CORRECTED - CORRECTED-UPDATE 4-Microsoft sales drop sharply, sees no quick r

viernes 24 de julio de 2009 05:04 CEST

(Corrects Microsoft's profit excluding items to 36 cents per share from 38 cents per share in first bullet point and paragraph 7)

* Fiscal Q4 EPS ex-items 36 cents vs Street view 36 cents

* Q4 revenue $13.1 bln vs Wall Street view $14.5 bln

* Shares fall 8 percent after hours (Adds new annual cost forecast, background)

By Bill Rigby

NEW YORK, July 23 (Reuters) - Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O: Cotización) posted the first-ever drop in annual sales of Windows and its quarterly revenue fell a steeper-than-expected 17 percent as its business continued to be hurt by the weak global PC and server markets.

The news sent Microsoft shares down 8 percent and took the shine off a big U.S. stock market rally earlier in the day that had driven the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI above 9,000 points.

The world's largest software maker, whose operating systems power the vast majority of the world's personal computers, offered little hope for a turnaround in technology until next year, despite recent optimism from rival International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N: Cotización) and chip maker Intel Corp (INTC.O: Cotización).

"We still see conditions being challenging for the balance of this calendar year," Chief Financial Officer Christopher Liddell said in a telephone interview.   Continuación...