Microsoft

Photograph courtesy of Amit Chattopadhyay

Software behemoth Microsoft has issued its first ever loss for a financial quarter, posting a loss of $492 million in the three months to June compared with a $5.9 billion profit for the same period last year.

The loss is mostly the result of the Redmond-based company wrote down the value of digital advertising firm Aquantive by $6.2 billion after acquiring the company in 2007 but which failed to produce the profits expected in competition with Google. Microsoft originally paid $6.3 billion for the company.

Despite this loss, however, the company remains in good shape throughout most of the rest of their business as revenues for the quarter rose 4% to $18.06 billion. This is the first quarterly loss the company has reported since listing on the stock exchange in 1986 and shares rose 1.6% after the results were announced.

The next year will see some big changes for the company with the upcoming autumn release of the Windows 8 and Windows RT operating systems for desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones which bring the Windows Phone 7 “Metro” touch-centric user interface to all its products. The design has had much good coverage from the press and users, but it is quite different to the icon based operating systems people have come to expect from Microsoft’s Windows, Linux, Apple’s OSX and iOS, and Google’s Android with it’s customisable “live tiles”.

Alongside the Windows 8 release, Microsoft are also launching their own “Surface” branded flagship tablets to directly compete with Apple’s iPad and Google’s Nexus 7. As more and more people begin to use tablets on a regular basis, this is a major growth area on the computing industry where sales of desktops and laptop are in decline.

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