'Strong' results – Microsoft NZ

Company is pleased with quarterly results but won't share numbers

Microsoft New Zealand says its local results for the April-June quarter were good, though it won't release the figures, saying it's not company policy to share quarterly results.

In a statement, Microsoft NZ managing director Ross Peat is quoted saying "we have seen continued growth in our server business, with strong uptake of Windows Server 2003 ... Windows XP deployment continues to accelerate and many customers, partners and ISVs have responded positively to Microsoft CRM, launched earlier this year."

Microsoft CRM has approximately 12 customers in New Zealand, including Glovers Foods and New Horizons Computing Centre and partner Intergen says interest in the CRM package is high. One customer that has expressed concern with the CRM product is Zeacom, whose customer services manager told Computerworld last month that the release date for version 2 next year was causing some uncertainty.

In the statement, Peat also said Microsoft Office 2003 was getting good uptake as was the Xbox entertainment platform.

In the US, Microsoft last week reported $US9.29 billion in revenue for its fourth quarter, a 15% increase over the same period last year.

In an announcement after close of financial markets in the US, Microsoft said the increase compares favorably with the $US8.07 billion in revenue it posted a year ago.

In a related announcement, the company said that it will pay out about $US45 billion in dividends to its shareholders over the next four years, including a special one-time dividend of $US3 a share. The company's board of directors has also approved a plan to buy back up to $US30 billion of Microsoft stock between now and 2008, which will bring the total disbursals through dividends and the buyback to about $US75 billion over four years.

The company said that revenue in its server and tools division grew 20% compared with the prior fourth quarter, helped along by 20% growth in new Windows Server license sales.

Revenue for software including Microsoft Office grew by 23% compared with the fourth quarter of last year, the company said.

Also boosting the bottom line was the first profitable year for MSN, which moved from a $US567 million loss in the 2003 financial year to a $US121 million operating profit in 2004, according to the company.

Microsoft also issued a financial forecast for its first quarter ending September 30, saying it expects revenue of between $US8.9 billion and $US9 billion for the period.

For the full 2005 fiscal year ending next June 30, the company expects revenue of $US38.4 billion to $US38.8 billion.

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