Microsoft suffers its biggest quarterly loss after writedown

Microsoft’s recent gains in new markets have been overshadowed by a multi billion-dollar writedown and a strengthening US currency

Microsoft's losses have been attributed to a writedown charge it faced recently of $7.5bn. The company remains positive about its future 

Microsoft has turned in a record $3.2bn loss for the latest quarter, ending June 30, after having suffered a $7.5bn writedown charge recently – courtesy of Nokia’s struggling mobile business. Company sales were down also by 5.1 percent, as the impairment charge, coupled with a strengthening US dollar, dealt the world’s biggest software company its biggest quarterly loss in history.

The bad news was offset in part by growth elsewhere

The bad news was offset in part by growth elsewhere, with Surface, Xbox, Bing, Office 365, Azure and Dynamics CRM Online all racking up double-digit growth over the quarter. Chief Executive Satya Nadella went to great lengths to underline the company’s strong performance in new markets, not least in cloud computing, where results were strong but perhaps not as strong as expected. Overall, the positives were overshadowed by the company’s headline losses, and its shares took an almost four percent tumble in extended trading, despite posting an 8.6 percent gain in the quarter overall.

“We finished the fiscal year with solid progress against our strategic priorities, through strong execution and financial discipline, which is reflected in our results for the quarter and the year,” said Amy Hood, Microsoft’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial officer in a statement, echoing Nadella’s positivity.

The chief executive stressed also that “the upcoming release of Windows 10 will create new opportunities for Microsoft and our ecosystem,” as he sought to consign Microsoft’s failings to past mistakes. The fact remains, however, that recent iterations of Windows have not been well received by critics, though the company’s decision to integrate search and gaming into the latest may yet prove a canny move.