Microsoft

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Amazon shares jumped more than 5 percent after the company provided results for its cloud-computing business for the first time and showed it to be more profitable than investors expected.

Profits have long been elusive for Amazon, and the company posted another loss in the most recent quarter. Amazon said it had a net loss of $57 million, or 12 cents a share, in the quarter ended March 31, compared with net income of $108 million, or 23 cents, a year earlier.

But now Amazon has provided financial details for its cloud division, known as Amazon Web Services, that allows businesses to use Amazon’s computers instead of running their own. AWS net sales totaled $1.57 billion, with an operating profit of $265 million.

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Amazon shares jumped 13 percent in after-hours trading on news that the company returned to profitability in the fourth quarter. Strength in the cloud-computing business was an especially bright spot.

Cloud computing means hiring a company such as Amazon to run your computer system remotely instead of managing all those machines and software in-house.

Amazon and rivals such as Microsoft have been spending a lot to build big computer server farms. In spite of that expense, IDC analyst Al Hilwa says it’s an attractive business for Amazon.

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Microsoft’s profit dropped 11 percent in the most recent quarter, partly due to expenses connected to layoffs after the company’s purchase of the Finnish cell phone maker Nokia. 

Kyle Stokes / KPLU

On a day when frenzied holiday shoppers will pay a significant sum in state sales taxes, a group of teachers is organizing a protest near the Redmond campus of a corporation that they wish paid more taxes: Microsoft.

The teachers' planned the Black Friday protest to urge state lawmakers to put corporate tax breaks, not social services, on the chopping block in their effort to find at least $2.5 billion in new funding for schools.

"Many of the families of our students can't afford the Christmas gifts they want to buy unless they go to those sales on Black Friday. They are going to be paying a lot of sales tax on Black Friday," said protest organizer and Renton teacher Julianna Dauble. "We chose it to highlight [the fact] Microsoft will not be paying taxes on Black Friday."

Ashley Gross / KPLU

Imagine being cut loose from your regular work responsibilities for four months to dream up ingenious ways to get your coworkers to donate to charity.

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Microsoft has given layoff notices to 3,000 more workers worldwide, with 638 of them in the Puget Sound region, according to a spokesman for the company.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to clarify the timeline of when Microsoft opened its Nevada office and when the state lowered its royalty tax. The updated version also adds that Microsoft declined to say how much state royalty tax the company has paid.

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Former Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer is leaving the board of the software company he led for 14 years.

In a letter released on Microsoft's website, Ballmer said he has confidence in new CEO Satya Nadella, and he has no plans to sell his shares in the "foreseeable future." Ballmer said he holds more shares than anyone other than index funds. 

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More than 1,300 Microsoft employees in the Puget Sound region got their pink slips Thursday as part of announced cuts to the worldwide workforce that could total 18,000 by the end of the year — the biggest in the company’s history.

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Microsoft says it will cut up to 18,000 jobs in what observers are calling the company's largest layoff ever. The news came in an e-mail from CEO Satya Nadella.

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When Strategic News Service publisher Mark Anderson made his predictions for 2014, he included a “new Microsoft that no one expected.”

With the promotion of Satya Nadella to CEO and Bill Gates as technology advisor, Mark says his prediction is about halfway to fruition.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is stepping down as chairman of its board and into a new role, which the company is calling "technology adviser." The change comes as a new CEO — Satya Nadella — takes the helm. Gates says he will actually be spending a little more time at Microsoft. Microsoft watchers say if he manages his new role well, it will be good for the company.

While it's never been considered a "cool" company, Microsoft is still a force — worth $300 billion, and Windows operating systems still run on a big chunk of the world's computers. While the profile of founder and former CEO Bill Gates still looms large, outgoing leader Steve Ballmer took the reins in 2000. And Tuesday, the board chose an internal candidate — 46-year-old Indian-American engineer Satya Nadella — to head the company.

Multiple news reports say Microsoft is likely to choose company veteran Satya Nadella its next CEO, ending a very public search that’s taken almost half a year. 

A Microsoft spokeswoman declined to confirm the reports, but if Nadella does take the reins from Steve Ballmer, he’ll become only the third CEO in the company’s 39-year history.

The nearly six-month-long search for Microsoft's next CEO is nearing an end, and news reports indicate it's likely the technology giant will turn to Satya Nadella, executive vice president of its Cloud and Enterprise group, to lead the company.

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In the face of a steadily declining market for personal computers, Microsoft succeeded in boosting both revenue and profit in the most recent quarter, coming in ahead of analyst estimates. 

Sales climbed 14 percent to $24.5 billion in the quarter ended Dec. 31, and net income rose 2.8 percent to $6.6 billion, or 78 cents a share. The consensus estimate of analysts was 69 cents a share, according to Bloomberg. 

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Ford CEO Alan Mulally says he will not leave the automaker for Microsoft and will stay at Ford at least through 2014.

Mulally is widely credited with saving Ford after being hired away from Boeing in 2006. But in recent months there have been numerous reports that he was in the running for the top job at Microsoft, where CEO Steve Ballmer has said he plans to leave the company sometime this year.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates choked up while reading from prepared remarks during Steve Ballmer's final shareholders meeting as chief executive.

The co-founder of the software giant said progress was being made to find Ballmer's replacement and he thanked him for serving as CEO for the last 13 years. Only Gates and Ballmer have led Microsoft Corp. since its founding 38 years ago. Ballmer announced in August that he’ll step down within the year. 

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When Microsoft holds its annual meeting Nov. 19, shareholders will finish voting for the company’s board of directors. Usually it’s a straightforward affair, but this time, the candidacy of John W. Thompson will be closely examined.

Recently, a company that advises major shareholders on corporate governance urged shareholders to vote against Thompson.

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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was awarded 79 percent of his target bonus for the year through June as the software giant cited falling profits for its Windows division and sluggish sales of the Surface tablet.

(cc) Georg Holzer, www.georgholzer.at / flickr.com

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will retire sometime in the next 12 months, and there’s plenty of speculation about who will succeed him.

But Strategic News Service publisher and KPLU technology commentator Mark Anderson says there are more important issues at stake.

Before making that new hire, Mark says Microsoft needs to do two things: refocus its brand, and restructure its top level of management.

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Microsoft’s plan to buy Nokia’s cellphone business shows the company is serious about competing in the smartphone world. But developers of smartphone apps say Microsoft should focus on getting businesses to buy Windows Phones for their employees.

Microsoft says it is buying Nokia's devices and services business, and getting access to the company's patents, for a total of 5.44 billion euros ($7.2 billion) in an effort to expand its share of the smartphone market.

Steve Ballmer will retire as CEO at Microsoft within the next 12 months, the software giant announced Friday.

According to the company:

"In the meantime, Ballmer will continue as CEO and will lead Microsoft through the next steps of its transformation to a devices and services company that empowers people for the activities they value most."

Ballmer says in the same statement that:

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Microsoft wants students to be able to search the Internet without getting bombarded by ads.

The software company has launched "Bing for Schools," a pilot program available to educational institutions who want ad-free searches and no adult content. School districts in Atlanta, Los Angeles and Fresno, California have already signed on.

Jason Howie

Microsoft sales and profit rose less than analysts expected in the most recent quarter as the company continues to struggle with slow adoption of its latest operating system.

Microsoft launched Windows 8 last year, but it was a radical makeover and sales have been disappointing. The company also rolled out its own tablet to compete with Apple’s iPad but that hasn’t sold well and Microsoft wrote off almost a billion dollars in the recent quarter related to tablet inventory. 

Wally Santana / Associated Press

Microsoft is reshuffling its business in a move that it says will allow it to innovate faster and focus on devices and services.

The move by the world's largest software maker comes amid a steady decline in PC demand as people turn to tablets and other mobile devices.

mage courtesy of Sheraton Seattle Hotel Facebook page.

Already known as a leader in sustainable architecture, Seattle is teaming up with Microsoft to take green building to the next level with the help of big-data computing.

Oracle PR

 (Update: Corrects to say Ellison hired investigators to comb through trash of groups sympathetic to Microsoft, not Microsoft's own trash.)

A seismic shift in technology is pushing two longtime archrivals to work together. Oracle and Microsoft are announcing a cloud-computing partnership later Monday.

Associated Press

Microsoft is the latest business planning to build a massive data center in Iowa as the state continues to attract some of the biggest technology companies looking for a place to expand their computer processing and storage abilities.

Microsoft is proposing to spend more than $677 million on the West Des Moines data center. The company is receiving $20 million in tax credits to create 29 jobs. The Iowa Economic Development Authority on Friday approved the incentives.

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