Two unusual events could lead to Microsoft reporting a loss Thursday as the company reports its fiscal fourth-quarter results.
Earlier this month, Microsoft said it was taking a $6.2 billion write-down in its fourth quarter mostly related to its 2007 acquisition of online ad company aQuantive.
That amount is large enough to potentially wipe out whatever profit Microsoft reports in the fourth quarter. (The company reported a profit of $5.9 billion in 4Q 2011, and $4.5 billion in 4Q 2010.)
In addition, in June, Microsoft announced that it would be deferring revenue from a Windows 8 upgrade offer. The company expects about $450 million to $550 million in revenue from its offer of a $14.99 Windows 8 Pro upgrade to recent buyers of Windows 7 PCs.
Wall Street analysts are expecting Microsoft to report earnings per share of 62 cents and revenue of $18.11 billion. Those estimates take into account the deferred revenue but not the write-down.
Wall Street analysts are expecting Microsoft to report yearly revenue of $73.7 billion and earnings per share of $2.68.