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TECH ROUNDUP: Microsoft Quarterly Profit Slips, Still Tops Forecasts

Jan. 29, 2016
Sony delivers a nine-month net profit of almost $2 billion. ... PC sales slump pushes Fujitsu into the red. ... Apple recalls wall chargers, though not in the United States.

Microsoft shares rallied after the tech colossus reported earnings Thursday that surpassed Wall Street expectations with a winning shift into the Internet cloud.

Microsoft made a profit of $5 billion on $23.8 billion in revenue in the final three months of last year, it said, propelling the company’s shares about 7% when the earnings figures hit, before giving up some of the ground.

Shares were up more than 3% to $53.91 in after-market trade, with analysts rejecting the notion that the technology veteran was somehow past its sell-by date.

“It was a strong holiday season for Microsoft highlighted by Surface and Xbox,” COO Kevin Turner said, referring to the company’s tablet computer family and popular gaming console. “Our commercial business executed well as our sales teams and partners helped customers realize the value of Microsoft’s cloud technologies.”

NPD Group analyst Stephen Baker told AFP that “People who think Microsoft is sliding into irrelevancy really need to re-evaluate how they see the company. … They are a software-first company in a world that is increasingly about software.”

The analyst credited Microsoft with having a “nice mix” of businesses and reasoned that while consumer products get a lot of attention, legions of people use productivity software or services on the job and off.

Cloud computing lets people use the Internet to tap into processing or data storage capacity at huge data centers.

Software offered as a service in the Internet cloud has been a key aspect of Microsoft’s effort to adapt to a shift away from packaged software on which the company was built.

Sony Swings to $1.95 Billion Net Profit

Sony posted a nine-month net profit on Friday of almost $2.0 billion, as strong sales of its PlayStation video games console and image sensors found in mobile gadgets help it move past years of losses.

The once-iconic Japanese giant has been working to claw back to profitability under a painful restructuring that has included layoffs and asset sales, including its Manhattan headquarters and laptop division.

The company, along with rivals Panasonic and Sharp, has struggled in the consumer electronics business that built its global brand, including losing billions of dollars in televisions over the past decade.

In a sign things are on the upswing, Sony said Friday its net profit came in at 236.1 billion yen ($1.95 billion) for the April-December period, reversing a 19.2 billion yen loss a year earlier. Operating profit more than doubled to 387.1 billion yen, while sales edged up 0.1% to 6.28 trillion yen.

Fujitsu Falls Into Red on PC Sales Slump

Fujitsu plunged into the red on Friday for the April-December reporting period, owing to sluggish sales of personal computers and network equipment, and it slashed its full-year forecasts.

The sprawling Japanese IT conglomerate fell into a 10.7 billion yen net loss for the nine months, reversing a year earlier profit of 51.7 billion yen, it said.

“Although revenue in Japan from system integration services increased, revenue from personal computers and network products decreased” in Japan, Fujitsu said in a statement.

Sales of personal computers and network products also declined overseas, but the positive impact of a weak yen offset the damage. The company cut its net profit forecast for the fiscal year to March by about 17% to 85 billion yen and trimmed its annual sales target to 4.80 trillion yen.

Apple Recalls Wall Plug Adapters Outside US

Apple announced a recall Thursday of 12 years’ worth of wall plug adapters it sold outside the United States, warning of the risk of electric shock.

The recall was sparked by the danger of the two-prong AC wall plug adapters breaking and shocking people who touch them, the California-based technology giant said in an online post. Apple said that it was aware of 12 incidents worldwide involving the adapters.

The units targeted in the recall were designed for use in Argentina, Brazil, much of Europe, New Zealand and South Korea. They were sold with Mac computers, Apple mobile gadgets and in an Apple World Travel Adapter Kit between 2003 and 2015.

Apple did not specify the number of adapters at issue. People were advised to stop using the adapters and bring them to an Apple shop for replacement.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2016

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