Microsoft managed to emerge somewhat unscathed from the first quarter’s PC sales decline as it handily topped analysts’ fiscal third-quarter consensus and posted profits that grew 20% over the same period last year. The company’s stock climbed in after-hours trading as CFO Peter Klein, who is leaving the company at the end of the current fiscal year, made some intriguing comments about future products. For one thing, Klein suggested that earlier rumors about Microsoft bringing the Start button back in its Windows 8.1 update due later this year are accurate. The executive also hinted that Microsoft is prepping smaller Surface tablets that will launch later this year to combat Apple’s iPad mini and Amazon’s latest Kindle Fire lineup.
Microsoft is currently working with manufacturing partners to build a “new suite of small touch devices powered by Windows,” Klein said during Microsoft’s earnings call. While he may have been referring to the smartwatch Microsoft is reportedly developing, a number of pundits have speculated that the executive was referring to the much-rumored smaller Surface tablets Microsoft is said to be building.
An earlier report from The Wall Street Journal suggested that Microsoft is currently working on a 7-inch Surface tablet that is set to go into production later this year. The report also noted that the Redmond-based company is prepping several additional new Surface slates, but provided no further details.
Microsoft shares were up more than 2.5% in Friday’s pre-market session.