SAN FRANCISCO: Microsoft said Tuesday profit rose sharply in the recently ended quarter as the coronavirus pandemic reinforced the shift to relying on services hosted in the cloud for work, play and socializing.

The US technology stalwart reported net income of $15.5 billion in the final three months of last year, a 33 percent jump from the same period in pre-pandemic 2019.

Overall revenue rose 17 percent from a year ago to $43.1 billion, Microsoft said in its update for its fiscal second quarter.

“What we have witnessed over the past year is the dawn of a second wave of digital transformation sweeping every company and every industry,” Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said in an earnings call.

Microsoft’s commercial cloud offerings took in revenue of $16.7 billion in the quarter, up 34 percent from the same period in the prior year, according to chief financial officer Amy Hood.

Revenue in Microsoft’s consumer-focused More Personal Computing unit was up 14 percent to $15.1 billion, helped by a 40 percent surge in money taken by its Xbox video game unit, according to the company.

Overall sales of video games, consoles and accessories hit a record high in the US last year as people hunkered down at home due to the pandemic turned to play.

Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s newest Xbox were released in November, vying for holiday season dominance as the pandemic boosts gaming demand. It was the first time in the year-end holiday quarter that gaming revenue at Microsoft topped $5 billion, and the launch of the latest Xbox models was the most successful in the history of the consoles, according to Nadella.

The Xbox Live online service for game-play and content now has more than 100 million subscribers, according to Nadella.

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