Microsoft profits soar as cloud demand continues in pandemic

FILE - This Jan. 8, 2021 file photo shows the logo of Microsoft displayed outside the headquarters in Paris. Microsofts business beat Wall Street expectations for the first three months of 2021, thanks to ongoing demand for its software and cloud computing services during the pandemic. The company on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 reported fiscal third-quarter profit of $14.8 billion, up 38% from the same period last year. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, file)
FILE - This Jan. 8, 2021 file photo shows the logo of Microsoft displayed outside the headquarters in Paris. Microsofts business beat Wall Street expectations for the first three months of 2021, thanks to ongoing demand for its software and cloud computing services during the pandemic. The company on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 reported fiscal third-quarter profit of $14.8 billion, up 38% from the same period last year. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, file) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Microsoft’s profits soared during the first three months of 2021, thanks to ongoing demand for its software and cloud computing services during the pandemic.

The company on Tuesday reported fiscal third-quarter profit of $14.8 billion, up 38% from the same period last year.

“Over a year into the pandemic, digital adoption curves aren’t slowing down. They’re accelerating, and it’s just the beginning,” CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement.

Net income of $1.95 per share beat Wall Street expectations. Analysts were expecting Microsoft to earn $1.78 per share on revenue of $41 billion for the fiscal quarter ending in March, according to FactSet.

The software maker based in Redmond, Washington, posted revenue of $41.7 billion in the January-March period, up 19% from last year.

Revenue from Microsoft’s productivity segment, which includes its Office suite of workplace products such as email, grew by 15% over the same time last year, to $13.6 billion. Its cloud computing business segment grew 23% to $15.1 billion.

Microsoft’s personal computing business segment grew by 19% to $13 billion, buoyed by last year's release of a new Xbox gaming console and an unusually strong season for PC sales across the industry. Microsoft gets licensing revenue for computers made by other manufacturers running its Windows operating system.

The first quarter of 2021 was a gold mine for the sale of personal computers in part due to unfulfilled demand because of a components backlog, according to separate reports from Gartner and IDC. The sharp rise across the industry was also due to an unusually weak first quarter of 2020, when the coronavirus outbreak began disrupting supply chains in Asia.