Microsoft has been making big moves to boost its videogame business. An Xbox console gets a workout at a store in Seoul.


SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg News

Microsoft Corp.

MSFT -2.66%

said its earnings continued to grow last quarter as its cloud services business stayed strong.

On Tuesday, the Redmond, Wash., software giant said its sales in the quarter ended in December hit $51.7 billion, up 20% from a year earlier. It posted a net income of $18.8 billion, up 21% from a year earlier.

The results beat predictions from analysts, who were expecting $50.7 billion in revenue and $17.5 billion in net income, according to FactSet.

Big tech firms are investing in data centers as they compete for the $214 billion cloud computing market. WSJ explains what cloud computing is, why big tech is betting big on future contracts.

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Write to Aaron Tilley at

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