Microsoft is set to benefit from a triple whammy fueled by a pandemic when it reports its latest quarterly results after the market closed on Tuesday: a boom in PC sales, growing demand for video games and increased use of its cloud services because customers were forced to work, play and learn from home.
The gains are expected to be strong enough to weather the headwinds of a weak economy, which has hurt many small and mid-size business customers and hampered broader IT spending.
Wall Street expects the US software group to report a 9 percent increase in revenue to $ 40.2 billion. Proforma earnings per share are expected to reach $ 1.64, up from $ 1.51 a year ago.
Microsoft had previously warned of a slowdown in the last quarter of 2020, compared to the previous quarter 12% revenue growth rate. Although PC sales have been strong, Intel’s latest profits well above expectations last week – Microsoft faced a tough comparison to the final months of 2019, when demand for Windows was boosted by the end of support for Windows 7.
As a result, Wall Street expects Windows revenues to drop 8% in the quarter. But with sales of new Xbox game consoles boosting gaming, the company’s More Personal Computing division is still expected to post revenue growth of 2%, to $ 13.6 billion.
The biggest jump for the quarter is expected to come from Microsoft’s Intelligent Cloud division, which includes its Azure cloud platform as well as server software. Azure revenue growth is expected to decline slightly from 47% in the previous quarter, while remaining strong enough to overcome a slight decline in server activity and increase overall division revenue by 16%, to over $ 13.7 billion.
Meanwhile, the Productivity and Business Processes division is expected to report revenue of $ 12.88 billion, up 9%, thanks to continued strong demand for Office 365, which grew 20% in the previous quarter.