Microsoft earnings down over last year

From InfoWorld: Microsoft missed analyst expectations for its third fiscal quarter, blaming the most difficult economic conditions the company has faced in its history.

For the period ending March 31, Microsoft reported revenue of $13.65 billion, down 6 percent compared to the same quarter last year and below the $14.09 billion that analysts had predicted.

Earnings per share were $0.33, down 30 percent over last year and below the analyst forecast of $0.39 per share. Excluding a charge related to severance payments for layoffs and another for impairments to investments, the earnings would have met analyst expectations, Microsoft said.

Microsoft's operating income for the quarter was down just 3 percent from the same period last year, at $4.44 billion.

The business market continues to drag down Microsoft's sales, said Chris Liddell, the company's chief financial officer. "Globally, business hardware purchases continued to slow and severely impacted traditional license sales in Client, Microsoft Business Division and Server & Tools," he said, referring to three groups at the company affected by software license sales.

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