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Microsoft Tops Sales, Profit Forecasts; Shares Jump

Microsoft beat estimates with both its earnings and sales numbers, and the company's shares went on a tear, including an 8 percent jump in extended trading Thursday.

CNBC.com

The world's largest software maker said net profit in its fiscal second quarter rose to $4.7 billion, or 50 cents per diluted share, from $2.6 billion, or 26 cents per diluted share, in the year-ago period. Revenue rose 30 percent to $16.37 billion.

A consensus estimate compiled by Thomson Financial put Microsoft's earnings at 46 cents a share on revenue of $15.948 billion.

Shares of Microsoft were up about 2 percent Friday following an 8 percent jump in late trading Thursday.

The second-quarter revenue and profit growth rates are exaggerated by results in the year-ago period when Microsoft deferred more than $1 billion in net income due to delays in releasing Windows Vista and Office 2007, which hit stores in early 2007.

For the fiscal year ending in June, Microsoft lifted its outlook. It now expects earnings per share to range between $1.85 and $1.88 per share, up from its previous estimate of $1.78 to $1.81.

It also boosted its revenue outlook range to between $59.9 billion and $60.5 billion from a previous range of $58.8 billion to $59.7 billion.

Microsoft's results and raised forecasts come on the heels of disappointing outlooks from technology bellwethers Intel and Apple, which sent shivers through an already jittery stock market.

The company has long argued its products are less sensitive to swings in technology spending because they account for a small, but essential, portion of overall technology spending by corporate customers.

Results were boosted by strong computer sales that are driving sales of its Windows operating system and Office software, Microsoft said.

Microsoft posted strong sales of Windows Vista, helped by double-digit percentage growth rates in computer sales in the December quarter. A strong performance at its Windows units drove Microsoft's first-quarter results.

Microsoft shares rose 20.8 percent during its second quarter. In the past year, the stock has traded between $26.60 and $37.50.

- Reuters contributed to this report.

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