Vodafone down, Verizon up, Microsoft makes loss, Google strong as usual

It’s quarterly results time again, with Vodafone, Verizon, Microsoft and Google reporting varying degrees of success for the quarter ended June 30.

Operator group Vodafone reported almost flat revenues for the quarter, climbing by just one per cent, to reach £10.8bn ($17bn). Group service revenue grew by just 0.6 per cent although group data revenue saw a significant increase of 17.1 per cent, which the firm attributed to an increase of smartphone penetration to 28.7 per cent.

“Despite the difficult market conditions, particularly in southern Europe, we continue to make progress in the key areas of data, enterprise and emerging markets, while maintaining tight control of our cost base” said CEO Vittorio Colao. We remain focused on driving through significant improvements to our customers’ experience through our ongoing investment in our networks, stores and IT platforms.”

Emeka Obiodu, senior telco strategy analyst at Ovum, said that the significant point from this result is that emerging markets are no longer sufficiently rescuing poor performances from Vodafone’s European markets. He explained that Vodafone is not alone in noting the impact of competition, further regulator-mandated price cuts and the poor economy for Europe’s telcos.

“Unfortunately, these dynamics are not going to change soon and the industry will have to work a lot harder to stabilise its performance while unlocking additional value in their business,” he said.

“Ironically, the main shining star in the results is Verizon Wireless. Had Vodafone’s management capitulated to shareholder pressure few years ago to sell the stake, the Vodafone group’s results would have even being more worrying.”

As another bonus, Vodafone is waiting to hear whether it will get a $4.5bn dividend from Verizon, which would give credence to the operator’s decision to hold onto its stake in the US carrier.

Verizon Wireless also released its earnings results for Q2, in which it saw a 7.3 per cent year-on-year increase in service revenue, an 8.6 per cent increase in retail service revenue. Data revenue grew 18.5 per cent and operating income margin stood at 30.8 per cent.

The firm’s wireline business saw a 2.5 per cent increase in consumer revenue, which it said was the highest the firm has seen in several years, and revealed that ARPU now stands at over $100 per month.

“We reported sequential improvement in second-quarter Wireline margins, and we expect to see that improving trend carry through the second half of the year,” said Lowell McAdam, Verizon chairman and CEO. “We also look forward to the closing of strategic transactions and to the integration of process improvements that will set the stage for continued long-term profitable growth across all our business units.”

Meanwhile, Microsoft posted its first ever loss as a public company in the quarter ended June 30, 2012. The firm recorded a net loss of $492m, down from the $5.8bn that the firm made in the same quarter in 2011. This is despite revenue growing to $18.1bn, up from $17.4bn in the same quarter a year earlier.

“Costs of goods sold increased 12 per cent primarily due to Nokia platform payments, inclusion of Skype costs, and growth in enterprise services,” said Bill Koefoed, general manager for investor relations.

CEO Steve Ballmer tried to put a positive spin on the results, opting to focus on the revenue generated rather than the net loss made.

“We delivered record fourth quarter and annual revenue, and we’re fast approaching the most exciting launch season in Microsoft history,” he said.

He added that over the coming year, Microsoft will release the next versions of Windows, Office, Windows Server, Windows Phone, and other products and services.

And web giant Google had a better quarter in terms of net income, which stood at $2.79bn. The firm also saw its quarterly revenue grow 35 per cent for the quarter ended June 30, 2012 to reach $12.21bn.

Motorola revenues came in at $1.25bn, with $843m from the mobile segment and $407m from the home segment, or ten per cent of consolidated revenues in the second quarter. GAAP operating loss for Motorola was $233m ($192m for the mobile segment and $41m for the home segment), or -19 per cent of Motorola revenues in the second quarter of 2012. Non-GAAP operating loss for Motorola in the second quarter of 2012 was $38m, or -3 per cent of Motorola revenues.

“Google standalone had a strong quarter with 21 per cent year-on-year revenue growth, and we launched a bunch of exciting new products, in particular the Nexus 7 tablet, which has received rave reviews,” said Larry Page, CEO of Google. “This quarter is also special because Motorola is now part of the Google family, and we’re excited about the potential to build great devices for users.”

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