Microsoft has reported its first ever quarterly loss as a public company.
The reason was the huge write down in the value of a digital advertising agency it bought five years ago.
However the results were better than Wall Street had expected in the face of stagnant computer sales.
Analysts also expressed hope that the world’s largest software company can re-establish itself as a tech leader with its new, touch-screen friendly Windows 8 system, due out in October along with a tablet of its own design.
Alongside Windows 8 and its new Surface tablet – which it hopes will challenge Apple’s all-conquering iPad – Microsoft is set to release new phone software and a new web-oriented version of its highly profitable Office suite of applications over the next 12 months.
These, and other products, “will drive our business forward and provide unprecedented opportunity to our customers and partners,” Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said in a statement.