Friday April 19, 2013

NEW YORK -- Microsoft is working with manufacturers to produce a line of small touch-screen devices powered by Windows, apparently intended to compete with 7-inch tablets like the iPad Mini and Amazon Kindle Fire.

Peter Klein, Microsoft’s chief financial officer, told investors and analysts on a conference call Thursday that the new devices will be available in coming months at competitive prices.

Microsoft Corp. is struggling to extend its software into smartphones and tablets as consumers are turning away from PCs, the foundation of its empire. Over the winter, it launched two larger tablets under the Surface brand. And in October, the company took a large stake in Barnes & Noble’s digital unit, which sells a line of entertainment-oriented 7-inch tablets under the Nook brand.

Microsoft reported financial results for its latest quarter Thursday, showing a deep --but largely expected-- impact from the slowdown in global PC sales. Investors seemed to be expecting worse after some recent dismal reports on the PC slump.

Outside the Windows division, Microsoft posted solid results from its Office, software tools and Xbox divisions.

Even if the company has a lot of challenges, "there’s a lot of good things going on at Microsoft," said Colin Gillis, an analyst at BGC Partners.

The Redmond, Wash.-based company’s shares rose 81 cents, or 2.


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8 percent, to $29.60 in extended trading, after the release of the report.