Microsoft has announced third-quarter earnings of US$562 million, a 42% increase over the year-ago period, buoyed in part by strong sales of BackOffice and Windows NT.
For the quarter ended March 31, revenues were US$2.2 billion, a 39% increase over last year and US$10 million greater from the preceding quarter.
"These outstanding results were driven by a variety of factors, including the adoption of the latest, 32-bit versions of Microsoft Office, along with increasing sales in the Far East, which were nearly double those of last year," says Pete Higgins, vice-president of Microsoft's applications and content group.
Japan in particular showed strong sales, with revenues more than doubling over the last year, according to Bob Herbold, chief operating officer at Microsoft.
Worldwide sales of BackOffice doubled, as well.
In the third quarter, Microsoft released its long-awaited Microsoft Exchange Server, which added messaging and other workgroup components to the BackOffice family and which executives predicted would fuel future growth of BackOffice.
Meanwhile, Windows NT licences increased fourfold from last year and sales of Office Pro exceeded sales of Office, while Office had help from the Windows 95 "upgrade phenomenon, so 1997 will be tough in comparison," chief financial officer Mike Brown says.
Brown predicts desktop revenues might drop a little in the next quarter, as is normal in June. And Brown says he sees "16-bit sales coming down quarter by quarter [while] 32-bit sales carried" desktop applications revenue to a record US$1 billion.
For the first nine months of fiscal 1996, Microsoft's earnings were US$1.6 billion, compared to US$1 billion for the same period last year.