Microsoft , the world's largest software firm, has posted better-than-expected earnings for the October-to-December quarter. The firm reported a net income of $6.56bn (£3.94bn) for the quarter, up from $6.38bn a year earlier. Its earnings were boosted by strong sales of its new Xbox game console and its Surface tablets during the holiday season . The company also saw strong demand from businesses for its cloud services. Overall, the firm's revenue rose 14% during the quarter to $24.5bn. Its shares rose close to 4% on the news in after hours trading.