Microsoft Corporation's Impressive Growth in 5 Metrics

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) managed to beat expectations when the company reported fourth-quarter results for fiscal 2018 on Thursday. Shares jumped 3% in after-hours trading at the time of this writing. The gain adds to the stock's run-up recently as the Microsoft's transformation to a cloud-centric business model continues to gain traction and impress investors.

The quarter was solid all around. Not only did Microsoft report better-than-expected revenue and earnings per share, but the software and cloud giant delivered strong growth across all of its segments.

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To appreciate the meaningful growth Microsoft is seeing, here are some metrics that capture the momentum.

Total revenue increased 17%

This 17% year-over-year increase in revenue for Microsoft's fourth quarter marks an acceleration from the company's 16% revenue growth in Q3. Microsoft's total revenue of $30.1 billion was notably well above a consensus analyst estimate for fourth-quarter revenue of $29.2 billion.

Microsoft's strong revenue growth was driven primarily by a sharp rise in commercial cloud revenue, or a categorization of revenue that lumps together revenue from Office 365 commercial, Azure, Dynamics 365, and other enterprise cloud products. But all of Microsoft's business segments contributed double-digit revenue growth for the company.

Commercial cloud revenue soared 53%

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Microsoft's commercial cloud revenue has consistently been a strong growth driver for the company recently. After increasing 56% and 58% year over year in Microsoft's second and third quarters of fiscal 2018, respectively, commercial cloud revenue rose 53% year over year in Q4 to $6.9 billion. Commercial cloud revenue during the period accounted for 23% of total revenue.

Azure revenue jumped 89%

Azure — Microsoft's biggest contributor to its commercial cloud revenue — continues to deliver handsomely for the company. Azure revenue was up 89%. This growth is down slightly from 93% year-over-year growth in the third quarter of fiscal 2018. But Azure's growth continues to easily outpace cloud services leader Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN). Amazon Web Services (AWS), which generated $5.4 billion of sales and $1.4 billion in operating income for the company in its most recently reported quarter, saw 49% year-over-year growth in Amazon's most recent quarter. But Amazon has yet to report results for its quarter ending June 30.

Microsoft's strong growth in Azure revenue played a primary role in the company's 23% year-over-year growth in its intelligent cloud segment — a segment that includes revenue from server products and cloud services (Azure falls into this segment) and enterprise services like commercial support and consulting.

LinkedIn revenue increased 37%

Acquired by Microsoft in late 2016, LinkedIn continues to be a growth driver for Microsoft. Accounted for in the company's productivity and business processes segment, LinkedIn revenue was up 37% year over year.

“More personal computing” revenue climbed 17%

This 17% year-over-year growth was helped by strong growth across a range of products in the segment, including:

  • 7% growth in Windows original equipment manufacturer (OEM) revenue
  • 23% growth in Windows commercial products and cloud services revenue
  • 39% growth in gaming revenue
  • 25% growth in Surface revenue
  • 17% growth in search advertising revenue

The quarter capped off an exceptional fiscal year for Microsoft, with total revenue increasing 14% year over year to $110 billion and non-GAAP earnings per share rising 18%.

Despite its $800 billion-plus market capitalization, Microsoft continues to grow rapidly.

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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Teresa Kersten is an employee of LinkedIn and is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft. Daniel Sparks has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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