By Barry Eitel
SAN FRANCISCO (AA) – Facebook and Microsoft both released quarterly earnings reports Wednesday, with both companies beating analyst expectations for revenue.
Facebook revenue for its fourth fiscal quarter of 2017, which ended Dec. 31, hit $12.97 billion, up 48 percent from $8.8 billion for the same period in 2016. Revenues bested Wall Street expectations of $12.55 billion. Profit also increased from $3.6 billion to $4.3 billion.
Microsoft reported a 12 percent quarterly revenue increase, earning $28.9 billion for its second quarter of fiscal year 2018, which ended on Dec. 31 as well. This figure beat expectations of $28.4 billion and Microsoft posted a quarterly profit of $7.5 billion.
"2017 was a strong year for Facebook, but it was also a hard one," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. "In 2018, we're focused on making sure Facebook isn't just fun to use, but also good for people's well-being and for society. We're doing this by encouraging meaningful connections between people rather than passive consumption of content.”
Facebook said that it had 2.13 billion monthly active users and 1.4 billion daily users. Daily users increased just 2.18 percent compared to last quarter, the slowest quarter-over-quarter growth ever posted by Facebook. However, Zuckerberg suggested that this was by design.
“Already last quarter, we made changes to show fewer viral videos to make sure people's time is well spent,” he continued. “In total, we made changes that reduced time spent on Facebook by roughly 50 million hours every day. By focusing on meaningful connections, our community and business will be stronger over the long term.”
Microsoft said its quarterly growth was driven by cloud computing sales – its revenue from its Azure cloud service nearly doubled.
“This quarter’s results speak to the differentiated value we are delivering to customers across our productivity solutions and as the hybrid cloud provider of choice,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in the report.
Both companies saw their shares plummet in after-hour trading right after the reports were released, but the stocks then rose. At $95.19, Microsoft stock was up 0.19 percent compared to Wednesday’s close. Facebook shares were trading at $189.35 after the bell, a 1.32 percent compared to the day’s closing price.