Microsoft Profits See Halo Effect

Microsoft has announced financial results for the first quarter of its 2008 fiscal year, including net income of $4.29 billion on revenue of $13.76 billion. The numbers are a 23 percent includes from the same period last year, and translate to earnings of 45 cents per share. Market watchers had forecast earnings of less than 40 cents per share.

“This fiscal year is off to an outstanding start with the fastest revenue growth of any first quarter since 1999,” said Microsoft CFO Chris Liddell, in a statement. “Operating income growth of over 30% also reflects our ability to translate revenue into profits while making strategic investments for the future.”

Microsoft says has sold 88 million copies of Windows Vista since the operating system became available to consumers in January of this year, and the company aso saw a 20 percent increase in sales of Microsoft Office compared to a year ago, with figures for the software suite totaling $4.11 billion.

However, sales of the much-anticipated video game Halo 3—and the Xbox 360 systems fans purchased in order to be able to play the game—also contributed to the company’s bottom line, with the company’s entertainment and devices division pulling in a $165 million profit for the quarter. The quarter marks only the second quarter the Xbox division has been out of the red, and the group’s revenue rose to nearly $1.93 billion, nearly double the amount from the same quarter last year. Microsoft also says it sold 1.8 million Xbox 360 consoles during the quarter. Microsoft is expected even bigger things from its entertainment and devices group next quarter, which will include the 2008 holiday season.