Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Oy, an Extreme Bummer!

Another blogging light has gone out: MSFTextrememakeover has put up one last post, Eight Years of Wrongness.

Now that's how to go out in style! So take a moment to grab your favorite drink and put some time aside and give it one, long slow read. The kick-off:

It's sobering to realize that during Ballmer's term as CEO, MSFT has underperformed almost all of its top tech peers (including AAPL, IBM, HPQ, SAP, INTC, CSCO, SYMC, NOK, ORCL, ADBE, RIMM, QCOM, Ebay, and AMZN), and badly lagged the major averages. We may even see our third plunge to test the 2000 lows during his watch. Unbelievable.

...wait for it...

So it's time for me to listen to the fat lady who has been singing for years now, and finally pull the plug. I can't keep waiting another 11 years for MSFT's leadership to deliver the returns that say AAPL's have in just the past 12 months, despite struggling (and that's on top of 2000+% this decade).

...leading to the send-off:

So with that, I announce the end of my MSFTextrememakeover blogging career. The timing seems right as this is my 100th post. Good luck to all those who continue to hold MSFT.

...

Damn. Well, all good things, right? I'll certainly miss the analysis that went beyond anything I ever pulled together. Cheers to you, Extreme, and thanks for the posts.


140 comments:

Anonymous said...

There goes another one. My team is bleeding people left and right, I myself am looking elsewhere. I couldn't agree more with MSFTExtremeMakeover. I keep working myself to death, but all the love and care and time I invest hasn't paid off. Time to move on.

Anonymous said...

Somewhat connected but off-topic also...

For the life of me, I just cannot understand why MSFT when it builds its Windows 'house' insists on growing its own trees for the lumber, baking its own bricks and smelting its own ores for the metals used in the wiring and plumbing; when MSFT could use ready-made component modules just like any other 'house' builder and join them together. Is it the NIH (Not Invented Here) syndrome or just plain pig-headedness?

Instead of trying to build everything from the ground up and taking YEARS, why not try to short-circuit those huge development times?

Why not take a leaf out of Apple's book and use a basis of a ready-made OS and write a custom-GUI on top? Sure, there would be a short-lived burst of 'Apple copy-cats!' but who these days actually remembers that under the Apple GUI is really a BSD-Unix OS?

Other advantages of using an underpinning of BSD-Unix is that with a single stroke, the security advantages and the large collection of standard applications are immediately available.

It's not as if MSFT hasn't ever brought in ready-made components in the past from BSD: the TCP/IP stack for example. Was that W95 or W98? I can't remember. The beauty of BSD components is that the BSD-License allows them to be incorporated into proprietary software.

For backwards-compatibility, one can keep using all the old software with a suitable Win32 VM.

Come on. You know (deep down where you really live) that I'm right.Time is something that even MSFT can't produce out of a hat. Save time, save MSFT!

Anonymous said...

After more than 15 years with this company, I honestly believe that the next 24 months will prove that we will either survive or wither like so many others. On how many more flights can I pull my Windows mobile phone out (only to find I need to reboot it) while watching 3 people around me navigate their iPhone with their thumb? The ship has holes in the hull and Captain Blye is off trying to buy/no I'm not/yes I am/well maybe only a part of Yahoo! but now we don't need it because it isn't "strategic enough." But hey, we ruined them in the process to make our chief competitor stronger. Smart strategy. But I digress ....

Msft has to rebirth to survive. It takes way to long to build anything and then it isn't innovative. If Win7 isn't at least interesting, there will be no Msft worth saving, just like the IBM of the 90's without the Gertsner ....

Anonymous said...

>> Come on. You know that I'm right

No we don't. The last thing we need is yet another half a billion dollar lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

Windows now a days is lot more secure than BSD-Unix.

BSD-Unix can't take the attack load which comes when 90% of the users use it.

BSD-Unix is a stagnant technology wherease Windows has gotten thousands of IQ years.

BSD-Unix is good for an underdog whose identity is create by a false ad campaign of maligning its competitors.

Anonymous said...

worth a read for some perspective on how people are using computers and thinking about msft's future...

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=26744962

Anonymous said...

Zune ad
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvrMB66Xy1I

Ipod ad
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcGD9J3pEtU

Comments make interesting reading.

Anonymous said...

"The last thing we need is yet another half a billion dollar lawsuit."

Who would sue you? Have you read the license?

Anonymous said...

Building windows - what we need there is a decoupling of the kernel, various platforms and the UI teams. They should innovate on their own cycles and release updates independently.

What is costing us dearly is the insistence on 'packaged software' box-style releases. So 80ies and so far behind the times, especially when our business model already has migrated to software as a service.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear. A few comments in and already we've got a flame war brewing.

Windows now a days is lot more secure than BSD-Unix.
It's definitely better than ever before, but which flavours of Windows and which flavours of BSD-Unix are we talking about here? Can we compare WinXP to OpenBSD, or Vista to Tru64 UNIX? Hmm... I'm wondering if this poster is trolling about OS X.

BSD-Unix can't take the attack load which comes when 90% of the users use it.
Well, that's certainly easy to prove, isn't it? Just switch 90% of the world to a BSD-Unix variant such as OpenBSD. Until such a time, we have an opinion about this and that's all it should be presented as.

BSD-Unix is a stagnant technology wherease Windows has gotten thousands of IQ years.
O... kay. So those thousands of IQ years (is this a real term people use?) resulted in decisions like "let's hook OS scripting into email!" and Vista (which I actually quite like, but I'm not in a majority here). Boasting about IQ years would be more effective from a position of a vrey warmly received Windows release, which Vista is clearly not.
And no-one is developing a BSD variant any more? Seriously?

BSD-Unix is good for an underdog whose identity is create by a false ad campaign of maligning its competitors.
Ah, our troll still doesn't want to name the underdog. Could it be JunOS? Perhaps DragonflyBSD. Maybe it's NetBSD. If only there were more hints!

Maybe instead we could stay a bit focused on the topic at hand.

I'm still a bit stunned that MSFTExtremeMakeover has called it quits. I thought he (or she) was going to go on indefinitely. I guess making no real headway wears you down though. It's a sad loss for informed, well-constructed criticism.

Anonymous said...

Not talking about Windows, but even in Search, it is so hard to get open source libraries into our source tree. I am talking about those with BSD or Apache licenses, not GPL. Everything needs an LCA review, and those attorneys with high salaries never respond. Come on, nowadays who cares if your service uses open source software or not. If Google is using it, Yahoo is using it, why can't us??

Anonymous said...

Maybe this record is part of it ;-): Microsoft adds a record 11,200 employees http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/business/367743_msftemploy20.html

Omega said...

It's too bad that Microsoft has to lose a critic in the name of futility. I feel like that's more akin to giving up the cause for improvement.

That being said - and correct me if I'm wrong - but now is a good time for Microsoft boosters to show some emotion. There is a very deeply rooted stereotype that Microsoft supporters are unwavering in the face of the most obvious of mistakes the company commits.

Where's the humble "Yeah, we had a horse in this race and we really did pick a bad one..."

How much conjured technical opinion have truly knowledgeable people had to endure because Microsoft is more marketing than technology?

Some humility is badly needed to help reverse some of the wild eyed insanity Microsoft has given the industry. The damage has become so broad it is in fact imperceptible because it has reshaped the very definition of what it means to have technical understanding.

Like what?

What's with the terminology spamming? It started with TCO and now we're at "software ecosystem". These ridiculous phrases sound like the last things a talking chair whispers in my ear just before I wake up from a strange dream. What's the intent of their meaning exactly?

That takes me to Ballmer who people can't just outright denigrate. Seriously - he deserves it guys!

What about the idea that Vista is "better" or even "faster"?
You have to realize you may as well just buy a shirt that says "towing the company line".
It's sad that Microsoft can't make something better than OSX with what was mis-marketed as a ground up rewrite. Sad because when it comes down to it, OSX makes a crappy Unix! Linux blazes circles around both Windows and OSX...

The time has really come for Microsoft supporters to ditch their objectivity and start looking at things in ways - to the technical people - are simply a leveraging of common sense.

I hope that Mini doesn't lose his heart at this point.

Charles said...

... the next 24 months will prove that we will either survive or wither like so many others.

It won't be that quick or that clear cut.

It takes way to long to build anything and then it isn't innovative.

or reliable.

... just like the IBM of the 90's without the Gertsner ....

This oft repeated comparison of Microsoft to "IBM of the 90's" is wishful thinking.

At its worst, IBM's strategic marketing hadn't adapted to an e-commerce world but operationally IBM still produced highly valued and trusted products and was always innovative in both hardware and software, alebit at a pace commensurate with the caution befitting the RAS requirements of it's Fortune 100 accounts. At its worst, IBM's product, service, and fiscal reputation commanded far more respect than Microsoft's ever did (or likely will). IBM never lost it's core competencies and IBM's board never fiddled while the company burned.

A more apt comparison is Microsoft to General Motors of the 70's: bloated, inept, low quality products with myriad bells & whistles but fundamentally inefficient and short-lived, shackled by unions (v. Microsoft's bureaucracy), spread too thin, rising competition, complacently subsisting on a cash cow (GMAC), abusive and antagonistic towards customers, myopic management and a rubber-stamp BoD.

Like GM, Microsoft will not vanish entirely but slowly grind itself into irrelevance. Redmond is the new Detroit.

Anonymous said...

The GM comparison is apt. Instead of seeking to make the best product possible, the focus is practically only on making money. That sort of strategy ultimately weighs on the backs of those who do the paying.

Today's tech consumer expects more-- this isn't the 80s when people didn't know any better. Computing is now integrated into peoples' lives and most don't want "good enough" anymore.

Once customers feel burned by a company, it's never quite the same. GM is working hard to make a comeback, but how many consumers have switched brand loyalty to an Asian auto maker that NEVER took them for granted?

Anonymous said...

>> OSX makes a crappy Unix

To the contrary. OSX is UNIX certified. Linux is not.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Microsoft's leaders have made some bad decisions. However, the main reason Microsoft will never regain its dominance is a number of trends that are beyond its control.

One is that applications are moving increasiningly to the web. Related to that is that computers are considerably more powerful than the average person needs -- or in the developing world can afford -- so the new ultra-low price laptop market is exploding. A third trend is that open source software is now good enough. A forth trend is the the EU is finally doing what the American government and court system never did, namely stoping Microsoft from using regular breaking of the law as a competitive tactic.

Put them all together and it is clear that Microsoft's glory days are over. Do you disagree, Mini? Can you come up with a strategy that Microsoft could use to regain its mojo?

Anonymous said...

After 10 years at Microsoft, I hate to concur with whoever said that Microsoft is the new Detroit. We'll be around, but we'll be struggling to keep employees. Our products will be harder and harder to sell and there will be little innovation that genuinely brings value to consumers and enterprise.
Of course, my pet peeve is that our share price has not gone up in 10 years, we no longer get stock options (the stock grant size really sucks) and we get people like Kevin Turner to Walmartize our company. The way he behaves, you'd think we were losing money. And at some point he needs to realize that cutting costs does not mean much if you can't come up with killer products and if you can't get a sales force to stay.

Anonymous said...

Not talking about Windows, but even in Search, it is so hard to get open source libraries into our source tree.

Lawyers are running the company, and at such point, hope for doing some kind of innovation or taking risks is lost. Good luck MS.

Anonymous said...

My team is also losing people like there's no tomorrow... Half the people is complaining about the salary and not keeping up with inflation.

Anonymous said...

Of course, my pet peeve is that our share price has not gone up in 10 years, we no longer get stock options (the stock grant size really sucks)

Let's qualify that statement: the stock grant size really sucks for L59-63.

I'm a 64 and stock grants give me a nice ~40k yearly addition to my salary (cumulatively), and when you hit (if you hit) 65 it only gets sweeter.

That said, if you're a L60 and the cumulative stock grant addition is just a few k a year, then it's truly not worth it, and that's what Microsoft doesn't get -- when I started as a L59 my stock options allowed me to buy my first house after just 2 years with the company... those days are over now until you've managed to claw your way up the ladder.

We're disrespecting all of our future talent by telling them that the financial opportunity doesn't start until you've learned how to move-up in the system -- that breeds lowest common denominator talent, and cuts innovation off at the knees.

Anonymous said...

My team is also losing people like there's no tomorrow... Half the people is complaining about the salary and not keeping up with inflation.


My team must have good leadership, a good business plan, good proven career growth, or all 3, because we haven't lost anyone to "bad attrition" outside the company in months. (i.e. all the people who have quit have been more or less asked to leave) Yes, ho-hum performers' salaries may not keep up with inflation but most people are getting raises and promotions that are enough combined with a solid business plan to keep people reasonably happy. In other words, the entire company is not the same.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Too many topics to comment on.

For raises not keeping up with inflation, I can sympathize: I'm at the top of my bracket for my level - where I've been for 6 years. My salary today is worth less than my salary of 6 years ago. I can sympathize, but not be too critical: I choose to continue to work for MS. I can quit at any time. I've worked for other companies longer in my career than for Microsoft, so unlike many, I'm not gripped by fear of the unknown. It's my choice, I have my reasons, but I also have to take the responsibility that goes with them.

Second, On Unix, tricky question. I'll merely put forth that those who believe that adoption of a sole implementation of something is the only way to go is promoting the stifiling of competition. True competition in the OS space hasn't been seen in nearly 20 years. I understand that wasn't your point, but recognize that it's a side effect.

Third, I've seen comments from people in many of Mini's blogs complaining that Microsoft should do _X_ or _Y_. Why do you assume that it isn't? Upper management knows very well that the iPhone provides a superior experience to "Windows Mobile". Do they want to compete? I don't know, but if it's a profitable business, I can guess.

Fourth, people leaving. Some I regret, some I'm so pleased that I can't remove a smile from my face. The only place I don't see people leaving is the rank of Partners. There is a very simple reason partners do not leave frequently unless forced. Yes, it's the first one that comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

interesting fact: I am looking around internationally, and some of the offers I am seeing are >250k in effective US Dollar terms (and that's not just because the dollar sucks and is adjusted for taxes). I used to think i did good here, but my <150k pale by comparison.

Anonymous said...

Related to that is that computers are considerably more powerful than the average person needs -- or in the developing world can afford -- so the new ultra-low price laptop market is exploding. A third trend is that open source software is now good enough.

I like open source as much as the next guy, but the user interfaces for Linux just aren't there yet for anything more complicated than web browsing. Notice that the web is FULL of people asking and explaining how to get Windows XP onto these mini-laptops. It's too bad Microsoft is doing everything it can to keep people from using XP.

Anonymous said...

@omega... You wrote a whole ton and it seems like what your pet peeve really is is terminology.

Putting aside that I think such pettiness is the mark of insanity, you cant lay the blame for "software ecosystem", "TCO" and other jargon on MSFT - these terms are far more the creation of analysts and management consultants.

If this is what is important to you in life and how you define "ruining technology", then good luck to you Mr Quixote, tell the Windmills we said hi.

As for MSFT just creating a UNIX based OS, for ONCE I would LOVE for the shallow thinkers who endlessly regurgitate that argument to explain WHY that should be done. WHAT would be gained that is currently missing and WHY do you think that would be a magic fix for any of the problems the company currently faces?

Lastly, on the topic of IBM in the 90s, anyone who says that IBM "never lost their core competency" or that the board never "fiddled while the company burned" is clueless and has no idea at all what the history is.

Im not even going to bother justifying it with a debate. Even if I didnt have inside experience from that time period, there is plenty of public historical commentary that proves the stupidity of such statements.

Anonymous said...

Several posts on MSFTExtreme re Robbie Bach and the E&D org. Just curious - is it true that the new campus being built along 148th is all for Robbie's group? Also, any insight from others reading this post on the firing of E&D VP Jeff Bell?

Anonymous said...

and were almost to 90,000.
http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/techtracks/2008/06/microsoft_head_count_way_up_in_last_11_months_near.html

Anonymous said...

interesting fact: I am looking around internationally, and some of the offers I am seeing are >250k in effective US Dollar terms (and that's not just because the dollar sucks and is adjusted for taxes). I used to think i did good here, but my <150k pale by comparison.

Oh, do tell -- what jobs, exactly, are paying 250k effective US, and where might they be?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of how Microsoft stacks up wrt other companies as an employer, you guys should check out http://www.glassdoor.com/. Turns out, Microsoft is actually not that bad in relative terms, aside from the bureaucracy. For instance, you will see that Apple underpays its employees and forces them into some ridiculous amounts of overtime, and politics at Google are just as bad (or worse) as at MSFT. Seriously, that site was an eye opener for me. After 7+ years at MSFT, the only reasonable choice for me to leave for is my own company, I'm afraid. Working for the man is going to be just the same no matter where you go, except if you go to GOOG you won't ever see your kids again if you want to get promoted.

toby said...

who these days actually remembers that under the Apple GUI is really a BSD-Unix OS

Everybody who does serious development on it :-) It's a great environment to get work done.

Anonymous said...

>We're disrespecting all of our future talent by telling them that the financial opportunity doesn't start until you've learned how to move-up in the system -- that breeds lowest common denominator talent, and cuts innovation off at the knees.

Actually it's worse than that. Most of the A graduates now go to the likes of Google, with only the B graduate left for Microsoft. Upper management does not seem to get this at all...

Anonymous said...

"Seriously, that site was an eye opener for me. After 7+ years at MSFT, the only reasonable choice for me to leave for is my own company, I'm afraid."

I was a 5%+ owner in a startup, pretty much my own company. That was 10+ years before coming to Microsoft. That company went bankrupt, but it was a fun place to be. However, Microsoft is a way better place to work. I was blown away how well people at Microsoft are treated!

Anonymous said...

As for MSFT just creating a UNIX based OS, for ONCE I would LOVE for the shallow thinkers who endlessly regurgitate that argument to explain WHY that should be done.

I thought I made that clear in my first comment: Instead of trying to build everything from the ground up and taking YEARS, why not try to short-circuit those huge development times?

The Vista problem is that it took SEVEN YEARS to produce an absolute pig. Because it it is so monolithic, with everything seemingly depending on something else. Ballmer states that Windows 7 will be mainly Vista. Do you see where I'm heading? A total of TEN YEARS spent on something that the general public considers a dog! Even Ford knew when to cut its losses and scrap the Edsel. That was an earlier case of company hubris.

Once again, TIME is important. Spend your time on the GUI. Apple can update its OSX yearly because it doesn't have to worry about the successful BSD-Unix underpinning. MSFT is lucky to have 10 years between one success and another.

Detroit died because the Big 3 knew better (or so they thought). Seattle is going the same way.

Omega said...

@anonymous who responded to me:

I've seen people who used to work for pro Microsoft shops complain about the new network stack in Vista.
What was it based on before Vista? Help me remember...

I don't recall saying Microsoft should become a Unix provider (although the thought obviously crossed their mind in the past). If Microsoft wants to maintain a proprietary and non standard product, there's no denying that they have supporters.
The main issue is that Microsoft fails people by being a software company that is no longer good at software.

There was this fork in the road at Windows 2000. It was either "continue to make great operating systems" or "let's just market the semblance of improvement visually".

Terminology is only a small and more recent displeasure of mine. Microsoft indeed acts as a source for a lot of it as the company now mistakes innovation and competence with marketing and persuasion.
You're going out of your way to sidetrack a lot of other good points by focusing on what I said. Let's look at some more:

I won't say that Microsoft has ever had an ethic that can empower it to rival FOSS. What I will say is that they have produced very likable products in the past and I don't see why that had to change.
I will also say that there's no reason why Microsoft can't adapt.

I'd love to get into ASP.NET more. But it's slow and not free. Something you don't get.
I would have really enjoyed a new OS released from Microsoft, but Vista accomplishes less with more.

What exactly prevents any Microsoft supporter from admitting the company is beat these days? When Bill Gates himself offers his opinion after the next Windows release on Vista, what can you possibly have left to rant?

I don't mind what you say from your perspective. The insults and similes are a bit bullish though considering the state of the company.
You know - there's no reason to be like this...except hubris.

Anonymous said...

>> I'd love to get into ASP.NET more. But it's slow and not free.

I've actually seen comparisons of different web app stacks (not sponsored by Microsoft, mind you), and ASP.NET is consistently the fastest. Which it should be, given that you're running the actual machine code at all times. ASP.NET is also by far the simplest framework to learn. Everything just makes sense. There are no config files to maintain. And finally, there are even open source implementations of it. See XSP in Mono.

Anonymous said...

What was it based on before Vista? Help me remember...
Haha, fell for that old myth about Microsoft's network stack containing BSD code, eh? Next thing you'll tell us is that drinking pop rocks and soda will make people explode.

The rest of your post is equally vacuous.

Anonymous said...

The Vista problem is that it took SEVEN YEARS to produce an absolute pig. Because it it is so monolithic, with everything seemingly depending on something else.

This so called pig already runs on more than 15% of the worlds computers. The only OS with more desktop share is XP which actually had a slower start.

As for monolithic ... huh? Total nonsense, do you even know what an OS is? Just how isn't Linux or any other OS monolithic? What are you going to do, replace process creation with something else. Oh, how about a different memory manger? Give me a break! Vista has more components that can be changed or removed that any OS I've seen. Somethings have to be in the OS for it too work but things like browsers, gadgets, tools, games etc are not wired into Vista.

Anonymous said...

"I dont't know, Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas any more! . . . Oh dear, lions and tigers and bears oh my!"

Steve Balmer is the Wizard of Oz:
http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSWEN641020080624

. . . and Carl Icahn is the Wicked Witch of the East in drag ("I'll get you my prettieeee hah haaaah haah!)

And Jerry Yang is Dorothy in Drag.

While the flying monkies are the Microsoft Dominant press and Yahoo stockholders who think it is their job to run the company. From Wikipedia: Winged Monkies: "They were controlled by a golden hat, initially worn by the Wicked Witch of the East who used it to set the monkeys upon Dorothy and her friends."

And all you softies must be suffering from decompression sickness by now, with nitrogen bubbling up out of your veins while inducing a kind of psycho induced fake laughing seizure at the same time.

Anonymous said...

The argument pro- or con- Vista needs to be focused on facts and not perceptions.

Here's a fact: the company I work for (a large international one headquartered in Seattle) will not migrate to Vista anytime in the next 2-3 years. If at all.

Macs are now available as an "encouraged" platform.

We are migrating to web-based apps for in-house and external apps.

Do we use MS products? Sure - when they fit the bill. But we don't turn to MS first.

We don't see anything in Vista or Vista-supporting apps that would lead us to adopt Vista.

Are we paying MS license fees for XP? Sure. And gladly.

Anonymous said...

As for monolithic ... huh? Total nonsense, do you even know what an OS is? Just how isn't Linux or any other OS monolithic?

Mea culpa. Sorry, I accidentally used a technical term 'monolithic' (which has a specific meaning when applied to OS's) instead of a descriptive term such as 'interlocked' or 'integrated'.

What I meant was that Windows has 3 layers (in a sense), the kernel layer, the graphical layer and the Windows-manager layer. So does OSX, so does linux and all the other unix OS's. But whereas in OSX and the *nixes all these layers can be cleanly replaced AT ANY TIME, in the Windows world these are all integrated and interlocked so much that each layer can't be easily swapped over for something else. Therefore an upgrade is only possible when MSFT has all 3 layers ready for RTM, which only happens at quite long intervals.

If you could get rid of having to maintain one of these layers, the kernel layer, which is the most demanding in terms of time and effort and then put those resources into the other two layers (just like Apple does with OSX), MSFT could release far more frequently. Maybe yearly. Just like you-know-who.


This so called pig already runs on more than 15% of the worlds computers.

Don't confuse ubiquity with quality. There are more Ford SUV's out there than Mercedes-Benz's and more XP systems than Vista systems too.

Omega said...

Re: Network stack.
What about the mountain of information from any unbiased or biased source? Or are searches in google considered partisan now? If not because of a leveraging of code, then why else would Microsoft establish a configuration structure so foreign to their other designs? It wouldn't make sense to get into Unix (I've been told), yet here we are debating whether this conspicuous fact is a myth.

Enter persuasion and marketing. Is it simply fashionable to lash out a complete contraction and hope your incredulity will guilt me into complacency?

Honestly, look. Right here is the heart of the matter Microsoft struggles with.
Microsoft has people who will either be too unskilled to separate disinformation from fact, or technical people bent on loyalty.

At the same aforementioned Microsoft shop, I worked with someone who was stark opposed to anything non-MS. In person his tenacity and loyalty was cult like. Again, this is in person, not interpreted over wires. Let me be kinder to him for a moment and say that at least he still knew his stuff. He just got a bit too hung up on the propriety. Awkward stuff.

I've been working with software enough to know just how exactly things work. I also know how other people think they know things work.
Today, I think it's sad that Microsoft can produce a product the typical user can notice a performance difference in...

Charles said...

Lastly, on the topic of IBM in the 90s, anyone who says that IBM "never lost their core competency" or that the board never "fiddled while the company burned" is clueless and has no idea at all what the history is.

Well arguably IBM's core competencies are system software, hardware, and service. There was a time when Microsoft's core competency was system software (Windows 98 and 2000 come to mind at the pinnacle). Windows Vista is a debacle. Never did IBM produce a comparably bad OS and they continue to innovate with features such as virtualization at machine, system, and application levels. Vista's "architecture" will prove too convoluted to accommodate any but the most trival Virtual Machine implementation, as one example. Microsoft lost its core competency in OS development as Vista demonstrates.

When IBM's profits were spiraling downward in the early 90's, it was due to Opel's "vision" of commoditizing IBM's hardware lines and shifting revenues from leases to sales. IBM's Board (and Opel to his credit) recognized (after four years, 81-85) that new leadership was needed. Akers was an improvement but ultimately the Board brought in an outsider, Gerstner, in '93. At no time has Microsoft's board shown any comparable accountability to it's shareholders or customers.

Im not even going to bother justifying it with a debate.

But then you don't have much choice, do you. Ad hominems aren't much of a debate.

Who da'Punk said...

Hey, OS debaters, please continue your conversation here:

http://minimsftcrf.blogspot.com/2008/06/enjoy-your-mini-microsoft-os-debate.html

I've been dropping most of the comments and will drop the rest from here on. I'm sorry, but it's off-topic and I'm just not interested in it. I've used over ten flavors of OSs over time, and they each have their place.

Anonymous said...

Did you hear J Allard was promoted to Chief Technology Officer under Robbie?

That should solve everything.

Anonymous said...

After 7+ years at MSFT, the only reasonable choice for me to leave for is my own company, I'm afraid. Working for the man is going to be just the same no matter where you go, except if you go to GOOG you won't ever see your kids again if you want to get promoted.


There's a whole middle ground between MSFT, GOOG, etc... and a startup.

Lots of mid-sized companies where there's far less beurocracy and individuals can still affect the bottom line.

Less risk than a start-up in terms of stability, but more risk in terms of security.

It's all about risk-tolerance and where you're at with career goals, family, etc. MS pays well, has great benefits, but the opportunity to make impact and get rewarded directly for it has long gone for most everyone. Even partners get rewarded as part of a pool so they've dampened even individual rewards for high leveled individuals.

So consider the mid-sized company... especially ones that are rapidly growing but still private. Lots of upside... but you have to be willing to work hard.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it interesting that as soon as Mini moderates the comments and sends all the OS debate comments to the CRF, the number of commnets here dies down to a trickle *and* there aren't any comments on the CRF post? I guess that goes to show the quality of some of the commenters who post here. :)

On topic: it's sad to see MSFTExtremeMakeover leave. Another one bites the dust...

Anonymous said...

"Did you hear J Allard was promoted to Chief Technology Officer under Robbie?"

Better that than CFO, I suppose.

Anonymous said...

>"Better that than CFO, I suppose."

Either way, EDD better put aside another couple of Billion $ to give to customers for failed hardware.

Anonymous said...

nobody who has any talent worth tapping would stay in an organization to see rich bosses work overtime to protect their jobs. people like to work for orgs which keep moving. i saw IBM stall, MSFT and now google stalling - talent is running out the door and managers are moving in.

Anonymous said...

"Did you hear J Allard was promoted to Chief Technology Officer under Robbie?"

Better that than CFO, I suppose.


Best laugh I've had all day, thanks. :D

Anonymous said...

Mini, I expected a post on BillG's retirement tomorrow. How come there is nothing?

Anonymous said...

Another Vista success, NOT!

"Intel, the giant chip maker and longtime partner of Microsoft, has decided against upgrading the computers of its own 80,000 employees to Microsoft’s Vista operating system, a person with direct knowledge of the company’s plans said."

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/25/et-tu-intel/index.html?ref=technology

Who da'Punk said...

Mini, I expected a post on BillG's retirement tomorrow.

Not exactly my plans, but in the meantime, you can read my forward in Mary Jo Foley's book Microsoft 2.0.

jamie said...

hi mini.

posting something for bills last day?

http://channel9.msdn.com/forums/Coffeehouse/412265-C9park-Legacy-2/

jamie

Anonymous said...

Article states Microsoft may become more receptive to open source now that Gates is leaving.

http://blogs.zdnet.com/open-source/?p=2601

Mini, where do you stand on this issue?

jamie said...

sorry mini - one more

bill gates: walk hard.

http://www.channel9.ca/billg-exit.wmv

:)

he will be missed.

Anonymous said...

Should Steve Ballmer Be the One Quitting Today?

Anonymous said...

Someone said, "Less risk than a start-up in terms of stability, but more risk in terms of security.
"

MS has been letting go of people in the field. There is no security anywhere.

This is good news in that our field orgs are overstaffed. However, many of those getting hit are very good at their job, just not with their bosses.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mini, you'll be glad to know LoriBr has taken your thoughts to heart. In the last 2 weeks, Support Online has seen ~60 people RIF'd.

Unfortunately, they did it w/o thinking about who they were keeping and who was going. Some known 10% people ended up in slots while agreed upon 20%'s got the boot.

Worse, she took 8 months to do this, had pre-conceived notions about what was wanted and used a consultant to screw with the numbers to prove her points. In FY09 plan on having the Support site emasculated and having break-fix docs go the way of the dodo.

Anonymous said...

Goodbye, Bill. Goodbye, Microsoft?

http://www.portfolio.com/views/blogs/the-tech-observer/2008/06/27/goodbye-bill-goodbye-microsoft

"So, Microsoft, here's a prescriptive thought: Forget about buying Yahoo. Forget about competing with Google over online advertising. Focus on software. The stuff that made you great. Tighten up the time between releases. Focus on applications that people actually want. Improve quality. And, develop a new product strategy that encompasses the latest Internet developments.

Sound familiar? It's how Microsoft was run in the 1990s. The C.E.O. was none other than Bill Gates."

Anonymous said...

Maybe the stock would go up if Ballmer would start calling himself "S" to reflect his coolness?

Anonymous said...

Very sad to see MSFTextrememakeover signing off. I very much enjoyed the insightful analysis that was free of analyst BS as they all try to court the company in question to get early scoop. The comments were focused, well prepared and the analysis was refreshing - having started my career in finance it was fun to see someone actually covering the fundamentals again.

Best of luck to you MSFTextrememakeover. I hope you find another topic that you are equally passionate about and that listens to your insights.

Cheers to you!

Anonymous said...

sorry mini - one more

bill gates: walk hard.

http://www.channel9.ca/billg-exit.wmv

:)

he will be missed.


Speak for yourself. The Bill Gates most of the company -- and most of the world -- knows is the heavily spun, highly packaged media-produced product that Microsoft PR wants to convey to the 90,000 employees.

The creature you see in that touching video isn't a real man, but rather a virtual avuncular figure who never existed.

The few times I encountered Bill in person he was surly, bitchy and unpleasant, and everyone in the room was sweating bullets waiting for him to call them idiots. The amount of time we wasted on the dreaded "Bill Review" in the 90s was a big part of what brought Microsoft to a screeching halt and a big part of what's grown our current culture of sycophants and asswipe executives.

Bill is a genius. Bill was -- about a decade ago -- a mammoth force in the world of technology -- but not so much throughout the 2000s, and he's leaving the party a bit too late actually. And Bill was also an asshole with shitty interpersonal skills who treated many of the people who worked for him like machines.

Bill Gates -- a complicated man who did great things and who might just be the right guy to fix some things that are wrong in the world, but be honest -- he's not the man you think you know.

Anonymous said...

So much revisionist history now with BillG going.

I'd like for someone to explain to me what was going on in the 90s that they remember so emotionally - misty eyes welling up at "the good old days"?

Windows 3.1? 3.11? ME? Missing the boat on the internet?

The entire history of EVERY company is peppered with ups/downs/hits and misses.

The bizarre obsession with endless analysis both inside, and from outside, MSFT points to some very abnormal psychology.

Until the last of the hardcore geek generation has moved to FL to fish, we're going to have way too much emotion and hyperbole and arm-chair expert BS associated with MSFT.

The reality is that there were great/good and lousy products and decisions UNDER BILL and AFTER Bill (as CEO) and there will continue to be.

As for all of the geniuses saying "get back to making good software", this is typical rote garbage that is so easy to churn out now to seem like you know what you're talking about.

Those who continue to jam their head in the sand and feel that investing in cloud services, or alternative computing platforms (XBox, Surface, etc), will be remembered by history as clueless.

The paradigm IS shifting (some of you will just have to wait and see and LEARN that you were wrong), and for MSFT to pursue "business as usual" (ironically what it HAS been doing), is a recipe for doom.

"Get back to what you used to do WELL!!!"

Like - ship a crappy interim OS like ME? Check

Like - depend ENTIRELY on Windows and Office? Oh wait, we failed there b/c NOW we actually DO have OTHER HEALTHY businesses

Like - entirely miss the boat on a MASSIVE paradigm shift that others are getting rich from? Check - cloud services

Looks like the "get back to basics" crowd are just as empty in their insights and analysts as the seem to be.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to change the subject, but things seem to have gone silent and I'm curious.

How frequently do people experience the situation of promotions being handed out based on length of time spent with a team (with the requirement that they're not drooling idiots) rather than purely by merit?

Yes, I know what HR says.

I have regularly heard leads, managers, directors, GMs, and VPs cite the HR claim, that promotions will be based on the CSPs, but then turn around and promote the people they're most comfortable with, those who've stuck around when others have jumped to new possibilities.

I'm not ignorant that the CSPs are written in a "gamed" way: Some higher levels require that someone move through an entire product ship cycle before being eligible for a promotion. And if the product is a multi-multi-year project? Then, it seems that you are officially SOL.

I feel like I have seen this in a number of teams (the fact that I'm saying that I've seen it in a number of teams shows that I've moved around, and yes, feel that I've missed out).

Maybe I'm just rationalizing, but it seems like teams doing this are promoting The Old Guard, who fit into one of two categories: First, those who are compensated sufficiently to keep them happy, and Second, those who are capable, but not so skilled that another team would poach them. Those who miss out are the newcomers to a team, both those who may deserve by merit and those who are lucky to be employed.

The behavior by so many seems to justify people putting in 8-hour days and "doing their time", but knowing that they really don't need to work hard. Just stick around long enough and don't do stupid things.

Since most #s have been worked out right about now (for the naive, yes, they're worked out w/o your paperwork being considered at all), this seems like a timely question.

Anonymous said...

I think this Billg pseudo-quit is quite planned. My predicition: SteveB will leave in no more than two years. BillG will come back to the rescue. Stock will go high on that announcement alone.

Anonymous said...

>> people putting in 8-hour days

And what's wrong with that? I'm paid for 40 hours a week. Working anything more than that means reducing my hourly rate - i.e. not that smart.

Anonymous said...

>> Like - entirely miss the boat on
>> a MASSIVE paradigm shift that
>> others are getting rich from?
>> Check - cloud services

Pray tell, who's "getting rich" from online services right now? Last I checked, there is only one company making Microsoft scale profits online - Google, and even they make their money solely from ads. No online service has earned them a dime.

Anonymous said...

Bill is a two-hit wonder. BASIC and DOS. Not that those hits should be downplayed--they were obviously bigger than anything any of us will ever see.

Since then, though, his nerdy infatuation with "science fiction" technology like pen computing, interactive television, and home automation have resulted in about half a dozen failures each.

Still, if I had to choose between a nerd and a salesman to be in charge, I'd choose the nerd...

Anonymous said...

>I think this Billg pseudo-quit is quite planned. My predicition: SteveB will leave in no more than two years. BillG will come back to the rescue. Stock will go high on that announcement alone.


I think your prediction is good except for Bill coming back. Bill's done w/ his FT work at MS. When I was still at MS we had counted on pretty much the same thing (Ballmer leaving shortly after Bill to minimize all the public churn.)

It needs to happen sooner rather than later, for your sakes.

Anonymous said...

In the many missteps we all have pointed out in this forum, I have noticed that with some of these debatable errors there is a strange synergy going on which results in even more strategic errors ! Mistakes creating mistakes. The example I am thinking of specifically is the lackluster Games for Windows initiative. Just read an article about Gabe Newell's Steam service (Valve software) where he is kind of baffled why MS is dropping the ball on this. Don't forget that he is a former softie :

http://www.eurogamer.net/article.php?article_id=160866&page=1

The reason MS is dropping the ball on this, I believe, is deliberate ! It has to do with another misguided assumption that XBOX is the future in exclusion to everything else and as such, existing profit centers get drained. Now, I don't doubt that consoles are a growth market, but why... why.. why do you undercut your very own existing core business by dropping the ball on Games for WIndows initiative in favor of pushing a future business model ?? The future is important and by all accounts MS has done a tremendous job with Xbox Live, but why cut off your existing business areas to get there ? I don't get it. Does someone from Games for Windows know?

Anonymous said...

Microsoft stock "volatile" not flat, Ballmer says

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2008023295_ballmerqastox29.html

"He went to MSN Money and pulled up 10-year charts comparing Microsoft with GE, "a big market-cap stock"; Hewlett-Packard, "they've done pretty well"; Cisco, "somebody else who was a real company back then"; and Intel, "they're sort of a metronome of our business."

GE -12% (significantly ahead of MS until Mar 08)
HPQ +550%
CSCO +51%
INTC +20%
MS +1%

"He didn't compare Microsoft with Apple or Google, "because they've really exploded in the last few years."

LOL.


de·ni·al (dĭ-nī'əl)
n.

:refusal to admit the truth or reality

Anonymous said...

On Billg -

Long before I joined the company (early 90s), I bought a technical training disc (the old Mastering series) and the damn thing wouldn't work.

I contacted support, and after navigating up the chain, their answer was - return the disk for a refund.

Being a huge MS fan, I was really blown away by their lack of interest in fixing the product. At that time, billg has a newspaper column with his email address published with it (very novel at the time)

I wrote him about the situation, and not only did I get a response from him, but they sorted out the issue for me.

Fast forward to 15 years later, and I now work in Redmond. I see that same sort of 'looking out for the customer' attitude in internal emails, forcing the hands of the fiefdoms to do what's right.

Bill loved this company, and was technical enough to be able to call bullshit when tech teams needed to hear it. He always looked out for the customer.

It's sad to see him go, but it fills me with hope that that a giu with that tenacity, that level of commitment, and that level of self-funding will be focused on the sick and the needy in this world.

Go get 'em, Bill.

Anonymous said...

He didn't compare Microsoft to Google because Microsoft is a much more mature company, it's 7 times the size, and it rakes in 3.5 times the profit each quarter. Microsoft has its fingers in so many pies, Google can't pick a pie to stick a finger in, except Search, and then only because we didn't care for it in 2001 - otherwise the picture would be very different.

Let's see what Google looks like in 5 to 7 years, when everyone's stock vests and they begin to receive options that will soon be underwater. There's a bit of an exodus there at the higher levels going on right now. FYIFV situation.

Anonymous said...

HPQ +550 > +50. My bad.

Anonymous said...

The reason MS is dropping the ball on this, I believe, is deliberate ! It has to do with another misguided assumption that XBOX is the future in exclusion to everything else and as such, existing profit centers get drained. Now, I don't doubt that consoles are a growth market, but why... why.. why do you undercut your very own existing core business by dropping the ball on Games for WIndows initiative in favor of pushing a future business model ?? The future is important and by all accounts MS has done a tremendous job with Xbox Live, but why cut off your existing business areas to get there ? I don't get it. Does someone from Games for Windows know?

There is a wrongheaded belief at MGS (most especially including J Allard and Robbie Bach) that if they can successfully kill off PC gaming without being seen as complicit in the crime, then all of those gamers will magically migrate to the Xbox and only to the Xbox.

This is why the Gaming for Windows initiative is basically designed as a trojan horse to introduce people to Xbox Live, playing all their games with a gamepad, and thinking that they could play all of these games (Halo 2, Gears of War) a year earlier if they switched to being Xbox players.

When you realize that the break-even point they envisioned (and almost certainly won't reach) is so ridiculously high and should have prompted an immediate strategic rethink, it's not surprising that they feel they need to convert as many PC gamers to Xbox as possible. It's an insane reaction to an insane situation.

Anonymous said...

What I don't get is where are all these new employees going? We just had our CSG budget axed to pay for new unfunded mandates from the pointy haired ones. Meanwhile the plan on how to cover that real actual work those CSGs do has yet to take any form other than management smoke and mirrors.

I love working on my stuff. My team rocks and we all are dedicated but we are baffled as to what the hell is going on around here at the upper levels of management.

IE: you can get awesome cool HD video downloads on the 360, but not on Media Center. The only reasons I hear from people are fucking EXCUSES, and whining about how HARD it is to make deals. If these PMs are suposed to be the deal makers and they can't make the deal then maybe we should fucking FIRE them and find someone who CAN.

Anonymous said...

Interesting post here about people leaving GOOG for MSFT, some suggestion that MSFT may be a "better fit" for senior developers:

http://www.25hoursaday.com/weblog/2008/06/29/TheGOOGMSFTExodusWorkingAtGoogleVsWorkingAtMicrosoft.aspx

Could this be the case?

Anonymous said...

Weird random thought: Did Gates' retirement open the door for Ballmer to be fired?

The idea here is that Gates couldn't fire Ballmer before, because it would reflect too badly on himself. He hired Ballmer, he worked closely with Ballmer, etc. And for the same reason, the board couldn't fire Ballmer - he was too closely connected to Gates.

But with Gates retired, now the stockholders/board can separate Ballmer from Gates, blame Ballmer for the mess that Microsoft has become, and dump him. It becomes psychologically easier for the board (and even for Gates, who is a dominant force on the board).

MSS2

Anonymous said...

[...] people putting in 8-hour days

And what's wrong with that? I'm paid for 40 hours a week. Working anything more than that means reducing my hourly rate - i.e. not that smart.


I've pointed out in last years august review that I had accomplished significantly more than a few people on the team who were a level ahead of me. My lead (bless him) pointed out that my management had looked at how many hours I had worked to accomplish that (much more than 40/w) and decided that I had just been working harder, not smarter and that therefore the level relationship was correct.

Guess why I am no longer with that team?

johnpagenola said...

People are wondering what the misty-eyed nostalgia is for. Maybe it's the stock market value, what it used to do (jump!) and what it does now (no jump). Market capitalization from 1997 to 2006 went like this:

$19,019
$66,922 !
$230,384 !!
$211,320
$196,480
$146,569
$276,168
$310,219
$266,036
$234,445

Those were the days ...

Anonymous said...

>> Guess why I am no longer with that team?

Because you're not very smart? You can't sustain 80 hour work weeks for long. It's just not realistic. Has it ever occurred to you that maybe Microsoft wants a developer working for it for 15-20 years, instead of 1.5 or 2?

Anonymous said...

"He didn't compare Microsoft with Apple or Google, "because they've really exploded in the last few years."

LOL.


de·ni·al (dĭ-nī'əl)
n.

:refusal to admit the truth or reality


That's exactly what I thought when I read this BS. What a load of baloney. Now instead of ignoring the issue, this is the spin he's come up with? Pathetic, especially for a guy with a background in sales and marketing.

What happened to "I don't care what our stock is, I'm focused on MUCH more important things"? That line didn't win him any fans either but this is (astoundingly) even worse.

Jeez... :-(

Anonymous said...

anonymous @ June 29, 2008 2:46:00 PM:
"Microsoft has its fingers in so many pies, Google can't pick a pie to stick a finger in, except Search, and then only because we didn't care for it in 2001 - otherwise the picture would be very different."

That sound a lot like the attitude that annoys me most about working at Microsoft: the sense of entitlement, and denial.

We could have been the leader in search, if (yawn), 'scuse me, if we'd wanted to be.

Well, hey - we're not. Not by a long shot. We didn't see the opportunity. And all that money and time spent trying to catch up? Distant 3rd. So, I wouldn't be bragging about what we could have done - we didn't.

Microsoft's early motto was "A computer in every home, and Microsoft on every computer". That motto that guided our decisions on what products to make. DOS & Windows became the dominant platforms for app developers to target. Office became the dominant platform for document and spreadsheet creation. Making a platform for others to build things upon - we minted money providing that.

Now search, on the other hand - it's too late. The platform is built, and Google owns it. This time it's Microsoft:Google in 2008 -> Apple:Microsoft in 1990's. The market leader is too far ahead, too well entrenched. Even superior technology will not make up for the leader's advantage. By 1994, when people thought desktop computer, they thought Microsoft. In 2008, when people think search the web, they think Google.

But right now, other potential "desktops" are appearing. SaaS moves the heavy lifing of desktop apps out to the data center. Cloud computing is an extension of SaaS, linking multiple web services into a coherent distributed operating system, upon which end-user applications are built. These are areas where Microsoft has a long history of experience - building a platform, an environment, with tools and support systems for others to build their businesses upon.

So why throw billions at search? We're paying people to use our search! Do we have to take Google down in search because they're making apps that live on the web, instead of on the desktop (thereby threatening Office and Windows)?

Why not take the energy that's gone into search, and put that into making the definitive, canonical cloud OS and web-based applications? Those areas are the core of Microsoft - OS platform and tools, and applications!

We didn't miss the switch from text-based desktops to GUI desktops - if we miss the next switch, Windows will become a legacy technology, upon which you run the real OS. Windows will be the next DOS, and someone else's Cloud OS will be the next Windows.

Is that what we'll be saying in 2015? "We could have been the leader in all things SaaS - if we'd wanted to be."

Jade

Anonymous said...

http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/spi/archives/142151.asp

Who keeps deciding to do these boneheaded antitrust baiting moves? Freezing out XP? Really??

Anonymous said...

>> people putting in 8-hour days

And what's wrong with that? I'm paid for 40 hours a week. Working anything more than that means reducing my hourly rate - i.e. not that smart.


You're describing what you feel is good for you. I was describing what's good for an employer.

No, 12 hour days over the long haul aren't a positive. However, people who're willing to put in those 12 hour days when times are hard are a benefit to MS. Those who say "The **** is hitting the fan, but I've been here for 8 hours, so I'm outta here." aren't displaying behavior that's beneficial to the company, although they may individually have some short-term benefits from it.

Omega said...

It's so obvious how few technical people are contributing here.

The idea that you can encapsulate the "next big thing" with terminology is yet another case where Microsoft thinking is impractical.

SaaS? Okay, I know what you're referring to and I understand the essence you're trying to capture. It's okay to have names for things.

But still: What is that exactly?! Do you even really know?

By the time something is wrapped up in an easily manipulated and widely used term, you've missed the train. Half the people you're talking to came to know the term before the idea.

Why don't people in Microsoft try to come up with new ideas without the high level garbage?

"Cloud OS"?! Again, I understand the reference. But what on Earth is this garbage?!

You won't be analyzing your way out of current problems. When Windows is a "legacy OS" it will be emulated or gone.

Terminology spamming & all.

Anonymous said...

"Now instead of ignoring the issue, this is the spin he's come up with?"

Apparently.

"Pathetic, especially for a guy with a background in sales and marketing."

Or one paid to perform.

New 52 week low today. But don't worry, it's just "volatility".

Anonymous said...

>> Well, hey - we're not. Not by a long shot.
>> We didn't see the opportunity.

The difference between you and me is that you see Search as a "must", while I see it as a "nice to have". Search is EXPENSIVE to run and develop, much more so than other properties (which, may I remind you, would be pretty darn profitable if it wasn't for Search). If instead we focused on something that's not yet taken and really executed well on it, we could have made a ton of money. Instead, we keep pouring money into search, where we have 1/20th the number of people Google has on search, much less datacenter bandwidth, 3 years of handicap and the Windows albatross weighing everything down. Unless we invent something completely different, we can't win this game.

My point is, it could all just be an expensive mistake which prevents this company's online division from succeeding at other things.

Anonymous said...

>> However, people who're willing to put
>> in those 12 hour days when times are
>> hard are a benefit to MS.

No they aren't. It's a proven fact that putting in more than 8 hours a day doesn't help you accomplish much more, and leads to more defects.

>> Those who say "The **** is hitting
>> the fan, but I've been here for 8 hours,
>> so I'm outta here."

Well, if it's a couple of weeks a year - I will sleep in my office when needed to get the job done. I was not talking about those situations. But if it's for months on end - that's just shitty planning and management heads need to roll.

I've been in teams where people would sit in their offices for 12 hours a day. I don't know what the heck they were doing, really, because I would accomplish more while only working 8 to 9 hours a day.

Anonymous said...

No, 12 hour days over the long haul aren't a positive. However, people who're willing to put in those 12 hour days when times are hard are a benefit to MS. Those who say "The **** is hitting the fan, but I've been here for 8 hours, so I'm outta here." aren't displaying behavior that's beneficial to the company, although they may individually have some short-term benefits from it.

It's a fool who displays behavior that's beneficial to the company but detrimental to the individual when the company does not reciprocate -- or even differentiate -- between the lowest common denominator and the ass-buster.

Anonymous said...

"Cloud OS"?! Again, I understand the reference. But what on Earth is this garbage?!

We've been hearing about how everything's going to be in the "cloud" for the last 8+ years but Microsoft has not taken even the most basic steps to make the cloud a reality for end users.

How do I store my data in the cloud? What drive letter do I use? I know this question has a million half-assed answers, and that's part of the problem.

How do I share files with other people over the Internet? Actually, forget sharing, how do I just SEND a file to somebody else without having to use e-mail or Messenger, both of which inspire as much confidence as when I used the YMODEM protocol to transfer files over the phone lines in the late 80s?

It is an embarrassment that we're way more than a decade into the whole web/Internet revolution and our operating system still lacks fundamental support for storing and transmitting files online.

Anonymous said...

You're describing what you feel is good for you. I was describing what's good for an employer.

No, 12 hour days over the long haul aren't a positive. However, people who're willing to put in those 12 hour days when times are hard are a benefit to MS. Those who say "The **** is hitting the fan, but I've been here for 8 hours, so I'm outta here." aren't displaying behavior that's beneficial to the company, although they may individually have some short-term benefits from it.


In the short term, most people will pitch in and work longer hours. Few people really do say "I've been here for eight hours, so I'm out of here," when the shit hits the fan.

Over a longer term, what productivity do the extra hours produce?

People often claim extra work is being done, but never seem to produce anything to back that up. My experience in the workforce is that extended periods of long working hours produce *lower* productivity, and often mask inefficiency.

Anonymous said...

Extreme Programming has a rule: Never work overtime for more than one week. The next week, just work 40 hours. This is related to another rule: Quit when you're tired.

Even if you're not a proponent of XP, if you've been a developer for a while, you probably have enough experience to understand why they say this. If you're brain's tired, more hours in front of the screen is not going to have a positive return. It may well have a negative one, as you make mistakes and write bugs that then have to be found and fixed.

Crunch time happens. That's life in this business. But extended crunch time needs a management fix, not (counterproductive) heroics by the coders.

MSS

Anonymous said...

Over a longer term, what productivity do the extra hours produce?
... and ...
No they aren't. It's a proven fact that putting in more than 8 hours a day doesn't help you accomplish much more, and leads to more defects.

And from my own comment to which these posters were responding:

No, 12 hour days over the long haul aren't a positive. However, people who're willing to put in those 12 hour days when times are hard are a benefit to MS.

I cannot fathom the responses above. I clearly state that I don't subscribe to the extremely-long-hours dogma as being "good".

However, in my text above, I also describe what most people know as "crunch time", when dates are looming and, regrettably, more hours are needed to hit deadlines. I thought I was clear in delineating between "all the time" and "crunch time". Either I wasn't clear, or I'm discussing this with people who don't believe there's ever justification for putting in extra effort.

In an ideal world, projects would be scheduled sensibly and you would not need extra time or effort. However, despite the experience of many many people at MS, it is common practice to schedule so ambitiously that it isn't sensible. Why so many do that is a different discussion entirely.

The following response is something I agree with, but still ignores what I said:

It's a fool who displays behavior that's beneficial to the company but detrimental to the individual when the company does not reciprocate -- or even differentiate -- between the lowest common denominator and the ass-buster.

I clearly said:

You're describing what you feel is good for you. I was describing what's good for an employer.

The responder doesn't need to convince me. I agree: Promotion at Microsoft is rarely tied to merit. The number of employees that don't realize that their "review numbers" are decided typically before they've even done their paperwork is amazing.

However, from the perspective of the corporation, someone putting in whatever-it-takes to get a product out the door, irrespective of unrealistic schedules or other issues, is "good". Again, that behavior is GOOD for the company. I wouldn't think of arguing that it's necessarily good for the individual.

Anonymous said...

Has it ever occurred to you that maybe Microsoft wants a developer working for it for 15-20 years, instead of 1.5 or 2?

But they don't. They want the work done until the individual becomes too expensive, then he's replaced with the newer cheaper model. The whole Kim thing proves it. If you're not a superstar, you're not worth keeping long term.

Anonymous said...

>It is an embarrassment that we're
>way more than a decade into the
>whole web/Internet revolution and
>our operating system still lacks
>fundamental support for storing and
>transmitting files online

That is because once you start 'sharing', people are going to want to share with OTHER operating systems users.


And Microsoft does not want to DO ANYTHING that would threaten the lock-in that users have with Windows.

Anonymous said...

Isnt it apparent why Microsoft would not win this game. Google is run by techies, Oracle run by techie even facebook. Microsoft by accountants. How would the accountants know what is going to change the world (especially anything that is not related to licensing changes).
Bill Gates would have to come back to save Microsoft - Wait for the sequel - Microsoft Rescued - Return of Bill Gates. Left to SteveB there would be no money for Bill to donate.
Microsoft is a great company but cannot be managed by Steve BS, Ray Oldie and Kevin the Accountant.

Anonymous said...

"Microsoft stock "volatile" not flat, Ballmer says"

If the focus is the long term, as he argues it is, then volatility is a non issue. All that matters is the trend and net result. And that *is* flat, actually negative now. His comments in this article should be concerning to any MS investor. Also the ones he made here:

http://www.webguild.org/2008/06/ballmer-says-google-one-trick-pony.php

Shareholders are wondering whether he cares about creating shareholder value not because he's a founder, but because he's only done the opposite.

Anonymous said...

That is because once you start 'sharing', people are going to want to share with OTHER operating systems users.


And Microsoft does not want to DO ANYTHING that would threaten the lock-in that users have with Windows.


Absolutely. People who claim that Microsoft could regain its mojo are simply deluded. Microsoft became a giant because desktop computing by its nature is favorable to monopolies. But now technology has moved on to the web, which like most markets, favors multiple successful competitors. And there is nothing Microsoft, no matter how clever it is, can do to stop this change or establish dominance in the new era.

James Gibbons said...

After reading all this bitching about working >40 hr/week, lack of OS modularity and complaints about Vista's big failure I'm getting confused. Being a customer of MSFT, I see mainly two problems with the current direction of MSFT: (1) lack of quality control and (2) driving projects in directions the customer doesn't want to go. It's true that current and past management is responsible for these problems, that they are part of the history of the company's way of doing business, and that the right person must come into the company and be given the power to turn it away from the iceberg if MSFT is going to avoid sinking further. If or how this will happen is anyone's guess. And I won't even try to address the lack of cloud computing.

The only reason AAPL is doing so well is because Jobs came back to save it and he is obsessed with quality and always has been. He also gained some experience outside the company in entertainment and understands how to market products that people want. He is also obsessed with efficient operation of the computer. The original Mac had a "Woz machine" floppy controller that could format floppy disks twice as fast as the IBM PC. The operation of the iPhone is a more modern example of this commitment to engineering quality.

As for lack of quality, look at Vista and the latest run of service packs for XP. I can't run SP3 on XP because it breaks my development system. I can't run SP1 on VS2005 because it breaks the C++ compiler and IntelliSense is far from intelligent. When Vista started out as Longhorn it had a lot of extra features that were removed from the RTM just to get it to ship on time. Management simply tried to add too many features. I may end up running Windows Server 2008 as everyone says it's a better Vista than Vista. At least management still isn't stupid enough to destroy their server OS.

The whole .NET direction is also questionable. Many of us outsiders only see it as MS lock-in and the performance is not any better than Java. My applications are robot control and machine vision and we use only C++ in native mode for the speed. The security issues are not strong enough a reason for it because hackers can break .NET applications almost as easy as win32. From what I know, BillG pushed .NET and right now it is such a big part of the OS that I don't see it going away any time soon. Don't get me wrong, for simple office GUI programs .NET is much better than VB6 but I don't see MS using it for Office yet. MS never ate their own dog food much but sure sold SourceUnsafe to many an outside team manager.

I still don't have updated drivers for critical hardware we use that will run on Vista. Seems that the rewrite of the TCP stack and added security features makes most existing drivers fail to install and work. I am forced to continue to ship XP systems until later this year until I can qualify the new Vista drivers which just came out. As our systems handle millions of $ of product and run 24/7, quality is the overriding factor. This hardware vendor now supports Linux and you can bet I will explore that option before Vista ME7 comes out in 2009 (10, 11, ?).

Anonymous said...

>> The only reason AAPL is doing so well
>> is because Jobs came back to save it
>> and he is obsessed with quality and
>> always has been.

The only reason why AAPL is doing so well is because they've lucked out with iPod and because MSFT threw them a hundred million dollars and ported Office to their platform when they were about to go out of business.

Mind you, I like their hardware and software and I write this on a MacBook Pro (and in Firefox), but let's not get confused about the quality here. Their design and usability are great, no question about that. But quality leaves much to be desired compared to what you get out of Windows XP and software written for it these days. I've seen Mac OS X "gray screen" numerous times. I've seen window buttons get mysteriously disabled for no reason (memory corruption?). I've seen file sharing just die to the point of requiring a reboot to get it working again. I've also seen machines refuse to reboot, spinning endlessly for hours and refusing to accept keyboard input. And so on and so forth. It's been this way for years, and on different pieces of hardware (G5, then Intel) - it can't be blamed on problematic hardware or transient problems.

I like their design, though, and the fact that they use bigger fonts in the UI. I also like GPU accelerated image processing, 24 bit sound and their media software. I like full blown UNIX under the covers. But truth be told, if they didn't switch to Intel, I would have gone back to Windows 100%.

Anonymous said...

The central complaint revolves around slow decision-making, a long-standing issue. New services still must run a gauntlet of meetings and approvals that can delay them for months. "It was difficult to get things done," says Greg Yardley, a product manager who left earlier this year.

Yahoo could be in for even more departures. One tech recruiter says he gets several résumés a day from Yahoo employees. "Once there is even a perception of an exodus, the dynamic becomes insidious and takes on a life of its own," says Roderick Kramer, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business.



Wow...sound familiar to anyone?

I guess Microsoft + Yahoo = match made in heaven. Because their sure seems to be just about the same level of bureaucratic overbearing incompetence.


Why destroy one company with terrible management, when you can merge with another and destroy two of them with twice the incompetence in only half the time.


Yahoo...what a bargain....what a strategic move....what vision Balmer has.

Anonymous said...

Sorry....source for Yahoo quotes:

Business Week: At Yahoo, a Threat from Within
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/08_28/b4092000252792.htm?chan=top+news_top+news+index_news+%2B+analysis

John C. Randolph said...

Apple can update its OSX yearly because it doesn't have to worry about the successful BSD-Unix underpinning.

Actually, Apple does a great deal of work on the OS with every release, and in snow leopard that's where the bulk of the work is going.

-jcr

Anonymous said...

looking back on the past few years, it seems like we have the capability to make changes to the benefits and workplace; we just didn't have the motivation...

now, if we can just solve daycare... (it seems like that perk is google's towels in the locker room)

Anonymous said...

@james...

Just kind of worth mentioning, annecdotally to counterpoint your annecdotal points, that I have absolutely none of the problems you do.

At this point in time, there is no hardware for which I dont have Vista drivers and Vista is running well.

I'm also doing .NET development and am finding that I am delivering solid apps on the platform and I enjoy it.

It sounds to me like you have reached the point where you can only see negative.

This seems to be true of a good number of people with MSFT. I hear a kind of bitterness that I just dont get.

I have made a healthy living supporting and developing for MSFT products and still do - I have never considered my life miserable.

If you have such tremendous issues with the desktop OS, with the portable code framework, with the dev tools (and on and on), then why do you continue to work with it?

Why would someone who feels the way you do not just switch gears and become a Linux/Java dev?

Thats the maddening thing about the dialogue on the web. Its gotten to the point where you really cant have a meaningful discussion (CONSTRUCTIVE discussion) re: MSFT without SOMEONE chiming in with a litany of just extreme anger and resentment. And Ive noticed that there is no point in even attempting to argue because it degenerates to a contest of who can shout louder and offer up more infinite minutiae and annecdotal "evidence".

If MSFT has TRULY failed at one thing, it is in allowing this community of malcontents to fester.

One thing Apple and Google can ALWAYS count on is SLAVISH (unearned) devotion to their platform.

I also do Mac dev (have since the Mac 512 days) and I find that on Mac forums, there is NEVER a thread that just devolves into a black hole of unsolvable bickering. And believe me... there is PLENTY wrong on Mac OSX to complain about if you are a dev (especially lately) and that is a pretty much closed platform with monolithic control by a single vendor (so my tolerance there is MUCH slimmer)

Just something for you to think about - not everyone shares your view or your experiences - dont let the overly vocal minority opinion screamed across the web and gleefully catered to by the media lead you to believe there is one version of the truth.

Anonymous said...

http://www.webguild.org/2008/06/ballmer-says-google-one-trick-pony.php

"MR BALLMER: Well, I think in general we’re not that inconsistent with most large cap stocks."

Snort.

"So, I think we have grown into what people expected of us in the late ’90s"

Chortle.

"You know, our share price was sort of on a different trajectory. Then we announced our bid for Yahoo, and that kind of changed the trajectory a little bit."

LOFL. Timberrrrrrrr! $19 before December.

Anonymous said...

As for lack of quality, look at Vista and the latest run of service packs for XP.

What Microsoft did for quality:

1.) Forced "Software Test Engineers" to become "Software Development Engineers in Test" or get fired. Many decent STE's lost their jobs; many of the SDET's care more about writing code than testing software.

2.) Outsourced testing to (cheaper) third-parties and to (cheaper) foreign countries such as India. Not only do you get what you pay for but the lack of synergy between the test and dev staff causes poor communication which causes misunderstanding and missed bugs.

3.) Placed a huge emphasis on test automation. Automation has its place but it doesn't replace high-quality human testers.

4.) Relied on contract/temporary labor to do the "test monkey" STE work. Not saying contract employees are low quality but I am saying that treating your testers like disposable goods is a mistake.

I left the company 3 years ago so maybe the company has changed course on some of these things in that time but I suspect not. I also suspect that Ballmer deserves the credit for these moves as much as anyone.

Anonymous said...

now, if we can just solve daycare...
"We" as in you and your wife ? that's your problem dude. If you mean we as in "microsoft", let me ask you: what makes you think MS has to take care of your kids ? You brought them to this world, YOU are responsible for them! Be thankful you have free sodas and work in an air coinditioned building.

Anonymous said...

Oh, my. It's even a science.

Anonymous said...

But quality leaves much to be desired compared to what you get out of Windows XP and software written for it these days. I've seen Mac OS X "gray screen" numerous times.

Stability isn't everything. I will happily use a (somewhat) buggy product if I get the feeling that its designers and engineers did their best to create something elegant and useful.

If it feels like the software uses too much memory, or is too slow, or has a UI that's too cluttered, or has dialog boxes that are poorly worded, or has features that are implemented just barely enough to address the 80% cases... well, I'm not interested, even if it never crashes.

Anonymous said...

>> Stability isn't everything.

It's a major part of "everything". I will take a poorly worded dialog over an app that crashes in the middle of me doing something any day.

Just yesterday, I was importing HD video from my camcorder into iMovie. It crashed 15 minutes into the process (oh, I'm sorry, their nicely worded dialog says "Unexpectedly quit"). And it's not the first time I've seen it crash.

The only reason I'm using it is because there's nothing comparable in the Windows world. It would also be fair to say that I would not be shooting HD video if it wasn't for Apple. This is not so for MANY other programs, which have higher quality Windows counterparts. Take Firefox as an example. Of all three platforms, Windows version is by far the most stable.

What's interesting is the reaction of users to quality issues. When a Mac app is crashing constantly or misses major features the Mac user will never publicly complain. If the same happens with a Windows app, the very same user could embark on a crusade against the "evil corporation" and BillG personally.

Is this David/Goliath kind of thing and everyone wants David to win? I don't know. I just like their hardware, that's all. Better yet if it can run Windows.

skc said...

>>If it feels like the software uses too much memory, or is too slow, or has a UI that's too cluttered, or has dialog boxes that are poorly worded, or has features that are implemented just barely enough to address the 80% cases... well, I'm not interested, even if it never crashes.
<<

Kudos to at least admitting you prefer shiny bells and whistles over functionality.

I've long suspected that of many Mac users, but they typically deny it.

Anonymous said...

Heh. Guess I'm the opposite extreme. I'm fine with a command line - just get out of my way and let me do my work. (Of course, I'm not editing video, either.)

And don't crash. Ever. I've run a single program that has had the CPU pegged for several weeks straight. If that app crashed, it's my problem, because I wrote it. But if the OS crashed...

(And, credit where due - the OS was Windows, and it didn't crash.)

MSS

Anonymous said...

anonymous said...
>>The only reason why AAPL is doing so well
>>is because they've lucked out with iPod

Ummm... what?? Have you even looked at what it took to develop and market this device succesfully? It took four years and multiple iterations to the design before it actually gained significant market share. That's not "luck" that's a dedicated customer-focused effort. Take a stroll over to building 31 and talk to Chuck Thacker so you can learn a little history before making ridiculous comments like this one. :/

Anonymous said...

MSFT closed down today at 25.72.
YHOO closed up at 24.10.

If it wouldn't make us stand out so much, not to mention the whole summer temperature issue, I'd propose that we Mini'softies wear all black to work the first day after MSFT closes below YHOO.

Or maybe just black armbands.

I haz a sad.

Anonymous said...

What's interesting is the reaction of users to quality issues. When a Mac app is crashing constantly or misses major features the Mac user will never publicly complain. If the same happens with a Windows app, the very same user could embark on a crusade against the "evil corporation" and BillG personally.

It's a cultural and aesthetic difference, but it's mainly a functionality and usefulness difference.

When a Mac App crashes, it's like your best tenant has a bad month and apologetically pays the rent late. Nobody likes it, but everyone realizes that something went wrong and there was nothing that could stop it, this time, despite everyone's best efforts.

When a Windows App crashes, it's like the tenant whom you have to chase down every month; the one who generates complaints from neighbors; the one who's damaged the entryway, etc. doesn't have the rent. It's infuriating because the crash is visibly, inevitably the result of bad communication inside MSFT, some kind of quality-control clusterfuck, and, most important and most prevalent, a general confusion and vagueness about what it's all for, anyway; how it's all supposed to fit together.

When Pages for the Mac crashes, I shrug. Something funny about the document; some errant process. Big deal. Inconvenient. When Word for the Mac crashes because, say, it's reading from a network drive and lost access for a moment, my reaction is completely different; I scream, "YOU BOZOS! IT'S BEEN TEN YEARS! YOU AREN'T EVEN TRYING TO GET IT TO WORK RIGHT!"

But I want to stress that none of this is about "aesthetics" or "UI design" (in the superficial, beauty-related sense) or pretty hardware. It's because of precisely the systemic issues raised on this blog every day.

Anonymous said...

Dude, what I'm trying to point out is that Apple has all the same issues (and worse) hidden under a pretty UI. And the UI is nice, no question about it, I wish we had the taste to do it so well - easily 2/3rds of customer complaints would just go away. That doesn't change the fact that I have to reboot my MacBook Pro every couple of days just to get the file sharing working again, and it can't for the life of it connect to MSFTWLAN reliably.

Anonymous said...

The only reason why AAPL is doing so well is because they've lucked out with iPod and because MSFT threw them a hundred million dollars and ported Office to their platform when they were about to go out of business.

Yes, Steve Jobs just fluked the iPod with no development, no thought and just pure, 100% luck.

Clearly the poster I quoted has never even thought about investigating what developing a product actually means.

Design is not something you tack on at the end of the process. It's something you use right through the entire product development lifecycle and it informs every decision you can make.

I can barely believe people still come out and call it luck. It's like throwing bricks at each other and lucking out when a two storey, five bedroom house emerges. Yes, it might be luck but you'll need an awful lot of bricks.

When a Mac app crashes... When a Windows app crashes...

Anyone repeating this flawed meme has clearly *never* visited any Apple support forum. Apple users are not blindly accepting of faults. They complain louder and longer and remember forever.

Come on guys! Stop pretending Apple gets a free pass and that's why they're eating your lunch. That's loser talk and you know it deep down.

Apple are doing well because they're producing good things and are being competitive.

Pretending otherwise means you're not trying to compete, and destined for a well-deserved failure. Assume your competitors are staffed to the brim with geniuses who are working 24 hours a day to bring you down. That's an excellent starting point for how to proceed.

Anonymous said...

MSFT closed down today at 25.72.
YHOO closed up at 24.10.


How sad would it be if the share share price of MS fell *below* Yahoo during this neverending journey to acquire them?

Anonymous said...

The only reason why AAPL is doing so well is because they've lucked out with iPod and because MSFT threw them a hundred million dollars and ported Office to their platform when they were about to go out of business.

Any idea what that $100 million investment is worth today? In theory, don't high iPod and iPhone sales pay us some dividend?

Anonymous said...

When a Mac app crashes... When a Windows app crashes...

I posted the comment comparing crashing software to itinerant tenants. I want to stress one more time that (despite the overly colorful metaphor) I'm not talking about a subjective reaction: I'm talking about a legitimate, rational response.

You can't just tally up "how many crashes" for each platform and then get your answer. There's more to it than that, which is what I tried to discuss above. Windows applications (and Microsoft applications for the Mac) don't just crash; they crash in a way that consistently exhibits poor planning, bad design, and lingering, unsolved problems that are themselves the result of buck-passing and contempt for the customer, who "won't notice" (for example) that the same file management problem is handled four different ways in four different situations.

With Mac software, yes, there are crashes and problems and reboots. But somebody is minding the store. There's a monolithic tendency to the integration of the various components. Nobody at Apple goes and writes their own solution to something that's already been solved, in a vastly different context, elsewhere in the company. As you travel around the OS and its core apps you are constantly made aware of the well-functioning communication system within Apple, between the developers and designers and engineers, so that crashes don't piss you off the same way because they don't seem as avoidable or

Apple has all the same issues (and worse) hidden under a pretty UI.

No. Apple has a vastly different thing happening. To have "the same issues" Apple would need 64bit confusion, security problems that don't allow WiFi song purchases, other security problems that allow malware to propagate (and don't tell me market penetration; the issue is ActiveX and the ability to have an email trigger an .exe file), GUI animation that slows the entire system because it's too high up in the stack; etc. etc.

The whole "Mac users prefer their machines because they're in a different mood" argument must die. These are not children. These are users of vastly different levels of expertise and experience drawing conclusions based on using different systems.

Anonymous said...

"Any idea what that $100 million investment is worth today? In theory, don't high iPod and iPhone sales pay us some dividend?"

MS sold it in 2001. Duuuuumb. Should have bought more Apple instead of buying back moribund MS shares!

Anonymous said...

A bit off topic - but heard something super lame today. Apparently MS has asked AT&T not to extend any discounts on the new iPhone 3G phone plans to MS employees.

AT&T was apparently ready to offer the employees discounts but MS refused and ordered them not to in order to reduce the # of iPhones MS employees would purchase.

Thanks for screwing the employees!

Anonymous said...

Yowsa!

How should Microsoft fight Vista criticism? “We’re sorry” is a good start

http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?p=490

Anonymous said...

Just as FYI, you can replace the windows shell, network stack, file system, rendering engine and (unlike *nix) even bits and pieces of each layer without having to recompile the whole thing. You just have to replace the right DLL or write a new driver. Despite the BS once said in court, pretty much any part of the OS can be removed and replaced. The OS is so modular that groups within Microsoft take dependencies on components of other groups so they don't have to write and test that part of their functionality again. The net of dependencies over thousands of very fine grained, replaceable modules is what makes it hard to *external* companies to replace them.

It used to be the case that there was no documentation, something that didn't prevent a bunch of companies from doing it (Sony and Roxio on the computer I'm typing this).

Now with the documentation required by the EU you can go look it up and start coding. My guess is that no one will because writing a piece of code that is very fast, very reliable and compatible with close to 10,000 ISVs that make their living using MSFTs eco-systems is very hard.

*nix lovers forget that applications there have zero consistency wrt to user experience and UI and quality is very uneven. Apple lovers forget that their eco-system is tiny and development resembles something out of a communist dictatorship.

For all the bitter MSFT employees I suggest http://glassdoor.com. Read the reviews, and even write your own reviews. But before you do make sure you compare what you have with what others have. I, for one, want a 7 figure salary, 100% free time to do whatever I want, in a place with better weather. Unfortunately I couldn't find the right place yet.

Anonymous said...

That doesn't change the fact that I have to reboot my MacBook Pro every couple of days just to get the file sharing working again, and it can't for the life of it connect to MSFTWLAN reliably.

Lucky you. I almost have to bott it like 3 or 4 times a day beucase it will stop respondign to key board or still stop creating new processes.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that I am far from a happy drone in Microsoft this days, but seeing the comments left here I have to wonder about what is behind them.

I believe that somebody used the term swiftboating in the news recently related to Microsoft, they may not be far off.

To the people who post stock prices and demand Ballmer's head, take a look at the financials of the company. In 2004 we had net profits of 8B on 37B total revenue, in 2007 we had an astounding 14B on 51B revenue. This is NOT a bad performance for any company, let alone one the size of Microsoft, this year we are on track to easily beat that. Looking at the financial performance of Microsoft during the last eight years while the stock has been flat is staggering. The only way to explain the stock performance is to realize that Wall street is nothing more than a glorified pyramid scheme.

I am also tired of people ragging on Vista. It is in almost every way better than XP, yes I know file transfer this, resources that and drivers whatnot. Buy a new computer with 2gb ram and Vista with sp1 and your experience will be better than XP, period.

Anonymous said...

How sad would it be if the share share price of MS fell *below* Yahoo during this neverending journey to acquire them?

If? Don't you mean when?

:-(

Anonymous said...

>> Buy a new computer with 2gb ram and
>> Vista with sp1 and your experience
>> will be better than XP

Erm... In what way? This is a serious question. Leaving alone the stuff under the hood, would you explain to me, how Vista improves the _experience_?

Anonymous said...

Lucky you. I almost have to bott it like 3 or 4 times a day beucase it will stop respondign to key board or still stop creating new processes.

No you don't. It's clearly broken, unless it's completely imaginary.

Please people, don't troll. It can only lead to flame wars.

Anonymous said...

Time for another post dude.

How about reviews...is everyone done writing documents that they think matter in the numbers game? Are the numbers looking OK?

Anonymous said...

Apple lovers forget that their eco-system is tiny and development resembles something out of a communist dictatorship.

You know, that's a really, really good point. Touché. "Guilty as charged."

I made two pro-Apple comments above, in this thread (Tuesday, July 08, 2008 2:21:00 PM and Wednesday, July 09, 2008 10:28:00 AM). While I stand by what I wrote in those comments, I nevertheless believe that this critique is correct: as an "Apple lover," I am indeed forgetting the size and limitations of Apple's eco-system and development.

The thing is, I guess I see it two ways: as an equitable exchange of criteria, and as an objection that is not consistently applicable or relevant.

YES, Apple has a vastly smaller footprint on everything (from a systemic point of view) and Apple boosters such as myself tend to overlook this and overlook its implications. Apple took advantage of its tiny market ten years ago when they threw away their legacy compatibility. (They did it gently, over time, with clever proxy/emulation mechanisms, but they did it.) The result is a small, dictatorial environment where a small number of things happen in a regimented way, done by a small, known group of participants.

But look at the bright side of that. It means that certain abstract standards of consistency, performance and interdependence (which would ordinarily be prohibitive, given a much larger installed base and/or an additional decade or more of backwards-compatibility obligations) can be met. It means that, considered independently from market or developer criteria, does the OS meet or rise above standards of consistency, simplicity, reliability, flexibility (again, acknowledging the plusses AND minuses of not having the vast Windows developer world right there) that can't be found elsewhere?

I think we Apple boosters do forget the importance of the market proportions etc. when comparing the technology. But, even when reminded of it, I believe the basic argument stands: the stuff is limited, and for a small market, etc. etc., but, given all of that, at this point in time it's EXTREMELY well done and effective.

Anonymous said...

RE: Apple -

One of the downsides of the dictatorial leadership style at Apple is that I can use my 2nd generation iPhone as a remote for my Apple TV.

Users of V8 of windows media center and V12 of windows mobile don't suffer such distractions.

Anonymous said...

>> Buy a new computer with 2gb ram and Vista with sp1 and your experience will be better than XP

>Erm... In what way? This is a >serious question

Here are the reasons why I personally like Vista over XP.

1) Looks. Xp looks ridiculous to me compared to vista.

2) The start menu has been greatly improved. "start search" and "all programs" are a big improvement.

3) Search on every explorer. Go to Control Panel, search for "Print" and you get "Add a printer" as your first result. I use search on the control panel extensively.

4) Tags for photographs. I have taken over 1000 photos on the last few months and tags are doing great at keeping them organized.

5) Improved media center software. So so on this one since it is far from where it needs to be, but the vista experience is better than XP.

6) Reliability monitor, this was badly needed and while it has a long way to go just the fact that it is there makes my life easier when looking at somebody elses computers for problems.

7) Performance rating, I used this when shopping for a laptop to make sure the video card was at least a 4 rating.

Nothing earth shattering I know but to me vista is XP plus the above, don't really understand the people who compare it to ME or those who would rather buy a new top of the line computer with XP.

Of course I saw the same comments from 2000 to XP and I am sure that Vista to Windows 7 trollers will use the same script. What amazes me is that this is actually taking hold with otherwise bright people.

Anonymous said...

Using Vista means you almost don't need anti-virus software any more.It's enough for me not switching to XP.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous:

"Using Vista means you almost don't need anti-virus software any more."

Two points:
1) "Almost" only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Whereas horse manure and exploding grenades more aptly capture the typical Vista experience.

2) Having said that, antivirus software IS pretty pointless in Vista. There are so many vulnerabilities where no AV can shut the door completely. I'm waiting for a Blaster-style attack that hinges on DRM - the most obvious point where security and local control actively degrade the component's mission. Hook an exploit against DRM up with an adaptive P2P network-propagation scheme (what Storm was supposed to be) and you have every Vista netadmin's Chernobyl. I'd be very surprised if we see 2009 before we see at least one successful variant of this. (If I were keeping score, "successful" would be >40% of installed base). Happy Holidays!

Anonymous said...

As a dev manager for CRM Online, I can confirm that achieving level 63 is quite easy. There is nothing very senior about the "senior" level (seniority really shows at higher levels, such as Principal). Perhaps Expedia does a better job of deciding who is senior (their system is quite similar to ours)?