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Microsoft 4Q Profit Edges Up 7 Percent

Microsoft Corp.'s fiscal fourth-quarter profit edged up 7 percent, despite a hefty charge to cover the cost of defective Xbox 360 video game consoles.

The world's largest software maker said Thursday its earnings for the three months ended June 30 climbed to $3.04 billion, or 31 cents per share, from $2.83 billion, or 28 cents per share, during the same period last year.

Results were weighed down by an 8-cent charge related to the video game console repairs. Excluding this item, Microsoft would have earned 39 cents per share, in line with Wall Street's expectations, according to Thomson Financial.

Revenue climbed 13 percent to $13.37 billion from $11.80 billion last year, just ahead of Wall Street's estimate of $13.27 billion in sales.

Sales in the division that's responsible for the Windows operating system rose 14 percent to $3.81 billion from $3.35 billion in the year-ago quarter.

For the year, Microsoft posted a profit of $14.07 billion, or $1.42 per share, on $51.12 billion in sales. Analysts were looking for $1.49 per share on $51 billion in sales.

For the fiscal first quarter ending Sept. 30, Microsoft said it expects to earn 38 cents to 40 cents per share on $12.4 billion to $12.6 billion in sales

For full fiscal 2008, the company raised its expectations for earnings per share by a penny, to $1.68 to $1.72 per share, but lowered its revenue forecast to a new range of $56.5 billion to $57.5 billion.

Earlier, Microsoft shares gained 59 cents to close at $31.51, up 1.9 percent. In after-hours trading, they lost 16 cents.

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