Business spending on new computers, servers and software boosted Microsoft Corp.'s fiscal first-quarter results above Wall Street's expectations.
Companies had clamped down on budgets for technology during the economic downturn; as they began opening their wallets a couple of quarters ago, Microsoft's new product cycle was in full swing with new versions of Windows, Office and various server products.
During a conference call after the results were made public, analysts pressed Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Peter Klein for more details about the company's sales agreements with business customers.
QUESTION: It seems like Microsoft is starting to see normal buying behavior from customers, even though many have laid off workers and thus require fewer Windows licenses. What's driving the higher spending by those big-business customers now?
RESPONSE: "I think you're seeing the confluence of several things. Obviously, one is just macroeconomics and businesses investing in IT (information technology) again. And I think the other is our product portfolio. And so it's a combination of those two things has gotten enterprises really wanting to invest both in their IT infrastructure and in our portfolio products. So as we had hoped, over the course of the last year, we thought those two things might come together. The last thing I'll say is the accelerated interest in the cloud. And so when you add on top of it where we've come in terms of our cloud offerings and what that means for enterprises, as they think about investing for the long-term, they want to invest with somebody who can make the transition from their on-premise infrastructure to the cloud as smooth as possible."