Microsoft's cloud offerings have helped boost its third-quarter results but its senior management admits there is still "an immense amount of work to do" at its Windows division, whose revenues stayed flat.
For the three months to 31 March the vendor saw its net profits climb annually by 18.5 per cent to $6bn (£3.91bn), on sales that soared 18 per cent to $20.5bn over the same period.
Chief executive Steve Ballmer (pictured) claimed Microsoft's "bold bets" on cloud services have paid off, pointing to Office 365 and Windows Azure in particular as products that are becoming increasingly popular.
Office 365, which was made generally available to the UK channel earlier this year, was said to represent a "fundamental shift" in the firm's business model by its chief financial officer Peter Klein, who announced his imminent departure from the firm during the results announcement.
Klein will leave Microsoft after 11 years at the vendor and four in his existing role at the end of its fiscal year. His replacement is set to be announced in the coming weeks.
TechMarketView's research director Angela Eager said Klein's departure could be a concern for the vendor.
She said: "Change is often good but the loss of experienced people around Ballmer is a concern. Ballmer is a constant but with the level of attrition you have to wonder whether that could or should change."
Klein said that Q3 was Office 365's strongest-ever quarter, with net seat additions growing to five times that of the same period last year. A quarter of its enterprise customers now use Office 365, which now has an annual revenue runrate of $1bn (£651.46m).
Microsoft's Business Division posted an eight per cent annual revenue hike to $6.32bn, while its Server and Tools business grew 11 per cent, posting sales of $5.04bn over the same period.
The vendor's chief operating officer Kevin Turner said Microsoft's enterprise business is thriving, and claimed to be taking market share from its competition in the hybrid cloud, data platform and virtualisation space.
In Q3, Microsoft's Online Services Division grew 18 per cent year on year to $832m, and, while its Windows Division's sales grew 23 per cent annually to $5.7bn, when adjusted to reflect the Windows Upgrade Offer its sales figure was flat.
Klein said that Windows is transforming into a new era of computing, and that the company is working hard with partners to meet its goals.
"While Windows revenue has been impacted by the transition from the traditional PC to a new era of computing devices, the overall addressable markets are growing, and we are excited by the opportunities ahead of us," he said.
"We built Windows 8 with touch and mobility at the centre of the experience, which positions us well in this new era. However, the transition is complicated, given the size of our hardware and software ecosystem.
"We still have an immense amount of work to do, yet we feel good about the foundation we have laid and are optimistic about the long-term success of Windows."
For its third quarter, Microsoft upped its sales and marketing spend by 11 per cent annually to $3.8bn, while its research and development outgoings rose five per cent to $2.64bn over the same period.
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