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Microsoft's cloud sales are boosted by AI

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Artificial intelligence has helped boost Microsoft's cloud sales beyond analysts' forecasts as demand for the high-profile technology tests the corporate's ability to maintain up with rivals.

The Seattle-based group, which has change into a pioneer within the fast-evolving generative AI industry, on Thursday reported sales and profit above analysts' estimates for the three months ended March 31. He said he would increase capital spending to support the technology behind chatbots and intelligent assistants.

“Near-term AI demand is barely higher than our available capability,” Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood said, which might impact the computing power available to customers seeking to deploy generative AI systems.

The need to fulfill demand led to a rise in spending on infrastructure corresponding to data centers, with capital spending expected to extend “significantly,” Hood said. Capital spending rose to $14 billion within the quarter, compared with $11.5 billion within the previous three months.

Microsoft took an early lead within the race for generative AI supremacy after investing $13 billion in OpenAI, the corporate behind ChatGPT, and this yr invested in AI startup Mistral, providing the majority of the Employees from the competing AI start-up Inflection.

The optimistic report cheered investors clamoring for evidence that big tech firms can turn their huge investments in generative AI into paying customers and healthy profits.

Microsoft shares – which have risen 7.6 percent this yr, making it the world's most beneficial company by market capitalization – rose 3 percent on Friday morning in New York. That contrasted with Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, whose shares fell this week after it warned that capital spending would rise this yr and next as the corporate increases its investment in AI.

One flagship product from Microsoft that’s being closely watched is the 365 Copilot generative AI assistant, which has been integrated into its suite of productivity apps. No sales or user numbers have been announced for Copilot, which is priced at $30 per user per thirty days for businesses.

Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella said nearly 60 percent of Fortune 500 firms now use Copilot, which is experiencing “accelerated adoption.” Hood said Thursday that the AI ​​capability limitations wouldn’t impact Copilot's rollout and that ensuring it remained that way was a “priority.”

Sales at Microsoft's cloud division, the largest revenue driver, which incorporates its Azure computing platform, rose 21 percent to $26.7 billion within the quarter, compared with analyst forecasts of $26.2 billion -dollars and greater than the corporate forecast.

Azure revenue increased 31 percent after adjusting for currency fluctuations, also exceeding forecasts. Demand for Microsoft's AI services increased revenue by 7 percentage points through the quarter, up from 6 sequentially and three sequentially.

Hood said the dimensions of contracts with enterprises to make use of Azure is increasing and that the pace of cloud revenue growth in the primary three months of the yr will likely be similar in the present quarter. However, she warned that AI capability constraints could slow sales growth.

Revenue rose 17 percent to $61.9 billion within the quarter, in comparison with analyst expectations of $60.80 billion. Earnings per share rose to $2.94, above expectations of $2.82.


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