Strong cloud performance drives bumper Microsoft earnings
Microsoft’s server and cloud services boosted drove better-than-expected revenue year-on-year, as Covid-19-accelerated digital transformation.
The company’s third-quarter earnings report revealed revenue growth of 12 per cent to $37.2 billion with server products and cloud services up 22 per cent “driven by Azure revenue growth of 48 per cent”.
Microsoft’s Intelligent Cloud, which Azure is part of, reported $13 billion in revenue, up 20 per cent year on year, making it the best performing of the company’s three verticals. The other two are ‘productivity and business processes’, which includes Office and LinkedIn, which grew 11 per cent to $12.3 billion, and ‘more personal computing’ (Windows, Xbox etc), which grew 6 per cent to $11.8 billion.
Broken down further, Microsoft’s Surface computers offered a 37 per cent revenue lift, while commercial cloud revenues were up 31 per cent to $15.2 billion. LinkedIn made 16 per cent revenue gains for the quarter.
Losers included Microsoft’s Bing search engine, which fell 10 per cent, and PC demand, which dropped sharply in pro-focused Windows lines by 22 per cent.
Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft, said, “The next decade of economic performance for every business will be defined by the speed of their digital transformation. We are innovating across our full modern tech stack to help our customers in every industry improve time to value, increase agility, and reduce costs.”
Amy Hood, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Microsoft, said, “Demand for our cloud offerings drove a strong start to the fiscal year with our commercial cloud revenue generating $15.2 billion, up 31% year over year. We continue to invest against the significant opportunity ahead of us to drive long-term growth.”
Brave's new privacy-focused search engine is now in beta
Brave, the creator of a popular ad-blocking browser, has opened a public beta of its privacy-focused search engine, Brave Search.
The search engine was previously announced in March when Brave acquired Tailcat, and since then there have been over 100,000 users who signed up for preview access and testing. Brave recently passed 32 million monthly active users (up from 25 million last March), and Brave Search is the latest product offered by the company in its suite of privacy-preserving tools. Brave already offers privacy-preserving Brave Ads, Brave News, and a Firewall+VPN service.
Brave Search is available in beta release globally on all Brave browsers (desktop, Android, and iOS) as one of the search options alongside other search engines, and will become the default search in the Brave browser later this year. It is also available from any other browser at search.brave.com.
"Brave Search is the industry’s most private search engine, as well as the only independent search engine, giving users the control and confidence they seek in alternatives to big tech,” said Brendan Eich, CEO and co-founder of Brave.
“Unlike older search engines that track and profile users, and newer search engines that are mostly a skin on older engines and don’t have their own indexes, Brave Search offers a new way to get relevant results with a community-powered index, while guaranteeing privacy. Brave Search fills a clear void in the market today as millions of people have lost trust in the surveillance economy and actively seek solutions to be in control of their data,” added Eich.
How does Brave Search work?
Brave Search uses its own index and ensures ‘a fully anonymous search’. It is transparent in how search results are ranked and integrates with a privacy-preserving browser on desktop and mobile.
In order to present an alternative to big tech, Brave decided to build its own index rather than rent it from Google or Microsoft, as other smaller search engines are currently doing. Brave Search includes anonymised contributions from the community to improve and refine results. However, there are types of queries and certain areas such as image search, for which their results are not relevant enough yet, and in those cases, they are using APIs until they can expand their index.
Brave Search is not displaying ads during this early part of the beta phase, but will offer options for both ad-free paid search and ad-supported free search later.