Microsoft`s fiscal third quarter results

Microsoft, the world's largest software company, reported mixed fiscal third quarter results Thursday...but a promising outlook that pleased &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Wall Street.

Sales for the quarter that ended in March came in at $9.6 billion, about $200 million below Wall Street's consensus estimates. But net income and earnings, excluding the effect of a legal charge and expenses for stock compensation, met Wall Street's targets.

More importantly though, Microsoft issued sales guidance for its fiscal fourth quarter that was ahead of expectations. The company said that revenues for the fourth quarter, which ends in June, would be between $10.1 billion and $10.2 billion, slightly ahead of the consensus estimate of $10.07 billion, publishes CNN Money.

According to the Guardian Unlimited, revenues missed Wall Street expectations but Microsoft gave an upbeat assessment, saying revenues for the &to=http:// ' target=_blank>fiscal year beginning July 1should reach $43.3bn.

"The outlook for fiscal 2006 is better than we expected," said Brendan Barnicle, analyst at Pacific Crest Securities. The forecast offset the impact of disappointing revenues. Sales for the three months ending March 31 were 5% higher than a year ago at $9.6bn.

Sales of network software rose 12% to $2.45bn. Growth was driven by sales of the Xbox games console. In the home and entertainment division, which includes the Xbox, revenue grew 11.9% to $593m.

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