Microsoft Cloud Push Gains Ground on Azure, Office 365

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With its first fiscal quarter in the books, Microsoft is on track to achieve $20.4 billion in commercial cloud revenue from products like Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics 365, among others, it said in a release laying out its overall results.

Profit in the period that ended September 30 exceeded analysts' estimates and sales rose 12 percent to $24.5 billion amid buoyant demand for Azure cloud services, used to store and run customers' applications in Microsoft's data centers. "Our results reflect accelerating innovation and increased usage and engagement across our businesses as customers continue to choose Microsoft to help them transform". Year-to-date, MSFT has gained 29.21%, versus a 16.08% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

As a reward Microsoft's share price climbed 3.4% in after-hours trading to $81.46, giving the company a market cap of more than $626 billion. This quarter, Azure revenue was up 90 percent. Microsoft said earlier this month that Bank of America will use both Azure and Office 365 as it shifts more of its operations to the cloud.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to visit India tomorrow
His comments echoed those of other top U.S. officials who have been pressing Pakistan on the matter. In August, President Donald Trump unveiled his policy for Afghanistan and South Asia.

Investors will likely be pleased by the progress Microsoft showed in its all-important cloud computing business. The number of LinkedIn sessions is up 20 percent, though that's clearly not influencing the service's revenue all that much.

Over the last few quarters, Microsoft's Surface line reported declining revenue numbers as the company prepared to launch new products.

PiperJaffray analysts Alex Zukin, Scott Wilson and Taylor Reiners had expected 30 percent growth in Office 365 commercial revenue, which would have been down from more than 40 percent in revenue growth in the past two years. Anything but a substantial increase would have been quite a disappointment. Windows OEM was up 4%, which is expected in the current PC market. Gaming revenue, however, only increased 1 percent, even as Xbox software and services revenue was up 21 percent.