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Windows sales beat analyst predictions

Sales of Windows to businesses up in first quarter of 2012

Windows 7 is now on 40% of enterprise desktops.
Windows 7 is now on 40% of enterprise desktops.

Microsoft saw an upturn in sales of Windows to businesses in the first calendar quarter of 2012, beating analyst expectations.

The company reported an 8% year-on-year rise in systems sales to companies, while sales to consumers remained flat, driving the Windows and Windows Live Division of the company to a 4% rise in revenue for the quarter ended 31st March, to $4.62 billion. Analysts had widely predicted a slump in PC sales, but shipments actually increased by 2%, according to IDC and Gartner.

Strong Windows 7 adoption continued with enterprise desktops on Windows 7 now up to 40% worldwide.

For the quarter overall, Microsoft posted a 6% growth in revenue, to $17.41 billion, and a 12% rise in operating income, up to $6.37 billion.

"We're driving toward exciting launches across the entire company, while delivering strong financial results," said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer at Microsoft. "With the upcoming release of new Windows 8 PCs and tablets, the next version of Office, and a wide array of products and services for the enterprise and consumers, we will be delivering exceptional value to all our customers in the year ahead."

Microsoft's Server & Tools division saw revenue rise 14% to $4.57 billion, driven by double-digit revenue growth in SQL Server and more than 20% growth in System Center revenue.

The Microsoft Business Division reported a 9% year-on-year rise in revenue, to $5.81 billion, with strong sales of Office 2010 and an 11% increase in from the Dynamics business.

The Online Services Division reported revenue of $707 million, a 6% increase from the prior year period, and operating loss improvement of approximately $300 million.

The Entertainment & Devices Division posted revenue of $1.62 billion, a decrease of 16% from the prior period due to a soft gaming console market.