Microsoft's Last Financial Quarter Could've Used a Service Pack

Results for last quarter are in, and with revenues reported well below already cautious estimates, it was a nasty few months for Microsoft. It's almost as if they're sitting on new generations of products in every single space they inhabit.

But analysts were well aware of Microsoft's cage of not-quite-released hardware and software, and their revenue estimates were still more than a billion dollars long. Months that were supposed to see $14.3bn pass through the company's accounts ended with just $13.1bn, which is a full 17% down from the same quarter last year. That globbed onto an also-tough Q3 to round out their financial year with a 3% decline in revenue overall—the first time they've seen a yearly decline in company history.

A section-by-section breakdown bears out the "give 'em some time" theory: Entertainment (Xbox and Zune), client software (Windows and Office) and mobile software lagged, suffering a sort of lame duck lethargy as they waited for their respective next generation products. That, and the fact that everyone in the world is kinda poor right now, and therefore not buying quite as many copies of Songsmith, et al.

So what did do well? No wait, first answer this: What has Microsoft actually launched in the last few months? Online revenues actually exceeded expectations, albeit by a small percentage. Way to go, Bing!

Worst of all, if it's the fact that a lot of Microsoft's products are in hospice care that's behind the poor showing, next quarter might not be much better: the company's got plenty of Things That Make Money on the horizon, but most of it's not gonna land in time to save this story from repeating itself in a few months. October 11th can't come fast enough. [Business Insider, Techflash—p.s. Erm, hey Bill!]