Microsoft profits beat expectations, cloud business heats up

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The company exceeded expectations to report a net income of $22.3 billion for the July to September period, up 27 percent from a year ago.

All eyes have been on Microsoft’s artificial intelligence and cloud computing performance, and a key aspect is the Azure cloud service, which competes with Amazon’s AWS and Google Cloud.

In the latest quarter, revenue growth for Azure and other cloud services came in at 29 percent from a year ago, a slightly faster pace than the three months prior.

Overall, the company reported $56.5 billion in sales for the quarter, also higher than anticipated.

Microsoft shares surged by 4.6 percent in after-hours trading.

“We are rapidly infusing AI across every layer of the tech stack and for every role and business process to drive productivity gains for our customers,” Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said in a statement.

The latest earnings report comes shortly after Microsoft closed its blockbuster acquisition of Activision Blizzard, whose video games include “Call of Duty,” sealing one of the biggest technology tie-ups in history.

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