Microsoft reported that its quarterly earnings were lifted on the back of its shift to focusing on computing services hosted in the internet cloud. The U.S. technology giant said it made a profit of $6.5 billion in the recently ended quarter as revenue rose to $23.3 billion. About $7.4 billion of the revenue in the quarter came from "intelligent cloud" offerings that are part of Microsoft shedding its legacy of packaged software and embracing a future in which computing power is hosted online as a service.
"Innovation across our cloud platforms drove strong results this quarter," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement. Microsoft uses the term "intelligent cloud" to refer to services that let businesses take advantage of computing power online in its data centers, coupled with insights or analysis by artificial intelligence software. Microsoft also said cloud-based products like Office 365 rose in the quarter, with the number of Office 365 subscribers climbing to 27 million.The quarterly profit figure topped Wall Street expectations, while revenue was roughly in line. During an earnings call, Microsoft executives sidestepped providing details about recently disclosed plans to cut jobs, evidently while reorganizing its global sales operations to better hawk cloud products. The pioneering software firm had more than 121,000 employees worldwide at the end of March, according to its website. It is seeking to be a first port-of-call for businesses relying on cloud computing, as the industry moves away from packaged software.