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Microsoft 4Q Profit Falls on Legal, R&D Expenses

Microsoft Corp. said Thursday that fiscal fourth quarter earnings fell nearly 24 percent in part because of a one-time legal charge but beat Wall Street estimates.

For the three months ended June 30, the software maker reported earnings of $2.83 billion, or 28 cents per share, compared with $3.7 billion, or 34 cents per share in the same period last year.

Revenue for the quarter was $11.8 billion, a 16 percent increase over $10.16 billion in the same period a year earlier.

The results included one-time legal charges of 3 cents per share. In the year-earlier period, Microsoft had legal expenses of 5 cents per share plus a tax benefits of 9 cents per share.

Without the charge, Redmond-based Microsoft would have earned 31 cents per share in the most recent quarter.

Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings for the three-month period of 30 cents per share on revenue of $11.63 billion.

Those expectations were reduced after Microsoft said in April that it expected earnings for the fiscal fourth quarter and 2007 fiscal year to be lower than many had previously expected. The company blamed the change on a decision to significantly boost research and development spending in areas where it is not dominant.

Microsoft shares fell 55 cents or 2.4 percent to close at $22.85 Thursday on the Nasdaq Stock Market ahead of the income report. In after-hours trading, the stock gained an additional 6.1 percent, or $1.39.

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