Microsoft reported worse-than-expected fiscal fourth quarter 2013 financial results today with $19.9 billion in revenue and $0.59 earnings per share (GAAP). Consensus analyst estimates had predicted $0.75 earnings per share for the quarter and $20.7 billion in revenue.
The firm was hit by a massive $900 million inventory charge for Surface RT units. The sheer size of that number, which resulted in a per share impact of $0.07, suggests that Microsoft’s tablet effort has failed by a wide margin in living up to internal targets.
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Microsoft CFO Amy Hood provided the following statement regarding the quarter’s numbers:
While our fourth quarter results were impacted by the decline in the PC market, we continue to see strong demand for our enterprise and cloud offerings, resulting in a record unearned revenue balance this quarter. We also saw increasing consumer demand for services like Office 365, Outlook.com, Skype, and Xbox LIVE. While we have work ahead of us, we are making the focused investments needed to deliver on long-term growth opportunities like cloud services.
Meanwhile, a comment from CEO Steve Ballmer avoided talking about the latest quarter’s abysmal performance and instead remained optimistic about upcoming products and the recently announced leadership restructuring.
Without counting Windows Upgrade deferrals, Microsoft’s Windows business declined 6 percent over the quarter and 1 percent for the full fiscal year. Online Services stemmed its loss to just $372 million, up from a $6.67 billion loss in the year-ago quarter.
Adding in the other three quarters, Microsoft had revenue of $77.8 billion and profit of $2.58 EPS for the fiscal year. That compares to analyst expectations of $78.6 billion in revenue and $2.75 EPS.
Investors were clearly disappointed with this quarter’s results, pushing Microsoft’s stock down more than 4 percent in after-hours trading.
For the previous quarter, Microsoft reported revenue of $20.49 billion and $0.72 EPS. That period was marked by flat revenue in Windows sales (after extracting deferred Windows Upgrade revenue), strong transactional Xbox Live revenue and diminished losses in its online services division.
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