Microsoft has hailed its software as the driving force behind strong financial results for the end of 2015. In the company’s latest earnings results, which cover the last three months of the year, Microsoft reported a revenue rise of 2.7 billion US dollars (£1.8bn) on the same period in 2014. The Windows-maker made a total of 6.3 billion (£4.3bn) in net income on revenue of 25.7 billion US dollars (£17.9bn).

The revenue Microsoft generated from their cloud business, including the Azure platform used by many businesses for storage and collaboration, was up by 5% to 6.3 billion dollars (£4.3bn), while Azure revenue alone was up by 140%.

Office 365, the company’s subscription-based productivity service also saw a revenue growth of 70%, with subscribers increasing to more than 20 million.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s chief executive said: “Businesses everywhere are using the Microsoft Cloud as their digital platform to drive their ambitious transformation agendas.

“Businesses are also piloting Windows 10, which will drive deployments beyond 200 million active devices.”

As for the company’s much-talked-about hardware, the Surface tablet was back on the rise after dipping in the last quarter, with revenue up 29% this time around. Microsoft said this was driven by the launch of the new Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book laptop towards the end of the year.

There was also good news for the company’s hugely popular games console, Xbox, with membership of its online platform Xbox Live rising by 30% to more than 48 million.

“It was a strong holiday season for Microsoft, highlighted by Surface and Xbox,” said Kevin Turner, chief operating officer at Microsoft.

“Our commercial business executed well as our sales teams and partners helped customers realise the value of Microsoft’s cloud technologies across Azure, Office 365 and CRM Online.”

However there was more disappointing news for the Windows Phone, with revenue down 49% over the course of the year. This was despite the launch of the Lumia 950 and 950 XL devices, though the firm is in the midst of re-organising its approach to smartphones in an attempt to rival the likes of Apple and Samsung.

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