Financial reports round-up: Microsoft, Google, Intel, Sony Ericcson

Financial reports round-up: Microsoft, Google, Intel, Sony Ericcson

The results are mostly good - except for Sony Ericcson

Intel's Q4 earnings strong despite Atom revenue drop

Intel reported strong revenue and profit growth in the fourth fiscal quarter of 2011, overcoming a sharp drop in revenue from its low-power Atom microprocessors and chipsets used in tablets and netbooks.

The chip maker reported net income of $US3.5 billion for the quarter that ended on December 31, up 11 per cent compared to the previous year's fourth quarter. Intel reported earnings per share of $US0.68, while analysts polled by Thomson Reuters estimated earnings per share of $US0.61.

Intel reported revenue of $US13.9 billion, up 22 per cent compared to the previous year's fourth quarter.

Though the PC and server segments recorded revenue growth, Atom microprocessor and chipset revenue dropped by 57 per cent year-over-year to $US167 million. That's a small portion of the overall revenue and Intel hopes to increase Atom revenue by entering the high-volume smartphone market later this year. The company last week said it had signed deals with Lenovo and Motorola Mobility, which will use the Atom chip code-named Medfield in upcoming smartphones.

Most Atom chips now go into netbooks, but that market has been hurt by tablets. Intel's Medfield chip will also be used in tablets starting this year. Intel also hopes to reinvigorate the PC market with ultrabooks, which are thinner and lighter laptops with low-power components and thinner screens.

"With a tremendous product and technology pipeline for 2012, we're excited about the global growth opportunities presented by ultrabook systems, the data center, security and the introduction of Intel-powered smartphones and tablets," Intel CEO Paul Otellini said in a statement.

Revenue for the PC Client Group, which deals in chips and components for laptops and desktops, was $US9 billion in the fourth quarter, up 17 per cent year-over-year. The Data Center Group, responsible for servers and data-center products, posted revenue of $US2.7 billion, up 8 per cent year-over-year.

For the first quarter of 2012, Intel is projecting revenue of $US12.8 billion, plus or minus $US500 million. - Agam Shah

Google expands revenue but misses forecast

Google's fourth-quarter revenue climbed 25 per cent from a year earlier but was less than analysts had expected, pulling its stock price down 9 per cent in US after-hours trading Thursday.

Google's revenue for the three months to December 31 came in at US$US10.58 billion, up from $US8.44 billion a year earlier, the company announced on Thursday. Subtracting commissions and fees paid to partners, revenue was $US8.13 billion, below the consensus analyst forecast of $US8.41 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

The company's stock price had dipped more than 9 per cent at the time of this report, to $US580.91, as investors reacted to the news. Earlier in the day, its stock ended regular trading at $US639.57, up 1 per cent.

Google's net income for the quarter was $US2.71 billion, the company said, up from $US2.54 billion in the fourth quarter last year. In a statement, CEO Larry Page was upbeat. "Google had a really strong quarter ending a great year," he said.

It's Google+ social networking service now has 90 million users, he said, up from about 40 million when Google reported its third-quarter results a few months ago. - James Niccolai

Microsoft Q2 revenue up 5 per cent, net income slightly down

Microsoft revenue rose in the second fiscal quarter, while its profits dipped a bit.

Revenue for the quarter, ended Dec. 31, hit US$US20.89 billion, up 5 per cent compared with 2010's second fiscal quarter, which included recognition of $US224 million of deferred revenue related to the Office 2010 technology guarantee program.

Net income came in at $US6.62 billion, or $US0.78 per share, down from $US6.63 billion, or $US0.77 per share.

CEO Steve Ballmer called the results "solid" in a statement and predicted that business will accelerate in the new fiscal year starting in July as a result of upcoming product and service launches.

Microsoft missed on the consensus revenue expectation of $US20.93 billion from financial analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, but exceeded their earnings per share forecast of $US0.76.

The company's Business Division generated $US6.28 billion in revenue, up 3 per cent year-on-year, and up 7 per cent excluding the Office 2010 recognition of deferred revenue. Almost 200 million licenses of Office 2010 have been sold since its launch 18 months ago, the company said. Exchange and SharePoint revenue grew 10 per cent, while revenue from Lync and Dynamics CRM grew more than 30 per cent.

The Server & Tools business had $US4.77 billion in revenue, up 11 per cent, and was helped by "double-digit revenue growth" from Windows Server and SQL Server premium editions and by more than 20 per cent growth in System Center revenue.

Revenue shrank 6 per cent at the Windows & Windows Live Division to $US4.74 billion. More than 525 million Windows 7 licenses have been sold since its launch.

The Online Services Division's revenue grew 10 per cent to $US784 million, while the Entertainment & Devices Division had revenue of $US4.24 billion, up 15 per cent. There are now about 66 million Xbox 360 consoles in the market, along with 18 million Kinect sensors. Xbox Live memberships increased 33 per cent to 40 million.

Looking ahead, Microsoft is revising downward its operating expense guidance to a range of between $US28.5 billion and $US28.9 billion for the full year ending June 30. - Juan Carlos Perez

Sony Ericsson posts loss as sales fall

Mobile phone maker Sony Ericsson, which is soon to be part of the Sony empire, has reported a fourth-quarter loss on the back of higher costs and lower sales.

Its loss of 207 million euros ($A256.24 million) compares with a profit of 8 million euros ($A9.90 million) a year ago.

Aside from weaker sales, which dropped 16 per cent to 1.29 billion euros ($A1.60 billion), Sony Ericsson said margins were also severely squeezed by intense pricing competition on the smartphone market.

Sony Ericsson said it suffered from "macroeconomic challenges in advanced economies", and from component shortages following the big flooding in Thailand. - AAP

Sweden's LM Ericsson has announced it will sell its 50 per cent stake in the company to Japan's Sony Corp for 1.05 billion euros ($A1.30 billion). The deal is expected to close in the first quarter.

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