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Microsoft MSN unit back in black

MSN has now posted a profit in two of the last three quarters, its first in eight years in business.
/ Source: Reuters

Microsoft Corp. on Monday said its MSN Internet unit turned a $107 million operating profit in its latest quarter, reversing a loss a year ago, while five of its six other units lost money or saw profits decline. (Microsoft is a partner in MSNBC.)

MSN has now posted a profit in two of the last three quarters, its first in eight years in business, with revenue growing to $591 million in the fiscal third quarter ending March 31, the Redmond, Washington, company disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Microsoft’s Information Worker unit, which produces the No. 1 software maker’s Office applications like Word and Excel, saw operating income rise 14 percent to $1.93 billion in the quarter.

In Microsoft’s Client unit, which makes its flagship Windows operating system, operating income fell 16 percent to $1.61 billion, hurt by $700 million in expenses from settling a lawsuit brought by Sun Microsystems Inc..

Client revenue rose 16 percent to $2.92 billion during the quarter.

The company posted a total profit of $1.32 billion in the quarter, down $820 million from a year earlier.

The Sun settlement also triggered $1.2 billion in expenses in Microsoft’s Server and Tools unit, which posted a $635 million loss versus a $305 million profit a year ago.

Microsoft also posted losses, albeit smaller than a year earlier, in units making software for small and medium-sized businesses, cell phone and device software and home and entertainment products, including the Xbox video game machine.