Recession Hurts Microsoft Sales

Microsoft said its quarterly revenue fell from the previous year for the first time in its 23-year history as a public company. The software giant said its earnings dropped 32 percent to 2.98 billion dollars.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And in this rough global economy, people aren't just pulling back on car purchases. They're buying fewer computers and less software. And Microsoft is feeling the pain. For the first time in its 23 years as a public company, the software giant has reported a decline in quarterly revenue. NPR's Wendy Kaufman has more.

WENDY KAUFMAN: As Matt Rosoff, an independent analyst at a firm called Directions On Microsoft, put it, yesterday's news from the company was pretty bad across the board. But what struck him most about the company's earnings conference call was the air of pessimism.

Mr. MATT ROSOFF (Directions On Microsoft): Microsoft is somewhat unique among technology companies because they sell so many different products in so many different parts of the world to so many different types of customers. So I think they have a pretty good view of how economic conditions are changing around the world and among all of these different customer segments. And as a result of that, they were pretty downbeat.

KAUFMAN: The company noted, for example, that sales were way down in Russia and Brazil, two countries that had provided a lot of growth for Microsoft in recent years. Overall, company revenue fell 6 percent, to $13.65 billion. But another Seattle-area company turned in a strong performance. Online retailer Amazon said first-quarter profit grew 24 percent as consumers abandoned the mall and shopped on the Web. The company cited especially strong sales in consumer electronics.

Wendy Kaufman, NPR News, Seattle.

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