Microsoft cloud growth soars as hardware business falters

Microsoft sign attached to a building

Microsoft posted its third-quarter earnings report yesterday, revealing that the company's cloud division is its best-performing business.

The annualised revenue run rate for commercial cloud was more than $10 billion, with the firm well on its way to achieving its $20 billion target for its 2018 financial year.

Revenues from the company's Azure platform grew by 120 per cent in constant currency, while Azure compute and Azure SQL database use also more than doubled.

Similar growth was seen in enterprise mobility, with the number of customers here growing by more than twice year-on-year, and almost quadrupling the total installation base.

Office 365 revenues also rose by 63 per cent in constant currency, which in turn drove seven per cent growth in the overall Office commercial products and cloud services bracket.

This contrasts starkly with the figures from the company's hardware division. While its $9.5 billion revenue makes it the most profitable business unit overall, Windows OEM revenue and Xbox Live monthly active user growth continued to fall.

What's more, the company's phone revenue also dipped by 46 per, on top of last quarter's similar 49 per cent fall.

"We are the only cloud provider that helps companies embrace the cloud on their own terms," CEO Satya Nadella said in an earnings call.

"And we continue to innovate in areas that make it easier for our customers, including the recently released preview of Azure Stack, and by bringing SQL Server to Linux."

"This is three consecutive quarters of triple digit customer growth. This growth is driven by strong adoption across cloud services. For example, more than one-third of our Office 365 Enterprise Suite install base has also purchased Enterprise Mobility Services."

Adam Shepherd

Adam Shepherd has been a technology journalist since 2015, covering everything from cloud storage and security, to smartphones and servers. Over the course of his career, he’s seen the spread of 5G, the growing ubiquity of wireless devices, and the start of the connected revolution. He’s also been to more trade shows and technology conferences than he cares to count.

Adam is an avid follower of the latest hardware innovations, and he is never happier than when tinkering with complex network configurations, or exploring a new Linux distro. He was also previously a co-host on the ITPro Podcast, where he was often found ranting about his love of strange gadgets, his disdain for Windows Mobile, and everything in between.

You can find Adam tweeting about enterprise technology (or more often bad jokes) @AdamShepherUK.