Google and Microsoft report rising profits for Q1 2013
Google and Microsoft have both reported rising profits for the first quarter of 2013.
Google’s net profit climbed to $3.35 billion in Q1 2013, up 16% from a year ago, boosted by online advertising revenue.
Microsoft said it made $6 billion in profit during the same period, a jump of more than 17% from a year earlier.
The tech giant’s earnings, which beat market forecasts, came despite a lukewarm reception for Windows 8 and a decline in global PC sales during the period.
Meanwhile IBM reported a fall in Q1 2013 profits and revenues after the technology services company failed to complete deals in time and was hit by the depreciation of the Japanese yen.
Analysts said that Microsoft’s profits were boosted in part by changing the way it sold its products to corporate clients, as well as cost-cutting measures.
“Microsoft has successfully transitioned into an enterprise software company and these results show that,” said Kim Caughey Forrest, a senior analyst at Fort Pitt Capital.
“The strength of server and tools, and the actual way they sell licences to business, is making up for the missing PC sales.
“The margins are fantastic and the online services division seems to lose less money each quarter,” she added.
Meanwhile Google’s profits were driven up by growing income from online advertising, which helped boost overall revenues to nearly $14 billion for Q1 2013. That is up from $10.7 billion during the same period last year.
The results also suggested that Google may be beginning to build confidence with advertisers. The amount paid per advert is still declining, but at a slower rate than last year.
Despite the stronger-than-expected numbers, Microsoft announced that its CFO, Peter Klien, would be leaving the firm at the end of June.
Peter Klein, who has been with Microsoft for 11 years, is the latest in a series of executives to leave the company.
His departure comes just months after the Steven Sinofsky, the head of Windows division, quit Microsoft.
The departures of the two senior figures have come as there have been questions over the leadership of chief executive Steve Ballmer.
These doubts have been driven in part by slowing growth, and amid concerns that Microsoft had not been able to make a significant impact in the new and fast-growing sectors such as the smartphone and tablet PC markets.
The leading smartphone and tablet PC makers, such as Samsung and Apple, rely more on operating systems such as Android and iOS, rather than Microsoft’s Windows, which has enjoyed a dominance in the traditional PC market.
The fear for Microsoft is that as more people use smartphones and tablet PCs to access the internet, it may see its market share decline.
These concerns have grown after Windows 8, which is designed to make PCs work more like tablet computers, was greeted with mixed reviews at its launch last October.
More positively, analysts said that Peter Klien’s departure from the firm suggested that an imminent departure of chief executive Steve Ballmer was unlikely.
“The CFO departure is a little bit troubling. We’ve had a lot of executives leaving Microsoft recently,” said Brendan Barnicle, an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities.
“This also makes a departure by Steve Ballmer less likely. It would be very unusual to have a CEO leave soon after a CFO departure.”
Also on Thursday, IBM reported first quarter earnings of $3 billion, down 1% from a year earlier, with revenues falling 5% to $23.41 billion – lower than analysts’ expectations.
IBM said its results had been hit by delays in completing deals, with about $400 million worth of contracts that were expected to be counted in the first quarter of the year now being moved into the second.
In addition, the company said that the recent weakening of the yen had affected its earnings. The depreciation of the yen means that it earns fewer dollars from sales in Japan.
“Despite a solid start and good client demand, we did not close a number of software and mainframe transactions that have moved into the second quarter,” said IBM’s chief executive, Ginni Rometty.
“The services business performed as expected with strong profit growth and significant new business in the quarter.”
IBM’s CFO Mark Loughridge said it was “hard to measure” whether the recent series of US budget cuts – the sequester – had affected the firm.
“I can tell you that our US federal business was down 13%, which was certainly a drag on the US performance,” he said.