Microsoft reports profit increase, plans to increase workforce

Microsoft Corp.'s fourth-quarter profit easily surpassed its bare-bones profit from a year ago, but fell far short of analysts' expectations because of telecom-related investment losses.

Microsoft announced Thursday that for the quarter ended June 30, it had profits of $1.53 billion, or 28 cents per share, compared with a profit of $65 million, or 1 cent a share, in the same period last year.

The most-recent earnings included an after-tax charge of $806 million in "investment impairments" stemming from investments made in AT&T and other telecommunications companies as part of Microsoft's bid to roll out software over cable networks and other initiatives. In the same quarter a year ago, Microsoft took an after-tax charge of $2.63 billion or 47 cents a share for investment impairments.

In fiscal years 2001 and 2002, Microsoft has taken $9 billion in investment impairment charges, mostly for telecom investments.

Microsoft had revenues of $7.25 billion for the quarter, a 10-percent increase from the $6.58 billion for the same period a year ago.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial/First Call were expecting earnings of 42 cents per share for the quarter on revenues of $7.1 billion.

Microsoft stock closed Thursday at $51.11, down 89 cents a share on the Nasdaq stock market. In after-hours trading, shares were down 26 cents to $50.85.

News source: The Nando Times - Microsoft reports profit increase, plans to increase workforce

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