US tech giant Microsoft on Tuesday logged a 12 per cent decline in profit for the October-December quarter, reflecting the economic uncertainty it said led to its decision to cut 10,000 workers, reported by news agency AP. Microsoft reported quarterly profit of $16.43 billion, or $2.20 per share. According to AP report, excluding one-time items, the company based in Redmond, Washington, said it earned $2.32 a share, which topped Wall Street expectation for adjusted earnings of $2.29 a share.
Microsoft clocked revenue of $52.75 billion in the October-December period, its second fiscal quarter, up 2 per cent from the same period a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet expected Microsoft to post revenue of $52.99 billion for the October-December quarter.
Microsoft last week blamed macroeconomic conditions and changing customer priorities for its decision to cut nearly 5 per cent of its global workforce. It’s one of a number of tech companies, including Google, Amazon, Salesforce and Facebook parent Meta, to announce mass layoffs.
Microsoft’s personal computing business, centered on its Windows software, was widely expected to continue a deterioration that began earlier last year due to economic uncertainties and crimped demand. The company gets licensing revenue from PC manufacturers who install its Windows operating system on their products.
Market research firm Gartner reported that worldwide PC shipments in the October-December quarter declined 28.5 per cent from the same period of 2021, the steepest quarterly decline since Gartner began tracking the market in the 1990s.
Among the factors reducing consumer demand for PCs were increased inflation, higher interest rates, the expectation of a global recession and the fact that many people already bought new computers during the Covid-19 pandemic, Gartner said. With a weak PC market, analysts were closely watching for results from Microsoft’s other big business segments namely, its cloud-computing division and its Office suite of workplace software.
In a bid to further integrate the latest advances in artificial technology into its products, Microsoft on Monday announced a multiyear, multibillion dollar investment in the artificial intelligence startup OpenAI, maker of ChatGPT and other tools that can write readable text and computer code and generate new images.