Microsoft posts first-ever loss

Microsoft’s reported its first ever quarterly loss since floating on the stock market in 1986.

In an announcement headed: “Microsoft Reports Record Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year Revenue”, it said it had made a loss of $492 million in the three months to the end of June, compared with a profit of $5.9 billion during the same period last year.

The reason for the disparity is the company’s ill-fated acquisition of online ad service Aquantive in 2007. It’s taken a $6.2 billion charge against the company – not far off the $6.3 billion it paid for Aquantive in the first place.

It’s also deferred $540 million of revenue related to the Windows Upgrade Offer.

Revenues for the quarter rose by a small amount – four percent – to reach $18.1 billion, which was much in line with analysts’ expectations. Shares rose slightly after the announcement.

“We delivered record fourth quarter and annual revenue, and we’re fast approaching the most exciting launch season in Microsoft history,” says Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO.

“Over the coming year, we’ll release the next versions of Windows, Office, Windows Server, Windows Phone, and many other products and services that will drive our business forward and provide unprecedented opportunity to our customers and partners.”

The company’s pinning its hopes firmly to the release of Windows 8 in October. It’s the biggest redesign of the operating system in ten years, bringing a touch interface at the same time as the release of Microsoft’s own tablet, Surface.

“Our enterprise business is firing on all cylinders and we couldn’t be more excited about the wave of innovation and new releases that position us well for the coming years,” claims chief operating officer Kevin Turner.