Microsoft (IW 500/16) on Thursday posted net income of $5.11 billion on record-high revenue in the recently ended quarter -- a slight dip in profit from a year ago but still beating market expectations.

"We're driving toward exciting launches across the entire company, while delivering strong financial results," said CEO Steve Ballmer.

"With the upcoming release of new Windows 8 PCs and tablets, the next version of Office, and a wide array of products and services for the enterprise and consumers, we will be delivering exceptional value to all our customers in the year ahead."

The results beat Wall Street predictions and boasted unprecedented third-quarter revenue of $17.41 billion.

Sales of programs tailored for businesses and interest in software hosted as services in the Internet "cloud" lifted revenue despite continued weakness in the consumer market and softened demand for Xbox 360 videogame consoles.

Entertainment and Devices Division Weakens

Money taken in by the company's Entertainment and Devices Division that had been ablaze due to Xbox and its Kinect gesture-and-voice control accessory dropped 16% to $1.6 billion.

"We continue to execute well across our businesses, and we are seeing robust demand for our enterprise products and services," said Microsoft COO Kevin Turner.

"Our investments and offerings in the database platform and public, private, and hybrid cloud are helping our customers transform their operations to meet today's evolving business demands."

Microsoft's profit for the three months ending March 31 was slightly less than the $5.23 billion seen in the same period last year.

The months ahead are seen as pivotal for Microsoft. The Redmond, Wash.-based colossus is slated to release a new version of its Windows personal computer operating system and a preliminary version of Office.

Industry trackers are also watching to see what Microsoft does with its Windows Phone platform that has failed to carve out much territory in a booming smartphone and tablet market dominated by Apple and Google-backed Android gadgets.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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