Microsoft reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue and profit on Wednesday, helped by robust demand for its cloud computing services and flagship Azure product, which has recorded dramatic growth over several quarters.
Microsoft took a US$13.8 billion charge in the second quarter that resulted in a loss, but excluding items it earned 96 cents per share, beating analysts' average expectation of 86 cents.
Revenue climbed 12 percent to US$28.92 billion, beating analysts’ expectations of US$28.40 billion.
Since chief executive Satya Nadella took the helm in 2014, Microsoft's cloud business, which includes products such as Office 365, Dynamic 365 and Azure computing platform, has emerged as a major growth driver.
Revenue from the intelligent cloud segment rose 15.3 percent to US$7.80 billion in the second quarter, including 98 percent growth for Azure. Analysts on average had expected US$7.51 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
This is the 10th consecutive quarter of more than 90 percent revenue growth for Azure, which directly competes with Amazon Web Services.
The company posted a net loss of US$6.30 billion, or 82 US cents per share, in the second quarter ended 31 December, compared to a profit of US$6.27 billion, or 80 US cents per share, a year earlier.
Shares of the technology giant fell 1 percent in late trade.
Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka. Editing by Bernard Orr