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Microsoft reports quarterly loss after charge


Microsoft Corp reported its first quarterly loss as a public company on Thursday as it took a previously announced charge for writing down the value of its ailing online unit. The world's largest software company reported a net loss of $492 million, or 6 cents per share for its fiscal fourth quarter, compared with a profit of $5.87 billion, or 69 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.


Sales rose 4% to $18 billion, dampened by slowing PC sales featuring its flagship Windows operating system.


Microsoft has not suffered a quarterly loss since going public in 1986.


The loss was expected after Microsoft said earlier this month that it would take a $6.2 billion write-down for the value of its online unit after an ill-fated acquisition.


Microsoft also deferred $540 million of Windows revenue due to an upgrade discount it is offering customers who buy machines running Windows 7 before the launch of Windows 8 in late October.


Excluding the write-down, but factoring in the deferred revenue, Microsoft said it earned 67 cents per share in the quarter.


On that basis, Wall Street expected profit of 62 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Quarterly sales were slightly below analysts' average forecast of $18.1 billion.


Microsoft's shares rose 1.7% in post-market trading after closing at $30.67 on Nasdaq.


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