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Microsoft Q3 beats expectations, but Apple races past

by Scott Bicheno on 29 October 2010, 10:28

Tags: Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)

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Second life

When we reported that Apple had overtaken Microsoft by market cap (the total value of publicly available shares) some readers scoffed - with some justification - at the significance of this milestone.

Well we've just had another. Microsoft has released its Q3 financials and they revealed revenues of over $16 billion, which was up around 25 percent on Q3 2009 and slightly above analyst expectations. However Apple recently reported revenues of over $20 billion, so it has shot past Microsoft in terms of revenues for the first time.

The one - and it could be argued all-important - metric Microsoft is still clinging onto leadership of is profit. Microsoft managed to clear $5.41 billion in Q3, while Apple trousered a mere $4 billion or so. However, as we illustrated in our Apple earnings story, the fruity gadget-maker is set for a mammoth next quarter and could well overtake Microsoft in terms of profit in three month's time.

"This was an exceptional quarter, combining solid enterprise growth and continued strong consumer demand for Office 2010, Windows 7, and Xbox 360 consoles and games," said Peter Klein, CFO at Microsoft. "Our ability to grow revenue while continuing to control costs allowed us to deliver another quarter of year-over-year margin expansion."

Note the absence of Bing among those highlights. Microsoft's rival to Google in the web-search market has been clawing increments of market share from Google, but nothing earth-shattering. To achieve even this Microsoft has had to chuck money at the service, and that is reflected in yet another net loss of Microsoft's online division.

Here are some slides and tables from Microsoft. Note the loss (in brackets) of the online division, and we're not sure what corporate stuff it blew a bil on was. The slide for Bing shows some year-on-year revenue growth, but it has been going in the wrong direction for the past year. Microsoft's shares were up 2-3 percent after the earnings announcement.






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