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Microsoft wrote down the value of Aquantive by $6.2bn (£3.94bn, 5bn euros)  and failed to bring the profits expected.

The computing giant thus made a loss of $492m in the three months to the end of June, compared with a profit of $5.9bn a year ago.

The company had never made any loss since 1986 when it joined the stock market.Revenue for the three months to June rose by 4% to $18.06bn.

Meanwhile Microsoft  has  announced that its next-generation operating system tailored for a world shifting from personal computers to smartphones and tablets will be available on October 26.

Windows unit boss Steven Sinofsky revealed the Windows 8 debut date at a sales meeting, Microsoft communications manager Brandon LeBlanc said in a blog post yesterday.

Windows 8 will be available in 109 languages across 231 markets worldwide, according to LeBlanc.