Microsoft's revenue rose 18 percent for both its fiscal 2008 fourth quarter and year. However, the company's Online Services Business (OSB) continues to falter.

Microsoft revealed revenue of US$15.84 billion (£7.97bn) for the quarter that ended 30 June, an 18 percent increase over the $13.37 billion in revenue reported for the same period last year. Revenue was slightly ahead of analyst quarterly estimates of $15.65 billion; earnings for the quarter were $5.68 billion.

For the fiscal year that also ended 30 June, Microsoft reported revenue of $60.42 billion, also an 18 percent increase over the prior year. Revenue again was a hair ahead of analyst estimates, which expected Microsoft to earn $60.24 billion for the year.

While overall the company is performing well, Microsoft's online business remains a blemish in the company's financial statement.

Microsoft's OSB reported revenue of $838 million for the quarter, up slightly from $677 million for the same time period last year, but the segment took a $488 million loss in operating income for the fourth quarter, more than double the $210 million operating loss the division saw last year.

For the year, OSB lost $1.23 billion in operating income; in fiscal 2007, the business reported a $617 million loss in operating income.

Microsoft's Colleen Healy, general manager of investor relations, said search queries and page views for OSB grew in the year, though monetisation "lagged" due to tightening advertising budgets and the competitive price of display advertising.

Microsoft grew the number of advertisers using its ad platform by 28 percent in fiscal 2008, she added.

Microsoft has tried unsuccessfully since February to bolster OSB by purchasing Yahoo. Relations between the two companies have become increasingly heated of late, as Microsoft has teamed with investor Carl Icahn in a bid to replace Yahoo's board with those favourable to a deal.

Microsoft also has sought to purchase only Yahoo's search business, a bid Yahoo's management team has blocked. Microsoft is reportedly in talks with AOL to purchase that business as another option to boost online revenue.

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