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October 25, 2007

Microsoft starts fiscal 2008 with a bang

Posted by Benjamin J. Romano at 1:13 PM

The company released its fiscal first quarter earnings just now. The headline is sales of $13.76 billion, up 27 percent from the year-earlier period.

Net income for the quarter, ended Sept. 30, was $4.29 billion and earnings per share of 45 cents blew the Wall Street consensus of 39 cents, as measured by Thomson Financial, out of the water.

CFO Chris Liddell, in a statement, said revenue growth in this quarter marks the fastest first quarter for Microsoft since 1999.

Updated forecasts are as follows:

Second quarter, ending Dec. 31, revenue of $15.6 billion to $16.1 billion; earnings per share of 44 to 46 cents.

For the full fiscal year, revenue of $58.8 billion to $59.7 billion, an annual growth rate of 15 to 16.8 percent; earnings per share of $1.78 to $1.81.

Here's the quarterly filing.

Microsoft's Entertainment and Devices Division appears to have made progress toward its goal of profitability this fiscal year, riding the popularity of "Halo 3," the blockbuster game it released Sept. 25. The division turned in operating income of $134 million, compared with an operating loss of $145 million last year in the period. "Halo 3" generated U.S. sales of $170 million in its first 24 hours on the market.

Update: Investors appear to be thrilled with this news, particularly the fact that the company raised its full-year revenue guidance by about $2 billion. MSFT hit a new 52-week high today of $31.99 in regular trading, and has climbed close to 10 percent in the early part of after-hours trading.

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