Microsoft Posts Smaller Quarterly Net, Sales Rise 18 Percent

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Microsoft on Thursday posted a smaller quarterly profit--the result of legal expenses and a delay in the sale of its stake in online travel firm Expedia--and met the low end of its own guidance as the software giant saw strong sales of its new Windows XP operating system and enterprise software.

For its second fiscal quarter ended Dec. 31, Microsoft posted a net profit, including a charge of $660 million in expenses from consumer class action suits, of $2.28 billion, or 41 cents a share, compared with $2.62 billion, or 47 cents a share a year earlier.

Excluding the legal expenses, which amounted to 8 cents per share, Microsoft says its operating profit was $2.84 billion.

Revenues were $7.74 billion, up 18 percent from $6.5 billion a year earlier, and surpassing the company's official guidance of $7.1 billion to $7.3 billion.

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