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Microsoft posts profit gain


SEATTLE — — Microsoft Corp. reported a 2 per cent rise in quarterly profit, driven by sales of new computer server software, and lowered its full-year earnings forecasts to account for a toughening economy.

Shares of Microsoft, which had traded lower this week on expectations of a cut in its outlook, rose 5 per cent in after-hours trade after the announcement.

Microsoft posted a net profit of $4.37-billion (U.S.), or 48 cents per diluted share, in its fiscal first quarter ended Sept. 30, against a profit of $4.29-billion, or 45 cents, in the year-ago period.

Revenue rose 9 per cent to $15.06-billion.

Analysts, on average, were forecasting Microsoft to earn 47 cents per share on revenue of $14.8-billion, according to Reuters Estimates.

Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, cashed in on new releases of computer server software such as Windows Server 2008 operating system and database software SQL Server 2008.

For the full-year ending June, 2009, Microsoft forecast earnings per share to range between $2 to $2.10 on revenue from $64.9-billion to $66.4-billion. Microsoft's previous estimates called for earnings per share from $2.12 to $2.18 and revenue ranging from $67.3-billion to $68.1-billion.

Wall Street analysts were already forecasting earnings more conservative than the company's own estimates. According to Reuters Estimates, analysts, on average, forecast Microsoft to earn $2.11 per share on revenue of $66.4-billion.

Shares of Microsoft have fallen 19 per cent since it last reported earnings on July 17. Microsoft stock closed at $22.32, up 3.67 per cent, on the Nasdaq before rising to $23.35 in extended trade.

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