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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Photo: Microsoft

As was the case with Intel, Microsoft reported earnings Thursday that topped Wall Street expectations even as the PC business remained flat.

The bottom line: Microsoft's strength continues to be its cloud computing area, with its business cloud generating $20 billion in annualized revenue, reaching that milestone ahead of a goal set two years ago.

The software giant reported per-share earnings of 84 cents, ahead of consensus estimates of around 72 cents, while revenue of came in at $24.5 billion, ahead of Zacks consensus projection of $23.5 billion

Here are some other highlights:

  • Microsoft's Office commercial products and cloud services revenue increased 10%, as revenue from its Office 365 service for businesses grew 42%.
  • Sales of Windows for new PCs were up 4%, ahead of the flat PC market.
  • Microsoft saw sales from its Surface PC line up 12 percent, while gaming revenue from its Xbox unit was largely flat.
  • LinkedIn accounted for about $1.1 billion of Microsoft's revenue.

Go deeper

BuzzFeed to go public, after shareholders approve SPAC deal

Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed is set to become publicly traded on Monday, after shareholders of a SPAC called 890 Fifth Avenue Partners voted to approve a previously-announced merger.

Yes, but: The vast majority of the money the SPAC raised in January was yanked, a signal that investors aren't very optimistic about BuzzFeed's future prospects.

Omicron cases confirmed in 4 U.S. states

A healthcare worker inserts a Covid-19 rapid test into a machine in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Daniel Brenner/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Five cases of the newly-discovered Omicron variant were detected in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday, making New York the fourth state with confirmed cases.

The latest: In addition to New York, the variant has been confirmed in California, Colorado and Minnesota.

Early winter heat shatters records in U.S., Canada

Temperature departures from average on Dec. 2, 2021, as depicted by the GFS computer model. (Weatherbell.com)

A widespread and intense heatwave is roasting large portions of the U.S. and Canada, shattering daily and monthly temperature records.

Why it matters: Winter is the fastest-warming season across the U.S., and the lingering warmth is shortening the snow season in places like Colorado and Montana, where mountain snowpack is a critical source of water during the summer months.