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Earnings Outlook: Microsoft earnings: Expect bigger shift to cloud as Azure closes in on AWS

Stronger PC trends are expected to benefit Microsoft Corp. on Thursday, when the Windows parent reports second-quarter earnings after the market closes.

Improving PC shipments may be a boon to Microsoft’s MSFT, +0.52% cloud-based software and enterprise services during the quarter. Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs declined 1.5% year-over-year to 70.2 million last quarter, much improved from a 5.7% decline in the year-earlier period.

This will be the first full quarter of hardware sales since Microsoft introduced new Surface and Windows products in October, including a new $2,999 Surface PC called Surface Studio. The quarter will also reflect holiday sales.

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