Microsoft profit falls as PC sales shrink

Microsoft Corp's fiscal first-quarter profit fell a greater-than-expected 22 percent, hurt by a dip in computer sales running its Windows operating system and the deferral of some revenue ahead of upcoming releases of its core Windows and Office products.

Its shares fell 2 percent in after-hours trading.

The world's largest software company said quarterly profit fell to $4.47 billion, or 53 cents per share, from $5.74 billion, or 68 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Wall Street had expected earnings of 56 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales fell 8 percent to $16.01 billion, partly caused by the dip in demand for personal computers running Windows, as consumers held off new purchases in the tight economy or opted to buy tablet devices instead. The decline was exaggerated by Microsoft's deferral of some revenue which it will regain next quarter.

Analysts, anticipating the dip in PC sales and accounting for the deferred revenue, had called for sales of 16.4 billion. Microsoft is hoping to revive PC sales next week with the launch its new Windows 8 system on Friday.

"Investors were not expecting a home run. All expectations are on the launch of Windows 8 and the entrance into the tablet market," said Daniel Ives, analyst at FBR Capital Markets. "In light of the environment, the macro and PC situation, these are respectable numbers."

(Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Richard Chang)