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Microsoft profits fall

GLOBAL computer giant Microsoft's profits dipped at the end of March but the group had a surprise rise in sales of Windows OS.

The world's largest software firm made a net profit of $5.11bn (€3.88bn), compared with $5.23bn (€3.97bn) a year earlier.

Sales jumped by 6pc to $17.41bn (€13.23bn).

The Windows business was particularly good, growing by about 4pc, more than PC industry growth. Windows is facing competition from the growth of tablet computers such as Apple's iPad.

"With the upcoming release of new Windows 8 PCs and tablets, the next version of Office, and a wide array of products and services, we will be delivering exceptional value to all our customers in the year ahead," said chief executive Steve Ballmer.