PC Demand Helps Microsoft Beat Earnings Estimates "Growth may be sluggish in the corporate market for Microsoft's desktop products, but its data-serving software is growing nicely. Sales in its server and programming tools group grew 15 percent compared with a year ago, to $1.87 billion. Its Windows server software and Windows SQL database products are increasingly being used as an alternative to higher-priced Unix operating systems in corporate data centers. Though Microsoft is doing well in the server market, it also faces increasing competition there from Linux, an operating system distributed free.
In other product categories, Microsoft reported that revenue at its MSN Web sites and online service rose 15 percent, to $491 million, and that MSN division had an operating profit for the first time. Advertising on the Web sites is rising, but the number of subscribers to the dial-up MSN Internet access service declined 6 percent, to 8 million."