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Microsoft results ahead of expectations, as expected

Weirdly, the company's still finding 98 sales surprising too...

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Microsoft's oft-expressed surprise at the success of Windows 98 became even more puzzling when the company released its latest quarterly results yesterday. It said it earned $1.52 billion, and that from 25 June to 30 September it had sold ten million copies of Windows 98. That's just over three months, so would put the company on a run-rate of 40 million copies a year, which would be pretty good if it were just retail. But it's not -- the number includes retail and OEM sales, and how many PCs ship world-wide in a year? Exactly. The 'success' of Windows 98 was entirely predictable to Microsoft -- all it had to do was look in its OEM order book. And while it's difficult to say how well retail upgrades did, as the total number of sales will have been impacted by continuing sales of 95 during the quarter, in the long run -- as always -- the OS won't be a successful retail product. As for the results, they were as always ahead of expectations (56c a share against the analysts' 49c), and sales were up to $3.95 billion from $3.13 billion. Net income was $1.68 billion against $663 million the previous year, although that included a $296 million write-off for buying WebTV. ® Click for more stories

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