Shares of Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) trade more than 4% higher in after-hours action following the report of a strong fourth-quarter earnings surprise.

Microsoft's GAAP earnings fell 4% year over year to $0.78 per share, crushing the $0.68 analyst target. Revenues rose 11% to $24.5 billion, also a positive surprise.

Sales of devices and consumer hardware, including products like the Xbox One console and Surface tablets, surged from $2.8 billion last year to $4.7 billion in the just-reported quarter, albeit at far weaker margins. The segment also reported 46% lower gross profits.

Microsoft also reports its online operations under this banner, but doesn't break these results out in detail. Search advertising revenue under the Bing banner did increase 34% year over year.

In the commercial division, a 10% sales surge rested on strong sales of the SQL Server database and a selection of cloud computing services.

"Our Commercial segment continues to outpace the overall market, and our Devices and Consumer segment had a great holiday quarter," said retiring CEO Steve Ballmer.

"These results reflect our focus on execution, cost discipline, and long-term shareholder value as we continue to drive the strategic transformation of the company," said CFO Amy Hood.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.