- Associated Press - Thursday, July 22, 2010

SEATTLE (AP) - Microsoft Corp. said Thursday that its net income surged 48 percent in the most recent quarter, the latest sign that businesses are again spending money on technology.

Strong sales of Windows, particularly to Microsoft’s corporate customers, helped boost results in the fiscal fourth quarter. Microsoft said it has sold more than 175 million licenses of the newest version, Windows 7, since it went on sale last year.

Big businesses stopped replacing aging computers, servers and software during the worst of the recession. Last quarter, the software maker said it saw signs that its corporate customers were starting to spend again.

This quarter’s results, which follow a strong report from chipmaker Intel Corp., show the trend has continued. Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Peter Klein said billings for its multiyear agreements with big companies increased in the quarter.

For the April-June period, Microsoft’s net income jumped to $4.52 billion, or 51 cents per share, from $3.05 billion, or 34 cents per share, last year.

Revenue rose 22 percent to $16.04 billion, from $13.1 billion in the same period a year ago.

The results were stronger than Wall Street had expected. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had forecast net income of 45 cents per share on $15.3 billion in revenue.

Revenue for the group that makes Windows increased 44 percent to $4.5 billion, more than a quarter of Microsoft’s total. The division that makes Office 2010 and other business software saw revenue rise 15 percent to $5.3 billion.

Microsoft’s server software group reported a 14 percent increase in revenue to $4 billion.

Klein said Microsoft’s currency-hedging program protected it from the effects of a stronger U.S. dollar. Otherwise, sales made in foreign currencies would have translated into fewer U.S. dollars.