Monday, May 29, 2006

Copying Xerox, Vista Mistakes, and VP Perspectives

(I feel compelled to slap together a quick post of what was in my queue to avoid any dwelling on a long kiss goodbye or such - it's not goodbye it's just a... mini-Mini-Microsoft for a while. This is an example of what I intend to post for a while, as soon as enough floats to the top of my mind. It may not look any different to you, but it's super different for me...)

When I read Chris Pirillo's Vista bug feedback (he's also done some intense Outlook 2007 feedback), the first question that came to my mind was: is this the polish tax we pay for automation? If our former STEs (now SDETs-or-else) had been focusing on the black-box entire Vista experience, would the following issues had been entered and fixed?

One commenter writes:

Hey Who da', did you see the article about Xerox in the Sunday Seattle Times (business section). They promoted the head of HR to run the company. The first thing she did was to hold a series of employee town halls. Then she told executives who weren't with her to leave.

It's a reprint from the WSJ but I couldn't find it online.

Forgot one more thing, she downsized Xerox from 90,000 to 55,000.

Ooo, she is ready for a Microsoft-sized challenge. I like the way Ms. Mulcahy handles numbers. Actually, the quickest article I could find was on C|Net: Breathing new life into Xerox Newsmakers CNET News.com.

Finally, a non-Microsoftie VP in product development, MrMichevous, spent time to write up a long, illuminating comment looking at the issues brought up here quite often. From the other-side. It's a small study in The School of Hard Knocks and Just the Way Things Work, especially the following snippet:

I'd like to add my take on the question you posed earlier: "Let's say you walk into your office one morning. You reflect on your team before going through the morning email and have the realization that one of your reports (who perhaps has done a good job making you feel like an excellent manager) was in fact playing the system like this FAQ calls out. Or worse. What would you do?"

Simple. If they weren't good at their own job, I'd counsel or fire them (and have done so in the past). But if they were good at their own job, I'd promote them.

I could hear the anguished screams of MM readers as I typed that last sentence. Why, they scream, would you allow style to to win over substance? Simple. To reach the higher levels, both style and substance is required. Despite what engineers would like to think, getting to Director is only partially a function of how technically good you are at your own job. I recently promoted two people in my own org to Director. Predictably, within a week two others came to my desk asking when they could make Director, since they had been there as long as the other guys. When I asked them why they thought I had promoted the other two, they sat quietly - they were unable to articulate why I had made the decision. I explained to them that at the higher levels, the intangible qualities are as important as the tangible ones - the ability to walk into a room and "own" it, the ability to summarize complex concepts succinctly so that senior execs can understand them, the ability to manage their own boss.


68 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mini, your desire to take a break - and reasons for doing so - are understandable. I myself have used this blog myself to lash out at MS management (or the perceived injustice wrought by management) and not felt great about my comments after. I think mini and we-all did make our point and now there are some new policies in place. I agree that we should give them a chance to work. If mini blogs on, he/she should not be expected to blog at length (since he/she is doing so entirely on his/her own time. Not on the company clock (so far as we know ...))

Anonymous said...

Farewells from me!

Trent said...

Mini,

Before you go inviting Anne Mulcahy to join Microsoft, consider that the series of posts I have at http://stockmarketbeat.com/blog1/category/tech/xrx/ doesn't scratch the surface of accounting contortions going on at Xerox over the past few years. She may yet turn the supertanker around, but right now it is running on fumes.

If that is what you mean by "liking the way she handles numbers," well... let's just say I prefer Microsoft's more conservative accounting practices.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Chris Pirillo "feedback", here are some of my favorites:

"Windows (c) 2006 should likely change now before y’all forget when Vista actually does ship. :)"

"Preparing your desktop… the screen flashes."

"The font in the title bar of Windows Defender is not Segoe UI - hasn’t been for quite some time. Big, big, big oversight. "

"Massive amount of window flashing in the Computer Mangement console when you select different options, not to mention the need to update every single one of the icons throughout the utility. I’m not supposed to be using NT 3.51, am I?"

"Burn all these Windows Media Player visualizations, please. Take ‘em in the back and shoot ‘em. Never speak of this again."

"Microsoft Windows Mail splash screen needs an overhaul."

"Wow. Your bubbles screen saver is really lame. Really. Really. Lame."

And the best of all:
"What if I don’t like the red “X” close button? Why can’t I change that to… purple?"

Who the fuck is this clown? Almost all of his comments lack substance (way too many of them complain about fonts...so many that I almost quit reading because I thought it was some sort of weird joke). His updated list of 67 problems seems to be more of the same. They are not irrelevant, but they are hardly critical Vista-blockers. Almost all are fit & finish bugs.

Hey Chris: It's a BETA!

Lockergnome said...

Thanks, Mini, for helping spread the word. ;) Methinks those who are most defensive about the problems I've cited are likely the ones (a) responsible, or (b) with jobs at stake.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous - sure Vista is a beta but as the "clown" (Mr. Pirillo) points out (paraphrased), "sure they're fit and finish but if it's still this unpolished, just think about what's going wrong under the covers."

I want Vista to kick ass. I want IE7 to give me the desire to dump Firefox. Both are only in Beta 2 so I am hopeful that many of their glaring issues will be addressed (and yes I'm bugging everything I can find). I am unimpressed with IE7 still though.

Oh and Mini, thanks for all you've done to date. Enjoy your hiatus but please come back soon.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Vista, anyone want to throw out some predictions on what happens in the Windows org after we ship?

I suspect BV will say "see ya" - unless he wants to do another release to prove he's still got it in him after the Vista disaster.

I expect a pretty good-sized RIF but nothing super momentous.

A massive re-org is guaranteed.

And once the dust settles, the question remains: what's next for Windows? How do we get on the 18 month release wagon? How does the new Live stuff fit in? Who's going to de driving the vision with Cutler and JimAll out of the picture?

What do you guys think?

Anonymous said...

Who's going to de driving the vision with Cutler and JimAll out of the picture?

Cutler is leaving?

Anonymous said...

GREAT point about sdet vs. ste. I also think it's the result of over-automating. The better news there is that more teams are working on making the inner workings perform better.

Oh, and I made the earlier comments about Chris's feedback. I am not responsible for those areas, nor am I worried about being RIF'd. I am surprised that he didn't comment on the font I used when I replied :)

Anonymous said...

No, dude. While this guy's feedback on Vista may have been too anal-retentive, FLICKER NEEDS TO GO. It's year 2006 for Christ's sake. Mac OS X has been flicker free for FIVE YEARS now. What's the point of implementing compositing if there's still seizure-inducing flicker everywhere?

Anonymous said...

Given the level of attrition in the Windows organization, it is fairly easy to reduce its size merely by not replacing those who leave. After Vista, there is virtually guaranteed to be a huge exodus anyway. In any case, it makes sense to move headcount away from Windows and over to services and applications which have more visible customer value. That is just good business.

The real question is how the reorganization will disrupt Vista SP1. Given the number of bugs that will need to be addressed in SP1, and the time it will take for OEM hardware to catch up to Vista requirements, it seems quite likely that transition from XP will not get into full swing until SP1 is delivered.

The real test of the Windows division will be whether they can focus on Vista SP1, fix the bugs and get Vista on the path to success, without letting it turn into another XP SP2.

Anonymous said...

"The font in the title bar of Windows Defender is not Segoe UI - hasn’t been for quite some time. Big, big, big oversight."

I think this is a serious problem. I mean, how can you have consistent UI when programmers constantly create their own interfaces? Even within MS. If you look at the Interface Guidelines for Vista, it is pathetic compared to the Apple Human Interface Guidelines.

Anonymous said...

Dude, by calling Pirillo a clown for doing exactly what the Evil Empire asked him to do, you're showing that you have no clue at all what FEEDBACK is all about.

Fit & finish is something you had bloody well better get right, because that's the FIRST impression that the bulk of your customers are going to get of Visa. That's whats going to make or break the product, because if it's pretty, then the suckers will jump on board the Vista bandwagon and just put up with its fundamental design problems like they always have.

Get this through your head: it's ALL about the cosmetics, because when it comes to fundamentals, Longhorn failed at least five years ago.

Anonymous said...

For whoever asked "how do you get on the 18-month release cycle bandwagon", the first step is you have a major change of management. BG, SB, and at least the top four layers of managers have to go.

Anonymous said...

Who the fuck is this clown?

For the first time ever, I will use the term 'LOL'. Because LOL I did indeed :-). My thoughts exactly when I read that link.

It's sad that the blogosphere has brought with it a ton of self appointed "influentials". Edge cases now have the ability to easily get airtime. Problem is, it's with other edge cases, each of whom thinks their opinion is always right, and that the entire industry depends on their guidance.

Anonymous said...

Chris Pirillo was paraphrased as syaing "If it's still this unpolished, just think about what's going wrong under the covers."

I think that is what is ringing alarm bells: there's a creeping lack of consistency in Vista which should worry anyone who works in interface design; not because of what it causes, but what it implies (at least I think so). Maybe anonymous doesn't work in software design, so desn't see why this kind of inconsistency should worry anyone.

Windows looking the same across the system isn't a "fit and finish" thing: they should look the same because the same code was invoked, the same way, everytime, to instantiate them. The self-similarity should be a default outcome of robust design. Inconsistency should be something that is intentionally applied.

The niggling inconsistencies in Vista don't look intentional. it looks like someone has gone along, after the fact, and tried to apply a uniform look-and-feel to a system that just throws windows open from all over the place.

Yes, a lot of his criticisms are very minor - but it's been six years, guys. Maybe I'm being unfair, too, but I see this sort of stuff and I suspect I may be looking at symptoms of why it took six years to get this far - not at reasons why it's going to take another six months to finish papering over the cracks.

Anonymous said...

Mini,

Enjoy your hiatus. I always read the blog -- don't always agree but find it always sincere, thoughtful and insightful. Please come back!

A field sales admirer

Anonymous said...

"Who's going to de driving the vision with Cutler and JimAll out of the picture?"

Based on the track record over the past 5 years, who cares? Anyone new would be an improvement.

Anonymous said...

These fit and finish issues should have been designed, coordinated, and fixed long ago: All are being revolved these days claiming they don't meet the RC1 bar.

This is what makes and breaks it. Let's do the right thing guys!

Anonymous said...

the ability to summarize complex concepts succinctly so that senior execs can understand them

Why do we have senior execs that needs help in understanding complex concepts? Doesn't senior mean more capable, or does it mean more advanced in age and slow?

Anonymous said...

You are missing the point with regards to the STE vs. SDET choice.

UI fixes are easy and low impact. As long as we are willing to take UI fixes at some point it does not matter who points them out. This one fellow has done the work of many STEs in reporting some of the inconsistencies.

Someone else made the point about good software design. Only SDE/SDET headcount can address software design issues. Fixing one design issue is harder and worth more than a 100 of the UI bugs. Its a rare STE that can go head to head with an SDE on design, all SDETs should be able to.

Something should change with respect to UI in the areas of training and awareness. How many SDE/SDETS have received UI training or even have UI high on their list of priorities?

Anonymous said...

Mini,

As a field FTE doing onsite support for our customers, I just wanted to extend to you a big "Thanks" for all your work from all of us in the field who aren't under the Sales Org's compensation model. Your site has been instrumental in making MS a better place to work.

I'm sorry to hear about your pause in posting, but after reading the Seattle Times article, I can definately understand why. My advice is 2-fold...1) Keep anonymous, don't let Mgmt know who you are. But more importantly, 2) TELL YOUR WIFE!!!!! This is the sort of thing you shouldn't be keeping from her. I understand that you want to protect her from the stress, but if it is grating on you as much as you said it did in the Times, you REALLY need to let her know so that you're not keeping such a big secret from her. Secrets are bad in any relationship, and ones this big will cause problems at home.

Good luck with your time away from Blogging. You've got the support of all of us who actually 'do work' at MS.

Thanks...

Anonymous said...

I explained to them that at the higher levels, the intangible qualities are as important as the tangible ones

I hope I'm not the only one who thinks this is total BS! I can't think of any legit reason why the intangibles should be as important as the tangibles when deciding promotions. Unless, of course you're an arrogant SOB manager like Mr. M here who values cronyism over merit. These utterly subjective "intangibles" are the same reason employees protested against stack ranking and managed to get them abolished at least for peformance reviews and merit raises.

It's also the same reason why Microsoft management suffers from a terminal case of in-breeding. Why else in an increasingly diverse company that must compete in a global marketplace does Microsoft management managed to remain 90% dominated by males and Caucasians? I wonder if two employees that Mr. M didn't promote had certain "intangibles" working against them like being female or a minority?

Just another jaded former STE said...

This is a direct result of the automation push.

As a former STE who has written quite a bit of automation for Microsoft (and others), nobody would write automation to test for these things for every component. At the end-user UI level, we frequently wrote automation that ignored the location and text of controls entirely.

It is just too time consuming and it always ends up changing in the next version anyway.

This is why we did manual testing.

What the executives failed to understand is that for each documented manual test case, good testers looked for dozens of other things like font color, font size, location of controls, flicker, flow, ease of use, consistency of wording, adherence to theme and style, performance, usability, etc.

When we made the shift to automation, all of these things were lost. If we are lucky, the STEs had a chance to talk to some of the incoming SDETs and told them that they should watch for things like this, or maybe the leads were STEs earlier in their careers.

Seeing how much of XP still doesn't correctly work with themes, I expect that most of these fit and finish problems will never get fixed.

Not that automation is entirely bad. It just isn't a magic bullet.
I am confident that automation will reduce WinSE costs dramatically. I just don't think that it will do anything for the fit and finish that helps form customer opinions.

Anonymous said...

"In Japanese business, harmony has been more important than profitability," Stringer says. "In the past five or six years, we could go through whole board meetings with no discussion of the share price."

[Wonder how often it gets brought up at a MSFT board meeting? Probably a little more lately...]

"Sony's problems go well beyond short-term business problems," Gerstner told FORTUNE. "The cultural issues, as I found at IBM, are the most fundamental, the most difficult."

[Hmmm...sound like another company we know?]

full story here:

Sony's great shake-up"

Anonymous said...

"Microsoft to lay out business intelligence game plan
May 30, 2006 11:30 AM PDT
Jeff Raikes, the president of Microsoft's Business Division, will detail the company's roadmap in business intelligence next week."

I wonder if he'll begin by explaining what he was thinking when he said MBS would be a $10B division by the end of the decade? Maybe MSFT should start applying that new business intelligence capability internally first?

Anonymous said...

See, something is wrong with Microsoft ;)

http://www.worddisplay.com?microsoft

Anonymous said...

Read the articles by Chris P on Vista. These are great back in your face user comments that I as a tester (and end user)look for. Consistency throughout. Something as simple as fonts escaped all the in house testing? Even in Beta?
In our company the first people to go (fired) would be all responsible for this one oversight from top to bottom. I'd do it personally and take great satisfaction in doing so.
Does "your fired" ring a bell with anyone? Some of you may actually watch the show as entertainment.

Customer

Anonymous said...

"In our company the first people to go (fired) would be all responsible for this one oversight from top to bottom. I'd do it personally and take great satisfaction in doing so."

I don't think you fire the people involved at this point. However, I do think the execs in charge of Windows should tack that list up on the wall, ensure that none of it is missing from someone's pre-launch to do list, and then make sure it all gets completed prior to RTM - or else. If they think these should have been caught earlier (and some of the font ones probably should have) then someone should do a post mortem and figure out how to fix that for next time. Finally, anyone who takes satisfaction from firing people has problems. I'm not saying its not required, but it shouldn't be enjoyable.

Anonymous said...

Chris P is a customer. Therefore he has all the right in the world to point out every glitch he sees, perceived or real. He is not privy to bug bars, glide paths, severity, priority, levels and does not need to know any of these. We in Windows thank him because he is a hard core self-hoster. No external bug is too stupid. We are aware of what BV calls the 'first kiss' and we will take care of most of these issues now or later, as appropriate.

But if I catch any msftie down the hallway thinking along the lines of "If it's still this unpolished, just think about what's going wrong under the covers", I will personally snap your neck. You should know better about bug impact analysis and prioritization.

If for example, a dev has a choice between fixing a flicker or correcting a font and he goes for the font, he/she should be shit-canned on the spot. Bad example maybe but you get the point. The good thing is that the folks in Windows get it. And I am proud of that.

Anonymous said...

If one wanted to enter a betting pool today involving the real Vista ship date, with a bet using $100 of your own money, what date would you pick ?

I'm going with August 2007 (shrinkwrap on shelves in stores). Too pessimistic?

Anonymous said...

In any case, it makes sense to move headcount away from Windows and over to services and applications which have more visible customer value. That is just good business.

Windows is a cash machine. You don't want to pull the plug on it.

Dude, by calling Pirillo a clown for doing exactly what the Evil Empire asked him to do, you're showing that you have no clue at all what FEEDBACK is all about. Fit & finish is something you had bloody well better get right, because that's the FIRST impression that the bulk of your customers are going to get of Visa.

Pretty funny that someone ranting about "fit & finish" has a typo in their message :P

I understand and appreciate feedback. However he was just using this as an excuse to tear Microsoft a new back end. It's beta 2...there's time for fit & finish bugs. He seems to be claiming that IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD!!!! if these issues aren't fixed. I also agree with you that F&F issues are important to fix. But not every user is going to be annoyed as much as he was. I'm sure they're having people look at this UI stuff all the time.

I hate bugs. But at some point, you have to stop fixing the nitpicky stuff. I'm sure that a lot of these bugs are owned by the same team, so I'd bet that a chunk of them can't get fixed before RTM, and very few of them are things I'd bother to fix in SP1 (unless there's a lot of customer feedback on them). If I decide not to fix it in Vista, how can I justify fixing it in SP1?

Inconsistency should be something that is intentionally applied.

Maybe it was? Maybe the UI guidelines keep changing, or worse, maybe some teams don't know that we even have UI guidelines?

These fit and finish issues should have been designed, coordinated, and fixed long ago: All are being revolved these days claiming they don't meet the RC1 bar.

This is what makes and breaks it. Let's do the right thing guys!


If you have a F&F bug that's not getting the appropriate amount of traction, make sure the bug is flagged the right way so that the management team can bitch about it.

UI fixes are easy and low impact. As long as we are willing to take UI fixes at some point it does not matter who points them out. This one fellow has done the work of many STEs in reporting some of the inconsistencies.

Not true. It depends on where the fix is. Also, there are reasons why some portions of the UI have to lock down earlier than others.

And why is everyone assuming that these bugs weren't already filed? Do any of these sound like critical beta stoppers? Not to me.

Anonymous said...

No external bug is too stupid.

I can point to thousands of examples to prove you wrong.

It's GREAT that people care enough to test an early version of this OS, and spend their valuable time providing us with feedback. But at a minimum they should read the guidelines on how to file a good bug report.

Anonymous said...

If one wanted to enter a betting pool today involving the real Vista ship date, with a bet using $100 of your own money, what date would you pick ?

Sometimes it is better to keep quiet than to speak and show your total lack of knowledge of software engineering procedures.

Software is not all about shipping dates.

Anonymous said...

Fit and finish bugs like these are often given little respect.

They are low priority, and thus ignored, early in the development phase.

They are only fixed in the short window after code complete when the major bugs are fixed and before the bar starts going up on the march toward lockdown and zero bug bounce.

They are occasionally caused by deep design problems and can't be easily fixed. For instance, try a screen reader with the Wizard97 control. When I looked at it last, it had been broken for few releases of the OS and it couldn't be fixed.

When our common controls are broken, or incomplete, and unable to be changed, we force teams everywhere to take an ad-hoc approach at implementing workarounds.

I agree with Chris.

This inconsistency points to insufficient common code, cross-group dependency problems, and error-prone custom hacks all over the place.

Anonymous said...

Maybe a way to improve ship time and have a better-designed system for the next versions of Windows is to build core services into a release of Windows and then wait a version to make use of them for higher level integration. Perhaps, for instance, WinFS would be added as a Vista SP2 feature and Explorer would become tightly integrated with it in Windows 2009. Put the APIs out there and then follow them on in the next release with functionality built on top. If an API sucks, rev it in a Side by Side manner while building the new functionality (seems pretty doable with .NET). This way sucky APIs get replaced without fear of breaking changes across the OS and higher-level teams are guaranteed a stable foundation to build on (they can always use the old interface and switch over to the new one as it becomes well-tested).

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it is better to keep quiet than to speak and show your total lack of knowledge of software engineering procedures.

Software is not all about shipping dates.


:rolleyes:

Stop enjoying the smell of your own farts long enough to think about what this person was saying. Most people care just as much about when it will ship as they do about what's shipping. Especially when our revenue (not that I expect you to pay attention to words like that) is dependant on it. Vista's ship date matters, because that's what people pay attention to, end of story. "Software engineering procedures" be damned.

MSDecade said...

Why do we have senior execs that needs help in understanding complex concepts? Doesn't senior mean more capable, or does it mean more advanced in age and slow?

Um, because they're busy people and deal with many, many issues? If you need legal or medical help, who are you going to prefer -- someone who quickly gets to the "nut" of the issue, explaining pros & cons and tradeoff considerations, or someone who prattles on without getting to the point? Same concept.

I hope I'm not the only one who thinks this is total BS! I can't think of any legit reason why the intangibles should be as important as the tangibles when deciding promotions.

When you're deciding promotions at higher levels, when there are fewer opportunities available, you're choosing among people who have all demonstrated the tangibles. They're all qualified. Thus the intangibles make the difference.

Since we're talking about leaders, who would you rather follow?

I'm making an assumption, which you can take issue with, that the choice is among qualified candidates who show excellent ethics and adhere to the company values...

Anonymous said...

I explained to them that at the higher levels, the intangible qualities are as important as the tangible ones - the ability to walk into a room and "own" it, the ability to summarize complex concepts succinctly so that senior execs can understand them, the ability to manage their boss

The first two are great - command a room and clearly articulate concepts. Great - we need folks who can do that.

The third point is crap. If you as a boss need to be managed by your reports, you are an incompetent manager. If you as a boss allow your reports ot manage you, you are an inept leader. You, dear Mr. Boss, are in charge, and if you don't act like it, you will have a way dysfunctional team full of people too busy trying to do your job to do their own.

But obviously someone is teaching this crap, because I keep finding more and more people trying to "manage" me. Sigh. Such a waste of time.

Anonymous said...


Sometimes it is better to keep quiet than to speak and show your total lack of knowledge of software engineering procedures.

Software is not all about shipping dates.


This is a really, really interesting response. I'm not making any such claim (that SW is all about dates). I'm posing this idea - the betting pool - to test people's perception of the completeness of the product and the rate of progress.

If I had said "August 2017", seems likely we'd have a few responses along the lines of "oh, that is definitely too pessimistic, no way could it take ten more years". Agree?

And, ISTM that if Jan-Feb 2007 was/is a likely outcome, my choice of Aug 2007 would be similarly pooh-poohed by those in the know.

Just for a moment, let's recast this exchange thusly:

Reporter: "Mr Ballmer, will Vista go gold by Aug 2007?"
Ballmer: "Sometimes it is better to keep quiet than to speak and show your total lack of knowledge of software engineering procedures. Software is not all about shipping dates."

wouldn't a better answer be a simple "Yes"?

Post your predictions.. unless you'd rather not.

Anonymous said...

All:

What is the "right" time interval for F&F bugs to be fixed in?

a - one month period before GM
b - three month period before GM
c - six month period before GM
d - a year or more before GM

i.e. if you were going to hold off on going after F&F bugs involving things like fonts and flicker, what is the latest point in time you would wait for?

Isn't Vista supposed to RTM in about 4-5 months? Ignore choice "d" above if that is the case.

Anonymous said...

Reading these comments I'm really glad Steven Sinofsky is going to take charge of planning the next Windows release. The Windows teams need to do what Office did: Stop adding features and focus on ease-of-use. Making stuff easier to do is what adds customer value, not making the graphics engines more advanced.

Anonymous said...

"Hey Chris: It's a BETA!"

Technically, Vista Beta 2. The final Beta before shipping a finished product. Or so people say.

And it's got this sort of problem?

It's not good enough, at least in my books.

Anonymous said...

It's GREAT that people care enough to test an early version of this OS...

Early? It's early?

Hey, everyone, despite what you've been told, the Vista Beta is actually early.

Anonymous said...

It's true that software is not all about ship dates; however, ship dates matter greatly. When was Vista originally slated for delivery?

It seems really easy to say several years after the fact that NOW quality is important.

Anonymous said...

"Innovate and win, and the operational issues will fade over the long run, Ballmer counseled. As an example, he cited Microsoft's work on adopting the software-as-a-service business model.

"Look at our Office Live system in beta," he said. "I don't know how exactly we're going to make our money--we have an advertising model and a subscription model on top of it, but I do know that it delivers incredibly value to people. Both to customers and to shareholders."

Ballmer at his finest. No wonder this stock is done.

Anonymous said...

Ballmer at Sandford:

- Expect cap ex to rise
- Expect operating costs to continue to rise
- Expect stock-based comp to level off vs continuing decreasing
- Expect us to keep making even more big bets
- Sure, we've lost $4B on Xbox but hey, buying Nintendo would have cost $12B (forget the fact that Nintendo is profitable)

In other words, please sell our stock. Um...okay.

Ray Myers said...

Here's the real question:

Why isn't there a Chris Pirillo at Microsoft? That's the real problem at Microsoft - Mission Control.

Envision this: A Chris Pirillo-type gets up every morning and reviews the latest Vista changes against a set of Vista corporate tenents...look, feel, goals, etc. If on track, no problem; if not, instant meeting, instant responses, instant authority with feedback to his "Mission Boss" (who is very powerful...a Ray Ozzie type).

Repeat this process until project is complete. What is so hard about this? If I can figure it out, why can't Geek Central?

Ray Myers

Anonymous said...

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000087&sid=alQ5vFusfB44&refer=top_world_news

Anonymous said...

Microsoft's Ballmer Defends Spending, No Big Buyback (Update1)

Morale No Issue

Ballmer, who two weeks ago unveiled a package of employee perks and increased stock awards to combat ailing morale, today said workers' attitudes haven't changed because of the company's falling stock price.

"People do look at the stock price some but it's not a big issue," Ballmer said.

Rosenberg, who said a large share repurchase may boost morale, was skeptical.

"Does Ballmer think that anybody in Seattle that works for Microsoft believes that?" Rosenberg said.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who is in the Digital Media Division knows this lesson too well - it all about fit and finish! Ok, maybe not all but definitely a significant part.

Apple made iPod and a dozen other companies made other mp3 players. Almost all of them had/have more functionality than iPod but they just dont have the emotional appeal of an iPod. Fit and finish is what really wins users over - I know it is hard for us engineers to believe that but unfortunately that is the reality. And I hope we learn this lesson soon because a lot of people just dont get it.

Good examples to look at will be Google (keeping UI really simple) and Apple (designing gorgeous UI). The next version of Windows Media Player is also a very good example.

Anonymous said...

"Morale No Issue

Ballmer, who two weeks ago unveiled a package of employee perks and increased stock awards to combat ailing morale, today said workers' attitudes haven't changed because of the company's falling stock price.

``People do look at the stock price some but it's not a big issue,'' Ballmer said.

Rosenberg, who said a large share repurchase may boost morale, was skeptical.

``Does Ballmer think that anybody in Seattle that works for Microsoft believes that?'' Rosenberg said."

Microsoft's Ballmer Defends Spending, No Big Buyback

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it is better to keep quiet than to speak and show your total lack of knowledge of software engineering procedures.

Software is not all about shipping dates.


Then do us all a favor and stop announcing the shipping dates until you are absolutely ready to ship. As a consumer and a shareholder I can then start to plan accordingly.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mini,

From what I've read you're working @ microsoft. Well then. Why are you using a Google product?

Anonymous said...

If one wanted to enter a betting pool today involving the real Vista ship date, with a bet using $100 of your own money, what date would you pick?

IMHO Vista will ship around Jan-Mar 2007 and SP1 will be released during the latter half of 2007. Almost everyone I have spoken with won't buy Vista until SP1 is released.

There are already plans on releasing SP1 during the latter half of 2007. If all goes as planned, MSFT will be able to cash in during the Christmas season. The link below gives a better explaination.

http://news.com.com/Common+code+base+for+Vista%2C+Longhorn+Server/2100-1016_3-6075912.html

Anonymous said...

Kudos to a job well done mini. I'm glad you got the ball rolling.

Anonymous said...

"Finally, anyone who takes satisfaction from firing people has problems. I'm not saying its not required, but it shouldn't be enjoyable."
Hey, it's my company and I took great satisfaction in building it (16+yrs)so that gives me the RIGHT to have satisfaction in keeping it successful.
Our customers are accustomed to a certain level of performance and expertise in our field.
Satisfation comes from keeping my customers happy and coming back with more work than we can do on any given day.
As an owner, the company is run MY way. Our employees are very well paid and have good benefits.
Anyone who works for me can do their own startup if they want, thats what we did. They just better have the cajones, ideas, money, resources, etc...
Competition is great, keeps us focused.

Customer

Anonymous said...

Almost everyone I have spoken with won't buy Vista until SP1 is released

Wow... That's you, your next door neighbor, your pastor and your mother-in-law. And that's a whopping 4 * $85

MS might sink if we don't get that $340. I am really worried now.

Anonymous said...

Q: Why isn't there a Chris Pirillo at Microsoft?

A: They fired us all and replaced us with automation to reduce costs.

Anonymous said...

Chris Pirillo, for whatever his faults, is pointing out some very obvious flaws not in the fonts or layout or flicker or what-have-you -- but with the end results of the general attitude of "Why fix a problem that's been around for a long time when you can make some new feature?"

It's too bad that these flaws never get fixed - but having been around since the Win95 OSR2 days, I can say that a lot of stuff gets punted to the next release, over and over again.

MS doesn't have a quality champion. That may be good or bad - people will still buy Vista in spite of the flicker or the misaligned fonts/type or the multitude of print dialogs. But they will miss the satisifaction that Mac users have for a truly elegant UI and functionality.

I don't use a Mac often. But let's be honest - the UI, when compared to a Windows product, is just gorgeous. It seems to embrace me and make me feel good. Windows is like someone handing out crayons and saying "Draw this man and win an art course."

Perhaps the problem with the fonts/type/alignment stems from an attitude that combines the "but that's the way it always looks - what's wrong with it?" and "that's just too hard to think about/solve; let's do something more interesting."

Customers don't exactly suffer. But it leads to a product that just isn't as good as it should be.

And hey, let's be brutally honest here - MS had *SIX YEARS* to get this stuff right. And it's still not fixed? What does that say about attention to detail and commitment to making great software?

Who da'Punk said...

From what I've read you're working @ microsoft. Well then. Why are you using a Google product?

(1) Microsoft didn't have a blogging solution when I started. Well, perhaps in Japan (pre spaces).

(2) I, ah, didn't want the access logs to be easily accessible?

8-)

Anonymous said...

So much discussion on minor Fit n Finish bugs (which should have been fixed long ago, but are not hard to fix)

Why not start asking about application compatibility? It's not a pretty picture Missy.

Not to worry, I'm sure more automation of things that already work, and more semi-competent testing by untrained subs in India will remedy all.

Anonymous said...

To the apparent Microsoftie who responded to "Almost everyone I have spoken with won't buy Vista until SP1 is released." with:

Wow... That's you, your next door neighbor, your pastor and your mother-in-law. And that's a whopping 4 * $85

MS might sink if we don't get that $340. I am really worried now.


It's this kind of "bully" attitude that represents most of what is wrong with the good ship Microsoft, not only from the captain but from you mates, as well.

It's pretty much why the rudder veers not a byte from the 360 degree Windows-Office-Server circle you continue to make thorough the Sea of Innovation.

History is strewn with the shipwrecks of arrogance and those who are on the rocks: GM, Xerox, Kodak, Enron all so enamored with themselves that they forgot what it means to listen to the customer and...act quickly.

Pray for a brilliant light house keeper to guide you and, when you see the light, move towards it!

Anonymous said...

MS might sink if we don't get that $340. I am really worried now.

You should be worried. I work for Microsoft, I have been around for quite some time and yet at home I have only one machine left running Windows: the one I am uing to TS to CorpNet as I have no other option.

Think about this. Ask around carefully about how many people own Macs.

Anonymous said...

...the ability to summarize complex concepts succinctly so that senior execs can understand them, the ability to manage their own boss.

If execs and managers are so important, how come *BSD, Linux and open source still manage to release software? I'm not aware of any major management or execs there?

I agree with microstiff's comment (best i read in a long time). Fire management and hire Chris Pirillo instead. The result is probably faster progression and less cost in management. :)

Mog

Anonymous said...

Ask around carefully about how many people own Macs

Please not another round of Mac vs PC/Windows. But still, wake me up when Mac crosses 4% market share

Anonymous said...

The fit and finish bugs are symptomatic of the replacement of all the testers by automation coders. This disaster could have been simply avoided by the lessons of the 1960s. When you automate your company , you run one full cycle in parallel until it's proven to works or you will be very sorry. Can you imagine how much better the product would be if they had both testers and automation working? But Test Management and the executived decided it was worth risking the franchise to save a few bucks on by hoping automation might not be ready.
In the Vista project I've been working on, the SDETS are way behind because the coding is churning things as specs get modified on the fly.

Solidinkoutlet.com said...

Hmmm.. I most definitely read a couple of articles about this topic and it brings me back down memory lane :)
The question that I ask myself is what caused something like this to happen or be written??