updated 05:15 pm EST, Thu January 28, 2010
Microsoft revenue reaches all-time high in Q4
Microsoft this afternoon claimed its best-ever quarter for revenue courtesy of Windows 7. The company's revenue jumped 14 percent year-over-year to just over $19.02 billion owing directly to selling 60 million copies of the new OS release and helped it bounce back from three consecutive drops in revenue during the other quarters of 2009. Its net income also jumped 60 percent versus late 2008 to top $6.66 billion.
The number was partly padded by $1.71 billion in deferred revenues, as pre-sales of Windows 7 both to upgraders and to PC builders weren't counted as part of the summer results. Even transferring the difference, however, the quarter would still have represented a significant increase versus the prior season.
Microsoft touts the 60 million copies as the highest-ever for any operating system in a single quarter and significantly outpaces Windows Vista. The earlier release took four months to reach 40 million from its late January 2007 debut and continued slowing down for much of its lifespan as Vista developed a reputation for poor hardware support, incompatibility and overly frequent security prompts.
The performance was also clouded by poor results in a pair of categories. Although Microsoft estimates Windows PC sales to home users were up 20 percent, business sales were almost flat as many companies took a wait-and-see approach or had compatibility problems that wouldn't be solved by Windows 7. Also, the Entertainment and Devices group that handles the Xbox and Zune dropped in revenues by almost 11 percent as it shipped only 5.2 million Xbox 360s, a 13 percent drop compared to the end of 2008.
It's not known how many Zune HD players were sold. The fall was the first full quarter of sales for the touchscreen device.
Microsoft's Windows 7 sales don't reflect the entire PC industry as some of its sales were still copies of Windows XP attached to older netbooks and nettops.