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(via TechCrunch)

2013-08-04_18h47_24You might have missed it, but Lync, Microsoft’s enterprise-focused communications suite brought its parent company $1 billion in revenue during its 2013 fiscal year. That a milestone of that sort could all but slip through the news coverage of Microsoft’s earnings report is almost interesting. The reason for the mild coverage of Lync and its performance is in fact a non-puzzle: One billion dollars in revenue stacked next to Microsoft total fiscal 2013 top line of $77.8 billion isn’t much, and enterprise-facing products from incumbent firms aren’t sexy, thus often getting lost in the press mix. However, the Lync number, when placed next to two other figures helps to draw a picture of Microsoft that details a company in transition. As Windows slips in the face of a sliding personal computing market, hurting OEM revenues for the company, new business products at Microsoft will command increasing internal primacy as its business adapts to current and future market conditions. Or, more simply, the core fiber of Microsoft is changing. Microsoft estimated that the larger PC market contracted by 9% during its fiscal year, stating that declines in its revenue relating to sales to OEM partners was due to “the impact on revenue of the decline in the x86 PC market.” That’s correct, Microsoft. A few numbers: Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing product, recorded $1 billion in revenue over the past 12 months, it was reported in April; Office 365 is currently generating revenue at a run rate of $1.5 billion per year at the end of Microsoft’s fiscal fourth quarter, up 50% from the number quoted at the end of the company’s fiscal third quarter; Lync grew 30% in the fiscal fourth quarter, and brought in $1 billion in revenue for the fiscal year. These are numbers that Microsoft is proud of, not because in terms of relative scale they are tectonically impressive – the Windows division’s fiscal fourth quarter revenue alone totaled $4.4 billion – but more that the represent the fact that it has business units in the pipe that can replace other incomes that are aging; Microsoft can, therefore, at least in theory, continue revenue growth even as its core Windows operations atrophies during the opening chapters of the post-PC era. Office 365’s $500 million yearly run rate change in a single quarter is impressive, but Lync’s most recent quarters detail that it too can put points on the

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