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Microsoft reports strongest Q1 in eight years

Microsoft reports strongest Q1 in eight years

Strong sales of new and old products alike led Microsoft to its fastest first-quarter growth in eight years, with the company reporting growth in all five business segments and both revenue and earnings per share (EPS) that beat analyst expectations.

Revenue for the fiscal quarter ended September 30 was up 27 percent at US$13.76 billion compared to $10.81 billion a year ago, Microsoft said Thursday. Consensus estimates from Thomson Financial analysts were for the company to generate revenue of $12.57 billion.

At $5.92 billion, operating income for the quarter also had double-digit percentage growth: an increase of more than 25 percent over operating income reported for the same period last year of $4.47 billion.

Microsoft's first quarter was buoyed by the highly anticipated launch of the Xbox 360 game Halo 3 on September 25, just days before the quarter's close. In its first 24 hours on sale the game brought in $170 million in sales; it became the fastest selling video game in history after being in the market for just a week and a half, according to the company.

Strong performances from Microsoft's client, business, sever and tools and online divisions also contributed to revenue growth in the quarter. In particular, Microsoft said sales of its Windows Vista OS experienced double-digit growth through multi-year business contracts, and demand for Microsoft Office, Windows Server and SQL Server was also high.

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