Microsoft is claiming significant progress in take-up of its cloud services for business, such as Office 365 and Windows Azure, and forecasting that the former is on the way to becoming a $1 billion business.
Speaking during a conference call on its earnings for the quarter ender 31 March 2012, chief financial officer Peter Klein said that Microsoft is confident that an increasing number of businesses are deploying Office 365.
"Office 365 lights up with this latest release as evidenced by our growing customer adoption," he said. "This quarter was our strongest ever, with net seat additions up five times over the prior year.
"One in four of our enterprise customers now has Office 365 and the business is on a £1 billion annual revenue run rate."
Klein added that the recent introduction of Azure Infrastructure as a Service is expected to boost the take-up of the Windows Azure cloud platform.
"We now have a complete end-to-end story through the data centre from private, to hosted, to public, from infrastructure to platform," he said. "So I think it's again a key enabler of that all-up strategy and accelerator."
Microsoft announced quarterly revenue of $20.49 billion (£13.46 billion), with operating income at $7.61 billion (£5.0 billion), net income at $6.06 billion (£3.98 billion) and diluted earnings per share at $0.72.
Klein acknowledged that the effort to stake out a major claim on the touchscreen market with the development of Windows 8 has been complicated by "the size of our hardware and software ecosystem". But he said that Microsoft is still optimistic about the term success of Windows.
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