Microsoft reported quarterly sales and profit gains that surpassed Wall Street's expectations and delivered an optimistic outlook Thursday, suggesting that a weakening economy would not slow it down.
Microsoft's strong performance was led by its three major businesses: personal computer operating systems, office productivity programs and software that runs computers in corporate data centers. The company, the world's largest software maker, continues to struggle and lose money as it battles Google in its new markets for Internet services and online advertising.
But for Microsoft, that is a financial challenge of the future, one overshadowed by the heft and continuing growth in its personal computer products, led by the Windows Vista operating system and Office 2007. Microsoft's desktop software divisions accounted for 56 percent of the company's revenue and more than 80 percent of the operating profit of its product groups.
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