT deliver strong results for the latest quarter:
- A $1.1 billion contribution from LinkedIn helped the Productivity division post 21% growth to $8.4 billion. Another big winner was Office business, which saw strong growth in both commercial and consumer products and cloud services. While 43% growth in Office 365 commercial and 74% increase in Dynamic 365 was impressive, the workplace related products market has some formidable competitors such as Google and Facebook. Thus, maintaining this growth is going to a challenge for MSFT
- MSFT’s Intelligent Cloud business grew 11% to $7.4 billion on the back of an almost twofold increase in Azure cloud service, which competes against Amazon Web Services, the largest player. Despite an overall fast growing transition to the cloud by businesses globally, MSFT’s Azure clearly stands out considering AWS saw a 42% growth in the most recent quarter.
- Personal Computing division revenue fell 2% to $8.8 billion due to subdued phone revenue, while windows commercial products and cloud services saw an 8% increase and Windows OEM revenue increased 1% in a contracting PC market. MSFT had recorded a $630 million impairment cost related to its underperforming phone business in the year-ago quarter.
Although MSFT is clearly leading the way for tech giants adapting to a world which is increasingly conducting business on the cloud-hosted products and services, this performance has already doubled the company’s value in less than three years since early-2015.
There’s more to this phenomenal rally than just business performance, MSFT has been aggressively buying back shares and raising dividends over the past several years with more than $121 billion in cash and investments, mostly held overseas.
The company expects continued strong demand in commercial cloud, which, on the back of a 56% growth in the most recent quarter, accounted for nearly 16% of its $90 billion revenue during the year to June’17. If MSFT continues to deliver this level of growth, its valuation, as a growth company, with a PEG ratio of 1.3 doesn’t appear all that expensive despite a multi-year rally.