Saturday, April 05, 2008

Microsoft, Just Walk on By

Walk on By: so, sure, we can get a little hissy and prissy with Yahoo not wanting to come to the table, but if even Microsoft's executive leadership is noting how the bloom and most of the petals are off of the Yahoo blossom, wouldn't that be a good idea to just walk away? Why are we out to buy a wilted arrangement? What does Mr. Kevin Johnson - the presumed architect behind the Yahoo acquisition - seem to know that most of the educated financial world doesn't?

I appreciate that we're at least threatening to lower the bid rather than pump it up.

I hope that this harsh strategic move can also be appreciated as an elegant way to walk on by, noting with disgust Yahoo's ability to deliver and be relevant.

Blabby McBlabster: SteveSi, "Pardon me, Mr. Gates, might you step in here for a moment of translucency re-education?" *Smack* Somehow the message to not talk about release dates didn't make it up to Bill Gates, all talking about Win7 rolling out next year rather than in 2010. You know, if that can be pulled off, it would be a lot better to start talking about it once the team has reached the light at the end of the tunnel. Throw this BillG comment in there along with the one of the Sony PS3 release walking head-on into Halo 3 (how'd that go? Oh, yeah, those guys seceded after they succeeded, having released when they were done).

Poor Me: yeah, I miss that DareO has adjusted his priorities and that blogging doesn't fit into them. I understand, but I'm sad for me and Dare's readers. This blog is indebted to Mr. Obasanjo because without his linkage to the early months Mini-Microsoft there's no way I would have built up that initial high quality readership and participation. Thanks for the links, Dare. One day, when this gig is up, I certainly owe you a lunch out.

Goodness knows I've thrown in the towel here, too. And I constantly wonder whether it's worth continuing, given that I'm not putting the deep research and reading into this that I did during those first two years. And the oodles of people we keep hiring is another reason to start fingering the towel: Mini-what? I don't know how many sharks we've jumped here already, and I always see fins in the water ahead.

MSFTExtremeMakeover: Is the Sleeping Giant Finally Waking Up, or Just Rolling Over? Snippet:

Like Nero fiddling while Rome burned, Ballmer seems to be preoccupied with GOOG while MSFT melts down - or at least while the first embers, which had already been apparent for years, now threaten to turn into something much more serious. Hence the recent ill-advised and fiscally irresponsible YHOO bid.

OO! OO! OOXML! What's interesting to me is to read the post-reactions to the approval of OOXML and how many respected people are appalled at the behavior of the anti-OOXML / pro-ODF fanatics. Now these people get to enjoy the experience of Slashdot-commenter-level idiocy crapping all over them and impugning their reputations. Thanks guys! You just opened a lot of doors to OOXML.

At least take some solace in: competition is good. Even for you.

MSPoll 08: a collection of interesting points made in the last post about the recent MSPoll 08: first, around actually implementing change for issues that come up in the poll:

I have been manager at Microsoft for several years. In each of the teams that I have been, the management team takes time to interpret the results of the surveys and try to find solutions.

However, it has always been extremely difficult to deal with the huge bureaucracy that have to be addressed in order to make any change (minor or major). [...] We have too much bureaucracy that prevents us from responding quickly, clearly and effectively to our employees and our customers.

Some hope to pass on that the MSPoll can help get 'er done:

Last year our PUM was wrecking our group, and the poll results showed it. Our fast-talking PUM convinced his management that this was a result of transient events outside the org, and a few months later we were actually asked to repeat the poll. By this time things were even worse and and the PUM had been publicly taking his frustrations out on his directs, so the 2nd time he really got slaughtered. He lost his team (it went to his GPM) and soon after left MSFT.

Viva the poll!

And another:

I've seen that the poll are almost magical to get rid of your lower performing managers up to GM level. You can't say it doesn't have effect although I don't think it changes any thing beyond that level. I've never heard a VP getting hurt by poll. Certainly won't change Ballmer's mind.

One disturbing theme did pop-up, though: happiness manipulation right before the poll. Beer, pizza, Xbox partying, espresso carts, and even saying that bonuses are directly tied to the team getting stellar poll results.

What's Going on in India? Okay, the last post also has a bit of a keg of gun powder in the comments, discussing the engineering quality of Microsoft India. Feel free to continue that conversation there, because the effective management of Microsoft India and Microsoft China is worthy of its own (tricky) post. Starting that off for now, some comments like the following have popped up:

I used to work in Microsoft India SMSG. In the past week, 10% of BMO quit. We've had people in EPG bail out in a hurry because the management does not care and is totally intellectually corrupt. Hiring is the exclusive domain of the GM who calls her cronies from HP to rape the company culture. I am done with MS India. DPE has a leader who is not a leader.

When people talk about MS Poll and how OHI has improved they forget that the the problem is that 50% of the hires in India are about a year old and they're still drinking the kool ade. To them, the mere act of joining Microsoft is something to be proud of. They're still giddy with delight at getting the MS offer letter because for years they have been shat upon by the Indian SIs they come from during their tenure there.

We've got a CVP who is preoccupied with seeing his face in the newspaper and magazines. To him, success is the number of publication impressions and not the well being of the employees.

Stock price?? It's important, but with grade levels sucking in India, the grants are miniscule. Unless of course you are a partner or VP in which case you are laughing all the way to the bank while the employees drive revenue and sweat in the mines.

This is the Microsoft India I left. I'm glad I am no longer part of it.

And:

I have heard the same about India Dev Center also. Lot of people at lower levels (dev/dev-II) seem to be leaving the company and salary seems to be the primary motivation. In some cases, even the entry-level salaries at these "rival" companies is more than these people's (with 3-5 years experience) current salary.

And:

How bad is things in Microsoft India? The GM Neelam Dhawan is fired and going back to HP. She is taking Rajiv Srivastava with her.

Lastly:

My friends and fellow Microsoft people, let me tell you that the situation in SMSG India is horrible. People are leaving and the leadership never meets the employees. We have box manufacturers trying to sell software. We have Chairman who I have not seen in 6 months in person. I have seen him on TV and the newspaper a few times. We have MD Neelam Dhawan who interviewed at Cisco 2 times and did not get a job there and is now going back to HP. The Country Manager for Xbox has left. BMO has almost 100% churn.

Forecast is... Suckage. Pure Suckage. Finally, from the Thank God for Monster, Dice, and HotJobs department:

Weekly reporting !!!

The Walmartization of Microsoft is now complete. I am in EPG and am now expected to give a weekly sales forecast. What crack is he smoking?

Plus:

We are tired of scorecards and metrics and now Weekly Fucking forecasts????

Will Kevin-the-used-car-salesman please leave the building?

SteveB - what WILL wake you up?


240 comments:

1 – 200 of 240   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

The gravy train continues to run in Search/Adcenter. Every one gets promoted every year irrespective of results.

Meanwhile the churn in marketign continues. Joanne Bradford left recently.

Anonymous said...

don't quit mini. keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

The gravy train continues to run in Search/Adcenter. Every one gets promoted every year irrespective of results.

I don't work for this team. But
assume everyone in this team was made a partner. It would end up lots cheaper than the Yahoo deal.

Or assume that the top 20% of the people in Windows and Office went to work on Search/Adcenter. Those products would be delayed a year or two, but it'd still be cheaper than buying Yahoo.

Anonymous said...

There are still quite a few very nice startups in and around Downtown Seattle. Why not look around at what's down in that area and leave? You might have more fun. I'm only disappointed that it took me as long as it did to leave. I received a 20% salary boost and a good number of stock options, work fewer hours than I did at Microsoft (fewer bullshit meetings means more time to do real work), and have a much more enjoyable commute.

-- Ex-PM

Anonymous said...

The MSN group now under Ray Ozzie is no different than search/adcenter. They bleed red ink with poor products or empty promises.

Anonymous said...

You see that on Saturday we issued an ultimatum to Yahoo. Looks like we're not walking on by either way this goes...run, we need to all just run away.

Anonymous said...

India Dev Center (IDC) is a pure empire building exercise. It is all about creating more partners as the VP mentioned in his Redmond recruitment visits. It is a good tour for a few Redmond folks who find a "sugar daddy", go to India for 2-3 years, get two promotions and come back to a different job in Redmond.

Meanwhile, a few exceptions aside, the quality of the work is abysmal. Components that came back to Redmond had to be completely rewritten.

But who cares, L65 and up are busy building empires following the cue from Redmond. Perhaps they are just the extreme case of the disease in Redmond where everyone is busy building a fiefdom.

It is time to break the fiefdoms down and focus on core products/services here and in satellite offices. Hold VPs accountable too!

Anonymous said...

Re "The gravy train continues to run in Search/Adcenter. Every one gets promoted every year irrespective of results"

not true, simply BS. If someone is telling you this, they are lying. Search/AdCenter is the same as any other MS org re promos.

Anonymous said...

Ignore, for a moment, announcements about when Windows 7 might ship, so you focus on the underlying problem, which is that your release management is broken.

You're taking too long to ship, which means if your plans are off course you end up missing the mark by a mile. You need to pare down a release to 18 months of work. That way if your customers don't like what you're doing, you'll know before you've wasted another 18-48 months headed in the wrong direction.

The worry is that you can't step up the pace because (a) you're now trying to manage many tens of millions of lines of C++ code, and (b) it's only after realizing Vista was a death march that you stepped back and realized your architecture was a mess, with strongly coupled sub-projects and circular dependencies. But no, it gets worse. It wasn't until then that you even sat down and _identified_ all the dependencies.

Those are a nasty pair of problems to solve. As a language C++ promotes strong coupling, and the consequent fragility of your code base is exponential in the number of lines of code involved.

Management is using automated code reviews to try to detect when the patient is barfing, but that doesn't cure the disease. As numerous posts here attest, that strategy merely relocates the symptoms, so now you're having trouble getting code to compile because there's no telling what might break whenever you try to edit a file.

Some mistakes are recoverable. Others can be mitigated. Unfortunately, if you make a mistake in the architecture of project which grows extremely large and exponentially fragile, the code tends to be pretty unforgiving.

Of course, YMMV.

Anonymous said...

A big farce is the currently ongoing customer survey. Hours and hours to clean Siebel data in prep for the big send and now being told we must "call down" contacts and mark in a checksheet when and how we made calls for each contact. Our sales GMs are being metric'd on percentage of surveys responded and they are dog determined to get a green on this scorecard item. Um, hello... anyone know how much time it's costing us to do this? Can you trust that we actually talk to our customers and stop obsessing about internal metrics? Give us back our customer face time!

Anonymous said...

One thing I've noticed about Indians is they're more likely to hire other Indians into their group if they're on the loop, whether they have necessary qualifications or not. After the group reaches its "indocritical mass", it gets filled with Indians very quickly, because with predominantly Indians on the loop there's no one left to say "no hire".

Another observation is that if your boss is Indian and you're not, and you have Indian peers who are somewhat passable, more often than not the promos will go their way. Combined with someone else's (100% correct) observation that Indians try very hard to get into management, the situation is quite a bit more severe than it may initially seem.

Please don't misconstrue this as bashing of Indians. I know a few who are just off the charts smart. Coincidentally, they don't follow the behavioral patterns outlined above.

Anonymous said...

>> Every one gets promoted every year irrespective of results

You should hear their PMs speak. I heard they say that dollar for dollar they outperform Google. Except Google makes money and they lose money. Oops.

Anonymous said...

Mini, can I ask you a question? I am tempted to start a similar blog, and I know a few colleagues of mine who are already determined to do so, for my company.

Now, the question I have is: what technical measures do you take to ensure your anonymity? Obscuring one's writing style and leaving false trails is obvious, but how do you make sure there are no electronic traces?

In my company I see some tendencies I recognise from your blog:

- Technical leadership at the top being replaced by a sales guy.
- Bureaucracy becoming more and more rampant.
- We now even have a process guy on board level (!).
- Indian empire building.
- De-facto-if-not-by-name stack ranking by using several parallel personnel evaluation systems.
- Stock price... well... don't get me started...
- Strange acquisition policies.

You see, Microsoft is not the only company that could use a Mini!

Thanks in advance,
drone-in-another-IT-corp

Anonymous said...

Voice from another IT shop again... boy do I have deja-vus today in the comments.

"Meanwhile, a few exceptions aside, the quality of the work is abysmal. Components that came back to Redmond had to be completely rewritten."

Bingo, EXACTLY what happened to my group at headquarters the first time we worked with India: complete rewrite.

"The worry is that you can't step up the pace because (a) you're now trying to manage many tens of millions of lines of C++ code, and (b) it's only after realizing Vista was a death march that you stepped back and realized your architecture was a mess, with strongly coupled sub-projects and circular dependencies. But no, it gets worse. It wasn't until then that you even sat down and _identified_ all the dependencies."

Oh yes, again this sounds sooo familiar. We actually combined a set of applications into one big one, and damn the torpedoes... eh, dependencies. The results are not a release cycle like Vista, but we are definitely losing agility because of the sheer complexity of dependency management.

Let's see how many other similarities I discover. Looks like a potential merger with MS should work out smoothly: the same SNAFU on both sides. Oh well...

Anonymous said...

At least Search/Ad Center folks are shipping and fighting it out in the real world! In the past year the pace of improvement in Search is one of the few things in our online world that seems to stand out. What about all of Ray Ozzie's groups? Live Labs, RedDog, Core and all the other stuff... they have inflated levels/egos... and nothing to show for their work!

Anonymous said...

"What crack is he smoking?"

There is nothing that sounds more insincere than when he says "Thank you for all that you do."

Anonymous said...

>I don't work for this team. But
assume everyone in this team was made a partner. It would end up lots cheaper than the Yahoo deal.

Many of them are partners. It is a pyramid scheme. The ones at the top get promoted first.

Now with the yahoo deal, every one will get double promoted to keep the local talent. HR should create a couple of levels between senior VP/technical fellow and CEO. Oh wait, may be search senior VP will end up becoming CEO.

Anonymous said...

One thing I've noticed about Indians is they're more likely to hire other Indians into their group if they're on the loop, whether they have necessary qualifications or not.

...

Please don't misconstrue this as bashing of Indians. I know a few who are just off the charts smart. Coincidentally, they don't follow the behavioral patterns outlined above.


OK. I won't interpret it as bashing of Indians.

What you're describing isn't indo-centric. It's every cultural group. People subconsciously are most comfortable with those similar to themselves. You'll find someone from Brooklyn doing this, at the same time finding someone from Taipei doing it.

I won't screech "bs!" at you, either. I do know of one group (ethnicity immaterial) that was consciously hiring countrymen inside MS. I had difficulty believing it even when shown the evidence. To my knowledge, the people responsible never paid for their actions, either. So, I sadly have to admit that "that kind of thing happens", even though I think that it's usually a subconscious, unorganized occurrance, and not a conspiracy.

Anonymous said...

If you think the OOXML debacle made Microsoft's critics look bad, you need to read the FT more: see http://preview.tinyurl.com/6e2tve

Anonymous said...

Regarding the practice of Indians hiring more indians, at least on the teams I've worked with it has fortunately not been the case. I previously worked at Intel, and this was constantly happening there, but I believe that was the result of a toxic corporate culture that emphasizes punishment and suffering. It attracts a certain pathological personality, a lot of Indian engineers fit the bill for some reason, and once they're in they absolutely prefer to hire others with the same qualities. Don't ask me why - it was a lot easier to just give them all the finger and move to Redmond than to try to figure it out. Anyway, my experience has been that the MS culture attracts a much more fair-minded group of people overall, and the Indian people I've worked with have been some of the most conscientious and high-caliber people in the org. If you do find hiring preference stuff like that happening, someone needs to nip that in the bud. Otherwise you end up with not just bad orgs, but bad products (ahem...Zune).

Anonymous said...

I works in adcenter group. Our technology is better than google and yahoo. The profit is sales problem. Our is high performance team. High performance needs high reward.

Anonymous said...

On the Walk on By: I have said it before and I will remind you again. The Yahoo bid has nothing to do with buying Yahoo and building a team from there and everything to do with eliminating your competition at whatever the cost. It is how Balmer thinks. If he can’t win by throwing money against the Microsoft walls (and it fails to stick) then he will try to win by buying the no. 2 position even if it financially will reveal he is technically still no. 3. Besides, you all should know the forces outside Microsoft who matter will make sure a Yahoo merger is very bloody indeed. They would consider a hostile takeover akin to a license for form of intellectual asymmetrical warfare that in the end would destroy both Yahoo and Microsoft’s chances to dominate over Google.

On the OOXML issue: Maybe someone can explain it to me as to what the fuss is all about. What happened to the days when software supported several formats that were all equally usable in their own specific ways. I think a good analogy would be the graphic formats. Open any graphics program like Adobe or Corel and observe dozens of .xxx formats that can be imported or exported for use. My old Corel 8 program has no less than 44 graphic open with formats that bring a document into the program from similar but different style programs. These range from vector based cad programs to illustrator style programs to word processors etc., all of which open in a generic Corel format than can then be exported back to the original format (usually, depending on copyright issues).

My point is that it is not about one format, it is about generating compatibility across platforms and programs. You should be doing that regardless if you want to be allowed to play in the street with your customers. If the OOXML format meets ISO requirements it should be a done deal, monopoly or not, just as ODF should too. Now, if Microsoft decides to use OOXML as a compatibility limiting tool, then that would fall under the monopoly gurus in the EU or the US who will (and already are considering to) deal with you accordingly.

Anonymous said...

I've seen the Indians-hiring-Indians trope in every organization I've worked. As a software engineer who appreciates a good naming, I find "indocritical mass" an excellent characterization. I remember one marketing organization that had one Indian member and ended up all Indian on an accelerating ramp.

I used to hear the term "Indian Transfer Mode" (a pun on ATM) describing their high-speed private network.

These were fairly diverse organizations with lots of Chinese as well (most initially from Taiwan), and I never saw such blatant and destructive opportunism.

Anonymous said...

What about all of Ray Ozzie's groups? Live Labs, RedDog, Core and all the other stuff... they have inflated levels/egos... and nothing to show for their work!
---------
Amen. Live Labs looks like Dead Labs. RedDog is RedCrap. Core has become core dump.

Looks like a group of people got promoted for producing PPT and doc files.

Anonymous said...

Kevin Turner is a used car salesman in a cheap polyester green suit, a tee shirt and smile that makes a snake looks sincere. Of course, he's used to telling people to clean spills in Cosmetics on Aisle 11 or spouting his crap about how the biggest room in everyone's house is the room for self improvement.

He's making us go for such high targets that we're working for on target earnings at best. Our stock price has done jack shit and raises are low despite our being incredibly profitable. I'm waiting for the day when he makes us all v-dashes so that he does not have to pay health insurance and offer us any benefits.

Now, what the F is SteveB doing? Oh I know ! He's making dumb assed offers for loser companies, he's ensuring our stock price has not moved in about 10 years, he's shipping a shit product called Vista that no customer wants and he's visiting countries to meet customers and causing subsidiaries to spend weeks and weeks focused on his trip.

Anonymous said...

The earlier comments about release management and taking too long to ship hit the nail on the head (or should I say one of the many nails in Redmond that require a hammer or three).

All of the main-line software products that ship out of Redmond require almost paleolithic shipping timelines. Want to add something to Windows 7? By the time you're done backing off escrow, RC, betas, bake-time, integration delays, etc... you find out that you have about enough time to work on Notepad v2 - and that's about it.

Try to create major new pieces of functionality in the .NET Framework and you run into similar problems. Contrary to the smoke-and-mirrors show emanating from developer division's marketing, the underlying Framework seems to be incapable of being updated and changed in anything shorter then 24 month timelines. There are lots of interesting technologies that are coming from them, but unfortunately all of them seem to require lengthy alpha/CTP/out-of-band bake-times before they ever show up as RTM-grade fully supported product.

The crux of these problems is that there is no impetus internally for re-engineering our build processes, breaking dependencies in our software, and intentionally adopting engineering and marketing strategies to allow for constant additions to underlying core technologies.

You make partner-grade in Redmond by coming up with the next cool "thing". You aren't partner grade though if you roll up your sleeves and do the tough un-glamorous engineering work and software re-factoring work to break apart our software so pieces of it can actually innovate more rapidly. Instead you have management that is absolutely addicted to taking the next cool thing and figuring out how to bolt it onto whatever monstrosity (Windows, Office, .NET Framework, etc...) is already out there and lumbering along.

Bonus question: WTF is CBS packaging and why does it take three millenia and an act of Congress to get any piece of software bound for Vista/LHS packaged using this technology?

Anonymous said...

I works in adcenter group. Our technology is better than google and yahoo. The profit is sales problem. Our is high performance team. High performance needs high reward.

Are you merely trying to be sarcastic or what?
Otherwise, what made you think that adcenter technology is better than Google? Since when did adcenter team have the reputation of being a strong team in Microsoft?

Anonymous said...

Working in the field in on of the many subs...

I think that one of the major problems we have is that there is too many people that only are measured on other peoples work. For instance; a sales manager i EPG is given mostly RBI (Revenue based incentive) and has the combined quota of all his/hers sales people. This means that he or she does not need to sell anything to accomplish his/her quota and get a high bonus. Other metrics such as being a good manager and coach is almost not incented at all. This leads to the breeding of sales managers who is doing forecasting 70% of their time instead of really doing sales or helping people do sales. Totally stupid.

Then about leadership and executive communication to the troops. In SMSG, that employs all the highly skilled engineers in MCS, it is demoralizing to have a top manager that probably cannot spell to technology (kevin turner if someone wonders)! It is all about the numbers, the numbers, the numbers. Nothing about HOW we are going to make the numbers! Nothing about the vision of technology excellence. No, it's just about the numbers. Sell Sell Sell, how hard can it be?

The KT factor is starting to show in my sub. The attricion in EPG is huge and thus consequently Services looses people to EPG.

Different divisions in SMSG is doing work that is hurting other divisions business, just because they have such agressive quotas. How "one microsoft" is that. No, everyone is only doing what they are measured on. Teamwork is no more.

If Kevin would replace Ballmer, I would quit *immediately*. I love this company, but I hate the scorecard mania and too agressive sales targets.

Anonymous said...

I works in adcenter group. Our technology is better than google and yahoo.

How do you determine that? I'm skeptical. I bet Google has more people working on AdWords and they've certainly been doing it for longer.

Anonymous said...

"One thing I've noticed about Indians is they're more likely to hire other Indians into their group if they're on the loop, whether they have necessary qualifications or not. After the group reaches its "indocritical mass", it gets filled with Indians very quickly, because with predominantly Indians on the loop there's no one left to say "no hire".

Another observation is that if your boss is Indian and you're not, and you have Indian peers who are somewhat passable, more often than not the promos will go their way. Combined with someone else's (100% correct) observation that Indians try very hard to get into management, the situation is quite a bit more severe than it may initially seem."


For crying out loud -- please substitute "white men" for every place above you mention Indians. Yes, maybe Indians do this too -- just like EVERYONE ELSE, like the dominant white male majority who ahve been doing it for centuries.

"Please don't misconstrue this as bashing of Indians. I know a few who are just off the charts smart. Coincidentally, they don't follow the behavioral patterns outlined above."

I'm not racist, honest -- some of my best friends are black! My next door neighbor, Leroy, for example: why, he's clean and articulate and polite and not at all like the rest of them!

Open your eyes to the bigotry in your words.

Anonymous said...

about OOXML, the format itself is a secondary issue here. It's just amazing to see national standards committees members object to OOXML while the resulting national vote is positive. The process is rotten, and OOXML will forever remain a questionable standard if not resulting from a clean process.

Anonymous said...

India is 1Billion dollar business. It is expected to surpass US market by 2025. It is the same in China. China government ask for jobs in China. Microsoft is investing for the future by hiring people at high levels in India/China.

Anonymous said...

I works in the Microsoft Bob group. Our technology is better than any competitors. The profit is sales problem. Our is high performance team. High performance needs high reward.

Anonymous said...

I'm not racist, honest -- some of my best friends are black!

I'd actually say that almost zero racism has been going on on this board, even when the discussion gets heated.

Has anybody really proposed that Indians (or anyone of any other color) are biologically superior or inferior?

It is a typical white American reaction to get incensed (on behalf of other people, of course) when there's even a suggestion that one culture might be different from another. Aren't we, in all of our cosmopolitan glory, supposed to revel in the differences between cultures and our "diversity"? Or does diversity only matter when we're choosing a restaurant for lunch?

Anonymous said...

All of the main-line software products that ship out of Redmond require almost paleolithic shipping timelines. Want to add something to Windows 7? By the time you're done backing off escrow, RC, betas, bake-time, integration delays, etc... you find out that you have about enough time to work on Notepad v2 - and that's about it.

It's been some time since I have posted. The above is eerie in its similarity to my world. You could also be describing the documentation process for those projects as well. Our schedule which involves beta and RC releases as well, is replete with lockdowns for each release cycle that keep writers out of the documentation. There are editing, localization (even for APIs whose documentation won't be localized), build testing and build lockdowns, just to name a few.

Each of those lockdowns are mandated by someone downstream who wants enough time to do their "important" work. When they're all factored in, the writers who create the documentation, sample code, etc. often get single-digit days to create that documentation. Sometimes that's paradoxically less time than the non-technical editing staff have been given to do language and style edits on what we've produced.

Documentation isn't as important as the products themselves, naturally. But it's interesting the process and schedule structure impediments we have in the path to publishing quality documentation are similar to those described for products above.

UA has had those issues longer than dev groups in Windows and Office have had them. Very possibly that's because we had the by-the-numbers empire builders, all of whom want to claim and expand their key pieces of turf, take hold in our groups before you did.

When we figure out how to beat them back, if we ever do, I'll let you know.

Anonymous said...

It is all about the numbers, the numbers, the numbers. Nothing about HOW we are going to make the numbers! Nothing about the vision of technology excellence. No, it's just about the numbers. Sell Sell Sell, how hard can it be?

It's the UA guy again.

Again, this sounds like how it works in our world: publish, publish, publish, how hard can it be? We're rated on number of topics published. We're rated on bug counts. Even if having 7 days to write an entire API's documentation set, after 45 days of lockdowns dedicated to others are factored in, doesn't lend itself well to quality or quantity.

Queston the schedule, and you're told that of course it is reasonable, what's wrong with you? This by someone who's never done the work you're doing. They insist that "it's your job" not theirs to determine how to get the work done in that limited time. Worse than making an estimate and having it ignored is never being asked for one in the first place, because people assume you can warp time to fit whatever compressed schedule you're given. That sound familiar to anyone?

Anonymous said...

I works in the Microsoft Bob group. Our technology is better than any competitors. The profit is sales problem. Our is high performance team. High performance needs high reward.

Don't bash Bob! My grandmother could figure out Bob and is bewildered by Vista. The older 65+ generation is being left out and its a hugh market as they want to email and see pictures from their kids and grandkids

Anonymous said...

For those of you complaining abotu Ray Ozzie's groups, you should check out the Live Mesh stuff that the WLC team is about to make available externally. It is truly amazing stuff.

Anonymous said...

Since when did adcenter team have the reputation of being a strong team in Microsoft?
>
Adcenter team has lot of partner and principal manager. They promoted in short time. High performance mean fast promotion.

Anonymous said...

I work in the AdCenter and yes Google right now leads us. But we have been holding or gaining market share while most other search engines have been losing to Google Google is a tough competitor to beat (see ask closing down its search) and we at ad center know we will do it.

Anonymous said...

Mini - You should check out http://bitstrips.com and have a paralell blog there. I am sure you could make your message very amusing. Bill and Steve are there waiting :)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
For those of you complaining abotu Ray Ozzie's groups, you should check out the Live Mesh stuff that the WLC team is about to make available externally. It is truly amazing stuff.


folks, have you forgotten that this is a public blog? come on! i'm all for discourse, however, revealing confidential subject matter is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

To the UA person...

Things are tough all over. I'm in UA, used to be in Dev, worked in several other companies, etc. I've worked in HW dev and SW dev and your story is not unique.

In HW companies, the SW devs have to wait for a test platform to try out their code on. Of course the HW has problems coming together so the availability slips, Does the release date move? Of course not, that's market driven. So the SW schedule bunches up, the Test schedule bunches up and, of course the poor, hapless tech writer's schedule takes it in the shorts as well.

In SW dev, things always take longer than planned (hmmm... you'd think after 40+ years of software development they'd have figured out how to fix that, Maybe they just need better software documentation? Nahhhhh...) So, the test schedule gets compressed, and, of course the tech writer's schedule takes it in the shorts. Talk to some testers if you want to commiserate. You'll quickly realize how good you have it.

If your editors, localization, and production people are squeezing you from the other end, where's your lead? Where's your manager? What are you doing to be proactive? This situation is very common (unfortunately) but other writers have figured out how to work in the system to their (and the company's) benefit.

Remember, it's up to you as a UA person to get into the dev process as early as possible. That's not always easy (in fact it can be like running through quicksand). It would be nice if dev thought UA was important and in some groups they actually do, but such is the nature of the beast.

If the job was easy, it wouldn't pay nearly as well.

Anonymous said...

I'd actually say that almost zero racism has been going on on this board, even when the discussion gets heated.

Has anybody really proposed that Indians (or anyone of any other color) are biologically superior or inferior?


If racism == eugenics, then you'd be absolutely correct; but it doesn't and you're not.

Many of these comments have exposed a pretty nasty undercurrent of racist anger against one particular ethnic group while conveniently ignoring the fact that most of these claims apply even moreso to the white male old boy network.

The problem is not India or Indians, the problem is How We Do Things.

Anonymous said...

I for one support the Yahoo deal. given that MS has to have robust online presence and that MSN / Live hasnt performed (ultra polite words here) what option does MS have.
One can cry anout the valuation and no one will ever know the right price. Strategically this is the right move.
Also think of MSN / Live as a huge precedent (albeit one more) of burning gazillion $$$ without showing any results. Does it make sense to keep hosing down ton load of money there (remember that getting out of online is not an option). MSN / Live had enough time to prove themselves and all they got is an ocean of red-ink.

Time to remove the non-performers out and bring in something that perform. YHOO even though has seen bad times of late, by any standards, it is better than all of MS online experiments. So out with failed experiments and in with inorganic growth. it is high time MS uses the war chest of cash to move fast and show results. Not moving fast and keep burning money on in house operations will not only marginalize MS in online world, it will also create major challenges for other business that are trying to go online.

Anonymous said...

If racism == eugenics, then you'd be absolutely correct; but it doesn't and you're not.

Well we can't really resolve this argument because in this case, it's almost impossible to separate the Indian (south Asian) race from the society/culture of India, since most of the people of Indian ethnicity at Microsoft are also from, or in, India.

Maybe the people on this board really are racist and deep down inside we think brown people are dumber and less talented than white people. But it's also possible that we're not racist, but still notice that a group of people exhibit certain characteristics that may be a result of any number of factors--culture, society, geography, economics, etc.

Anonymous said...

Racism is discrimination based on _race_. Black vs White is racism. Indian vs non-Indian is not. So STFU and GTFO. Learn to discern and appreciate the cultural differences - this may help you avoid nasty surprises down the road. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone behaves like Americans.

Anonymous said...

Couple of unrelated comments...

First: The MS Poll has taken out SVPs before. Sinofsky, in fact. WHI dropped by 40 points or something insane, and team morale was horrible --- all from the result of his major planning fiasco that caused everyone to spend 6 months to plan 3/4 of what they were already planning. Thus, the new reign of Nadella / MacDonald / Shum.

Second point: Major turnover in Search, so not sure if it's the gravy train there. For example, Laucius and Seidman (lead dev for relevance, lead PM for relevance) both bugging out to NYC for some startup.

Anonymous said...

Folks - we need to can the talk about internal products which are not public yet (there have been a few references in this thread already). We are not helping anyone by leaking info.

Mini - please delete comments which refer to unreleased stuff. They don't help the company's cause in anyway

Anonymous said...

Time to remove the non-performers out and bring in something that perform. YHOO even though has seen bad times of late, by any standards, it is better than all of MS online experiments. So out with failed experiments and in with inorganic growth. it is high time MS uses the war chest of cash to move fast and show results.

You do realize that most of what we are trying to buy here is architect and development resources.. The same resources that probably do not like MS, do not want to work at MS and given the environment that their leadership has been working the past few months - will do at best nothing (biding time for new job) or act badly (can afford to forcefully have to bide time for new job.)

There is no win here from an innovation point of view. Or holding market.

It would be a rare moment indeed if our play for people loses them all.. and still somehow wins on the play (market position and sales.)

Then again, you don't always lose both feet when you unload both barrels down...

Anonymous said...

Sir,
I speak for search. We have better technology than google or yahoo. The engineering team is rewarded for technology not market share. Our group believs in fast promotion to keep the moral high.

The live groups dont have good technology or market share.

Anonymous said...

"I work in the AdCenter and yes Google right now leads us. But we have been holding or gaining market share while most other search engines have been losing to Google Google is a tough competitor to beat (see ask closing down its search) and we at ad center know we will do it."

Is it really that hard to hold on to 8%?

Who da'Punk said...

...and at this point, I'm going to put the kibosh on philosophical debates about racism. I'm a lot more interested in hearing practical experiences of success and failure - and lessons learned.

Mini.

Anonymous said...

Here in EPG Sales(You know, the part of the business that makes all the money)... moral is terrible... growth targets of 20-40% on a business where we own the market... there isn't a lot of room to "grow" the business when everyone owns your stuff already. Oh, and the scorecard and report mentality is forcing me to spend 80-90% of my time doing internal BS instead of talking to my customers... I have never worked in a company that is so internaly focused... I fear we are following the same path as IBM... and we saw the pain they had to go through when they lost their market dominance.

Anonymous said...

Many of these comments have exposed a pretty nasty undercurrent of racist anger against one particular ethnic group while conveniently ignoring the fact that most of these claims apply even moreso to the white male old boy network

I don't buy that. I'm a white male dev lead. My peers are an Indian, a Chinese and another white guy. I have reporting to me two Indians, a Taiwanese, a Russian and two white American males. One of the Indians has gotten promoted twice in three years. The Russian guy once. They were promoted because they deserved it.

Does racism exist at MS? Yeah, I think so - but it's not systemic, and frankly I think it's very uncommon. If you think you see it, send an anonymous e-mail to your HR rep. Based on my experience, this company will not (and really can not) tolerate racism, whether it's racist Indians, racist Chinese, or racist "good 'ol boys."

Anonymous said...

Sir,
I speak for search. We have better technology than google or yahoo. The engineering team is rewarded for technology not market share. Our group believs in fast promotion to keep the moral high.


Bla Bla Bla.

How much money did you make last qtr?

Anonymous said...

You do realize that most of what we are trying to buy here is architect and development resources.. The same resources that probably do not like MS, do not want to work at MS and given the environment that their leadership has been working the past few months - will do at best nothing (biding time for new job) or act badly (can afford to forcefully have to bide time for new job.)

An excellent summary! Why does our leadership seem to think that all engineers aspire to Microsoft employment? Lord knows, I just fell into it myself and don't find it especially aspirational. Do other readers seriously think we'll retain the lion's share of Yahoo Engineering to work under our tech regime? I'd like to read a contrasting opinion.

Anonymous said...

I'm a perennial MS supporter and I'm surprised at the negative tone this blog has taken over the last few posts. I thought things were looking up, so I'm a bit surprised and slightly depressed to see this turn for the worse.

My 2c on Steve/Kevin's recent strategic moves. I think it's so easy to bash efforts like the Yahoo deal from the armchair. But there aren't a whole lot of options left on the table, and we all know what led to this situation. At this point, I think your execs have whittled away at their options, and are down to using their hard-earned cash to buy eyeballs and attempt to shore up the remainder of the online ads market, as an end-run around Google. It's not only the ONLY option left, it's the RIGHT option to pursue, and that is why I think SteveB and Kevin Johnson are so adamant that it be done.

I think it's worth getting behind this deal as employees, those of you who really are MS employees (and not Googlers or Oracle-rs in dead end jobs piling on to MSFT bashing on this blog).

Don't blink, Microsoft, you can't afford to.

Anonymous said...

Sir,
I speak for search. We have better technology than google or yahoo. The engineering team is rewarded for technology not market share. Our group believs in fast promotion to keep the moral high.


If you have a stellar engineering team doing awesome work then they should be promoted on their contributions -- NOT to keep morale high.

It sounds to me like you promote fast because you have the development talent to justify those promotions and not because it makes people feel better. And hopefully you don't promote so quickly in disciplines that perhaps aren't doing such a stellar job.

DCMonkey said...

To those worried about the "Live Mesh" talk here so far revealing any uber-top-secret info, I point you to Ray Ozzie's keynote at Mix08[1], where he talked about the "mesh", and to this schedule item[2] for the upcoming Web 2.0 Expo, where Live Mesh's GM will give a talk on Live Mesh.

We in the public don't know the details yet, but the project is not exactly a secret and I don't see a problem with someone giving an enthusiastic heads up to "watch this space"

[1] http://www.liveside.net/blogs/main/archive/2008/03/06/ray-ozzie-at-mix08-mesh-horizon-and-feedsync.aspx

[2] http://en.oreilly.com/webexsf2008/public/schedule/detail/3532

Anonymous said...

Sir,
I speak for search. We have better technology than google or yahoo. The engineering team is rewarded for technology not market share. Our group believs in fast promotion to keep the moral high.


Your claiming something doesn't make it so. I'll repeat the question someone else asked: what makes the technology better? Google/Yahoo! don't have any type of market lock-in, so there is virtually zero switching cost for users (unlike, say, an OS). I claim the proof is in the pudding: if your technology is much better, then people should be switching. Add to this the billions in cash (before Yahoo!) and MS should have no issue getting the good word out with a marketing campaign, which would quickly become viral if indeed your technology is superior.

Oh, and on fast promotions to keep moral high. This is very shortsighted at best. Ever hear of the Peter Principle? What do you suppose happens when you promote a bunch of people beyond their level of competence? Shareholders beware.

Anonymous said...

The gig is up. Live mesh has been exposed:

Microsoft's first Live Mesh Beta Credit: Zdnet

Microsoft is set to deliver more details about its mesh-synchronization strategy— and deliver its first Live Mesh beta to external testers by the end of April.This after the company had made some flimsy promises about its plans to create seamless social "meshes".

Microsoft is planning to make available to a private group of external testers a first beta of Live Mesh by the end of this month, according to sources claiming familiarity with Microsoft’s plans

According to sources, Windows Live Mesh will be an amalgamation of FolderShare and SkyDrive and possibly unify those two services, which would provide users with a way to keep their local and cloud-based data in sync.

Anonymous said...

Google accounted for 67.25% of all searches in the U.S. in the four weeks ended March 29, up from 64.13% in the year-earlier period, market tracker Hitwise said on Monday. No. 2 Yahoo saw a decline to 20.29% from 21.26%. And No. 3 Microsoft saw a bigger decline, to 6.65% from 9.01%.
>
Cheers and more promotion/bonus to search, adcenter to boost morale and undermine the integrity of the company.

Anonymous said...

One thing I've noticed about Indians is they're more likely to hire other Indians into their group if they're on the loop, whether they have necessary qualifications or not.

*Ahem* Vij? *Ahem*

Anonymous said...

---My 2c on Steve/Kevin's recent strategic moves. I think it's so easy to bash efforts like the Yahoo deal from the armchair. But there aren't a whole lot of options left on the table, and we all know what led to this situation. At this point, I think your execs have whittled away at their options, and are down to using their hard-earned cash to buy eyeballs and attempt to shore up the remainder of the online ads market, as an end-run around Google. It's not only the ONLY option left, it's the RIGHT option to pursue, and that is why I think SteveB and Kevin Johnson are so adamant that it be done.-----

The only option left?How about putting some talented people in charge of the online division?Ya know, save MS $44 billion.

Anonymous said...

Bonus question: WTF is CBS packaging and why does it take three millenia and an act of Congress to get any piece of software bound for Vista/LHS packaged using this technology?

CBS packaging is the "new" and "improved" framework that replaced the cabsfx-based self-extracting package installer that ran in conjunction with OCSetup to do package management on 2000/XP/2003 skus. My guess is your troubles are probably due to the fact that CBS has some major design flaws. If the packaging isn't tested throughly, one tiny screwup could render a Vista/LHS install into a state that even a simple rollback won't fix. This has been the cause of significant pain on some customers' part. LPs have been especially troublesome in this area.

Don't bash Bob! My grandmother could figure out Bob and is bewildered by Vista. The older 65+ generation is being left out and its a hugh market as they want to email and see pictures from their kids and grandkids

Agreed. It was a mistake to remove the assistants and the other more user-friendly aspects of Windows and Office. Yes, I know many found them annoying, but they weren't intended for those people. Unfortunately, not everyone learns the same way as we do. Sometimes something as ridiculous as a talking paper clip is just the kind of entertaining thing that helps them overcome the learning curve. Sorry if that offends others' sensibilities, but I've experienced it first hand. And you know what? Some people actually found them fun to have around. I know my mother was saddened to no longer have links the cat...

Anonymous said...

>> The gig is up.

Compare this lame attempt at Powerpoint with the actual beta Google released today: http://code.google.com/appengine/

Jesus freakin' Christ, will someone please stuff a sock into the collective mouth of MSFT execs? Please, for the love of god, DO NOT PRE-ANNOUNCE if you don't have to. When it's ready, issue a press release, or call the press Apple style if it's something significant. I do understand we have to pre-announce things like Office, Windows, SQL Server and some dev tools, but in this case why was it even necessary? Particularly considering this will NEVER work as intended.

Humanus said...

Even if Microsoft gets Yahoo it means nothing in case of google growth.

Anonymous said...

If the packaging isn't tested throughly, one tiny screwup could render a Vista/LHS install into a state that even a simple rollback won't fix.

I'm curious -- what are some of these examples you've heard of? The only one I know of (which was in the news) was one of the Vista SP1 pre-reqs, but we did the right thing and pulled it and came up with a better solution.

Anonymous said...

A couple of thoughts:

"I for one support the Yahoo deal. given that MS has to have robust online presence and that MSN / Live hasnt performed (ultra polite words here) what option does MS have."

MS has to have a robust online presense? Really? Why, exactly, do they have to have this?

- Because they have some sick psychological need to dominate every area of the software market? Tell it to your shrink, but don't put it in your business plan.

- Because that's where the growth in software currently is? That's more reasonable, but if MS can't grow in that space itself, what makes it think that Yahoo can grow in that space with MS running Yahoo?

- Because MS is afraid that Google will make both the OS and Office irrelevant? That's even more reasonable, but you can't fix it by "having a robust online presense". The fundamental problems are that the internet really does make the OS irrelevant, and that Google can run ten times as fast as Microsoft (see other comments about the insane burden of way too many processes).

So, why this "we have to have a robust online presense"? If you don't know how to win there, why keep going there to get beat up?

Second topic: The "my group does great software, it's only a sales problem" cheerleading. Yeah, sure. Put down the kool-aid. (I mean, really, the whole post sounded like the author had been brainwashed. I'm sorry if that's too harsh, but the post really did come across that way to me.)

If you don't make something that people want to buy, it doesn't matter how good your team's software skills are. In the real world, you're still not a valuable team.

MSS

Anonymous said...

I never realized how many VP's have "left" Microsoft lately. Quite a list:

http://s5h.net/linux_news/a/c/1180317_And-ANOTHER-Microsoft-Vice-President-Secretly-Jumps-Ship.html

jcr said...

What the Yahoo bid shows more than anything else, is that Microsoft's executive leadership is entirely out of ideas. Yahoo has nothing that Microsoft couldn't duplicate for a hell of a lot less money, if Microsoft had a functional development organization.

If MS succeeds in taking over Yahoo, you will piss away a couple more tens of billions of dollars in shareholder's equity, and if there's anything left to spin back out, it will be worth about as much as Rolm was after IBM wrecked them.

-jcr

jcr said...

We have better technology than google or yahoo.

Oh ye of little proof!

-jcr

Anonymous said...

>> Quite a list

That's actually great, for the most part. There are hundreds of these leeches at the top. SteveB must have realized that he's pissing away too much money on them every year and started a tough love campaign.

Anonymous said...

"The fundamental problems are that the internet really does make the OS irrelevant, and that Google can run ten times as fast as Microsoft (see other comments about the insane burden of way too many processes)."

Let's talk about gmail... beta for how many years now? The last significant update was when?

Let's talk about Google's Office apps -- they're going to be monetized... how? How long have they been around? How many people use them, and what's their month-over-month growth?

How fast, exactly, is Google moving these days?

Anonymous said...

For those worried about code names and just being blurted out: forget worrying about Mini.

Every tangible bit of pre-closure recently (except for that PM that blogged about Live Search before it was live) has all been provided by Microsoft's own job listings. Hell, even I've had to go into full-blown damage control because some job listing wasn't scrubbed before going public.

Red Dog is the current point of discussion today: (1) LiveSide, and (2) Mary Jo.

All thanks to a job description mentioning the code name.

Anonymous said...

I never realized how many VP's have "left" Microsoft lately. Quite a list:

http://s5h.net/linux_news/a/c/1180317_And-ANOTHER-Microsoft-Vice-President-Secretly-Jumps-Ship.html


Ha Ha. The freetards are out there thinking AmirM, JawadK & WPoole leaving is bad. We all celebrate each of these & wish for more. Wasn't Stuart Scott fired for sexual harrassment?

Anonymous said...

>> beta for how many years now? The last significant update was when?

Their "beta" is more stable than our "SP2". And there were several significant upgrades last year. One of which is IMAP access - that in itself would take Hotmail a decade to implement, even if they were allowed to.

Docs have "learned" to save to PowerPoint format last week. And if they can get small businesses to use them, they'll increase the stickiness of their portal and sales of their ads.

Anonymous said...

Let's talk about Google's Office apps -- they're going to be monetized... how? How long have they been around? How many people use them, and what's their month-over-month growth?

Rumors of the death of OSs and boxed software have been greatly exaggerated.

Are we supposed to play our high-end 3-D games in our web browsers, with AJAX? What about our VOIP software? How are we supposed to play our MP3s? What about any sort of non-trivial photo or video editing/management? These are things that average users do every day.

People just don't think this stuff through. Just because the web gives you a convenient way to access your e-mail doesn't mean it's going to "take over."

Anonymous said...

@MSS

Your point, assuming you really have one and arent just be argumentative, seems to be that MSFT should just shut down.

If you agree that the cloud is making the OS "irrelevant" (and I dont agree with that entirely, but you seem to), then how can you say it is "mental illness" causing MSFT employees to want to have a strong online presence?

In your endevours, do you plan to fail? It sounds like you do. When you are up against tough odds you, what exactly, say "I am weak and sad, so Ill go away"

Maybe that works for you, but most folks like to go down fighting.

Anonymous said...

This is interesting:

"In all, Mr. Ballmer made 15 deals between 2000 and 2002, with an average market-adjusted shareholder return of negative 4.59 percent."

http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/04/08/will-deal-making-chiefs-ever-learn-maybe/index.html?ex=1365393600&en=0fa2fbe37b50dd7d&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

I'm sure Steve is ready to make the Yahoo! deal an exception since it will be the largest and also the most complicated acquisition MS has ever had.
This makes you wonder about the chances Steve has making the Yahoo! acquisition a succesfull one.
That dude is smoking so much crack it's not even nice.

Instead of killing f... Google, he will be killing his own, once a great company.

Anonymous said...

Instead of killing f... Google, he will be killing his own, once a great company.

should be corrected to

Instead of killing f... Google, he will be killing two companies - his own, and the one he acquires, once two great companies.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Are we seriously trying to buy the entire Web right now?

Why dont we skip the 2nd tier Yahoo!, AOL, MySpace players and buy Google outright? That would leave Mr. Yang scratching his head! With our measly share of search and Google's ~56% that wouldnt necessarily be monopolistic right?

With all this new headcount coming onboard we will soon resemble the US Government and can formally change the ticker symbol to MSGOVT

So much for a nimble mini version of us :(

Anonymous said...

"beta for how many years now? The last significant update was when?"

Their "beta" is more stable than our "SP2". And there were several significant upgrades last year. One of which is IMAP access - that in itself would take Hotmail a decade to implement, even if they were allowed to.


Newsflash: my mother doesn't give a rat's ass about IMAP, and neither do 99% of mail users -- truth be told, I don't give a rat's ass about IMAP either. Most people log in and read their mail, and they're done with it.

Gmail has not added any new features that average Joe and Jane users care about for a long, long time. The interface is still clunky and very much feels like a beta, and they still have the same UX and interface bugs that they've had for years.

Gmail is better than Hotmail and always has been, but it's frozen in time and never really did anything groundbreaking beyond its first year. We're now on what, the 5th year? Whatever they're doing with Gmail, it's not exactly impressive or revolutionary.

Docs have "learned" to save to PowerPoint format last week. And if they can get small businesses to use them, they'll increase the stickiness of their portal and sales of their ads.

That's a might big if there, chief. I would *love* to see how many people use Google docs and what their growth curve looks like since release.

And, as with Gmail, their interface is nothing to write home about and the Google Office "experience" is blah and nonperformant and cobbled together and has been for years. When are they going to tie things together into a cohesive experience that feels good, makes sense and presents compelling and apparent value? Google has a very long way to go before it's the kind of thing that will make people go "wow", and IMO they should have been there by now.

My point is that Google is not moving and innovating at the speed of light these days. They're doing quite a few cool things, but they've slowed way, way down and they have a lot of stuff that's clunky with a cobbled-together beta UX and no light on the horizon for shipping major improvements.

Anonymous said...

I work for WinSE in IDC (India Development Center). The situation is much better there.

We work in tandem with our counter parts in Redmond/China and have been making on-time and good-quality deliverables. The GDRs/Hotfixes/Service Packs which get shipped periodically are a result of good team work between the three huge teams.


However, our org, does not report to the India DC VP (we report to the Redmond VP), which probably is why we have a better coordination with the Redmond and ATC teams.

Anonymous said...

Mini,

Your thoughts on this:
http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20080410050845876

Anonymous said...

I'm a stockholder in both companies and I say fuck Yahoo.

Let them do their deal, let Yang be sued by the shareholders, and then buy them at $15 a share.

Anonymous said...

It still impresses me that Microsoft can't get a handle on how to compete with Linux.

The recent windows announcement - which I agree just came too damn early - smacks of trying to extract misunderstandings. Lots of disinformation in there about what an OS is and what its role is on a computer.
This proves how Microsoft has transitioned to a marketing company rather than software.

Now Microsoft will continue in the pattern of overcharging for their product rather than exploring new markets. It continues to obsess over the Windows centric model.

All this when the alternatives are free or next to free (I realize Apple isn't "free" but every Mac comes with MacOS, which is good distribution sense).

I see stunning unmeasured adoption of Ubuntu these days. You can't rely on statistics to tell you everything, especially right away.
You also can't attribute their strength of presence to anything but growth!

But as Vista in many ways still hasn't given a wake up call to the change averse Microsoft enthusiasts, so too won't Ubuntu.

Lots of people are taking up positions to reserve the right to say "I told you so"...

Anonymous said...

>> The interface is still clunky

You have some perverse taste then. I think their Gmail interface is great and can hardly be improved upon. I also think they're the best mail service available on the market today, free or not.

And I do very much care about IMAP when I access email through three different devices - PC at work, Mac at home and iPhone everywhere in between. Keeps stuff synchronized.

Here are some of the other recent updates: http://mail.google.com/mail/help/about_whatsnew.html

If you can diff this list for me against updates to Hotmail, I'm ready to continue this discussion.

Anonymous said...

My point was simply this: Microsoft seems to have an obsession about being big online. Earlier somebody said that Microsoft "had" to be big there. I'm questioning this. Why does MS have to be big online? Because everybody else is going there? So Microsoft is a follower of the herd now?

I explored some reasons why Microsoft might care so much. The only one that plausibly worked is that online might eat Microsoft's cash cows. Several people said, "No, online cannot do that to Microsoft." Fine. That leaves you with a perceived mandate - MS has to become a dominant online player - with no good reason for it.

So tell me: why does Microsoft have to become a major player in the online world?

MSS

Anonymous said...

"I'm a stockholder in both companies and I say fuck Yahoo.

Let them do their deal, let Yang be sued by the shareholders, and then buy them at $15 a share."

Karma Chameleon-- is that you?

Anonymous said...

If you can diff this list for me against updates to Hotmail, I'm ready to continue this discussion.

My hotmail inbox added another gazillion spam messages today alone. Diff that! Ha!

Anonymous said...

Anyone see this?

Windows is 'collapsing,' Gartner analysts warn

Calling the situation "untenable" and describing Windows as "collapsing," a pair of Gartner analysts yesterday said Microsoft Corp. must make radical changes to its operating system or risk becoming a has-been.

In a presentation at a Gartner-sponsored conference in Las Vegas, analysts Michael Silver and Neil MacDonald said Microsoft has not responded to the market, is overburdened by nearly two decades of legacy code and decisions, and faces serious competition on a whole host of fronts that will make Windows moot unless the software developer acts.


Good grief...once a Microsoft technology champion saything things like this.

Anonymous said...

What is going on in EPG? I'd like to know more about the weekly forecasting referenced by the previous poster - how is it that Kevin Turner allows EPG to use Siebel to prove their sales results when everyone knows that we don't have any controls in place to prevent erroneous reporting? Plus what is up with this enormous investment being set up for the enterprise offshore partners in India? Do we really need to create another Avanade without any oversite or controls to protect our offshore IP development?

Anonymous said...

@MSS

To make it even easier... If MSFT choses to not have a strong online presence, then MSFT will not exist in 10 years.

That is the compelling reason. You can disagree that this assumption is valid, but you'd be betting against the majority.

This isnt a question of "everyone having a nice piece" This is an all-or-not much paradigm shift. Will the cloud ever be completely dominant? Not likely. Will the cloud, however, increasingly DEFINE what computing really means and looks like? ABSOLUTELY.

For MSFT to say "well... we shouldnt be greedy... we were the past and Google is the future... we had our big day and big cash, let them have theirs... we'll just provide some stuff and hope people continue to need a few things from us... we'll just fire most of the staff and make due with a 90% reduction in revenue" Isnt a very good strategy to put in front of shareholders. Wouldnt you agree?

I mean shouldnt we have SOME sense of responsibility to the people investing in this company with their very real money?

Anonymous said...

Newsflash: my mother doesn't give a rat's ass about IMAP, and neither do 99% of mail users

I would guess that anyone who uses an iPhone and GMail appreciate IMAP. Up until IMAP, GMail was poor experience on the iPhone. Now it is great!

My Hotmail account really just collects SPAM. I use GMail more and more for communication. That is, outside of my MS account.

I have asked a dozen people on my team what they think about Yahoo! and one thought it was a great idea. The majority seem to feel it is a bad idea.

I am curious how many at Microsoft believe the Yahoo! deal is a good idea.

Anonymous said...

Let's talk about the innovation that’s happening @ IDC -
Few weeks back there was an internal showcase of the products from the emerging markets incubation group. Keeping the genuine interest of the company in mind, I don't want to disclose the details of the products that were showcased. But the so called innovative ideas emerging out of IDC are so stale that they just don't get qualified to be called as innovative product ideas. The VP heading IDC is under tremendous pressure to show that there is some great innovation happening here. But, unfortunately his team is just not capable of delivering anything that will be worth talking about.
IDC is still not capable of standing on its feet. It is completely remote controlled by Redmond. The teams here are just puppets that play into the whims of the Redmond GMs. The senior dev/test managers here lack depth and confidence to deliver independently.

Former WinBuilder said...

Just reminiscing about the days of Win95 and the excitement that went with that product. Anyone remember those days? Seemed like ground breaking stuff then didn't it?

The buzz it created when we launched. Stuff like the Weezers music video from Happy Days
and that game Hover that today seems so simple, almost stupid. The Stones “Start Me Up” as the background music for the product advertising. That tag line “Where do you want to go today?”

And people ATE IT UP!

What do we offer the consumers today? What is the message that we're trying to get across?

Do they “get it”?
CAN they “get it”?
Do we even “get it”?

We bitch and complain about a lot of stuff here, and for reasons that I largely agree with. To me at least it seems that we've lost our way, all of us. I seem to remember at one time we said that we'd never become like IBM, big, bloated and unable to move. Look at us now, gluttonous, obese and growing! Any of you remember when we said that as soon as we had a formal DCR process that we would know that we had become that which we so despised? Anyone care to hazard a guess when we crossed that bridge?

So let's change the focus a bit. OK, so the current leadership is lost and hasn't a clue as to what should be done. Do we that actually have to put our hands on the code know what should be done?

If you had to make one and only one short statement to the consumer to interest them in buying one of our products, what would you say that would be so compelling that they would rush right out and buy it?

Let go of all the stuff we have in the pipeline today. I'm talking about stuff that we haven't created yet; stuff that if we had the chance to do it w/o all the baggage we carry around today, we'd do it and do it right. Maybe that's where we need to start looking. Maybe that's what WE should be doing.

What would we do?
What would we say to the consumer so they would “get it”?
How would we get the WOW! factor back?

Meanwhile, I'm going to go back to my *&%hole office and pound out yet another report and get ready for yet another meeting. Yes, my schedule is always YAM'd up. Sucks, I'd rather be writing code, but now it seems that it's more important to some ahole up the foodchain that I waste my time and talent in these stupid ass meetings, talking about nothing, leaving without any actionable items, leaving my brain and spirit sucked dry.

Anonymous said...

Gmail is still good. Like Hotmail in its early days. Hotmail is just way too slow now.

I heard that Chris Liddel is pushing hard for the Yahoo deal. It's not all KT's pet project.

Anonymous said...

I seem to remember at one time we said that we'd never become like IBM, big, bloated and unable to move. Look at us now, gluttonous, obese and growing! Any of you remember when we said that as soon as we had a formal DCR process that we would know that we had become that which we so despised? Anyone care to hazard a guess when we crossed that bridge?

OK, I've been around a reallllllly long time -- and I have a big crystal sculpture to prove it! -- but it would appear that you've been around even longer.

I would humbly suggest that you leave Microsoft and clear the way for fresh blood, and maybe reinvigorate yourself in the process. Your lament is the song of someone who really needs a change of scenery.

Anonymous said...

Any of you remember when we said that as soon as we had a formal DCR process that we would know that we had become that which we so despised? Anyone care to hazard a guess when we crossed that bridge?

Around 1998 I think...

Anonymous said...

To make it even easier... If MSFT choses to not have a strong online presence, then MSFT will not exist in 10 years.


I know! Totally! Dude, it's all about eyeballs and clicks in a connected e-conomy! Forget products - we need to leverage brainshare in the cloud!

(What do you mean, "idiot"??)

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, I'm going to go back to my *&%hole office and pound out yet another report and get ready for yet another meeting. Yes, my schedule is always YAM'd up. Sucks, I'd rather be writing code, but now it seems that it's more important to some ahole up the foodchain that I waste my time and talent in these stupid ass meetings, talking about nothing, leaving without any actionable items, leaving my brain and spirit sucked dry.

And how!

Now, get back to work. No, not on coding, silly, working on your visibility. Shouldn't you be spending more time talking to vice presidents and attending cross-group meetings or something? What are we paying you for? Keep up with this "hanging out in your office coding" talk and you'll find yourself stuck-at-level and Kim'd out of the company.

What the h* is the matter with you people. It's not about writing software for the customers, it's about managing your career.

Anonymous said...

WSJ reports that Yushif Mehdi and Hank Vigil are behing Yahoo! deal. It also named unnamed Microsoft execs as opposing the deal which is preventing the higher price.

Anonymous said...

I have been hanging back for a while now trying to figure out what Microsoft is doing these days with all the Microhoo hullabaloo, whining about suckage, trying to hang on to your old Vistaesque model of software, trying to convince the world that you are a new Microsoft, trying to talk us into buying Vista by stopping sales of XP yada yada.

My conclusion is that while the Mini posts sometimes try to address the new Microsoft, the people who generally post here don't really represent what is going on either from the real world or from attempts by your management to forge a new company.

Yet looking at all the partner releases (that's out the door hitting you in the butt on the way out language) lately, looking at some of the real attempts to play well with others (180 degrees out from a year or two ago) one has to conclude stuff is changing and time will indicate how much for the better.

Whatever Windows 7 ends up as (I am one who thinks it is just a workstationized Server 08 with a few consumer kinks) and whatever happens to the Yahoo bid, and whether or not all the API and software behavioral control revelations are really useful for other players in the world of software I think it has been all good regardless. Personally, as a Yahoo user and customer, a successful bid might actually help Google as millions of Yahoo Mail users will switch to Gmail if for only reason than to refuse to let Microsoft continue in its monopoly on things and certainly what Microsoft offers will get better because MSN will go away and Yahoo will become the new 800 lb gorilla in town. That would be a good thing. AOL may even get honest too. Now that will be the day.

By 2011, market analysts at Gartner Inc. project 25 percent of all new business software will be delivered by means of SaaS (for the dead weight in Redmond, that means Software as a Service. Microsoft's piece of that pie won't be 25 percent, but I am sure Balmer and others have been doing some calculations. A lot of it depends on Microsoft too and what your company does. If Microsoft embraces SaaS in a big cooperative way, the percentage will be much higher, maybe 35 to 50 percent, and the piece of the on machine out of the box software pie (OS, Apple, Office, etc.,) will get much much more competitive to stay relevant. That is a good thing too. So as I look at it, it might actually all be good in the long run, including making openings for smaller Yahoo competitors to build in options to the choice palette.

Stranger things have happened. Heck the best result of all is that maybe some of the immature wonks posting here will begin to grow up. That would be an accomplishment.

Anonymous said...

The freetards are out there thinking AmirM, JawadK & WPoole leaving is bad.

Wait, where have I been? Is WPoole leaving/gone...???? Is this over the whole "Vista Ready" fiasco?

Do tell!

Anonymous said...

How come the only time I hear Vista mentioned on TV is in a hilarious Apple ad?

Charles said...

To make it even easier... If MSFT choses to not have a strong online presence, then MSFT will not exist in 10 years.

There any number of highly successful companies like IBM, Oracle, Cisco, who lack a "strong online presence" ala Google, or any of the internet or social portals. They are "online" only to the extent it cost-effectively fills a customer need. They will exist in 10 years, and they won't be trying to "kill Google" or "takeover Yahoo" to do it.

Companies don't pay Microsoft to have an "online presence". Companies have their own online presence as warranted by their respective business models. B2B takes place now via corporate intranets and C2B online shopping models are growing respectibly, constrained by consumer demand, not lack of "online presence".

The infrastructure can be greatly improved, by Microsoft building (and shipping and supporting) better infrastructure products. Microsoft might garner some attention with those. But no rational CEO is going to bet their companies business on Ballmer's ability to 'keep it together', let alone his Borg 2.0 vision of commerce over the internet. Companies pay Microsoft to solve problems, not become the problem.

Having witnessed what happens to MSN Live customers and MS mismanaged search unit and lack of an advertisng strategy (buying companies is not a strategy), do you seriously think at this point Microsoft has any "online presence" credibility? Is Vista evidence of Microsoft's ability to deliver on vision?

That is the compelling reason. You can disagree that this assumption is valid, but you'd be betting against the majority.

The majority is usually wrong. 90 percent of all companies fail in their first year, 90% of those fail in their next year... etc. Only a minority survive, and they do it by serving their customers, not screwing them with bloatware, vaporware, brickware, and monopolistic stupidity that makes enemies of state and federal governments and friends of no one.

A reasonable question was posed as to what is the profit generating rationale for an "online presence". "It's just there" may be sufficient rationale for mountain climbers, but businesses actually require a cost-effective benefit.

How is Microsoft going to cost-effectively benefit businesses by Microsoft being "present online"? Does attendance count?

Anonymous said...

Joel Spolsky has an excellent and timely post on problems plaguing MS...

http://www.inc.com/magazine/20080401/how-hard-could-it-be-fire-and-motion.html?partner=fogcreek



In my industry, software, fire and motion takes the form of adding new features to an application or updating a program in some other way. Microsoft used to be the undisputed master at setting the agenda....In the meantime, innovative companies like Google and VMware began to dictate the technology world's agenda to a degree that Microsoft had never seen. And now, in a remarkable turning of the tables, we see Microsoft on the defensive, spending a lot of effort responding to its rivals' fire and motion.


And he further proposes the solution -- which seems obvious after reading.

What do you do if you find yourself reacting to a rival's agenda instead of setting your own? The answer is to break the cycle as fast as you can.

Can anyone from the senior-leadership fwd these suggestions to our CEO/Presidents who seem keen on catching up with our competitors?

Anonymous said...

Will the cloud, however, increasingly DEFINE what computing really means and looks like? ABSOLUTELY.

Agree and disagree.

First of all, yes, "the cloud" has a lot of growth potential and interesting opportunities. But Google is not "the cloud." Sure, they stomped all over everybody in search and search advertising, to the point where it's kind of retarded to try to compete with them. (I'm talking to you, SteveB.) But they're not doing movie or TV streaming, Netflix and Hulu are. They're not doing music downloads, Apple is. They're not doing online storage, Amazon is. They're not doing social networking, Facebook is. They're not doing auctions, eBay is. They're not doing photos, Flickr is. etc. etc. etc.

Microsoft has been trying to come up with an Internet strategy for the past 13 years--longer than almost all of these companies have even existed. And the result of those 13 years of hard work? A colossal failure at the most futile, myopic strategy possible, i.e., "copy Google."

That being said, the cloud will never "take over" and it won't even necessarily encroach on Microsoft's core businesses. Hell, everybody was hot and bothered about "the browser as the operating system" and "thin clients" and that was 10 years ago and since then Microsoft's business has only been improving. People will always need operating systems. Although they will increasingly need them for devices like cell phones, navigation systems, set-top boxes, tiny low-cost web surfing laptops, etc., i.e., a bunch of applications where Vista is laughably unsuitable. (And OS X seems to thrive.) My conclusion is that Microsoft needs to divert most of its copy-Google money to a copy-Apple project so it doesn't lose its core business.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the above comment on IDC. I work with the mobile developer group here and the leadership team has no clue about what to do in this space. The managers in this team lack any domain knowledge and most of the times they mislead us. There is no single guy with real mobile experience and the leadership team has no passion around this. It is a huge risk that the whole of mobile developer story is owned by the existing team at IDC! I have a strong feeling that very soon this initiative will roll back to Redmond.

Anonymous said...

>I seem to remember at one time we said that we'd never become like IBM. . . ,

And you haven't. While IBM has consistently for years and years on end pushed the envelope toward new technology and what the future holds (witness the latest http://www.informationweek.com/news/internet/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=207200184 on racetrack nanotech memory),

Microsoft is struggling internally to keep research relevant and Balmer is anxious to axe it all.

Anonymous said...

WPoole

Yep. You will be getting a mail about wpoole pretty soon. This is WAAAAAY overdue. That guy has had the fecal touch on everything he has been involved with. Any team that has had to work for/with that guy have hated his guts. He makes terrible decisions at every opportunity. I have personally called for that guy to be fired for years in the ms poll. 'Bout time!

To Will: Image how better off the company, employees, stock holders, customers, world would be if you were never born...

Anonymous said...

You will be getting a mail about wpoole pretty soon. This is WAAAAAY overdue. That guy has had the fecal touch on everything he has been involved with.

And he has the presentation skills of a slug. He comes off as if he had consulted with a "humor committee" before each speech to best understand the "comedic paradigms that would best resonate with the audience".

Anonymous said...

Joel Spolsky has an excellent and timely post on problems plaguing MS...

I think Joel is spending a little too much time with his bong. MS has always, always, always been a tail-light chaser:

1) Build a product that competes with the top dog.
2) Make it cheaper than theirs.
3) Profit!

The problem (challenge?) is how do you compete today when 2) cannot be done because your competitor's product is free and 3) can only be achieved via advertising? MS's solution seems to be throw as many people and as much money as possible at the problem and it will solve itself.

Anonymous said...

To the comment posted by Former Winbuilder I only have one ask -

BRING BILL BACK!

He ran an engineering company - today I dont know what we are? Advertising? Sales? Marketing? Consumer?

Mini - maybe you should start a post on bringing BILL back - atleast he provides a rallying point for the troops.

Anonymous said...

Will Poole is "retiring" :

http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=1337

Anonymous said...

To the person from IDC working on the mobile developer group.

Can you please send an email anonymously or directly to your GPM / PUM? I guarantee no repurcussions. I would love to be able to engage with your thoughts and get educated or atleast explain where we are coming from.

Varada

Anonymous said...

We had a manager in charge of performance testing in our product group that hired several nuclear physicists. He was a nuclear physicist. Replace "nuclear physicist" with "Indian", "friend", "Ivy League graduate" or whatever. It isn't limited to race.

If you're missing out on an opportunity because you don't match the culture, race, background, or whatever of who is doing the hiring, now you know what it feels like.

Whatever "group" someone identifies with tends to get in the way of the "meritocracy" Microsoft (or any other company) claims to be.

Mike Sievert used to manage Crest Toothpaste and Pepto-Bismol. He was responsible for introducing Vista to the world.

Microsoft is being run by a marketing guy. Guess what kind of people are getting to run Microsoft.

If you're fixated on "Indians", you're really missing what is going on and has always gone on.

It is just more obvious when their skin color is different.

Diversity just evens out the discrimination. It doesn't get rid of it.

Anonymous said...

BRING BILL BACK!

Yeah! It's like when Bill was in charge the "nerds" ran the company. Now that Steve is in charge the "jocks" are running the company. [Smile]

Anonymous said...

BRING BILL BACK!

He ran an engineering company - today I dont know what we are? Advertising? Sales? Marketing? Consumer?

Mini - maybe you should start a post on bringing BILL back - atleast he provides a rallying point for the troops.


You have GOT to be kidding -- Bill is an out of touch dinosaur whose time has since passed. He is much better suited to philanthropy than technology in the current era... Bill never really got the web and doesn't really get the brave new world of connected computing, regardless of the sound bytes you hear.

I've been at Microsoft since Bill was a force, but that force is spent. He had a great run -- one of the greatest -- but now it's time for everyone to just move the heck on.

Anonymous said...

There are few comments & assertions that have been made in this thread about “Mobile Developer” team at IDC. As the PUM for this org, I would like to make sure that the readers have the perspective from the other side too. IDC team has owned the Visual Studio for Devices charter for around 2 years now and has delivered a full release of this product with VS 2008. In this release, we added significant value to the product enabling test driven development for device projects with unit testing, programmable security configuration, managed API model to access and manipulate devices from the desktop as well as numerous enhancements to device emulator. Each one of these features are high value components for mobile developers and have been widely appreciated.

IDC team also had taken the lead to showcase Silverlight on Mobile Devices by doing the first prototype which after mgmt visibility became the basis for fast tracking the mobile support within Silverlight. We followed this by doing the first Silverlight implementation on Symbian S60 which was a big hit in the recently concluded MIX08 where we had announced Nokia partnership around Silverlight for Mobile. We are working on an aggressive agenda to get all these to the market quickly and have made tremendous progress in the last 3 months since the “mobile developer” charter was formed at IDC. I am extremely passionate about this charter and so is the rest of the leadership team working on this and I have all the reasons to be confident that we will succeed in our mission.

My request for the comment owner or anyone else who feels this way is to engage with me and I am committed to making sure that they will feel as confident about the success of this charter from IDC as I am.

Sudeep Bharati

Anonymous said...

To all you cheering that Poole is leaving, be sure to keep in mind that over the months before he actually leaves, especially stock grant day, he'll make more money on his way out that some of you will in your entire careers at Microsoft. Call him an idiot all you want, but at least the guy took care of number 1.

Anonymous said...

I see what has gone wrong in this debate based on two comments:

"IBM doesnt have an online presence"

"everyone will always need operating systems"

We're talking on two entirely different levels. You're talking about tactical specifics. ie - IBM doesnt own content portals. You're also assuming that people will always care about what they have cared about.

You're going to be wrong here. Computing is commoditizing. The fact that some people don't get that changes nothing.

IBM has a MASSIVE online strategy. Their online strategy is to be the technology and services and hardware inovator that the web will be built on.

Apple has a MASSIVE online strategy. Their online strategy is to capture the hearts and minds of the masses of tech saavy users for whom technology will be like a car or lamp. At the same time, their strategy is to corner the market on content delivery and consumption.

Oracle has a strategy to be THE mission critical database platform and they are in a pitched war with IBM. They have gone vertical. Outside of the Halls of Koolaid, the war is between Oracle and DB2. SQL server isnt a real factor in the battle for first and second.

Meanwhile, Linux continues to improve across the board.

You people are in for a really rude awakening. Those folks who think the Windows monopoly can just happily persist into the next decade with no course correction and no investment in the web or underlying web technologies.

There is so much wrong with our current direction and investment areas that I'm not even really sure where to begin.

That so many inside MSFT seem to be completely incapable of seeing this simple strategic truth is coming closer and closer to sending me packing.

I would argue that MSFT used to be a place of vision, but I think it really never was. As someone else pointed out, it was a place where good ideas were commoditized once they had been vetted by others.

Now, the commoditization is happening and the paradigm totally shifted. The new and exciting work is happening on other platforms and the passion is in other camps.

Meanwhile, inside MSFT, the pathetic Koolaid crowd continues to assure itself that theres really no problem other than that people are "idiots" who "dont get it". The executives just get worse and worse and anyone who truly understand the industry, it seems, wouldnt come NEAR MSFT. We are the landing place of has beens. Ask some folks from Sun what they think of the people we have proudly recruited and are paying 7 figures. They laugh.

When the counter argument is "we can just be Windows and Office for decades longer and, just like IBM and Oracle, we'll be fine even if Google owns the web and Apple is synonymous with cool", I must conclude that the conversation isnt even worth having. Sorry...

Anonymous said...

I know! Totally! Dude, it's all about eyeballs and clicks in a connected e-conomy! Forget products - we need to leverage brainshare in the cloud!

(What do you mean, "idiot"??)


You're good at making snide remarks, but you're not very good at understanding the industry.

Go ahead and be facetious. Time will prove that you are wrong and you'll sit their talking about how you "dont get" what the "big fuss" is about with this "web 2.0 thing".

Meanwhile, increasing numbers of people will be fixating on their iPhone and their MacBook connecting to LAMP backends.

Look, you can choose to believe that everything is just fine and that there is no problem here, but your argument seems to be based on the notion that only "products" matter.

First of all - when I talk about web 2.0, thats EXACTLY what Im talking about. But I digress... Lets talk about what you mean by products..

Office?
Win OS?
Win server?
Exchange?
SQL server?

How do you think we're doing in those areas? We're kept afloat by the first two. Things going really rosey there in your view? Havent noticed that Google is actually stealing OFFICE CUSTOMERS with their almost non-existant and laughable web productivity apps?

I want to live where you are! Where MSFT is still the kind of the world and pumps out products that people must buy and "that interwebs" is just some distraction that isnt all that serious.

Anonymous said...

>> Mike Sievert used to manage Crest Toothpaste
>> and Pepto-Bismol. He was responsible for
>> introducing Vista to the world.

Coincidentally, he "announced plans to leave Microsoft" back in Feb. Thank god. In addition to being completely incompetent, this dude has the douchebaggiest smile in the world, and he's not afraid to use it. I'm sure many of you have seen internal ads near the elevators celebrating his "achievement" and telling everyone just how "passionate" he is about the "customers".

Charles said...

IBM has a MASSIVE online strategy. Their online strategy is to be the technology and services and hardware inovator that the web will be built on.

Apple has a MASSIVE online strategy. Their online strategy is to capture the hearts and minds of the masses of tech saavy users for whom technology will be like a car or lamp. At the same time, their strategy is to corner the market on content delivery and consumption.

Oracle has a strategy to be THE mission critical database platform and they are in a pitched war with IBM. They have gone vertical. Outside of the Halls of Koolaid, the war is between Oracle and DB2. SQL server isnt a real factor in the battle for first and second.


And neither IBM, nor Oracle, nor Apple has to "buy Yahoo" or "kill Google" to make that happen, do they. They're selling products and services that become the infrastructure or content of web transactions, don't they. Extremely reliable, cost-effective, and timely products, aren't they. And content unhindered by self-defeating DRM-enforcement, isn't it. They don't want to be the "online presence" do they. Rather they enable others to be present online as their business needs warrant, don't they.

When the counter argument is "we can just be Windows and Office for decades longer and, just like IBM and Oracle, we'll be fine even if Google owns the web and Apple is synonymous with cool", I must conclude that the conversation isnt even worth having. Sorry...

But much as it would help you, that wasn't the argument or question, was it. Microsoft has much it must greatly and quickly improve in Windows and Office or it won't even be in the running. There are no other cash cows that will cover MS burn rate. Windows and Office must be more competitive. And, yes, there are new opportunities but how precisely will "killing Google" or "buying Yahoo" translate into new cash cows for Microsoft? How would their absorption actually increase profits or customer satisfaction, much less retain marketshare, assuming Microsoft actually integrates them without killing them, unlike all its past acquisitions.

Where is the profit in Microsoft having an "online presence"? What exactly is it that customers will be paying for? I.e, paying enough to overcome the costs of purchase and operating costs, as well as compensate for the inevitable price cuts in other MS products?

Anonymous said...

First of all - when I talk about web 2.0, thats EXACTLY what Im talking about. But I digress... Lets talk about what you mean by products..

-
Forget Web 2.0, Red Dog will invent Web 3.0.

Anonymous said...

Lots of angst about Web 2.0, online, yadda yadda blah blah.

Some folks claim MSFT doesn't get online and it will be the death of them, others claim online is irrelevant to MSFT's core business of OS and Office...

Who knows who's right, but it doesn't much matter. Whatever MSFT's business is, it needs something to sell and MSFT doesn't know how to make software any more. Online, offline, web based, standalone, office apps, operating systems, they just aren't compelling products any longer. I think the people writing and testing code could still make compelling stuff, but the people calling the shots don't have a clue.

So, whether MSFT is missing the boat on the web or focused on it's core markets, it is going to lose to somebody eventually. Unless it can rejuvinate the core software development capacity. If that doesn't happen, the details of the end are unknown but the overall picture is pretty clear.

Not to mention bleak.

Anonymous said...

IBM's cloud service platform strategy is not well understood by most folks--and let's leave it at that. It's by design that they aren't more forthcoming--they're keeping their cards close to the vest for now. Maybe MS execs will get it and avoid an almost certain checkmate by IBM and others serving the business segments.

Anonymous said...

re: RYJ... I know several Sun vets (present and former) who despise this guy. They credit him for being a big part of what went wrong with the company and for completely poisoning the sales culture.

So first on his to do list was what? Oh right! Instituting WEEKLY sales tracking! I say "welcome aboard!"

With the combination of KT and RYJ, we are well on our way to the coin operated enterprise sales model that SB apparently thinks will save the company.

I mean if you can't make good products or have a truly relevant vision, just fix it by turning your sales force into a pack of rabid dogs right? MSFT is now a car dealership.

I wonder... Were no former Enron execs available? I guess the prison terms arent up yet. Once they're out, expect them to fill many open level 70 spots.

Anonymous said...

I work in SMSG. You cannot tell your manager the real feedback on the situation. I tried it once and my review went bad. So, this MYCD, I said only nice things. I am looking for another job even though I have been in the company for 18 months.

I had heard many good things from the outside but when I got job at Microsoft, I have learned that this not as good as the company I left. At least in the other company I came from I could celebrate Diwali. In Microsoft, you are not allowed to celebrate any Hindu festivals or even distribute sweets.

Now every week I give a revenue update. I spend time doing the internal activities instead of meeting my partners. Why things is so bad in the past 6 months I do not know.

Anonymous said...

To anon at: Tuesday, April 15, 2008 5:18:00 PM

You are my new best friend. Spot on.

We absolutley need to move to Web 2or whatever moniker you want to apply or wherever you think it's heading.

I personally think we're crazy to go for the eyeballs ala Yahoo/MSN/Live or any other failing or soon to be failing business because we suck at Consumer. I think our potential is in tools, developer outreach, finding creative ways to knit things together to create more functional capabilities that enable others who 'get' consumer to polish and collect the eyes.

However, the above is like arguing who's 8th century saint is best. It's effectively non-relevent because we can do neither (and/or any other direction you could dream up that actually might make us $$).

We don't because we won't identify, create, deliver, support and subsequently reward good ideas - at the IC, Manager,Team, Org, BUIT levels.
We've replaced this at the top of the company with folks who think we're selling widgets so we must metric manage, be checksheet followers, craft pretty ppts glorifying dumb ideas, idolize consensus management, toadying, etc, etc.
This isn't really the sad part frankly - the sad part is that there is a huge HUGE amount of employees who see and understand it quite clearly, but they're smart. So smart they keep their mouths shut because telling the emperor he's not wearing clothes is a career limiting move and they have kids and cars and like the area. And you know what?- since they're smart they can become ppt hero's and manage their reports to all green and it's pretty damn easy. If our direction swings back to a point where smart and extra effort matter and is rewarded they can simply start doing the work they were hired and motivated for.
There is nothing preventing us from success but simple decisions to clear the decks toward transparency, rewards that match the input, big thinking and efforts that align up and down the food chain, unhooking all the goofy dependancies we have and making our execs eat their own dogfood for a couple of cycles before moving to new roles.
We're not GM with uncontained costs & health care due to decisions decades in the past. We're not buggy whip mfrs who's clients evaporated. We're not pumping oil from a dry hole.

Change in the right direction to put us on a growth trajectory is basically FREE for us. That is sad.

Anonymous said...

You people are in for a really rude awakening. Those folks who think the Windows monopoly can just happily persist into the next decade with no course correction and no investment in the web or underlying web technologies.

I made the comment that people will always need operating systems but you seem to have ignored my entire post outside of that sentence.

First of all, I'm not opposed to investing in the web at all, far from it. I'm just opposed to the current "copy Google" strategy; the web is bigger than Google.

Second, I hardly think that Windows can continue "with no course correction," which you would know if you had read the end of my post. I called for an anti-Vista, copy-OS X strategy.

The world is not divided into the cool people who "get" the web and the old-school people who don't. Things aren't that black and white. For the past 10 years there have been a lot of hipster PM-types running around with their hair on fire declaring that we're all going to move to the web now, and guess what, it still hasn't happened. Yeah, the web is great, but we still buy iPods and Windows and IBM mainframes and "thick clients" and video games etc. etc. We're not going to sell our houses and cars and go live in the web.

Anonymous said...

I want to live where you are!

Oh, relax. I (OP of the facetious comment) also get that the software world is changing, I love the cloud (Google Apps) and the iPhone SDK and SaaS, and so on; in fact I am moving to that world from being a .NET-focused consultant.

What I was poking fun at is the breathless hysteria around "we HAVE to buy Yahoo" from people who never, quite, get around to articulating why exactly it is a strategic imperative for MICROSOFT. What will this do for MSFT - specifically? It's not enough to simply say MSFT has to have a "significant" online presence. Why? To do what? To compete with Google Apps? To finally unify and simplify mobile-targeting services? To replace, or supplement, or save, shrink-wrap? My beef is simply cart before horse, and the possibility that MSFT management is panicking and spending $44B on Yahoo because they simply cannot or will not themselves articulate a coherent strategy with testable milestones.

Of course there is always the possibility that MSFT mgmt has had en epiphany that the rest of us have missed and that Yahoo really does figure so vitally in MSFT's future that $44B simply cannot be put to more productive use. History will tell...

Anonymous said...

"How do you think we're doing in those areas? We're kept afloat by the first two. Things going really rosey there in your view? Havent noticed that Google is actually stealing OFFICE CUSTOMERS with their almost non-existant and laughable web productivity apps?"

Numbers to back this up, please. The Google "web productivity apps" are pretty laughable, and I don't know anyone who uses them seriously in a business context.

If you have information about how many Office customers Google's toys are stealing, I'd love to see the data.

Anonymous said...

He's right, office are losing customer to the purely online productivity suites.

Right now it's mostly newly established companies that goes there, I've seen a couple myself, but eventually it will become an avalanche. Like all exponetial charts, in the early stages it looks like a straight line, but it is actually an exponetial curve.

Anonymous said...

Numbers to back this up, please. The Google "web productivity apps" are pretty laughable, and I don't know anyone who uses them seriously in a business context.

Weren't Windows products, until 2000, laughable OSes in enterprise when compared to Unix? Werent' the same ignorant comments made by MS competition back in 80's and 90's against MS? Look at Unix vs. Windows market share now.

Just keep playing ignorance and you'll end up wrapped up in the Google apps.
I don't have the numbers, but Google apps is certainly a very good proposition to small businesses.
Maybe take a look at what large businesses have to say too:
http://www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/admins/customers.html

Anonymous said...

We're not GM with uncontained costs & health care due to decisions decades in the past. We're not buggy whip mfrs who's clients evaporated. We're not pumping oil from a dry hole.

Change in the right direction to put us on a growth trajectory is basically FREE for us. That is sad.


I partially agree with you. You are absolutely right that MSFTs problems are due entirely to bad management and a culture of STFU-if-you-know-what's-good-for-your-career. What I disagree about is the ease of the solution.

The problem isn't Ballmer or Turner or Johnson. Or rather, the problem isn't limited to them. The problem is several layers of management deep. The STFU culture has gone on so long that almost all the management positions beyond first or second level are filled with incompetents, and frequently vindictive incompetents.

Replacing Ballmer and having his replacement fire 90% of the senior VPs a la Jack Welch would only be the start of fixing the problem. The real solution requires gutting the Jr.VP, PUM, GM and GPM ranks as well. And then replacing all those managers with people who can manage something other than their own careers. To turn itself around, MSFT at its current size needs to find at least two hundred people capable of managing groups of over 100, plus a few dozen capable of managing groups of a thousand or more.

People with those skills in those numbers simply aren't available. MSFT has completely botched developing its own internal talent pool - there are certainly people with potential, but not the experience or training. Externally, people who are good at the jobs MSFT needs to fill are usually hard (meaning expensive) to pry away from their current employers. If MSFT snapped up all the good execs who were available or could be made available with the right job offer, it would still be far short of what it needs.

Which kind of brings us back to Mini's original reason for starting this blog. MSFT needs to get smaller in headcount. Radically smaller. It simply does not have, and can not rapidly acquire, the managerial capacity needed to coordinate the number of employees it has. There's no easy fix for that.

Anonymous said...

Let me tell you what's happening at DPE India - I am so glad that TG is now moving to BMO. He completely screwed the DPE team in the last 2 years. All his favourites are made directors in no time. Partner team is messed up with a confusing combo of SI and ISV teams trying to figure out what to do with partners. Tools marketing is in the hands of a lady who doesn't know 'M' of marketing. Why the hell IT Pros report to the fat enterprise director? Virtual Tech Days - What a royal way to screw the technical event! When did a BCC evangelist stand in front of handful audience and spoke some sense? And can someone please, please tell us what the director for innovation is doing? If DPE India has to survive, fire all the evangelists who can't deliver a level 100 technical session. We have too much of an overhead and so little quality. DPE has become a common place to get shelter for many underperforming individuals.

TG's only agenda was to grab every opportunity to get visibility at the exec. level. He did nothing to improve the quality of team!

I am not sure how Ravi/Neelam took the call of replacing Doug with TG...

Now, god save BMO in India! All the best BG leads.. good times ahead!

Joe said...

The Google "web productivity apps" are pretty laughable, and I don't know anyone who uses them seriously in a business context.


Well, I do know people who use Google Apps for serious business apps. And my anecdote is as powerful as yours.

Now, as for being laughable.... You do realize that they aren't trying to replace the typewriter anymore, right? the problem has truly moved on from that.

The problem space has moved to collaboration and ease of sharing.

Anonymous said...

Completely agree with previous poster. Web 2.0 is the way to go. We must buy into big new ad-revenue driven properties, because of strategic buzzwordism. Pets.com might be gone, but if we sell Office and Windows while they're still worth a little, we might be able to acquire facebook.

And wouldn't that be a bright, worthwhile future?

Anonymous said...

To all you cheering that Poole is leaving, be sure to keep in mind that over the months before he actually leaves, especially stock grant day, he'll make more money on his way out that some of you will in your entire careers at Microsoft. Call him an idiot all you want, but at least the guy took care of number 1.

Yes he did. And thanks for checking in, Mrs. Poole.

Now back to our regularly scheduled relevant discussion.

Anonymous said...

By "products" I am referring to anything one offers up for sale.

Today, in the proprietary software world, that is largely a legacy shrink wrapped distribution that is hard to deploy and expensive to support.

What I would like to see as a "product" is a productivity suite that has the functionality decoupled from the provisioning and delivery mechanisms decoupled from the licensing vehicle.

I would also like to see the UI be dynamically extensible. Perhaps auto configuring on initial run to a specific config. Maybe all of those PhDs in MSR can write a QUICK simple questionaire designed to approximate usage pattern of the respondant within 90% accuracy so the "ribbon" is configured well for their use case out of the gate.

Whether the Word experience is a fully cloud hosted service paid for by the inclusion of an ad banner or a fully deployed set of bits on a corporate desktop or a hosted on prem cloud edition controlled by IT, the user experience and underlying management tools should remain seemless and consistent. Federation of services should be easy and deprovisioning and provisioning should be intuitive. Deployment should be handled by app virtualization by default.

All of this should be decoupled from how you pay for it and there should be a few easy options that don't take a team of specialists to explain and then an analyst to keep them honset (and catch their errors)

As for the interest in Google apps in corporations... Im not going to risk giving up my identity or breach an NDA to prove a point. Believe it or don't, it doesn't matter. Google has the beginnings of enterprise penetration and all of it is thanks to the way O2k7 was handled.

This is what I'm talking about by 'products'

Spolsky said it pretty well. We no longer understand how to ship software. When I first read that years ago it annoyed me until I got over it and thought about it.

We have the money and the brains to take back this paradigm shift and drive it, but instead, we spend 100% of our time on BS metrics and convicing each other that everyone is crazy.

Anonymous said...

Forget Web 2.0, Red Dog will invent Web 3.0.

>
Yeah right.

Anonymous said...

To those of whom haven't figured out why MSFT badly needs YHOO, as a thought experiment, if you take GOOG's search traffic and multiply it by MSFT's current monetization rate for its own search, well, the product will be much lower than GOOG's comparable revenue number. Even YHOO is about to prove that GOOG monetizes search traffic better to get MSFT to pay up.

So, perhaps in addition to traffic, there's some additional value to be created by achieving scale on the advertiser side of the network as well? (rhetorical)

- agent mulder lives

Anonymous said...

Interesting NYTimes article -looks like when we purchased Tellme for $800M last year - we also implemented a $100M employee retention program for the 330 employees that work there (http://biz.yahoo.com/nytimes/080417/1194765832361.html?.v=10)

Speculation now that if the Yahoo! acquisition goes thru we would have to spend another couple billion at least on employee retention programs.

When will all this insanity end? How about retaining our own FTE MSFT'ies? Here we are looking at paltry pay raises for doing 4.0 work while these guys are getting $300K+ each to simply "stick around" in their jobs. This is making me gag!

Anonymous said...

In the '80s I worked for a number of "anything-but-IBM" shops. The problem was that once "something IBM" got into your infrastructure, after a few years it would be all IBM - and the customer would be paying lots of money. It wasn't that IBM's stuff was bad, just the lock-in... and the fact that they tried to force mainframe solutions on you regardless of applicability.

My first job came about because an engineering team declared independence from the corporate computer centre who had replaced their CDC 6600 with a top-of-the-line IBM system. Problem was, IBM floating point was low precision and it took more computer time for solutions to converge... if they converged at all! For less money than their CPU time charges they bought a bunch of Unix-like workstations and hired someone to look after them.

Later I got involved in setting network standards... what a struggle to prevent the computer centre guys from mandating IBM token ring all round.

Microsoft today is very like IBM in that era... every purchasing decision in favour of that company's products only increases lock-in and ends up costing more because one loses the ability to pick the best choice from a range of competing solutions.

And there are only two sensible ways for the customer to go - drink the single-vendor kool-aid, or don't touch it at all.

The difference was that IBM took some chances with its cash cows. It introduced the RS/6000 series for the technical market (an IBM salesman once told me "this is the first product I can sell to engineers with a clear conscience").

But it also tried to get a grip on the PC business by taking the architecture in a proprietary direction (MCA anyone?).

The failure of the PS/2 + OS/2 solution came about because the PC is an open platform - where no company, IBM or Microsoft, is able to put the genie back into the bottle.

But look at what happened to the RS/6000s. Even though these systems cannibalised the IBM mainframe market, IBM shops mostly stayed loyal to their supplier instead of going for HP, Sun, DEC, or SGI systems.

And today the POWER architecture is the foundation of the IBM mainframe product line.

IBM gave up on PCs after throwing billions away trying to compete with the upstart Microsoft - and are much happier for it today.

Microsoft is in exactly the same position when it comes to search.
It doesn't matter whether you have a superior product (think of OS/2 vs Win 3.1), the customers are happy with what they've got - Microsoft can only win if Google loses the plot.

And given Microsoft's historical love of lock-in (which has now reached the mainstream press and become accepted wisdom) the company has a reputation for fair dealing that is about on a par with IBM in the mid-80s.

So, what to do? Well, people still go to IBM for their "serious computing" requirements. And now that buying IBM kit doesn't have the same-old lock-in risks, more people are doing so.

In the same way, Microsoft can remain the supplier of choice for operating systems and applications. It goes without saying that Microsoft can make boatloads of money from that... it already does.

But the current strategy of protecting the cash cows at all costs is making them look more and more like dinosaurs - lumbering giants that are not longer relevant to the environment in which they find themselves.

Could Microsoft take the same risk as IBM did in introducing the RS/6000s? In other words, breed up some nimble mammals even though doing so will hasten the fall of the dinosaur?

Think the unthinkable... what if MS Works could read and write Office file formats...? sure there would be lost Office sales, but OpenOffice and ODF wouldn't be nearly the problem that it is (and how can it not be, given the effort put into making OOXML a standard?).

Think the unthinkable on operating systems... get out the long knives and review the Windows APIs - eliminate anything not used by 90% of current software (i.e. probably including WPF) - then write a new small and modular OS that offers just those APIs. Shamelessly crib the Linux repository mechanisms so that modules are only added when needed. Build a platform where MS can change the look (but not necessarily the feel) every few years like the automakers used to in the '60s.

*Something* is eventually going to eat Windows' lunch, and the best thing for Microsoft is that it should be a Microsoft operating system.

Anonymous said...

Well, I do know people who use Google Apps for serious business apps. And my anecdote is as powerful as yours.

Now, as for being laughable.... You do realize that they aren't trying to replace the typewriter anymore, right? the problem has truly moved on from that.

The problem space has moved to collaboration and ease of sharing.


Sorry, I didn't see the numbers I asked for re: people using Google's productivity apps?

You made this claim that Google's online docs were stealing Office customers but offered no data to back it up. Until you can provide numbers I'm calling bullshit, because Google Docs simply aren't at a place where they're a competitive threat.

Bring on the data, chief.

Anonymous said...

You made this claim that Google's online docs were stealing Office customers but offered no data to back it up. Until you can provide numbers I'm calling bullshit, because Google Docs simply aren't at a place where they're a competitive threat.

You will wait for something to become a competitive threat and not focus on the market needs instead. Until then you will just sit there and fester, oblivious to the changing market landscape. Slow, lethargic, reactive ... looks like that 80s IBM comparison may be very true.

Charles said...

To those of whom haven't figured out why MSFT badly needs YHOO, as a thought experiment, if you take GOOG's search traffic and multiply it by MSFT's current monetization rate for its own search, well, the product will be much lower than GOOG's comparable revenue number.

Good grief! And if your grandmother had wheels she'd be a wagon.

The premises in your "if" are:

1) That the "traffic" would transfer from Yahoo to Microsoft.

What makes you think those former Yahoo ad placements won't move to Google? Why will those Yahoo advertisers and content providers accept Microsoft management? Will Google just sit idly or will it increase the competitive pressures, exploiting that decision point and offering incentives to switch to Google? Advertisers and buyers make selective decisions. Based on results todate they avoid Microsoft mainly and Yahoo often. why might that be? Advertisers and buyers have no axes to grind, they go with what works and makes a profit. If they actually perceived Microsoft or Yahoo to be cost-effective on some scale as an advertising/shopping medium they'd be using it proportionally. But that proportion is shrinking, isn't it. If buyers could find what they wanted on MSN, they'd be looking there. Google offers the largest haystack in which to search for needles, and while Yahoo has made some improvements of late in sorting better needles to the top, Google remains minimally a "required" secondary search, if not the primary and sole search by default. And both Yahoo and Microsoft chronically shoot themselves in the feet, generally fixing what wasn't broken and putting lipstick on what is.

2) That Microsoft will "execute" on its vision and manage Yahoo better than Yahoo does on its own.

When has Microsoft ever demonstrated competent managerial execution? Ever? When has the "road ahead" ever been the straightaway Microsoft invariably, myopically presumes it to be? And this will all turn around miraculously in the next couple of years with the largest, most complex acquisition Microsoft has ever undertaken? And before you argue Yahoo can be left to run-as-is, how will "scale be achieved on the advertiser side of the network" if Yahoo's "search" is not integrated into Microsoft's "scale"? How will any of Microsoft's strengths be brought to bear if Yahoo is left alone? How will any of Yahoo's weaknesses be eliminated if left alone? From where will all the glorious new revenue (in excess of acquisition costs) come if Yahoo's existing revenue stream only acretes? (albeit just acreting revenue would be a milestone for Microsoft).

3) That Yahoo's "monetization" will be retained in lieu of Microsoft's.

What will have changed with the Yahoo acquisition that Microsoft will suddenly "get" how to better monetize search, and then actually change Microsoft practices for the better instead of changing Yahoo practices for the worse? If Microsoft is capable of transforming its search business to monetize better, why hasn't it? Is a little knowledge all that's missing? That after the acquisition Ballmer will read Yahoo's secret monetization formula, whack his forehead and say "Duh! Well of course. Send out the memo", and voila new, improved Microsoft search monetization? Or might it have more to do with management and infrastructure legacy, competitive barriers, and customer/advertiser preferences?

This is not a case of a well managed company acquiring a weakly managed company with leveragable assets. Google's dominance outweighs any practical leverage of Yahoo's relatively minimal assets. On balance, both Yahoo and Microsoft's respective managerial and infrastructure weaknesses override their respective strengths, and both are too mired in ineptitude to self-correct. The market is destined to do it for them. Post-acquisition, little substantive will change. Microsoft's weaknesses will persist as will Yahoo's and those weakness will then compound each other and further dilute any combined strength. Assets will not be leveraged and overall performance will sink to the lowest common denominator.

Microsoft's remaining strengths would be better focused on the overflowing plate it already has. As someone else noted above, IBM walked away from the PC business (first the OS which it ceded to Microsoft, and recently the hardware) to reduce opportunity costs in favor of its other more lucrative business lines. Until Microsoft transforms its management and prunes its existing loss generators, it can not afford new distractions and new losses. The opportunity costs are too high already. It had best focus on reinvigorating its cash cows, stop the profit hemoraging, and take a chain saw to the umpteen layers of managerial dead wood - from the knees up would be a good start.

Indeed there are a number of things Microsoft needs badly. But Yahoo won't actually bring any of them.

Anonymous said...

To the PUM and GPM of Mobile Developer group from IDC.....

I appreciate you for taking note of the comment and then trying to follow up. It is sad that this forum has to be used to discuss things.

The issue with this group is that it just follows the cookie-cutter model for shipping products. VSD was shipped exactly using this model. We are not encouraged to think differently with a fresh perspective. We mastered the art of writing specs, converting that to code and testing it. But where is the innovation?

There is a serious lack of thought leadership in this group. Show me one senior member of the team who understands the big picture of the mobile developer story. We now have a lot of responsibility to deliver the complete platform and I do not see the maturity to do that.

Our focus is too narrow and we wear the colored glasses that only show us what we want to see! The mobile innovation is happening else where. Is there someone in the team who can confidently articulate what the competition is up to? Do we know anything about J2ME Midlet story? Do we know how Symbian stacks against us? Are we clear about Adobe's Flash story on mobile? Do we have a strategy for mobile web authoring? How do we counter the iPhone SDK? What will Google do with Android? What will IBM do with Eclipse in this space?

No! We have no time to figure this out.

For god's sake, stop luring the folks from Redmond to join at the partner level. These guys have neither the passion nor the background of mobility and can't add any value to us. They step in primarily for the level jump and if possible to spend a couple of years in India.

The market is full of talent. Go hire someone with the right passion and good understanding of this space. Settling for a wrong hire just because we are under pressure is a grave mistake!

My intention is not to tarnish the image of the team with a random comment. We are forced to do so because we lack an open and transparent environment. MS Poll is supposed to be for this. Unfortunately, no one cares about it anymore.

Let me conclude it by saying that I am still passionate about my work and I am personally committed in delivering my stuff!

Final request - Don't counter my argument anymore on this forum. I pretty much conveyed what I think and I have nothing much to say.

Anonymous said...

I don't work for MS India. But I am one of the influencers from the community (Anyone from MS India? Do you remember something called MVP or RD program?) I follow Mini just to get a handle on MSFT. This is the first time I am seeing some vocal feedback from MS India folks on this blog.

Well, let me share my view from outside. MS India has completely forgotten the community initiative. They are too busy impressing their hierarchy. There were times when the MVP/RD community was really valued and we were respected for what we are! Things are very different now. The MVP lead is in a deep slumber and does nothing for the community. I haven't met anyone from DPE India for ages. We only hear sugar coated statements from the GMs or senior executives when we bump into them.

I never see any evangelist passionately delivering a session to my local community. Forget about them delivering a session, they don't even acknowledge our effort when we initiate an activity. In the recent past, they lost all the committed folks and now are left with some junk who can't even spell technology!

Worst thing - They hire good folks from the community and corrupt them. I can list a dozen passionate community guys who became MS employees and are polluted by its culture.

I have been vocal about my feedback in various forums. But there has been zero effort to fix this.

I hope that someone from India evangelism team reads this and realizes that they are shooting themselves by ignoring the community. Microsoft's strength lies in the developer community rallying behind them and they are on the verge of loosing the community support. If this continues, get prepared to dig your own grave Microsoft!

Anonymous said...

*Something* is eventually going to eat Windows' lunch, and the best thing for Microsoft is that it should be a Microsoft operating system.

Good post. Indeed, Vista is too big and too slow and gives users too little in exchange.

It was apparently designed with the old, traditional philosophy that everybody will buy a new PC every year or two that's twice as fast as their old one. Great for Win31, awesome for Win95, reasonable for WinXP, and now ridiculous for Vista.

Not only are people less inclined to buy new PCs all the time (their current 4-5 year old PCs run XP just fine) they are now likely to buy fancy cell phones and tiny laptops that will not run Vista at all. So the old OS strategy is getting burned from both ends.

Microsoft still--BARELY--has a chance to pull an Apple. They can take a small, fast, good OS like Linux or BSD or Mach and make an awesome UI layer for it. Do everything right from the ground up. And for backwards compatibility, old Windows programs can be run in a WinXP VM--it will work okay with 300-500 MB.

Anonymous said...

To the person that said:

At least in the other company I came from I could celebrate Diwali. In Microsoft, you are not allowed to celebrate any Hindu festivals or even distribute sweets.

What on earth group are you in?

I have never heard such a thing.

We had lots of sweets this year :)

Anonymous said...

http://www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/admins/customers.html

No one has to "bring the numbers" to you. Just refuse to believe it and then keep refusing to believe it and eventually get to work on aggressive "GOOGLE DOWN" campaigns.

It doesnt matter what you want to believe. There are customers looking HARD at Google Apps whether you like it or not (or whether they suck or not) and no one is going to provide WHO they are HERE because it would kill our anonymity.

Anonymous said...

Not to be a jerk, but jumping on the "whole world must run UNIX" bandwagon and then trying to validate that assertion by claiming that all of the UNIX family tree is "small and fast" is kind of the equivalent of saying "I dont understand OS architecture"

There is really nothing "small and fast" about the mess that has evolved out of *NIX. I don't need to teach this to you; you can learn it yourself if you actually care and don't just want to join an ideology.

I like how the proponents of "computing freedom" are all so quick to insist that the world must run on some variant of UNIX.

How about OpenVMS? How about MPE? Or maybe OS/390?

Does the "Im 20 and I know it all because I surf the web and read Wiki" crowd know anything besides OSX and Linux?!

And btw, BSD=Mach. And BSD is a mess. And Linux is 30M lines of code, FYI. Just because 25 years ago Jobs threw in the towel and admitted he couldnt oversee the creation of an OS (back when he built Next Step on top of NetBSD which has now been resuscitated and frankensteined into OSX), doesn't mean that the rest of the world should.

I have a lot of problems with Vista, but the fact that MSFT didnt buy into this bullshit that Linux and the moldy old ancient FreeBSD are the coming of the savior isnt one of them.

Anonymous said...

"No one has to "bring the numbers" to you. Just refuse to believe it and then keep refusing to believe it and eventually get to work on aggressive "GOOGLE DOWN" campaigns."

Why can't you just answer the damn question? It's very simple and very clear. You don't have any data to back up your "hunch" that Google's productivity apps are a threat to Office, yet you continue to claim that it's a clear and present danger based on nothing more than your own intuition.

C'mon now. There are a billion Web 2.0 things that if they pan-out and hit the magic window of right-time, right-place could signal the end of Office... and the Office organization needs to stay cognizant of all of them. However, until it's obvious that something is picking up momentum you certainly don't bust-up your billion dollar cash cow for every cool new thing that's OMG THE WAVE OF THE FUTURE CAN'T YOU SEE IT LIKE I CAN SEE IT OMG!

Yes, collaboration and sharing is a big deal. Yes, Office needs to be aware of the threats from competitors. No, I don't think you've made any case whatsoever the Google is on the road to hitting the jackpot for what Office customers want in their apps, nor have you taken into consideration what the Office team is planning to support in the future to address these threats.

So once again, Skippy, either prove that the Google productivity apps have begun to pick up momentum in the market and show that they pose a threat based on something other than your own keen insight, or just shut your yap.

Anonymous said...

I find this very interesting that Mobile developer group is having a discussion here because I am from the same group and I also have some concerns similar to raised by the anonymous poster here. its wonderful that this forum has provided us anonymous ways to say things that we would be hard to say otherwise.

All we are trying to do for next two years is trying to catch up with the competition. This strategy will kill us we need much more than that in next two years because our competition is one of the best in the industry. I also feel that the team spirit needed for such an ambitious task is missing in the team.

Anonymous said...

>"No one has to "bring the numbers" to you. Just refuse to believe it and then keep refusing to believe it and eventually get to work on aggressive "GOOGLE DOWN" campaigns."

Seems pretty clear that you have no proof, just scaremongering. LOL

Anonymous said...

>No one has to "bring the numbers" to you.

I agree, but for a different reason than yours: from the New York Times: "Google Defies the Economy and Reports a Profit Surge"

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/18/technology/18google.html?ref=business

There probably has been an across the board disruptive technology based paradigm shift happening to Microsoft for the last ten years or so, and right now the shift is beginning to pick up speed in fourth gear after years of solid refinement of the SaaS companies and specifically Google Apps et al.

While Google increased profits in a recession by 30 percent, I wonder what Microsoft has done. Certainly the stock has been in a trading range under 30 for years now.

Yahoo is working well with Google in its experiment to outsource search to Google, which is likely to strengthen both Google and Yahoo enough to help it fend off the hostile takeover by Microsoft. No, in a couple of years it is more likely Yahoo or a company like it will buy Microsoft. No dig intended, it is just reality in motion that cannot be reversed.

Anonymous said...

The comment on not being able to celebrate Diwali is from SMSG. Do you remember the mail from our HR head saying we could not celebrate festivals one or 2 days before Diwali? And many employees sending emails and she never clarified the logic behind this?

I have invited customer for the Leadership Conclave in Dubai. But I am unable to go because the GM directs is going and we have no more money. How strange, we first say we have no money, and then pay for air tickets for the all customers. Who will take care of my customer if I am not there? In my old company, the AM was the most important person. My customer CIOs going but my employer (Microsoft) chairman is not. If we can have the press coverage he may go :-)

Anonymous said...

>>There are customers looking HARD at Google Apps whether you like it or not (or whether they suck or not) and no one is going to provide WHO they are HERE because it would kill our anonymity.<<

Do you realise how childish you sound right now? So you're telling me you can't list a couple of companies eg (AT&T, The NY Times, CocaCola) because you'll blow your cover?

Pathetic.

I think the first poster had it right, too many of the posters on Mini spew whatever they want without being challenged to fact check. Fact checking is something I appreciate about Arstechnica discussion forums. If you don't come with the numbers and/or proof, then shut up.

PS I'm not a softie.

Anonymous said...

I read your “don’t counter my argument” but you can’t expect us to leave these statements unanswered. The Mobile Developer Group intends to make products customers will love. We know the mobile field is broad and difficult. The strategies of the past won’t work again; as they say, people have seen that movie. Dynamics change and competitors are just as likely partners of the future - Windows Mobile includes Adobe Flash and Silverlight is porting to Nokia. The Mobile Developer Team works with business development, mobile operators, content providers, designers, developers, etc etc to gain a comprehensive view when developing and driving our strategies. We have been heads down on activities like MIX, PDC, and working closely with new partners that perhaps we have not done due diligence on keeping the rest of our partners up to date. We will fix this.

As a partner at Microsoft, I’m engaged and passionate about the mobility area and equally passionate about ensuring IDC is a great place to work. If you are inside MSFT, you can browse my/site and watch our IDC Mobility Days presentations. As much as Windows 3 changed the PC experience, we need to achieve similar transformations in the mobile experience. We have breadth for multiple partner level people in this organization and we’re continually growing and enhancing our engineering capacity to deal with the challenges we face. Our products will be second to none. We will have fun, innovate, and work in new ways. If anyone would like to discuss opportunities or ideas, please get in touch with me.

David D’Souza
Partner Architect, Mobile Developer Group

Anonymous said...

Yes, you can't "list a couple of examples" of interest in Google apps because:

1) they're NOT public references

2) we have NDAs with those customers

3) there aren't a ton of them, but they are VERY high profile

People in Redmond don't seem to care about anything outside of their fiefdom and are generally in total denial about the strength of the competition, so they're out. So that leaves the field.

How many folks in the field are aware of big competitive threats in specific accounts? Not many.
Obviously VPs and GMs arent posting on mini (too busy counting money). That leaves account teams and services.

I'm not in a hurry to narrow down who I am for the sake of an argument with folks who clearly are in denial.

Just wait for a few more to hit and then look for the angry mail from SB asking "how the hell did this happen???"

Then you can come here and apologize to the anonymous poster who warned you to get your head out of the sand.

I mean really... the crux of the against argument is "Google is no threat - MSFT is still king until proven otherwise"

If that doesnt SUM UP what is wrong with the current culture, I dont know WHAT does!

Anonymous said...

To the guy from ArsTechnica... Ars is an ABM hotbed. Im on there all the time.

If you are an adult with a job, and are genuine in being here, you would understand why people on this blog are VERY careful about revealing who they are in ANY way if they are saying something critical.

I mean how naive can you possibly be? No... you're trying to goad someone in to making a mistake and screwing themselves because you are most likely another "I h8 those MicroSUX bastards!!!!" troller. I mean why else would you be here on an insider gripe blog if not to revel in it?

I don't blame YOU though. The fact that so many of you are as extreme as Al Qaeda in your pursuit of the destruction of MSFT is one of the proof points in just how bad the corporate image has gotten among the emerging technology saavy generation.

Anonymous said...

Our products will be second to none.

What market share would estimate you will have in 2009?

Anonymous said...

For the irritants who cant leave the Google thing alone without "evidence", here:

http://www.itwire.com/content/view/9889/53/

Whats next "well thats not a lot!"

THATS NOT THE POINT! The point is that Google is targeting the space, investing heavily, gaining mind share, building on a big brand...

I mean holy shit... Is it SO hard to see this is a viable threat?! AMAZING! But you just keep on ignoring them and pretending they have no customers, no plan, no market share. LOL

For the reading challenged, the article quotes that Google has 100,000 small and medium segment users and has just signed up Loreal, GE and Proctor and Gamble.

yeah... theres no problem here.

Anonymous said...

>So you're telling me you can't list a couple of companies. . .

I'm not the original poster, but I believe he gave you a link to Google Apps website, and on that page there were dozens of executive testimonials. Companies like GE, Procter and Gamble, Salesforce.com, and hundreds of small business representatives have comments posted. I think you might be missing the original poster's point, which is: what you think on Mini Microsoft really does not matter when it comes to vetting Google's future and stock value.

I don't work for Microsoft or Google for that matter.

Anonymous said...

>> As a partner at Microsoft, I’m engaged
> and passionate about the mobility area

Either you're not engaged, or you're just stupid. Pick your poison. You've been pwned by a newcomer so hard that you will now never be able to catch up. I said "WinMo is getting butchered" right after iPhone was announced. A lot of folks disagreed with me back then. Recently I was in a meeting where half the invitees had iPhones. And that's despite (or thanks to) iPhone not supporting Exchange and EDGE being slow. Now in June there's a 3G iPhone with Exchange support coming out.

Personally, I think the only thing partner level folks are engaged and passionate about is extracting as much money as possible in exchange for their incompetence.

Anonymous said...

The whole mobile developer discussion is very amusing. I work at IDC with a different group. The concerns raised by the anonymous commenter from the mobility group is very much valid for most of the groups at IDC. The management is far from the ground reality and the problem with them is that they never admit the fact and never try to asses the market conditions.

The other huge concern is about quality of hires at IDC. I see pathetic hires walking into the product teams. The PUM/GM put a lot of pressure on HR and they end up fast tracking the hiring process. On top of that, you always have internal poaching which is very unhealthy.

MS Poll is just an eye wash when it comes to taking feedback. I have never seen my group trying to fix the issues that were raised in MS Poll. I hope that the HR is awake and reading this.

Mini - May be you should run the IDC MS Poll on your blog for us :-). I find this platform to be more credible and quicker than the formal MS Poll process. Keep up the good work Mini!

Anonymous said...

if there was ever any doubt about who the alpha dog was in the tech industry, today cemented it

GOOG is a winner, +21% in a day, influential enough that it even helped bring up a dog like MSFT up 2%

Anonymous said...

>> There is really nothing "small
>> and fast" about the mess that
>> has evolved out of *NIX.

It's modular, so it can be scaled down to be as little as you want. iPhone runs UNIX, more or less.

>> I don't need to teach this to you;

Not only you don't need to, you also can't because you don't know jack shit about it yourself.

>> world must run on some variant of UNIX.

It sorta already does. That wireless connection you're using on campus - it's powered by Linux, my friend. Amazon, Google, eBay, Yahoo, Slashdot, Digg, Facebook - there are a scant few sites that I use every day that are NOT powered by UNIX.

>> "Im 20 and I know it all
>> because I surf the web and
>> read Wiki"

Thanks for describing yourself. Although in the context of the rest of your post, this was redundant.

>> BSD=Mach. And BSD is a mess.

BSD has nothing to do with Mach. Mach is a microkernel (created by Rick Rashid who now heads MSR, BTW). BSD has its own kernel and userland libraries, mostly compatible with UNIX. You must have read it on "wikis" that Apple combines Mach and BSD in Mac OS X and somehow concluded they're the same.

>> Just because 25 years ago Jobs
>> threw in the towel and admitted
>> he couldnt oversee the creation
>> of an OS

No, he was kicked out of the company for being too idealistic - precisely why Apple is so successful now. And he immediately proceeded to overseeing the creation of an OS.

>> Linux and the moldy old ancient
>> FreeBSD are the coming of the
>> savior isnt one of them.

Personally, I think we should release SQL Server, .NET Framework and Exchange for Linux at a very minimum. There's a lot of money to be made there.

Anonymous said...

I am from the EPG team at India. I don't know what they smoke but the MD and the GM for EPG have highly unrealistic expectations from the team. No one from the EPG team is happy and most of them will quit if this chaos continues for long.

We absolutely don't see any logic behind these unachievable targets. We can't grow at the same pace YoY as we don't see any healthy funnel established for that.

EPG India team is f@#^d and you will see a major churn soon.

Anonymous said...

"While Google increased profits in a recession by 30 percent, I wonder what Microsoft has done."

Microsoft increased profits by 30% in a recession to, dumbass. Our flat stock price has ZERO to do with the health of our business. Perhaps you have already forgotten the crazy bruhaha all over the media when these results were announced, and the resulting major increase in stock price that ran until our bonehead announcement about Yahoo.

Or, maybe you're just a crank who lives under a rock and likes to spout doom and gloom about Microsoft because it feels good.

http://www.microsoft.com/msft
/earnings/FY08/earn_rel_q2_08.mspx

Business news: READ IT.

Anonymous said...

>> I hope that someone from India evangelism team reads this and realizes that they are shooting themselves by ignoring the community. Microsoft's strength lies in the developer community rallying behind them and they are on the verge of loosing the community support. If this continues, get prepared to dig your own grave Microsoft!

The above comment should be cast in stone and put in the DPE India GM's office. Wow! This sounds like a loud wake up call (or a death bell ?). Does it clarify why the NSAT was in pits?

Anonymous said...

I have been with EPG at MS India (SMSG) for a long time. I have seen the ups and downs and saw many leaders come and go. But, let me tell you that the current HP imports are horrible leaders to work with. Someone said it right - They raped the Microsoft culture.

My request to the CVP is to spend more time with the employees and hear their version.

Anonymous said...

Does the "Im 20 and I know it all because I surf the web and read Wiki" crowd know anything besides OSX and Linux?!

Hang on. I'd guess that most people at MSFT (and therefore posters here) have CS degrees, and that involves a class on operating systems. Hardly just some web surfing.

I think we can all agree that every major operating system is kind of a mess and has its own flaws. But to imply that Linux and BSD are as big and messy and slow as Vista is ignoring all empirical evidence. I remember running Linux on a 20MHz 386SX with 4MB RAM back in the day and it worked great--preemptive multitasking, memory protection, virtual memory, all the GNU software, etc. And to my knowledge it hasn't changed much. Right now it runs great in all sorts of embedded applications--routers, TiVos, a million different cell phones, etc. (No surprise, all of these things have way better hardware than my old 386.) And Apple seems to have had some recent success getting OS X to work on cell phone hardware. A clean install of Ubuntu on a modern PC shows about ~150 MB RAM used vs. ~800 for Vista, and it's telling that the Eee PC runs great with Linux, is a little sluggish if you can shoehorn XP onto it, and obviously can't run Vista at all.

So for all the Linux/UNIX/BSD bashing you want to do, you'll have a hard time convincing me that the route Microsoft is taking is somehow superior.

Lazlo said...

So you're telling me you can't list a couple of companies eg (AT&T, The NY Times, CocaCola) because you'll blow your cover?

He may well be at a company that doesn't care to have its internal product evals published all over the internet.

The Google Docs apps are nowhere near as sophisticated as their Office equivalents. But that'll only deter potential users who actually care about the things Office offers that Google Docs doesn't.

When making an Office deployment, enterprises have two choices: 1. Figure out who really needs Word/Excel/PowerPoint/etc. to do their job, only license enough copies to cover those folks, and build/use a system to make sure the licensing keeps up with the organization's actual needs, or 2. enterprise-license the thing and dump it onto every desktop in the company. In case 2. you end up with a LOT of people who have full-blown Office apps on their desktops but who never use more than the top 5% of their features. These people don't know mail merge from a pivot table, and don't need to. Everything they do in Word/Excel/etc. today, they could do just as well in Google Docs tomorrow. Eventually the bean counters are going to realize this, and start to question why they're paying for software their employees don't need.

Those are the orgs where Google Docs is going to get traction. And that should concern Microsoft, because momentum works just as well in either direction: towards using Microsoft tools everywhere you can fit them, and against it.

Anonymous said...

I would also add question: what is going on in Russia. So many talented people left Russian sub during last two years. These people started Russian office business, but now they left Company. Most of the current personnel does not know anything about culture of "old team".
Almost all of current sales team is doing legalization and they don't even thinking about solution selling. That is the rison, I think, why many people left Microsoft Russia - they don't want to be a parts of legalization machine to help Norvegian guys build their carrier.

Anonymous said...

XP Embedded can run on a cash register.

There is no Vista embedded yet.

You simply cant say "Linux" or "OSX" can run on "anything" as a blanket statement.

Those are PURPOSE BUILT BUILDS. MSFT has purpose built builds of embedded also.

On mobile devices, the decision was made to invest in CE. CE actually IS a great OS for mobile devices. Lately the Windows Mobile FLAVOR of CE has had some growing pains, but CE is still great and WM has its moments.

Apple ONLY has OSX and MUST adapt it to every device because they have NO internal OS talent. NONE. ZERO. They gave up when Steve came back and forced NeXT back on them.

Linux is a kernel derived by a college student from MINIX. Political and social ideologues made it their lifes work to bang it into shape. As a result, it now gets ported to everything.

For anyone who has been around a long time (Ive been around this industry since the late 70s), it isnt exciting.

Its exciting to the young generation raised to think Linus is some sort of counter culture hero.

The main point is that every example listed, MSFT has a solution for. Thin clients? XPE or CE... Cash registers? same Cars? CE portables? CE or WM

The fact that Vista has lots of ancillary and higher level baggage to (in theory) enhance the security and user experience of a DESKTOP OS is immaterial.

You say that "Linux runs on ancient hardware". Big deal. The latest full bells and whistles UBUNTU does NOT. Im sitting here looking right at it on one of my other machines.

Im tired of the *NIX crowd trading on ignorance and knee-jerk anti-MSFT hysteria to obfuscate the realities of these issues.

Sure you can run CERTAIN BUILDS of Linux on old hardware. You can run Windows 2000 (a BUILD of NT) on old hardware too. These arguments against the core internals of Windows are simply ABM FUD.

I totally acknowledge that there were many ways Vista was mishandled and completely mismarketed. The OS internals being some sort of big problem is NOT one of those issues in my opinion.

Case in point is the Mac. As you said, Apple got it "to work pretty well" which is a miracle considering what a pig OSX is under the surface in so many ways. And the fact that they got a version of NetBSD to run on a phone with a UI is not impressive at all. I have BSD running on a DreamCast.

What is impressive with Apple is the elegance and marketability of their UI *design*

Anonymous said...

BSD has nothing to do with Mach. Mach is a microkernel (created by Rick Rashid who now heads MSR, BTW). BSD has its own kernel and userland libraries, mostly compatible with UNIX. You must have read it on "wikis" that Apple combines Mach and BSD in Mac OS X and somehow concluded they're the same.

Wrong... For the purpose of this type of discussion, those generalisations are reasonable enough. If you want to nitpick, go right ahead, but the fact is that XNU *is* a bastardization of the original Mach kernel and chunks of the BSD kernel.

BSD is a mess in that it has evolved in so many different directions you need a complex family tree to track it. By FAR the most popular descendent, and the reason people even discuss it today in a broad context, is XNU. Given the hybrid nature of the most commercially succesful (by far) version of either of their descendents, it really isnt a stretch to lump them together.

And as for Jobs, totally agree he was/is visionary and is almost the sole reason for Apple's success. But the fact is, he DID give up on attempting to create an OS.

What annoys me about debates like this (and folks like you) is this kind of unspoken resentment that MSFT even DARES to make an OS that isnt UNIX.

I have seen it repeated MANY times by MANY OSS and *NIX zealots that "humanity" would be better served by there being a single, common, foundation OS (and that code being OSS and, of course *NIX derived)

The young crowd viewing this as greatly counter culture jumps onboard without even giving it a lot of thought. How much real thought to the issues is given on some place like slashdot, for example?

This is great for the *NIX bigots (of which I'm sure you are one), but for folks who would like to continue to see SOME measure of diversity (and at this point, that pretty much means ONLY Windows) in computing, it is discouraging.

Anonymous said...

>Microsoft increased profits by 30% in a recession to, dumbass.

*sigh* Is there really a need for the name calling? I guess the articles about the kids running Microsoft in the 80' ring true except you might say the kids in their fifties running Microsoft.

Anyone who reads as I do understands that I was speaking about this week's results for Google, not last quarter's for Microsoft. I hate the comparison thing. No need to go there.

I use the Yahoo stat sheets for my financial info here:
http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bs?s=MSFT&annual
and here:
http://finance.yahoo.com/q/ks?s=MSFT

The important thing to remember is the market cap numbers, and current valuation stats, but anybody who thinks stock value has zero effect on the health of a business has definitely been drinking too much koolaid.

Microsoft market cap seems to be fluctuating as much as stock these days and that is a telltale sign of an unhealthy company, going back to a year or so ago there were some huge drops and to the more recent Yahoo bid. That bid caused Microsoft to lose the amount bid in eight days. That my friend is a sorry statement on the management of Microsoft that defies imagination. We know why the board puts up with it--the board is the management at Microsoft, so to get rid of Balmer is a near impossibility. But it is Balmer who is the one driving the company into its status as a victim of disruptive technology.

Yes I am aware of all the great stuff MS is doing regarding trying to stay relevant in the age of the massive changes in the way computing is done, but it seems to have little or no effect on the performance and value of the company.

A couple of articles for you to read (a little dated but still relevant) about the true value of Microsoft or depending on how you look at it on how some have incorrectly valued the company.

http://seekingalpha.com/article/47981-microsoft-s-154-billion-question-accounting-for-the-unaccountable

The $279 billion market cap value seems to be missing 154 billion from last year's calculations. So what is the real value of your company? The great problem at hand is not only a crisis in direction, but also a crisis in perception as well as actual financial results.

http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/02/09/microsofts-80-billion-and-growing-yahoo-headache/

Meanwhile, Google added another 20 percent today with a whopping 89 point gain in share value. Holy shit. What is happening here, really? I contend it is all in the idea of good will and brand value perception. The rest as you contend has not yet even been proven, so what is going on?

Your company has precious little time to clear the top decks of the management structure, including Balmer if it is to save itself--I contend it is already too little too late. This is an unyielding truth and has nothing to do with a guy who lives under a rock spouting negative karma.

Anonymous said...

Either you're not engaged, or you're just stupid. Pick your poison. You've been pwned by a newcomer so hard that you will now never be able to catch up.

Go easy on them. It is quite evident that IDC execs got nothing to show, so all they can offer here is a lot of hot air and back it up with more blah.

And by now, it should not be surprising that Redmond actually buys into all the bull. Someday when the dino has fallen and the dust has settled, all this will make a good story over a few drinks at some pub.

Gotta go... incoming call on my iphone.

Anonymous said...

I second that. EPG is dead. MS India SMSG is dead and all that is left is the funeral. Fire every HP hire and first should be Neelam. Neelam knows nothing and her HP friends are incompetent and abuse the team. EPG Director uses curse words at account managers, set unachievable targets, harass people on weekends, do not respect private time. Good people are going. Turnover is going to get worse (if possible).

And Tarun Gulati has fucked up DPE so bad and still gets the BMO post? There is no merit in Microsoft India. Do what is fast even if it is not right. Maybe management likes the way Tarun dances at events and sends mail with lots of graphics. That is the only reason he can get the BMO role.

When will the management acknowledge that there is a problem in Microsoft India?

Anonymous said...

Why everybody is blaming EPG and DPE and Neelam leadership? Why not to blame the person who hired them.? I mean Ravi Venkatesan. He has hired bad people and he is also responsibile for the state of matters in Microsoft India. He would be as guilty as the rest of management team.

Anonymous said...

Virtual TechDays was a huge virtual tamasha. Hey.. am I giving ideas to the DPE team for naming the next mega event as TechTamasha 2008?

Doesn't sound that bad though ;-).

Anonymous said...

Microsoft increased profits by 30% in a recession to, dumbass. Our flat stock price has ZERO to do with the health of our business.
>
The stock has everything to the future perceived health of the business. With the Yahoo! investment, it is any ones guess what the future looks like.

Anonymous said...

Veering a little OT, here's some historical info concerning the hysterical attack on Unix.

One could almost say that VMS and Unix originated on the same hardware platform - DEC's 16-bit PDP-11 hardware (OK the very first Unix was on PDP-7 or 8, iirc).

VMS grew out of RSX... a new OS to take advantage of the 32-bit Virtual Address eXtension (VAX) hardware, but with the same style of interfaces and commands.

Unix was a reaction to the death-march of Multics development- a giant monolithic system that was supposed to be all things to all men (hmm, we never learn, do we?).

In the heyday of these OSs (late '80s) there was a clear choice between them. They were both stable and reliable, but VMS tended to be more appropriate for business while Unix was an OS "by developers for developers" (spot the pattern?). Indeed Microsoft got started using Unix as its platform, and cross-compiling for their target platform.

Having used them both, I'd say they were about on a par. I loved the Unix development tools and the simple but powerful system calls; but hated the seemingly arbitrary command names. VMS had the world's greatest editor and excellent documentation. The VMS sysadmin had more control over what users could do, but conversely as a user it sometimes felt like one's hands were tied.

It's funny that MPE was mentioned, it was the OS on which I first learned to program. It was really horrible, especially the networking (DS/3000) but had one redeeming feature - for business applications it was about 50% faster than HP-UX on the same hardware.

Why am I bothering to write this? it's to point out that an OS is not inherently good or bad... it's how good it is at what it is supposed to be doing.

Unix was good enough for HP to bring out MPE/IX (an MPE personality on Unix underpinnings). VMS was good enough for Microsoft to buy DEC's team who were developing "VMS on '386 with a Windows personality" (i.e. Windows NT).

And today those two upstarts Windows and Linux still perpetuate the philosophical differences between VMS and Unix.

One of the ways that you see this is that the Unixes are way more portable than Windows - Windows on a non-x86 architecture has always been the poor relation.

However the concept of decoupling the user interface from the underlying OS wasn't just a Unix thing; VAXstations were eventually running X-windows just as well as Unix workstations did, and DEC end up offering a choice of VMS or Ultrix on their systems.

Conclusion: it's not unreasonable to suggest that Microsoft would benefit from decoupling the operating system and UI in the way that is normal for Unix systems and Macs.

It probably wouldn't work to use Unix as the underlying OS. There's too much Windows application code that assumes a process and security model (ACLs etc.) that is philosophically more VMS than Unix.

The debate about which OS has the most messy code is not one worth getting into (it's like microkernel vs. monolithic kernel... there are *no* winners). They've both been hacked on by several generations of programmers. At a guess (based on the Longhorn/Vista schedule slippage) I'd say that Windows is probably in worse shape.

And as for MPE - just say no.

Mark, who has programmed extensively under both Unix and Windows... and is *still* waiting for them to catch up with Domain/OS.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, Google added another 20 percent today with a whopping 89 point gain in share value. Holy shit. What is happening here, really? I contend it is all in the idea of good will and brand value perception. The rest as you contend has not yet even been proven, so what is going on?

I would humbly suggest that Google's stock activity -- and volatility -- is unhealthy and unsustainable. When the value of your stock increases and decreases by *hundreds of points* in a single year, something is not right in frogtown.

Google is a rollercoaster that recent history has shown is as likely to tank a hundred points in a day as it is likely to gain a hundred points in a day, and for now it remains firmly trapped in a speculative bubble.

Take a gander at Google's movement over the last 3 years -- it's not especially reassuring and the needle hasn't really moved on the stock much since 2005.

Anonymous said...

"Apple ONLY has OSX and MUST adapt it to every device because they have NO internal OS talent. NONE. ZERO."


Ha ha ha ha ha!! I love it. Yes, Apple has nothing. That's obvious!

Dude, your portfolio's diversified, right?

Anonymous said...

@dummy #1:

>> XP Embedded can run on a cash register.

Can it run on a wristwatch (like Linux) or on a cell phone (like Mac OS X)?

>> Apple ONLY has OSX and MUST
>> adapt it to every device
>> because they have NO internal
>> OS talent.

I think it's us (Microsoft) who have NO internal OS talent. Vista is a great demonstration of my point, and Mac OS X Leopard and Mac OS X Mobile are great counterpoints to your statement. Windows is A LOT uglier under the hood than Mac OS X, particularly now that they're dropping legacy APIs. It's also a lot more modular, and its multimedia subsystems (imaging, audio, video) are a lot more advanced. This is why they can easily remove bits and put a scaled down version of the same OS into a cell phone (that runs a different processor to boot). Finally, OS X runs faster and consumes less power on the same hardware than Vista. If that's the product of a bunch of talentless hacks, we gotta hire some talentless hacks too.

@dummy #2:

>> BSD is a mess

Just because you repeat it over and over doesn't make it true. Fact is, it is trivial to port programs between different flavors of UNIX. Most of the time it comes down to simply recompiling. Another fact is, BSD is a lot less of a mess than Win32.

>> But the fact is, he DID give up on attempting to create an OS.

You're contradicting yourself. He did oversee the creation of NeXT Step, which is now called Mac OS X. They didn't start from a clean slate, that's true. But there was simply no reason to do so. Thanks to not starting from a clean slate they were very much ahead of their time in everything else.

Anonymous said...

Former Microsoftee here:

Windows CE probably made some sense back when it was first invented, but there doesn't seem to be much reason to use it now. It seems to have some peculiar design compromises that make it more difficult to get high performance than competitive kernels. Microsoft's interests would probably be better served by switching mobile development to the Windows NT kernel.

I think it's significant that Microsoft chose to use NT instead of CE on the Xbox and Xbox 360.

Some posters on this thread suggest that NT is not very portable, but this doesn't seem to be true in practice. NT was originally designed on the non-x86 i860 and has run well on many other architectures. It even runs well on the big-endian Xbox 360.

One big advantage of using a standard OS kernel (like Linux, BSD or NT) is that you can reuse existing debugged components. There's still cross-architecture porting issues, and the usual tangle of dependencies, but it's much easier than having to port to a new OS. And when the port is done, you are likely to get pretty good performance.

Windows has the advantage of having a huge body of debugged code that was written back in the NT4 era. This code would probably run very well on today's cell phones. (Similar CPU performance, memory, and so on.) (Hmm, now that I think of it there might be security issues taking straight NT4 code. But the performance is there.)

However, I think switching from CE to NT would only solve 20% of Windows Mobile's problem. The main problem is that they are caught between Apple/Blackberry (better UI) and Linux (free). Buying Danger is a good way to address the UI problem. But what about "free"?

Steve Ballmer said...

I will hunt you people down and fire the lot of you!

Anonymous said...

I seriously wonder how on earth The current DPE GM can be the BMO lead! Anyone in their right senses would never do this hiring. Not even in their wildest dreams.

If the CVP needs to be woken up to the reality, let us do that. But moving him to BMO is just not acceptable to anyone.

He survives only on hardcore politics. The first thing he will do is to find those in his direct reports who are insecure and vulnerable. He will strike a deal with them so that they will push his dumbass ideas for a promotion. After that his strategy is pure brand building for himself. He will push himself into every exec. round table and meeting to talk crap. In this process he would kill anyone who forms an obstacle for his growth. I challenge anyone who can prove me wrong on this! This is his proven strategy to survive in the system.

He is half mature than my pet dog! He doesn't pickup any option that looks the most obvious and sensible for the team and business. He only does things that are absolutely weird and those lack any rationale. Why? just because he feels that they might help him generate a lot of PR and hopefully help in his reviews. Have you ever seen him in front of partners and customers? He over commits without checking with the team. His customer facing skills are pathetic.

If DPE got rotten in the last two years, BMO will suffer from an irreparable damage in his leadership. If the top management wants the BMO to commit mass suicide in FY09, they can merrily move him into the slot.

Let me close this by saying that no one wants him in the BMO role. That's the voice of the sub!

Thanks to Mini for giving us a channel to speak out!

Guys - Please share your concerns about DPE GM moving to BMO.

Anonymous said...

The main point is that every example listed, MSFT has a solution for. Thin clients? XPE or CE... Cash registers? same Cars? CE portables? CE or WM

I know you think you're winning the argument but all you're saying to me is that Microsoft does not have an operating system that's small, fast, and modular enough to be suitable for a router AND a supercomputer.

Anonymous said...

An open letter to Mr. Jean-Philippe Courtois & Mr. Kevin Turner -

Can you please visit India once and listen to the feedback from the field?

The CVP, MD and all her direct reports made this company a miserable place to work for! They created a feudal fiefdom for themselves.

Please don't fall for things like the 'Best Place to Work For' recognition by a reputed publication. These can be bought in India for a price. It is a well known fact that the One India PR head spent a fraction of her budget to buy this! It's an irony that we got that award when we are experiencing the opposite of that - 'worst place to work for!'

You might be rewriting the corporate history and also doing something like this for the first time at Microsoft- Can you please fire the CVP and everyone who is two levels below him? Only that can save the Indian subsidiary.

Do let us know how to escalate the seriousness of this issue to you. Set up an anonymous discussion forum and you will get first hand information from everyone in the sub. No! I am not referring to MS Poll! The thick skinned leadership team has become immune to it.

Please.. please help us get back the original culture at Microsoft India and let's once again make this the best place to work for!

You might ask me why am I still hanging around? I am one of the victims from the EPG team and I have decided to quit if things don't change. I have nothing to loose and already have a couple of offers on hand. But definitely want to raise my voice before I call it quits.

Note to Mini - Please don't censor this. This should reach the right people and convey the right message.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft Russia is dead and Norge leader is preparing himself for the move to corporate HQ. I hope it will happen faster, because I'd like to see Microsoft Russia old culture back, when it was responsible growth leader, who was also developing talent, which is currently working for VTB, Eurocommerz, Cisco, Intel, EMC and many other companies.

Birger screwed up the culture, brought irresponsible leaders and killed the vision of the subsidiary, which Olga have built across so many years.

Anonymous said...

I am an Indian from Redmond and closely follow the innovation that takes place at IDC. I am interested in that initiative because these folks target the emerging markets which includes India.

The IDC EMIG team beat their chest saying they have the coolest ideas with them.

They started Veda without any understanding of the market and after pumping in a lot of Dollars and wasting 3+ years, realized that it is not feasible to make hardware.

Wait for another year, they will realize it is also not feasible doing software. Already their software sucks big time.

Veda is a classic example of what happens when you leave everything to IDC. There is not enough market research or customer understanding that happens there.

And then talk about their contact sync. What an obsolete product idea! My age old Sony Ericson and Nokia do that more elegantly.

Other ideas are equally unexciting.

Thats the sad state of affairs at Hyderabad.

Anonymous said...

I am from BMO India and I don't want this joker to be my lead! We saw how he ran the DPE team.

I will sign the petition if required.

Neelam-Are you listening?

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