Microsoft's Xbox 360 has been a dominant force at US retail, having outsold Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii in 12 out of the past 13 months, according to the NPD Group. That success is reflected in Microsoft's full-year earnings report, which the Redmond, Washington-based company issued today.
The Entertainment & Devices Division, of which the Xbox 360, Zune, and Windows Phone 7 are included, saw sales rocket to $8.93 billion during the 12-month period ended June 30, a 45 percent rise over last year. Microsoft attributed the spike primarily to its Xbox brand, which includes the console, Kinect motion sensor, and Xbox Live online service.
The Xbox 360 sold 13.7 million units during the 2011 fiscal year, up from 10.3 million units sold during the same period last year. Fourth-quarter sales of the console (that is, the April-June months), came in at 1.7 million units, up from 1.5 million during the same three-month period last year.
Microsoft did not provide a sales update for the Kinect, having said in March that the device had sold 10 million units since launching in November. However, as part of a post-earnings conference call, Microsoft CFO Peter Klien said Xbox Live subscriptions now stand at 35 million.
Operating income from Microsoft's EDD more than doubled during the 12-month period, rising 114 percent year-over-year to $1.3 billion. Of the factors hampering profit from the division were an increased spend on research and development, which rose 12 percent to $119 million during the fiscal year. Microsoft also ramped up EDD marketing efforts by 12 percent, bringing total spend on selling the platform to $90 million.
Microsoft's EDD wasn't the only segment fueling the company's top and bottom line. On a company-wide basis, Microsoft said that it earned a personal-best $17.37 billion during the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011, an 8 percent uptick over the year prior. Net income saw even bigger gains, rising 30 percent to $5.87 billion.
It wasn't all roses and sunshine for Microsoft, however. Windows sales were down 2 percent during the fiscal year. Since its release in mid-2009, Microsoft's most recent operating system, Windows 7, has sold more than 400 million licenses.