AP News

Ahead of the Bell: Microsoft

NEW YORK (AP) — Microsoft shares jumped 3 percent before Friday's opening bell after a very strong quarter powered by strong sales of Xbox One consoles and its Surface tablet, though some analysts that follow the company remained cautious.

Pacific Crest Securities analyst Brendan Barnicle did not change his "Sector Perform" rating on the company, saying that while Xbox and tablet sales rose, there's still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the company's business model.

Microsoft is shifting toward the cloud and honing its focus on hardware devices.

Brad Reback of Stifel Nicolaus stood by his "Hold" rating even after the big quarter, saying he expects the Windows XP benefit to taper off in the coming quarters. Underlying problems with its Windows and Office software businesses could emerge in fiscal 2015, he said.

Microsoft said late Thursday that it sold 3.9 million new video game consoles. Surface revenue rose to $893 million in the quarter, up from $400 million in the three months through September.

Shares of Microsoft Corp. rose $1.04 to $37.10.

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