Microsoft likely to flag up sluggish PC growth

When Microsoft reports its latest quarterly earnings on Thursday, it is likely to show that sluggish growth in the global PC market and a steady shift towards the emerging markets has continued to weigh on its Windows operating system business.

However, the world’s biggest software maker is still expected to report a solid end to its fiscal year, which came to a close in June, thanks in particular to robust demand for the latest version of its Office suite of productivity tools. Overall, Wall Street expects Microsoft to report revenues of $17.3bn and earnings per share of 58 cents for its fourth quarter, compared with revenues of $16.0bn and earnings of 51 cents per share the year before.

Revenues from the Windows division fell 4 per cent in the preceding three months, and a further slight decline is likely as the company struggles to top a strong period the year before. IDC and Gartner last week reported that global PC sales grew by less than 3 per cent in the most recent quarter. Meanwhile, revenues from the Microsoft Business Division, which includes Office, are forecast to grow by 15 per cent or more, with the server and tools division also registering double-digit expansion.

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