Microsoft released disappointing fourth-quarter earnings Tuesday afternoon after underperforming against analyst expectations for total revenue, earnings per share and its cloud-driven revenue.
The company delivered its slowest revenue growth rate since 2020. The reported total revenue of $51.9 billion marks 12% growth year-over-year for the fourth quarter. Microsoft reduced its own revenue guidance in June, citing unfavorable exchange rates, yet missed its own predictions of $52.4 to $53.2 billion.
Share prices initially fell 2% in late trading Tuesday after the company released its earnings statement, but rallied as much as 5% when Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood said the company expected “continued momentum” going into fiscal year 2023.
Revenue driven by Azure, the company’s cloud-computing platform, increased 40%. Earnings per share clocked in at $2.23, falling shy of Wall Street projections.
In its initial statement, the company attributed some of its underperformance to macroeconomic challenges such as a strengthening dollar, the ongoing war in Ukraine, and manufacturing shutdowns in China that hamstrung PC production.
On a Tuesday afternoon call with investors, Hood said Microsoft anticipated double-digit revenue growth in the upcoming fiscal year. She eased worries that currency fluctuations and a strong dollar would further sink the value of overseas sales, telling investors to expect a 4% impact on sales in the next fiscal year and 5% impact in the first quarter.
The company expects a 25% to 27% increase in cloud revenue growth next fiscal year, driven primarily by Azure. Hood said Azure’s growth rate would slow by about 3%.
The company announced a hiring slowdown last week and cut many open jobs, as Bloomberg reported, including in its Azure cloud and security software divisions. Microsoft said there was no end in sight for the hiring cuts as the economy continues to weaken. Executives reaffirmed the slowdown on Tuesday’s call.