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Microsoft sees impressive growth despite epidemic, but LinkedIn lays off nearly 1,000

Microsoft is a big company. Some parts got a boost from the pandemic, while other parts suffered from it.

Microsoft sees impressive growth despite epidemic, but LinkedIn lays off nearly 1,000
[Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images]

Microsoft’s cloud services and gaming businesses may have gotten a boost from the work-from-home revolution brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Both its Azure cloud business, which serves digital services to phones and homes, and its gaming business saw strong gains in the June-ending quarter.

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While Microsoft doesn’t break out its Azure profits, it said the cloud services business grew by 47%. Azure is part of Microsoft’s Intelligent Cloud business, which brought in $13.4 billion during the quarter. Given the ravages of the pandemic, that’s impressive growth. The Azure business grew 59% in the previous quarter, before the full weight of the pandemic hit.

Overall, Microsoft reported $38 billion in revenues. This surprised analysts, who had expected around $35.5 billion.

The Personal Computing business, which includes Surface tablets, showed strong growth too, reporting $12.9 billion in revenue, against analyst expectations of $11.5 billion.

The gaming business grew 64% to $1.3 billion, driven in part by Xbox hardware sales, which grew 49% year-over-year.

The earnings numbers come as Microsoft’s LinkedIn social network announced today that it will lay off 960 of its employees. The affected roles are in the sales and recruiting groups, the company said. LinkedIn says its business has suffered as employers continue to hire fewer people, and therefore rely less on LinkedIn to help them find candidates.

Microsoft’s stock price dropped by 3% in after hours trading. Analysts say this may be attributable to concerns over the next two quarters, which they expect will be challenging for Microsoft.

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About the author

Fast Company Senior Writer Mark Sullivan covers emerging technology, politics, artificial intelligence, large tech companies, and misinformation. An award-winning San Francisco-based journalist, Sullivan's work has appeared in Wired, Al Jazeera, CNN, ABC News, CNET, and many others.

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