The other hopeful sign? Microsoft has finally started to stem the enormous gush of red ink in its Online Services division. Thanks to a 9 percent increase in revenue compared to the last quarter of 2010, Microsoft lost "only" $455 million in its Bing division during the last quarter of 2011. That's its best quarterly result in almost three years.
Back in August, I came to the conclusion that Microsoft was spending about $3 for every incremental new search performed in Bing. Now it looks like the 'Softies may have finally capped their spendthrift ways, while search income is ever so slowly increasing.
That's the good news. The bad news is that Bing lost about $2.4 billion in calendar year 2011, and it's on track to lose perhaps $1.5 billion -- maybe more -- this year. Microsoft's search market share didn't go anywhere in 2011, but if the Redmond can at least keep its expenses curtailed, there might be some light at the end of the tunnel, after watching Microsoft lose frighteningly close to $10 billion on Bing in the past six years.
This story, "Microsoft results yield unexpected good news," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.