Microsoft Corp said on Friday its net income fell 18 per cent in the last quarter,largely because it deferred revenue when it let summertime PC buyers get free upgrades to Windows 7,which was released this week.
Investors looked past that accounting decision,noting that if it had counted its deferred Windows revenue,Microsofts earnings would have increased 8 per cent from last year with the help of big cost cuts. Microsoft shares jumped $1.99,7.5 percent,to $28.58 in morning trading,hitting a 52-week high.
The upgrade programme,which let people buy a PC with Windows Vista and later install Windows 7 on the machine for free,meant that Microsoft counted only half of its Windows sales in the period. It will report the rest as customers upgrade to the new system through January 2010,when the offer expires.
PC shipments edged up in the July-September period after falling all year,but the industry remains far weaker than even a year ago. Consumers and corporations have cut back on buying computers,servers and other technology during the recession,damaging Microsoft. The software maker resorted to its first wide-scale layoffs,announced in January,and saw annual revenue fall from the prior year for the first time since the company went public in 1986.
In the last quarter,consumers helped boost PC shipments by buying more inexpensive laptops and small netbooks. Those machines are less profitable for Microsoft,though,because they run lower-end versions of Windows.
Analysts think many businesses will start buying new computers and other technology again in the middle of 2010. Microsoft has been cautious about predicting the PC industrys turnaround.