Microsoft said today its fiscal third-quarter profit fell 11 percent compared with a year ago, when revenue from pre-sales of the new Windows...

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SEATTLE — Microsoft said today its fiscal third-quarter profit fell 11 percent compared with a year ago, when revenue from pre-sales of the new Windows Vista operating system pushed up results.

Thursday’s report comes two days ahead of a deadline Microsoft has set for Yahoo Inc. to accept its buyout offer or face a likely hostile takeover.

Microsoft’s earnings for the three months ended March 31 fell to $4.39 billion, or 47 cents per share, from $4.93 billion, or 50 cents per share in the same period last year.

Excluding the impact of deferred Vista revenue from last year’s quarter, Microsoft said earnings per share rose 14 percent.

Earnings were also depressed by 15 cents per share due to a legal fine from the European Commission.

Microsoft’s report beat Wall Street’s expectations. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial forecast, on average, a profit of 44 cents per share.

Revenue edged up to $14.45 billion from $14.4 billion in the year-ago quarter. Analysts were looking for $14.4 billion in sales.

Microsoft shares fell $1.25 in after-hours trading, after adding 35 cents to $31.80 during the regular session.