Microsoft reported quarterly earnings Wednesday that once again beat analyst expectations, rising on the strength of its growing cloud computing business.
The company reported that fiscal first-quarter revenue rose 19 percent to $29.1 billion, and profit increased 34 percent to $8.8 billion, or $1.14 a share.
Analysts were expecting revenue of $27.9 billion on earnings of $7.5 billion and earnings per share of 96 cents.
Revenue from the company’s Azure cloud computing business, which allows other companies to rent computing power from Microsoft’s many data centers, once again spiked — this time up 76 percent. That adds on to several consecutive quarters of Azure revenue gains, though the speed of growth was lower than it has been in recent quarters.
Azure revenue grew 93 percent during the company’s third quarter and 89 percent during its fiscal fourth quarter ended in June. Microsoft does not break out specific revenue dollar figures for Azure.
Microsoft’s commercial cloud business — which combines Azure with subscription cloud software services Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365 — also grew at a slightly slower rate than during the previous quarter, but still increased 47 percent to $8.5 billion.
The Redmond company’s cloud business trails only Amazon Web Services in the virtual computing market, which analysts expect to keep growing significantly as more businesses move their operations to the cloud.
Microsoft is in a good position to keep growing with the cloud market, Wedbush analyst Dan Ives wrote in a report this week before financial results were announced.
“Microsoft continues to be in the midst of shifting its business from traditional, slow growing PCs into a leader in the fast-growing cloud market on the shoulders of its core Azure platform, which our checks indicate are showing considerable strength this quarter yet again,” he wrote.
Microsoft’s shares were up 3.4 percent to $105.84 in after-hours trading Wednesday, after slipping 5.4 percent in the regular trading session amid a broad sharp market decline.