The earnings scorecard is the first under Satya Nadella, the Microsoft veteran who was named CEO three months ago. Mr. Nadella is expected to make an appearance on Microsoft's earnings conference call with analysts, in a break from his predecessor. The quarter ended March 31 continued Microsoft's recent pattern of strong growth in software sales to companies, while the strength in its consumer segment was more of a surprise. Microsoft said its revenue from sales of its software to companies rose 7% to $12.23 billion. The company's sales of email and word processing tools, computer servers, telecom systems and other essential corporate technology generate the majority of the company's gross profit. Investors closely watch how well revenue is holding up from this crucial base of commercial customers.
Nadella was named CEO in February after overseeing various aspects of the company's corporate software business since 1992. He was most recently in charge of Microsoft's cloud and enterprise group, overseeing the company's server software and back-end technology for corporate customers. Microsoft tapped Nadella for his expertise in the company's businesses outside of Windows for consumers, which is losing popularity amid the shift to tablets and smartphones -- and away from Windows PCs. Those businesses look fairly healthy. Microsoft booked solid growth from business products like its Office 365 software and Azure cloud computing application. Sales of the corporate version of Windows rose 19%.