As PCs decline, Microsoft betting its future on the cloud

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Microsoft’s investment in cloud computing is paying off.

The latest financial report from the Redmond, Washington, software company shows its Azure cloud-computing business more than doubled in sales from the last quarter. Microsoft has spent billions of dollars to position itself as the leading alternative to Amazon in selling online computing power — housed in remote centers or “clouds” — to Internet startups and big corporations, as well as consumers.

The growth in Microsoft’s cloud business, combined with increased revenue from Windows software licenses and other key segments, helped boost Microsoft’s overall sales to $22.6 billion, after adjusting for deferred revenue, for an overall increase of 2 percent from a year ago.