Microsoft earnings: 84 cents a share vs 72 cents EPS expected

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at the Geek Wire Summit

That said, cloud revenue continues to dominate Microsoft's earnings, raking in nearly $20 billion this past quarter. Wall Street's crack team of financial analysts expected the company to report revenue of about $23.56 billion and earnings per share of $0.72.

The milestone was announced in Microsoft's earnings release this afternoon, where it reported $24.5 billion and a profit of $6.6 billion, up from $20.4 billion and $4.7 billion this same quarter previous year.

While the software giant doesn't disclose revenue figures for those businesses, it said its commercial-cloud run-rate - the last month of sales of its Azure and Office 365 products, multiplied by 12 - hit $20.4 billion. In 2015, Nadella set a target of US$20 billion in cloud revenue by 2018.

Three quarters before a self-imposed deadline to achieve $20 billion in annualized revenue from its commercial cloud products and services, Microsoft announced Thursday that it had achieved that goal. As usual, cloud services continue to be among the fastest growing parts of Microsoft's business. Dynamics products and cloud services revenues increased by 13 percent, driven by Dynamics 365 revenue growth of 69 percent.

Microsoft returned $4.8 billion to shareholders during its first fiscal quarter through dividends and share buybacks. This quarter, those numbers turned around as Surface revenue grew 12 percent.

Office consumer products and cloud services revenue increased by 12% (10% in CC), and there are now 28 million consumer Office 365 subscribers.

Microsoft reported revenue of $24.5 billion for the quarter, up almost 12 percent over the same period a year ago.

Net income was $6.6 billion and increased 16%. Microsoft doesn't break out revenue for its Windows business.

Gaming revenue was down 1 percent, as Microsoft prepares for the launch of the Xbox One X console on November 7.

In the Intelligent Cloud unit, made up of Azure and server software deployed in customers' own data centers, sales climbed 14 percent to $6.9 billion, compared with the $6.7 billion average analyst projection. Search acquisition costs jumped 15 percent.

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