With a market capitalization of more than $1 trillion, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is the most valuable public company. Yet its fourth-quarter results suggest that plenty of gains may still lie ahead for investors.

Microsoft results: The raw numbers


Q4 2019

Q4 2018

Year-Over-Year Change


$33.7 billion

$30.1 billion


Operating income

$12.4 billion

$10.4 billion


Net income

$13.2 billion

$8.9 billion


Earnings per share




Data source: Microsoft Q4 2019 earnings release.

What happened with Microsoft this quarter?

Revenue in Microsoft's intelligent cloud segment leapt 19% year over year to $11.4 billion, driven by 64% growth in its Azure cloud-infrastructure business.

"Every day we work alongside our customers to help them build their own digital capability -- innovating with them, creating new businesses with them, and earning their trust," CEO Satya Nadella said in a press release. "This commitment to our customers' success is resulting in larger, multiyear commercial cloud agreements and growing momentum across every layer of our technology stack."

A digital cloud surrounded by digital charts

As more businesses shift their operations to the cloud, Microsoft wins. Image source: Getty Images.

Microsoft's productivity and business processes segment is also expanding at a solid clip, with revenue increasing 14%, to $11 billion. The gains were fueled by growth in Microsoft's cloud-based services Office 365 commercial and Dynamics 365, which saw revenue rise 31% and 45%, respectively.

"Microsoft 365 is the world's productivity cloud," Nadella said during a conference call with analysts. "It empowers everyone, including 2 billion first-line workers around the world, with an integrated, secure, AI-infused experience on any device."

A 25% rise in revenue for professional network site LinkedIn -- which now has 645 million members -- also contributed to the gains. "We are enabling every business to drive a culture of relationship selling and take full advantage of their social networks with the combination of Dynamics 365 and LinkedIn Sales Navigator," Nadella said. 

Somewhat surprisingly, Microsoft's personal computing segment also continues to grow at a decent rate. Despite tepid growth in the global PC market, revenue in this division rose 4%, to $11.3 billion, with Windows commercial products and cloud services revenue rising 13%. Notably, Surface revenue increased by 14%, as Microsoft's mobile devices continue to sell well. Gaming revenue, however, fell 10%, mostly because of lower console sales and tough comparisons to the prior-year quarter's Fortnite-fueled gains. 

All told, Microsoft's total revenue rose 12% to $33.7 billion. Better still, the tech titan's profitability is improving; operating income grew 20% to $12.4 billion, and non-GAAP (adjusted) net income increased 21% to $10.6 billion, or $1.37 per share.

Looking forward

Microsoft's profit growth should remain robust in the year ahead. Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood said that despite heavy spending related to multiple strategic initiatives, the company expects "double-digit" growth in revenue and operating income in fiscal 2020. 

"We will continue to invest given our strong execution, our growing competitive position, and our significant ambition in high growth areas," Hood said.

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