Microsoft exceeded analyst's expectations yet again, earning a profit of $1.36 billion (or 50 cents a share) on sales of $4 billion for its fourth quarter. And once again, Microsoft said it was "highly unlikely" that 1999 sales would match the 28% growth in 1998. The company said that strong early sales of Windows 98 and continued strong sales of Office 97 contributed to its winning quarter. Windows 98, Microsoft said, sold over 1 million copies within weeks after its release.

"We got off to a super start with Windows 98," said Microsoft CFO Greg Maffei, mentioning that Windows 98 added over $150 million in sales. He did say that Microsoft didn't expect the torrid sales to continue. "We continue to be cautious about Windows 98, a few days results is not predictive."

Looking forward, Maffei says problems in Asia, the Year 2000 problem, and new product transitions will adversely affect Microsoft's bottom line in 1999. On the other hand, the company will be releasing Office 2000 late this year, and Office always supplies a strong boost