Microsoft revamps again the way it will report its financials

Microsoft is revamping, for the second time in two years, the way it reports its financials.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Two years after unveiling a new reporting structure, Microsoft is revamping again the way it reports its financial results.

Starting in fiscal 2016 (which began on July 1, 2015), Microsoft plans to report revenue and income based on three new operating segments: Productivity and Business Processes, Intelligent Cloud, and More Personal Computing.

The category names are nothing new to those of us who spend our days reading official (and leaked) Microsoft memos and emails. CEO Satya Nadella described Microsoft's latest mission statement using these same three groupings in June this year.

The Productivity and Business Processes segment will include Office and Office 365 for commercial and consumer customers, as well as Dynamics and Dynamics CRM Online.

The Intelligent Cloud will include public, private and hybrid server products and services such as Windows Server, SQL Server, System Center, Azure, and Enterprise Services.

The More Personal Computing segment will include Windows operating system licensing revenues, devices such as Surface and phones, gaming including Xbox consoles, and search.

In 2013 -- when Microsoft officials were calling the company a "devices and services" company -- Microsoft unveiled five new reporting segments: Devices and Consumer Hardware, Licensing and Other; and Commercial (business) Licensing and Other.

Under the current/2013 structure, Microsoft divided up where Office and Office 365 revenues were reported between Devices and Consumer and Commercial. Bing and MSN results were part of Devices and Consumer. Windows, the Server products, Office 365 (business) and Dynamics CRM and CRM Online all were under Commercial.

The new structure is interesting for a few reasons. Microsoft is grouping some, but not all, of its commercial cloud products and services together in the new "Intelligent Cloud" bucket. Office 365 and Dynamics CRM Online are not part of the new Intelligent Cloud segment, however. Microsoft officials said earlier this year the company expects its commercial cloud revenues to hit $20 billion by 2018.

Including Bing as part of its "More Personal Computing" segment also is interesting, since Bing, technically, is a cloud service (and has been part of Microsoft's Applications and Services Group, which is also the home of Office and Office 365). But given Cortana is powered by Bing and Cortana is integrated with Windows and Windows Mobile, the grouping isn't as unusual as it might seem at first blush.

Bing is on track to finally hit the break-even point in fiscal 2016, Microsoft officials have said.

When Microsoft announces its Q1 FY 2016 results on October 22, the company will report its results using its three new operating segments.

Update (September 29): Microsoft has released, via a new 8-K filing, more details on what's included in its three new operating segments.

Productivity and Business Processes encompasses:

  • Office Commercial, including volume licensing and subscriptions to Office 365 Commercial, for products and services such as Microsoft Office, Exchange, SharePoint, and Skype for Business, and related Client Access Licenses ("CALs").
  • Office Consumer, including Office sold through retail or through an Office 365 Consumer subscription, and revenue from Outlook.com, OneDrive, and consumer Skype services.
  • Microsoft Dynamics business solutions, including Dynamics ERP products, Dynamics CRM on-premises, and Dynamics CRM Online ("Microsoft Dynamics").

Intelligent Cloud includes:

  • Server products and services, including Windows Server, Microsoft SQL Server, Visual Studio, System Center, and related CALs, as well as Microsoft Azure.
  • Enterprise Services, including Premier Support Services and Microsoft Consulting Services.

More Personal Computing consists of:

  • Windows, including Windows OEM licensing ("Windows OEM") and other non-volume licensing of the Windows operating system, volume licensing of the Windows operating system ("Windows VL"), patent licensing, Windows Embedded,
  • MSN display advertising, and Windows Phone licensing.
  • Devices, including phones, Surface, and Microsoft PC accessories.
  • Gaming, including Xbox hardware; Xbox Live, comprising transactions, subscriptions, and advertising; first-party video games; and second- and third-party video game royalties.
  • Search advertising.

Microsoft also published in the 8-K a chart showing what its recast segments look like from a financial perspective.

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