Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Exit One Kevin Johnson

So this email comes in from Ballmer this afternoon and, after appreciating Mr. Ballmer's picture thanks to ShowSenderPhoto, I'm scanning through it, "Yep, yep, sounds like a bunch of the stuff covered this morning at the Town H-what-the-hell-Kevin Johnson is leaving?"

That was a surprise.

A... pleasant surprise.

I'm really surprised. There was Mr. Johnson up on stage this morning during the Town Hall causing me to roll my eyes with his fake enthusiasm and now he's leaving Dodge. On the horse he rode in on 16 years back. I know he did a lot to pick up the pieces after the Vista-debacle and is probably due a good amount of praise for letting Win7 align itself to be on the winning trajectory, but I just never bonded with Mr. Johnson's leadership. And some of the projects he's interested in and driving just leave me cold (e.g., the upcoming MSN UI revamp. It puts the F in WTF).

Is he taking the opportunity to be CEO of Juniper? Is he the fall guy for Yahoo! being such a bumbling mess? Is his departure meant to make way for a big acquisition / merger?

As we consider the long race to succeed Ballmer, I was certainly worried that Mr. Johnson was at the top of the stack rank. No reason to worry anymore! And three of my favorite technical leaders, Mr. Sinofsky, Mr. DeVaan, and Mr. Veghte, all move up a notch. Hey, one less layer in the company. Throw all three of them in the running, eh?

If this had only happened before Ms. Foley's chat in Redmond about Microsoft's future: Audio Mary Jo Foley on 'Microsoft 2.0'.

Anyway, it's one hell of a way to kick off our Financial Analysts Meeting (psst, here's a hint: surprises? Analysts no like). Any interesting takes on the departure, and the future hire that's TBD? First comment I've seen:

Wow, I just heard that Kevin Johnson resigned. So much for trying to rid the product group of the cancer left by Allchin! This is not a good day for future quarterly results....


(Updated: fixed rather embarrassingly wrong honorific - sorry!)

244 comments:

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Anonymous said...

After reading this for the first time, "Today we are announcing that the Platforms and Services Division will be split into two businesses: Windows/Windows Live and Online Services. We are also announcing that Kevin Johnson will leave the company", thought that Kevin has been let go :-)

Anonymous said...

I just hope that Ballmer's day is coming sooooooooooooooooon ...

Anonymous said...

"Anyway, it's one hell of a way to kick off our Financial Analysts Meeting (psst, here's a hint: surprises? Analysts no like)."

Yes, nice timing. Definitely going to inspire confidence. The events of this year are part of some Machiavellian plan to look clueless, disorganized, and vulnerable, right? Maybe lull competitors into over-confidence? Throw the anti-trust guys off the scent? Get the stock low enough to take the company private? Because it's hard to believe *anyone* could eff up this many times unless it was on purpose.

Anonymous said...

a random observation on yahoo stock price is that it was a bit up on the less than stinky earnings until the stock turned south for no reason late afternoon.

i wonder if kj's story was leaked to wall street a few hours before?his departure more or less puts a fork in the yhoo deal.

Anonymous said...

Don't let the screen door hit you KJ.

Anonymous said...

So of the original three presidents, only Robbie Bach is left. Given that xbox has been the biggest money suck for the company, perhaps he is also on his way out.

We should get Larry Page to split and come and lead our online business ...

Anonymous said...

'bout time they got rid of KJ. He was clueless. Why have a 3-headed monster run Windows? Why not get one person to actually LEAD that group? And why isn't there any talk about Muglia? He's running a very successful business in Server & Tools, and he actually deals with competitors. KJ was in way over his head.

Anonymous said...

Whoa!!!! KJ departing?!?! Now that is news. I did see the email pop in this afternoon, but swamped from being at MGX all week, I parked it to read later this evening. So he's off the short list. KT was effectively christened Ballmer's successor at MGX a couple years ago when he took over the event from KJ. So this is truly interesting.

Johnson looked exceptionally fit and very uninterested in the going's on at MGX last week - guess we now know why. He had to get back down to fighting weight and knew he was leaving so why bother with the hype.

So where does that leave us with successors:
Kevin Turner
Bill Veghte
Darren Huston
Sinofsky
DeVaan

I think Veghte may be the only one with both time in all the core line of biz functions - engineering, sales, marketing so my guess is he may be the front runner.

So for now we have Raikes and KT leaving. Interesting times...

Anonymous said...

Departure of one exec, even near the top of the stack isn't going to make much difference. Allchin, Raikes, Valentine and now KJ. The culture is now a firm "don't rock the boat" groupthink. Without an external leader at the top (Chmn & CEO), the company is going to keep adding more and more FTEs and contractors and partners and GMs and VPs every year.

Without an external shock like what IBM faced in 1991, there isn't going to be a change. The stock has gone nowhere and there have been no visible consequences.

Anonymous said...

"Our Windows business is firing on all cylinders," Ballmer said.

Only if we switched to a 4 banger. Lying like this is part of the perception problem.

Anonymous said...

Still fixated with beating Google.
How bout we start small on that... say with beating their cafeteria system!!

Anonymous said...

Sad day for the company.

Now we have Ballmer micro managing online services. Didnt he do that in the late 90's when he temporarily moved his office to Redvest?

BillG please come back!

Anonymous said...

Kevin Turner: God help us if that fucktwit ends up running Microsoft. He had the gall to claim the iPhone was going to be a flop in a meeting with employees here -- what a moron. He's great on metrics and ops and he should stay there. We need an Eric Schmidt and not a fucking beancounter to be the next leader at Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

Whoever in charge of online services, better take a close look at AdCenter. The org is so bloated with lots of clueless managers who however are top ass-kissers good at turning in pretty scorecards. Tons of contractor converted leads, managers. The engineering org structure and processes are so chaotic. There are no testing team. Folks there are trying to experiment and invent the right engineering model, while the rest of the company has figured out ages ago.

Anonymous said...

"BillG please come back!"

NO FRIGGIN WAY.

Please let's finish cleaning out the dinosaurs so we can enter the modern world.

Let Bill go save the world -- he's no longer the Once and Future King.

Anonymous said...

As one of the other posters mentioned, why the heck don't people put Muglia on the short list?

Last time I checked, he's the only one who has a real track record of running a successful business.

jcr said...

Ok, who else is shorting Juniper? Not too often that you get a trading signal like that.

-jcr

Anonymous said...

Management should really try having no one run a division to see if it makes any difference just to set a baseline.

He arrived just in time to take credit for the "success" of Vista. Vista gets preloaded onto PCs. What else are they going to install? Linux? It's kind of like Vista only with fewer drivers.

Microsoft Presspass - Senior Leaders - Kevin Johnson

Since assuming his role in September 2005, Johnson successfully launched Windows Vista to consumers and commercial customers, resulting in record-breaking Windows revenue of nearly US $15 billion in fiscal year 2007.

Anonymous said...

the best thing about KJ being kicked out is that the yhoo deal is dead. glad to have that lead weight off the stock.

FTF said...

Anyone who thinks Kevin Johnson leaving Microsoft is a good thing has obviously never spent time with a ‘customer’! Regardless of how big the company gets and how many brilliant technical minds (in least from their own point of view) sit at the top of the company there needs to be a few people who can actually relate to customers. No one did more for that company in its history to drive a successful focus towards improving customer satisfaction (at least for Microsoft's profitable business customer portfolio) than KJ. This is a significant loss in talent from the perspective of Microsoft's customers and business partners. Believe it.

Anonymous said...

KJ was great with customers - never worked for him though. Keep hearing that all the product groups have issues with leadership, product quality, contractors etc. - so not sure how much is KJ. I believe this is a loss to MS.

Stephen Elop is the next CEO - by far the best speaker and has actually run more than one business. (funny that he once was at Juniper) It will come down to does the board and the sr execs want an old MS guy or a guy who has done it outside of MS.

Anonymous said...

Losing KJ is a huge loss for the company. KJ did great things for Microsoft, including bringing Steven Sinofsky in to fix windows engineering after alchin f*d it up. Engineering leadership index went up 20-30 points after that smart decision.

KJ also had a great business and customer head on his shoulders.

I bet you KJ didn't stick around because stevie-boy plans to be here a long time and KJ ran out of upward career trajectory.

John Eddy said...

y'know, part of me wishes the email had come from Kevin saying that *Ballmer* was the one leaving.

Do you think that K-Jo was heading the Yahoo thing of his own accord? Of course not, Ballmer wanted it. It wasn't the implementation that was bad, it was the whole idea.

You don't fire the fuckwit who built the house wrong because *you* screwed up the plans....

Anonymous said...

One thing about KJ leaving.... he's extremely well connected. Having someone at that level leave and be CEO at another company - I predict further talent leaving that KJ hires away.

Anonymous said...

From a shareholder - The CEO has disappointed all shareholders. The stock has gone nowhere in past 8-9 years, since he is in that chair! It's ok for him to say that he doesn't care about the stock price, because he remains wealthy even if stock was cut in half! Could he be the reason why many of the top execs are leaving?

Anonymous said...

There went a buck off the stock.

Bye bye dollar.

Anonymous said...

"Whoever in charge of online services, better take a close look at AdCenter."

Too many weird reorgs happen these days there.

Anonymous said...

Been too long since I was a serf, and only can remember the good (Brian, Iain, Paul), the bad (Jim, Jawad, 'Super-excited', ), and the ugly (Iain - sorry dude). I just cannot seem remember any of the parade of anonymous execs. Then again, they could have called me Dennis. I'm not old. I'm 37.

Johnson. Kevin Johnson... Came in an successfuly launched Vista? Hmmm, Johnson. Yeah, I seem to remember some obscure email about him. Funny how he never addressed our group, even in a 'Hi- I'm the new boss' same as the old boss...

Johnson... Nope. Drawing a blank there. Ohhh Wait a minute. Wasn't he the one who without much warning, took over several corner offices in 27 and made the nearset conf room his own (and then just as quickly disappeared)?
Wasn't he the $%^brasshat who parked his Lamborghini across 3 or 4 parking spots? Or maybe he was the guy who walked down the hall and never smiled or nodded, or said good morning to any of us lowly paeons... No, I think he was the one who wouldn't hold the elevator when my wife and I were walking towards it.

Well, whomever he was and whatever it was that he did, I guess we'll wave bye-bye and hope for someday a guy like Maritz to return.

Ballmer in charge of Windows/ClusterLive - yeah right. That'll fly.

Not a bad idea to split Online Services from W/WL. At least we'll once and for all show those warring factions which can be profitable and which needs to be subsidized (by Sr Exec Sponsorship/Branding piggybacking, etc.)

Anonymous said...

Good day for Microsoft. KJ was absolutely clueless ..... about engg, product and setting up organizations. he had completely paralyzed the already f*ed up online division. Every small decision went up to him. I never saw a decision come from him...when pushed to a corner he would come back with a standard..."i'll run it by ballmer"....

The sad thing is that he was ballmer's guy and ballmer had to have him go to save his own skin.

The new org structure continues the stupidity....there is no one point accountability for Windows Live or Windows.....its all nicely dispersed. The result is going to be more of same ...more chaos, no decision making and no one incharge. Why doesn't ballmer make veghte or Sinofsky incharge of windows...why two (or 3) of them? I think Ballmer is insecure and doesn't want any folks who run complete businesses as this would threaten him.

Nothing will really change till ballmer and all his cronies are shown the door and some mature managers came in from the outside. sigh!

Anonymous said...

I second the out googling google in the cafetria dept. Our food SUCKS. Such a small investment would probably have a big return, as I have noticed that people are crankiest right after lunch.

Anonymous said...

If you can not beat Google at cafeteria, you'll never beat Google.

It's like learning to run, while you can not even walk!

Anonymous said...

I was reading some reports from the analyst meeting today. Ballmer was quoted as saying that online business is potentially a trillion dollar opportunity. He used that to justify 1.2 billion a year investment (cash burn?) to the financial folks. The question I have is, is a 44-47 billion investment to target a trillion dollar market too big?

It smells like BS to me.

Anonymous said...

second the out googling google in the cafetria dept. Our food SUCKS.
you have no shame. the cafeteria is as good as it can get. The variety of options and ethnic food is unparalleled. You have eaten @ mcdonalds and lived at frozen food all your freaking life and now you suddenly become so f'ng delicate in your taste. Shame on you MF !! Lame idiots like you at MS is what we need to get rid of. Everytime I hear one of you complaining about the MS cafeteria makes me sick.

Anonymous said...

Who cares about Google food? We have those fantastic vietnamese pork sandwiches in 26!

Anonymous said...

re: food

I'm really suprised to see this comment as food has gotten really good in the cafeterias I visit:

34/35: Oobas Mexican restaurant + Pasta Ya Gotcha and great grill
31/32: Indian food from a nearby restaurant (name?), Mexican

Red West: Awesome choices here from local restaurant, too many to list.

Please come over and try a different cafe if you are tired of yours before posting next time!

Oh, and please STFU.

Anonymous said...

you have no shame. the cafeteria is as good as it can get. The variety of options and ethnic food is unparalleled.

It's convenient and there's some variety but it annoys me that all I have to do is drive 4-5 minutes to get to nearby restaurants where they serve me larger portions of higher quality food at a lower price. We reached this tipping point around ~2003 and I haven't been to the cafeteria since. Monopolies suck.

Anonymous said...

> You have eaten @ mcdonalds and lived at frozen food all your freaking life and now you suddenly become so f'ng delicate in your taste.

So did all those f'ng MFs at google. Now they eat free gourmet food in a G cafeteria and then come kick your ass for desserts.

Meanwhile, you had to really whine and beg just to get some moist towels to cleanup after those G folks were done with ya.

MSDecade said...

KJ's departure is sad, but inevitable. The board isn't going to ask SteveB to step down anytime soon; mainly because Steve provides continuity after Bill's transition. So figure Steve has 3-9 years left in the CEO spot. Meanwhile, KJ has CEO aspirations. Juniper is a stepping stone to something bigger, but it gets a 'CEO' line on his resume. We could see KJ come back when the timing is right and once KJ has demonstrated his ability to hold the top job at a company.

Fundamentally I'm a KJ fan (and believe, like others, that he was asked to execute on a dumb strategy). A previous comment pointed out his commitment to customer satisfaction, and they're exactly right. There are pieces of the business that could stand a little more commitment to customer satisfaction.

Anonymous said...

I will second the poster who said people shouldn't be complaining about the cafeteria. First of all, people who do so come across as spoiled brats with an entitlement problem.
And by all objective standards, the food isn't bad at all. The one thing my kids keep complaining about now that I've left MSFT is that they don't get to go to the cafeteria anymore. And they're picky eaters. I understand kids tastes are different from adults' but if the food was as atrocious as some say they wouldn't get into one of their nostalgic tirades about the cafeteria every time we drive by campus.
Worst case scenario you can always bring your own lunch, cooked by you in accordance with your high standards.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to be a broken record, but you all seem to want the characteristics of a small company while enjoying the security of a huge company.

As I see it, you have three options:

1 - QUIT, and join a small company, giving up your coveted security. Besides, if you're capable, you'll find employment, even back at MS, if things go sour.

2 - SPIN-OFFs; try to get Microsoft to spin-off some companies. Yes, you'll be working for a spin-off small company, with high potential reward and high risk. Again, if you're worth a s**t, MS will still hire you back.

3 - STOP WHINING. If you choose to stay in the status quo, you have your reasons. Asking for a large company to behave like a small company ain't gonna work, regardless of how many times you protest.

Is there another alternative that I'm unaware of?

Anonymous said...

As a MSFT veteran I love this company as a whole and look forward to the day that our stock price goes up once again. I think that we need to take our billions and invest internally and come out on top the old fashioned way. Lets cut the fat where it is needed and invest in pulling together the many disconnected pieces that we have close to being pretty good...

Don't give up on Microsoft!

Anonymous said...

Thought provoking and well argued:

Microsoft may need an IBM moment of clarity

http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=9442

Anonymous said...

Most of the A grad hires now go to Google, and a large part is because of the free gourmet food at Google.

If you take a look around, most of the grad hire Microsoft get are the left over B hires.

Penny wise and pound foolish.

Anonymous said...

FAM thoughts:

Ballmer - weak
Bach - really weak. Especially when he wouldn't answer Sherlund's question about margins.
Turner, Veghte, Elop, Muglia, Mundie - solid
Ozzie - middling
Muglia - solid, but didn't say much
Liddell - solid

Anonymous said...

...it annoys me that all I have to do is drive 4-5 minutes to get to nearby restaurants where they serve me larger portions of higher quality food at a lower price.
The portions they serve at the MS cafeteria are reasonable, not to mention the prices and quality, and you don't have to drive. They would be considered humongous in other parts of the world. In fact, I recently invited some people from out of the country and they were amazed precisely at the larger portions , not to mention the incredible menu options available. Of course, they were also amazed at the many obese freaks they saw all over town - You were probably one of them :-)
You can always buy and bring your $1 cheeseburger , cheap and 'good quality' - yikes !

Anonymous said...

"For large stockholders and analysts who would like Microsoft to slow down its spending on its as-yet-unprofitable portal and search businesses, the company has one message: No way."

Then Chris and Steve talk about their consternation as to why the stock isn't moving. Hello.

Anonymous said...

So what's this I hear...? About how LAST year's stack ranking model (20%/70%/10% -- where 10% equals Find Yourself Another Job) THIS year is more like x%/x%/50% (where 50% equals FYAJ)? Or is this already old news?

Anonymous said...

As a MSFT veteran I love this company as a whole and look forward to the day that our stock price goes up once again. I think that we need to take our billions and invest internally and come out on top the old fashioned way. Lets cut the fat where it is needed and invest in pulling together the many disconnected pieces that we have close to being pretty good...

Don't give up on Microsoft!


Frack! Wow you really do drink your full measure of kool-aid, dude. In retrospect, I now think that the worse thing to happen to Microsoft was that the Justice Department guys DIDN'T break it up into smaller pieces. I didn't feel that way at the time, but I do now. I agree that MS should invest its' billions, but not internally, and not in large, over-priced external acquisitions, but more like a VC. Although being a VC is one of the many roles that MS sucks at, the management needs to spin off something like an MS capital group and hire real VC's to run it - and hold them accountable to well-defined financial goals that keep senior management out of mucking with the details. For us software folks, your basic abstract interface that keeps Ballmer and posse's hands off the internal implementation. I think that would work better than ALL of the, "strategic investments," of the last decade or more...

In other words, IM(!H)O a room full of 1,000 monkeys can out-perform MS management at providing value and growth for the company. Random beats idiotic any day ;-)

Truth in ranting: I am a former MS blue badger of 6 years in the increasingly distant past...

Anonymous said...

"As a MSFT veteran I love this company as a whole and look forward to the day that our stock price goes up once again. I think that we need to take our billions and invest internally and come out on top the old fashioned way. Lets cut the fat where it is needed and invest in pulling together the many disconnected pieces that we have close to being pretty good..."

I've heard this word-for-word probably 63,973 times in the last 10 years.

I wonder how many years need to go by without it happening before people wake-up and realize that it's simply never going to happen?

DENIAL IS BAD.

Anonymous said...

MSFT was $41.65 a share when i started, those initial options are long sicne expired

Anonymous said...

Do Ballmer's recent words about mimicking Apple's success catch anyone else's attention? What is this personal inferiority complex he keeps feeding? Sheesh.

What amazes me is that it doesn't seem that Apple's overly concerned with being on top. They just keep plugging away, making the stuff they want to make and people have really begun to take notice. Every Apple computer purchase is a referendum on Windows-- people actively seek something else. Ballmer's missing the point. Having the most money, the biggest share, the fattest wallet is only one measure of success.

Make really awesome stuff people can't turn away from! That does not happen, though, by copying. Nor does it happen when a CEO attempts to satisfy personal insecurities by trying to one-up Steve Jobs.

There's something very primal going on here with Ballmer. If he's unaware of it, it could be the start of an enormous fall. And when that guy goes down, guess what will follow him.

Anonymous said...

x%/x%/50% ??? Dear God let me be in that 50%...

Anonymous said...

Balmet invest for future. What is wrong if money is put to search. It help economy.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I'm glad he finally "gets" that Apple is a much more direct threat to the Windows brand right now that anything Google is doing in the near term. Maybe this will translate into a more coherent marketing and business strategy with our top OEMs instead of forcing them into the periphery of Windows for their monetizing opportunities (and causing horrible user experiences).

I do think it's hilarious how the official pat on KJ's back as we boot him out the door is that anyone else might have hired in incompetent ***bags to run the Windows triumvirate but he pulled in the Office rescue squad. Who else was he going to pull in? Its not like we have a deep bench of execs who've run large profitable software organizations.

Now if we can only send Kevin Turner back to Walmart and find someone with real vision to be the company mascot.

Anonymous said...

"Most of the A grad hires now go to Google, and a large part is because of the free gourmet food at Google."

If that is true, then those are good non-hires. We don't need more prima-donnas complaining about petty things, but strong employees willing to knuckle down and become star team players.

Anonymous said...

Exit one Kevin Johnson . . .

Meanwhile, back at the ranch:

'The Most Amusing Headline You Will Read This Week' from Jeff Matthews who is not making this up.

http://jeffmatthewsisnotmakingthisup.blogspot.com/2008/07/most-amusing-headline-you-will-read.html

Anonymous said...

MSFT was $41.65 a share when i started, those initial options are long sicne expired I have hopes that Win7 will bring some appreciation to the stock price, if they execute "super" well as the head of the windows team would say.

Anonymous said...

"Do Ballmer's recent words about mimicking Apple's success catch anyone else's attention?"

He didn't talk about mimicking them. He finally talked about taking them on, including their bullshit about Vista and addressing some of the real issues that are leading to their share gains. That's years overdue. What did catch my attention was this:

"I think, and certainly when I talk to employees people say, don't we deserve a PE that's so much higher than everybody else's, we're, after all, a tech company. And I say, well, I'm not sure being a tech company, per se, I think you've got a few issues."

The comments continues, but basically he's conceding that MSFT deserves a lower P/E. This is 180 degrees from a few years ago when he was talking about lobbying employees to buy the stock. And I don't know what he's thinking. It's not his job to speculate on what P/E MSFT deserves. Do you hear Jobs or Benioff commenting about whether they think their high P/E is fair? Do you hear any other CEO commenting about how their low P/E may be valid? And since he's focused on the long term, he should feel like MSFT is the best positioned and therefore deserving of an above average P/E. The comment is even dumber with MSFT trading at a record low multiple.

It's statements like this (along with the questionable spending) that continue to green light the stock for disposal versus accumulation. But Steve seemed off generally. Don't know if it was the KJ thing, the cold he seemed to have, or his apparent thinly disguised hostility towards Wall Street now for not rewarding the growth he has accomplished.

Anonymous said...

I was with you right up until you said that Veghte was one of your favorite leaders. Are you kidding me? What has he done? Watch your back around that guy...

Anonymous said...

"As a MSFT veteran I love this company as a whole and look forward to the day that our stock price goes up once again."

$8 billion is being invested internally already via R&D. Suggestions for a faster and probably more effective way to make the stock go up:

- Buy Salesforce.com and Netsuite giving MSFT a clear shot at being the mid-market CRM/ERP leader (side benefit: Salesforce goes back to leveraging Office instead of competitors). Ellison won't like it but doesn't own enough shares of either to stop it, and the existence of SAP and Oracle should make anti-trust concerns manageable.
- Finance it by liquidating the $10 billion in long term investments sitting on the Balance Sheet doing nothing for anyone except maybe Comcast
- Put Salesforce's CEO in charge of MSFT (among other positives, it instantly resolves the question about "getting" this new cloud world)
- Let him go to town ridding the company of VPs and GMs that aren't performing, the old boys network generally, and the many redundant or useless projects
- Take the non-Xbox non-Zune stuff out of EDD and spin them off as an IPO. Let Bach be CEO. Two problems solved. The company takes a hit on revenue but reduces a lot of headcount, and investors will reward dropping this boat anchor that clearly can't pull its profitability weight.
- Take all the online assets and contribute them to a new joint company majority owned by Yahoo and minority owned by MSFT. Make sure Yang doesn't run it (the former AOL guy Jon Miller might be right. Maybe Brian McAndrews). Neither company has any realistic chance against Google otherwise.
- Take advantage of the now rationalized and clearer focus to improve on what the company was the best at: software
- Borrow the $25-50 billion that was going to be wasted on Yahoo, and use it to immediately reduce shares OS by 10-20%. There's too much supply: Economics 101.
- Make additional acquisitions only where they profitably further the objectives of that client/server/cloud/applications software company.

MSFT to $40. More important: better led, much leaner, and more focused on its core competence.

Anonymous said...

An Apple without Steve Jobs would still be better than a Microsoft still run by Steve Ballmer.

For all of Kevin Johnson's faults, he was never the deal-breaker for MS. He stepped on his boy parts with the incessent pursuit of Yahoo!, but if it wasn't him, it just would've been someone else.

Enjoy the monkey cage, chimps.

Anonymous said...

These days, I eat outside cafeteria about 3 out of 5 days. Each of these 3 days, I might drive and hence spend more time at full service restaurants - usually at least 30 mins longer lunch then cafeteria lunch. Considering that Microsoft pay comes out for me as about $55/hr, I think it costs Microsoft $16.5 each working day because our cafeteria are not good enough to keep my attention.

Few years back when I first saw our cafeterias, I was thrilled. In all my previous jobs cafeterias either did not existed or where simply cold food deli types. However that awe lasted only for 6 months. Food is so monotonous and uncreative that you loose interest very quickly. Yes, we did brought in those external vendors but about 90% of the food being served in cafeteria have not changed at all over the years.

I did talked to few chefs at cafeteria. The way they run cafeteria is eye opening: Their singular motto is to get cheapest labor in minimal numbers to do most work. For example, they have one guy who is supposed to cook pasta, Egyptian food and Indian food and server it too! On long weekends even if one guy disappears then whole station is down.

The root of the problem is that we have allowed monopoly for cafeteria vendors. Monopoly - whether ours or theirs - is never good. It generally makes people non-innovative and uncreative. If we have at least two vendor divide each cafeteria space, we'll see a tremendous change in service and quality.

Apart from food, my major complaint is about cafeteria hours. At present its difficult to get food after 2 PM. And there are no dinners. I understand that this forces people who have families to keep work life balance but at the same time, it prevents people who WANTS to work late and really passionate about creating something. I think Google gets it right. Unfortunately our cafeteria vendors can NEVER offer expanded hour services because they are so consumed with labor optimization as their only way to maximize profits.

Anonymous said...

x%/x%/50% ???

Nope; false rumor; looks like someone started for kicks..

Anonymous said...

"x%/x%/50% ??? Dear God let me be in that 50%..."

I can imagine how many people would leave if they were offered a decent severence package (~ 1/2 year pay).

Anonymous said...

Ballmer is total clown who is completely incapable of running this company with Bill around telling him what the f--- to do. In the past seven months, he has turned this company into a corporate laughingstock.

Anonymous said...

I'm glag that KJ is gone and hopefully he is gone for good. Vista is the most horrible product Microsoft has ever produced - yes- even Bob was better. Have anyone tried copieng/moving/deleting files on the SAME drive? It takes minute to "discover" files and calculating time remaining! And I'm talking about SP1. If we can't produce an OS which can efficiently copy efficiently files even on same drive then we have NO right to stay in business. KJ should have been fired. Every single person in Windows Shell team should be fired publicly too for creating buggiest and most painful product of the decade and not be able to fix it even after entire whole year. When these fuckers will fix the file view bug?

Anonymous said...

Win7 will be astonishing. I'm holding on to my MS shares. Will be as good or even better than the Win95 launch.

jcr said...

"No, I think he was the one who wouldn't hold the elevator when my wife and I were walking towards it."

Wow. What a prick.

-jcr

jcr said...

" In the past seven months, he has turned this company into a corporate laughingstock."

I disagree. It's been far longer than seven months.

Ballmer is the canonical example of the Peter Principle. His only "qualification" for the job he has is that Bill G. liked him for some reason.

-jcr

Anonymous said...

man, I can't believe anyone is propping up Veghte for anything other than a narcissistic mouthpiece for all that is wrong with Microsoft ... he is a flaming a&% and a well recognized snake in the grass. his leadership quotient is asymptotic.

Anonymous said...

"Every single person in Windows Shell team should be fired publicly too for creating buggiest and most painful product of the decade and not be able to fix it even after entire whole year. When these fuckers will fix the file view bug?"

I'm sure there were more important bug fixes than the "file view bug" you mention - whatever that means. Also, most bugs that you describe that, while annoying, don't meet the bar for SP1. Sorry. In any case, there are more constructive arenas to call out bugs than on this blog.

I hope you like Windows 7 better than Vista. If not I will stop by your office to talk about the direction we are going with the Shell. You work on Spot Watch, mobile, or MSN don't you? - sorry about that.

Anonymous said...

"x%/x%/50% ??? Dear God let me be in that 50%..."

Didn't put too much stock in layoff talk until this weekend.

I was at a party this weekend and met a guy who, along with 70 other people in his org (including his VP), were let go and told they had roughly a week or so to find a new gig or they're out.

Anonymous said...

>When these fuckers will fix the file view bug?

lol. I think you meant
"Folder View Bug". Actually team hasn't (yet!) found all the reasons that is causing this otherwise supposed to be "smart" feature :). There are more problems with Shell than just this (many of them related to search integration). I don't think every person in that team should be fired but at least all managers and testers should have been. That would have been KJ's job if he had any clue about what was going in or have personally reviewed anything. I know of a person in Shell team who would not want to tell anyone that he is from Shell team in one of the hallway discussions in our conf because he thought people might physically hurt him.

Anonymous said...

If Windows 7 doesn't run as fast as XP on a brand new, 1 GHz/1 GB UMPC (Vista sure didn't), then there's no reason to bother with it. There is no excuse for an operating system to be taking up that much resources in this day and age.

Anonymous said...

Steve Ballmer?
Good used cars salesman. Give him a product, and he will sell it. With Bill running the company, it had worked pretty well.

Give him to run a company, create a vision/strategy (apart from his kiIIing f#$% Google obsession and buy Y! to compete), talk to engineers & understand technology and he fails miserably.

Anonymous said...

"No, I think he was the one who wouldn't hold the elevator when my wife and I were walking towards it."

Wow. What a prick.


Sorry, my post deserved the sarcasm there. I wrote too fast without checking before submitting. I should have added that my wife was VERY pregnant at the time, and we were only a few feet from the doors, and he was looking right at us. As a capper, he only rode the elevator down one floor to the lobby.

I guess when you're oh-so-important, you can't spare the extra cycles to show common decency towards people much below your 'vaulted' position.

Anonymous said...

Steve Ballmer?
Good used cars salesman. Give him a product, and he will sell it. With Bill running the company, it had worked pretty well.

> Try Chris Liddle. Liddle should fire himself. Liddle started mouthing "Yahoo! is a depreciating asset" while increasing MSFT bid for it.

Anonymous said...

I could be a better leader for the MS vs Google battle. My first initiative is: REALLY give users REAL money for using LIVE, for example: 1 cent for using it once or something like that. If this happens, I'd switch. Live at this moment sucks, but if a user get paid for using it, they'll use it. My second initiative: the bonues for VPs, partners, managers' will be instead given to ordinary employees who are the real bread winner for MS.

Anonymous said...

"I was at a party this weekend and met a guy who, along with 70 other people in his org (including his VP), were let go and told they had roughly a week or so to find a new gig or they're out."

Orignal poster - can you provide any specifics - like which group inside MSFT? 70 people including a VP usually makes the news, but it hasn't, so is this really true? Also, only one week notice? Never heard that one before, so again, could you please validate?

Or can anyone else confirm with facts?

Anonymous said...

If that is true, then those are good non-hires. We don't need more prima-donnas complaining about petty things, but strong employees willing to knuckle down and become star team players.

I agree that's what you need. However, as long as your reward structure favors the "star" part and actually discourages the "team" aspect, you will continue to enjoy only a brief window of naive altruistic endeavor before the "star team player" decides to focus on being a star at the expense of the team or begins looking for the exit.

Of course, you might luck out. He might "only" decide to be a drag on the bottom line and resolve to milk that "achieved" bucket for a few years while spending as little time as possible doing his job...

Anonymous said...

> "If that is true, then those are good non-hires. We don't need more prima-donnas complaining about petty things, but strong employees willing to knuckle down and become star team players."

So, then, what else does Microsoft have to offer potential star team players in exchange for "knuckling down?" What's the ROI for the employee?


Stock performance?
Strong executive leadership?
Innovative work on inspiring products?
Quality of life in Seattle?
Top pay?
Adulation from industry peers and customers alike?

You don't have to be a prima donna to expect that your employer be able to deliver on at least a few of these in order to recruit (and retain) top talent.

Microsoft falls short across the board. But, hey, at least we recycle our kitchen grease to run the connector bus!

Free lunches are a pittance in comparison.

Anonymous said...

There's a better idea for Live vs. Google:

JUST MAKE IT WORK.

I'm a TSP. I use Google because when I type a technical query it will usually return the Technet or MSDN reference near the head of the list. Live is lucky to get it on the first page, way behind the occasional blog reference or (usually unanswered) forum post.

I hate it that we have to PAY people to get them to use our software. I'm old enough to remember when it was the other way 'round.

Back to the main topic, I'd rather have seen Kevin TURNER leave before Johnson. If I hear that "Thank yew, for all that yew dew", oozing insincerity like it does, just one more time I'm going to be requisitioning a new notebook to replace the one through which I've put my foot.

Less Walmart, more software that people want to use.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why everyone blames Ballmer while giving BillG a pass. In my mind, it's BillG that dictated the company going down the desktop-only road while squandering the opportunity on the online business after destroying Netscape. It was BillG that disbanded the IE team until being shown up by FireFox. NetDocs and HailStorm were put aside under BillG's watching. This whole "we control desktop OS, we control everything" idea was from BillG. Ballmer couldn't screw that part up for the company, it's simply not under his control.

Srdjan said...

"I was at a party this weekend and met a guy who, along with 70 other people in his org (including his VP), were let go and told they had roughly a week or so to find a new gig or they're out."

Orignal poster - can you provide any specifics - like which group inside MSFT? 70 people including a VP usually makes the news, but it hasn't, so is this really true? Also, only one week notice? Never heard that one before, so again, could you please validate?


Doesn't seem right -- there were no summary layoffs at MS (it was always culling bottom of performance scale or low-level employees) and established practice is to give six weeks off-duty (with full pay and benefits) to find another job internally. If this doesn't work out, you get severance package (one week of pay for each full six months of service, but no benefits) + appropriate COBRA coverage.

I know couple of people who actually got laid off from MS and story was same for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile Eric Schmidt attended Obama's economic summit today. I guess Ballmer wasn't invited.

Anonymous said...

Wallent killed IE, not BillG.

Anonymous said...


I'm sure there were more important bug fixes than the "file view bug" you mention - whatever that means. Also, most bugs that you describe that, while annoying, don't meet the bar for SP1. Sorry. In any case, there are more constructive arenas to call out bugs than on this blog.

I hope you like Windows 7 better than Vista. If not I will stop by your office to talk about the direction we are going with the Shell. You work on Spot Watch, mobile, or MSN don't you? - sorry about that.


This is why I'm glad I'm no longer involved with Windows. This sort of jerk is all over the place: cannot take responsibility, too busy working on next version to fix their own bugs, too busy being special as a member of Windows. Respect BrianV for making these bung-holes fix their own bugs in XPSP2, Same thing should happen for VistaSP2 (bugfixes coming from India means you only get pri0 bugs fixed, and I too hate the folder view bug so much).

Much respect to the gentleman further down who actually answered the question and treated the poster with some respect. I hope you're higher up than the d-bag I quoted. And I hope you get your wish that shell testers and managers are fired (I think the d-bag I quoted is one).

That sort of rudeness has more to do with why I never want to use Windows again than any bug. I saw many ideas and designs for Win7 that gave me great hope, if Sinofski actually delivers I will back him for next CEO enthusiastically.

Fake Sergey said...

I think the leaderships team's decision to abandon ship speaks to the confidence level the execs have in Microsoft. Balmer is the only one left...

Microsoft needs more than Yahoo and Powerset to untangle the Google web, and the landscape is changing very quickly. Amazon's revenue growth from S3 is just scratching the surface of what is to come, and while Microsoft has all the newest technology, they are unable to tie it all together to bring a next generation Operating System. Windows 7 is merely a series of off the shelf cool toys stacked on top of Vista.

My advice, pull your dollars out of MSFT and put them into GOOG. Balmer is going to hand your money over to Icahn as a favor for helping him fulfill a now emotional move.

Anonymous said...

A bit OT, but I stumbled upon this page the other day:

http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/biographies/featured.wss

Impressive stuff. Do we have any Nobel Prize winners at Microsoft?

Anonymous said...

"Free lunches are a pittance in comparison."

Bingo, and it is suprising that the execs do not see this.

Penny wise, pound foolish seem to be a Microsoft Motto.

What was that about trying to save a few million and ended up costing billions, Xbox? (Ended up running back to ATI to get the proper desing I heare)

Anonymous said...

"I think the leaderships team's decision to abandon ship speaks to the confidence level the execs have in Microsoft."

you have it backwards. The leadership team's dismissal speaks to the confidence level Microsoft had in the (previous) leadership team.

Anonymous said...

>Impressive stuff. Do we have any Nobel Prize winners at Microsoft?

If you did, they are in hiding. You have to have a great vision that attracts smart people who can do that and a real commitment to support significant research and discovery. I am not sure Microsoft has that kind of ethical base in its management to make that happen. I would be great to see it though.

Anonymous said...

I’m glad Kevin Johnson's gone. He made deals that made him look good, but screwed Microsoft. It’s better for Microsoft he’s gone.
He was clueless about our business and generally just an a-hole. Too many ass kissers in MS top leadership.

I watched him at MGX 09 talk about Vista and how he thinks it's ready. When he said that, I look around to see the reaction. Most folks had their hands over their mouths or were touching their faces as they couldn’t believe he's get up there and just plain lie to us. Ballmer actually believes in the company and is trying to do the right thing. I can't say the same for all the VPs surrounding him.

Anonymous said...

bill veghte... deinitely no leadership. Hope he's next.

Anonymous said...


Orignal poster - can you provide any specifics - like which group inside MSFT? 70 people including a VP usually makes the news, but it hasn't, so is this really true? Also, only one week notice? Never heard that one before, so again, could you please validate?

He was in sales, based out of issaquah

Anonymous said...

$5 Million sign on and no more reporting to Ballmer. Good show for KJ!

http://blogs.mercurynews.com/docudrama/2008/07/28/juniper-agrees-to-5-million-signing-bonus-for-new-ceo/

What amazes me tho is that in all the press coverage and talk in this blog...no one has been really able to point to a single notable achievement he has had in 16 years at Microsoft. He was good with customers...WTF does that mean? every freakin' sales man is good to his customers. So are most customer service reps. What exactly did he do to increase customer satisfaction? anyone?

What I do know is that this dude presided over monumental Vista launch failure and increased losses in the online business by 3X in 2.5 years. Not to forget the bungled Yahoo buyout attempt.....

How stupid of Scott Kriens at Juniper....I wonder if he was trying to get even about Elop... and ended up shooting himself in the foot.

Anonymous said...

"A bit OT, but I stumbled upon this page the other day:
http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/biographies/featured.wss

Impressive stuff. Do we have any Nobel Prize winners at Microsoft?"


I always laugh when run-of-the-mill managers get lumped in with extremely accomplished engineers.
Like this one sandwiched in between a bunch of Nobel Prize winners:
Harriet P. Pearson
Vice President, Regulatory Policy & Chief Privacy Officer

Wow!

Anonymous said...

> Impressive stuff. Do we have any Nobel Prize winners at Microsoft?

> I am not sure Microsoft has that kind of ethical base in its management to make that happen.

No Nobel Prizes that I know of, but prominent technical awards for some of the folks in Microsoft Research: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Research (see leading paragraph)

skc said...

>>I am not sure Microsoft has that kind of ethical base in its management to make that happen<<

Anyone claiming IBM is somehow an "ethical" company is an idiot in my book. I assume you've never had to deal with IBM enterprise "consultants".

Never again.

Anonymous said...

Good news.
Now what about Robbie Bach? The RROD fiasco? (claiming there was no RROD problem, selling a huge chunk of stock, then announcing the 1.1 billion charge for..the RROD problem?) The 'lets save a few bucks and design our own ASIC" that led to the RROD?

And now, the repeated 20 million WinMo licenses sold mantra... http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/microsoft/archives/144818.asp

E&D needs a total reboot.

Anonymous said...

"Impressive stuff. Do we have any Nobel Prize winners at Microsoft?"

Not sure about Nobel, but Microsoft has winners of the Fields Medal, multiple Turing Award winners, von Neumann Medal, and other such awards that are equally (if not more) prestigous in the hardcore scientific community.

JT said...

"I always laugh when run-of-the-mill managers get lumped in with extremely accomplished engineers."

The page indicates that the page lists bios of senior leaders and CEOs also. You should actually read their bios before you call them run-of-the-mill managers. The non-engineers on that page have probably accomplished more than you will in your career.

Larry said...

Windows Shell Team needs to get fire or else Windows 7 is not going to be that great.

Also xbox live needs to be free.

Internet Explorer needs lift again to kill firefox for taking. Last time I use internet explorer was version 6 and I would never use the peice of dog $#it version 7.

You all need a better leader that will get xbox and windows back on their tracks.

For god sakes fix the damn folder view or I just going to say the hell with it and go back xp becasue bunch of monkeys from the Windows Shell team don't know how to fix their own fucking ass if it wasn't attached

Sorry for my bad English but this is the truth. Microsoft is becoming greedy and ignoring what consumers want! They just change the year or name and slap another pretty UI.

Anonymous said...

"Do we have any Nobel Prize winners at Microsoft?"

How about Turing award winners like Jim Gray (may he rest in peace) and Charles Hoare? It's not as if we have much call for physicists or chemists around here.

Anonymous said...

"My advice, pull your dollars out of MSFT and put them into GOOG. Balmer is going to hand your money over to Icahn as a favor for helping him fulfill a now emotional move."

LOL!

Do a comparison of GOOG's stock performance over the last 12 months with MSFT -- you'll see that we are now, for all intents and purposes, mirroring each other.

Welcome, GOOG, to the world of yesterday's news.

And generally speaking, moving money from a stock that's at 25 bucks a share into a stock that's 475 bucks a share in a sketchy economy and that's showing signs of flattening out is a total bonehead move.

Absolutely get the hell out of MSFT -- our stock is a dead dog and I liquidate whenever I vest a chunk. You won't catch me buying GOOG shares with that cash at this moment in history though -- that's just stupid.

Anonymous said...

"Also xbox live needs to be free."

Umm... because it's a profitable and rapidly growing business? Live is the leader in its segment by a huge margin. We should give it away for free because...???

"Microsoft is becoming greedy and ignoring what consumers want!"

You're a bit late to the party, but thanks for coming.

Anonymous said...

>"Microsoft is becoming greedy and ignoring what consumers want!"

Becoming? Where have you been for the last thirty years? Actually, it will be interesting to watch how Balmer changes the mix. My bet is Microsoft will get better at understanding and serving customers. Balmer's job in the next two years probably depends on it.

Anonymous said...

>"How about Turing award winners like Jim Gray (may he rest in peace) and Charles Hoare? It's not as if we have much call for physicists or chemists around here."

Well of course there are esteemed computer science awards (Turing, for example), and all the Nobel winners at IBM have won in physics for contributions to advancing computing processes.

Also, Hoare is 74 and of course Gray unfortunately is out of the picture.

As much as Bill Gates wants Microsoft to be a great R&D company, remember, he never even got his degree, and Balmer dropped out of Harvard too (later to obtain a degree from Stanford).

There is a lot going on at Microsoft research, but the question remains what kind of research? I see some great future computer science opportunities that Microsoft is working on in parallel processing, speech and display interaction.

But the science of computing is heading into the physics realm in the form of Quantum and Nanotech computers and all kinds of advances in reducing the footprint of memory. And how long will it be before we start seeing biological computers mimicking the the millions of examples of biological computers in the form of 'life'? They have been in the laboratory since 1999.

It is up to the the researchers to find their mark in history and contribute something really significant to our culture besides advanced technologies on how to suck information from unwitting users, how to co-opt their computers for distributed computing purposes, and how to contribute to America's and China's ability to control several billion in population through computer science.

I would guess that we will see all kinds of hype about how great Microsoft is in the upcoming ad campaign, but is it?

Anonymous said...

Hey, I need some help. I'm thinking of going back to MS after a while away. Yes, I realize what I'm going back to but the opportunity is too good to pass up.

The position I'm interviewing for is probably level 65 but could be +/-1.

Can anyone clue me in as to what sort of compensation I can expect at each level? I'm clueless as to what the salary, stock, signing bonus and relocation expenses I can hope for.

Thx.

Anonymous said...

http://www.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idUSN0151894020080802

It appears yahoo shareholders felt the current leadership is the right set for Yahoo, an idea that Balmer opposed. What a slap in the face for Balmer!!

Anonymous said...

Not sure about Nobel, but Microsoft has winners of the Fields Medal, multiple Turing Award winners, von Neumann Medal, and other such awards that are equally (if not more) prestigous in the hardcore scientific community

Certainly, Microsoft has people with the awards you mention, but before thump our chest remember that almost all of these awards were given to these folks before they came to Microsoft and most certainly for work that was done else where. Some of the IBM guys got the Nobel prize for the work they did at IBM.

Micosoft just bought the award winners, so BFD

Anonymous said...

"The page indicates that the page lists bios of senior leaders and CEOs also. You should actually read their bios before you call them run-of-the-mill managers. The non-engineers on that page have probably accomplished more than you will in your career."

Thanks, I read it. She's a run-of-the-mill manager. Is that you, Harriet??

Anonymous said...

"The position I'm interviewing for is probably level 65 but could be +/-1.

Can anyone clue me in as to what sort of compensation I can expect at each level? I'm clueless as to what the salary, stock, signing bonus and relocation expenses I can hope for."


This sounds like a fake post -- there's a significant difference between 66 and 64, and there aren't many jobs where you'd be offered one or the other considering that 66 is a Principal and 64 is Average Joe.

Anonymous said...

This pay list is a little old, but probably not off by much

http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/microsoft/library/MSCompGu.jpg

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Hey, I need some help. I'm thinking of going back to MS after a while away. Yes, I realize what I'm going back to but the opportunity is too good to pass up.

The position I'm interviewing for is probably level 65 but could be +/-1.

Can anyone clue me in as to what sort of compensation I can expect at each level? I'm clueless as to what the salary, stock, signing bonus and relocation expenses I can hope for.


troll alert. if the person was ex-ms they'd have friends who'd be able to give this sort of idea. this is most definitely a recruiter from another company.

Anonymous said...

How about Turing award winners like Jim Gray (may he rest in peace) and Charles Hoare?

> You surely are the HR dudette that posts often. Tony Hoare is not a partner but a bunch of bozos in adcenter are.

Anonymous said...

"We can only assume your ill-timed and poorly conceived pursuit of Republic is designed to disrupt what you perceive as a competitive threat to your position in the market,"

"An acquisition of Republic will most certainly burden the company with excessive debt, distract your management, result in significant regulatory burdens, and thereby reduce shareholder value," it said.

"We encourage you to act with the best interests of your shareholders in mind, in a responsible and prudent manner, and to abandon this acquisition."

Bill's investment arm speaking out as a shareholder of Waste Management. Now substitute Yahoo for Republic and MS for Waste Management. Interesting. And Waste Management is up 35% over the past 5 years.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I need some help. I'm thinking of going back to MS after a while away. Yes, I realize what I'm going back to but the opportunity is too good to pass up.

The position I'm interviewing for is probably level 65 but could be +/-1.

Can anyone clue me in as to what sort of compensation I can expect at each level? I'm clueless as to what the salary, stock, signing bonus and relocation expenses I can hope for.


If you are looking at L65, it's a good idea to come on in and milk the cow. At this point, you are looking to annually net in about 200k of pay+bonus+stock. Make sure you are L64+ at the very least. Anything below that, stay away.

See glassdoor.com for more information.

Anonymous said...

station q, look it up.

Anonymous said...

"The position I'm interviewing for is probably level 65 but could be +/-1.

Can anyone clue me in as to what sort of compensation I can expect at each level?"

you're looking at a +- level 65 and you can't figure out how to get this information on your own? Geez.

Anonymous said...

>Micosoft just bought the award winners, so BFD

IBM's been around a lot longer than MS. They didn't have any Nobel laureates in their first 30 years, even bought ones.

Nice try at spin though. LOL

Anonymous said...

You know who else needs to "exit"? The person who made the call to go with the apache host server company for mojaveexperiment.com. Flash over silverlight..now linux? Whats going on?

Anonymous said...

Starting salary for a L65 is about 80k.

Anonymous said...

Add me to the list of people who can't think of anything memorable that KJ brought to the company.

If he would've sold MS like he apparently sold himself to Juniper, our stock price would be approaching triple digits. He must be a master of bullshit to get that kind of money. Who will give his boring presentation at the company meeting now?

I hope they don't add anyone new to run Windows. At least give the current guys a chance. I really liked BrianV, but things do seem to be running smoother now. They've given the teams a lot more control. Or at least they make them think that they're in control :) We'll see how that changes as we get close to a big milestone.

The Windows shell team can't be fired (even though some do deserve it). It takes people a long time to understand and patch that code. They need to keep people there that have experience with it, even if they aren't very good at their jobs. Also, they need to have people working on the (sure to be buggy) eye candy that they will use to help sell the next version of Windows. You can't sell stability or device compat. You need pretty UI, I guess.

Omega said...

Due to summer, I'm a bit late to this party...

What many people will be saying in spite of his popularity inside the circles is: Kevin who?
The investors might know, employees will know. A few experts who keep a close tab on the company and its culture will. But overall? Who cares? Where does Microsoft go from here?

Once we sort out all the comments, we can see that quality and direction are the two major themes.

Ballmer/Microsoft continue to refuse to admit that Windows is floundering. Where does anyone expect this wild-eyed dishonesty to lead to?
Google has OSX in one hand and Linux in the other as it continues to dominate. Windows is fast becoming their second platform on the way to carrying Linux to the top.
(This image is particularly revolting to most Microsoft, but is strongly obvious in google's platform agnostic strategy.)

So, you're not going to have a hope of competing with companies who actually have quality as a deliverable and not a marketing goal.
I've seen mention in other comments in this blog of "bean counters" - amongst other types - being the wrong people to lead. You might be on to something there! These well dressed, placating optimists are good for certain scenarios - but won't save you from certain disaster.

I feel like I'm stating the obvious when I say: A software company would be best served by somebody who knows about hardware, software, systems architecture, communications standards and the current trends of each.
This is supported by the nature of new development at Microsoft today which is high level, heavily scheduled and almost always results in user space solutions.
A return to roots would likely also entail shedding the ugly 21st century corporate policies.

Stop letting the greed of investors reduce the quality of your product.

Keeperplanet said...

>"Google has OSX in one hand and Linux in the other as it continues to dominate. Windows is fast becoming their second platform on the way to carrying Linux to the top."

And a platform agnostic company does not work with XP or Vista?

I am no softie apologist, (Mini did not like my last comment on the last topic so he CRF'ed it.), but I found your comments amusing.

First, Linux will probably hit 7% this year (ZdNet, how we doing on that?) according to Alex Moskalyuk writing for ZdNet in January (http://blogs.zdnet.com/ITFacts/?p=68 ), which if true is finally a vindication we have long been waiting for, but personally, I doubt it. Running Linux and being a fan of Linux we have a long way to go, just in the installation, graphic support and driver support arena alone.

Meanwhile I am pretty sure Microsoft has a vote here, and the scramble to rebuild a useful OS is actually underway. The fact that Gates hosted Hu of China last year and the unintended side effect of China's Microsoft supported copyright crackdown has been a surge in Linux use. Shooting oneself in the foot is a Microsoft cultural responsibility and required managerial process, so we will see how Microsoft deals with continued erosion of market share.
http://www.linux.com/feature/122473

Either way, the bungling on both Linux and Microsoft sides is nothing less than spectacular, and unless Apple decides to sell its OS stand alone, they will always be a subset of the total market.

Interesting to note that there does seem to be some desperation in place here, as I and others I am sure have noted that Microsoft is back to its old tricks of leveraging use of MS Internet Explorer by bypassing the OS assigned browser (Firefox in my case) and bouncing MS IE 7 into play to do things like download files and install updates. But I use Baseline Security Analyzer to do that and that is what happens.

Anonymous said...

I wish I had found this blog before accepting an offer with search. What do you guys think of brad goldberg's team?

Anonymous said...

I'm the orig poster asking about what to expect for compensation at L65 or L66 (it is a principal position). I left MS in 2001/2 (so before the change to grants) and my close friends have either left or not progressed high enough up the org chart to have a clue as to L66 new hire stock grants or signing bonuses. (Salary was easy to find)

Sorry for being too vague but I was not wanting to be id'd so threw in L64 too.

Anonymous said...

Starting salary for a L65 is about 80k.

No, starting salary for L65 is 60k.

Anonymous said...

"MSFT was $41.65 a share when i started, those initial options are long sicne expired I have hopes that Win7 will bring some appreciation to the stock price, if they execute "super" well as the head of the windows team would say."

With the burning that Vista users have taken, there may be some nasty surprises in store when the time comes to sell them Win 7, regardless of how good it may be.

Anonymous said...

Starting salary for a L65 is about 80k.
that's impossible for a L65. It comes down to $40 /hour!! - no way at Microsoft at that level.
Where did you get that number??

Anonymous said...

I know of college hires L59 / 60 starting anywhere between 85-95k ... so i don't think the L65 numbers here are correct

Anonymous said...

> You surely are the HR dudette that posts often. Tony Hoare is not a partner but a bunch of bozos in adcenter are.

Tony Hoare IS a partner. Principal Researcher is a partner level. All principal researchers are partners, Senior Researcher corresponds to a Principal level in engineering, and Researcher==Senior level in engineering.

And FWIW, MSR has the largest % of partners across all of orgs in the company.

Mrs. Pringle said...

Starting salary for a L65 is about 80k.

and

No, starting salary for L65 is 60k.

and

[starting salary of 80k is] impossible for a L65. It comes down to $40 /hour!! - no way at Microsoft at that level.
Where did you get that number??


I'm not sure if this last post is saying 80k is too high or too low, but I started at 81k as a L61 (in 2003), so 80k seems pretty low for L65. And 60 is absurd.

Anonymous said...

"No, starting salary for L65 is 60k."

Fake. level X's starting salary is Xk. I know quite a lot of technical fellows who started at 80K

Anonymous said...

"Starting salary for a L65 is about 80k."

that's impossible for a L65. It comes down to $40 /hour!! - no way at Microsoft at that level.
Where did you get that number??


I do believe the 80k number was posted as a joke. ;-)

Starting salaries for L65 would likely be in the 130k range.

Anonymous said...

For the person asking the Q about starting salary.

Don't.

Ask - or start.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a fake post -- there's a significant difference between 66 and 64, and there aren't many jobs where you'd be offered one or the other considering that 66 is a Principal and 64 is Average Joe.

Not so sure it's a fake. Some teams have such a preponderance of Partners that Principals in those teams are not much more than Average Joes.

Anonymous said...

How stupid of Scott Kriens at Juniper....I wonder if he was trying to get even about Elop... and ended up shooting himself in the foot.

The only way I can see this having worked is if MSFT paid Juniper to lure KJ away.

Anonymous said...

Not all Principal Researchers are Partners, but everything else in the mapping is correct. That said, in order to even get to senior researcher level, you have to show outstanding levels of academic achievement.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know any more about Bill Baker leaving?

http://peterkol.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!68755AEAC31F9A6C!761.entry

Anonymous said...

That said, in order to even get to senior researcher level, you have to show outstanding levels of academic achievement.

I was going to write that it's a shame that all these senior researchers don't seem to produce anything very academic-y but after a few web searches, MSFT does seem to be doing work in speech recognition, machine translation, distributed file systems, etc.

Shame that none of this seems to be integrated with any of the products. Wouldn't a language translation widget be a fun addition to the OS? At least it's something that would actually be useful, unlike, e.g., blurry semitransparent window frames.

Anonymous said...

Just because you don't know it, doesn't mean it's not there. MSDN is translated into multiple languages using an in-house machine translation system. IE8 contains a "translate" command in its context menu.

Anonymous said...

>"That said, in order to even get to senior researcher level, you have to show outstanding levels of academic achievement."

Outstanding levels of academic achievement is a valuable thing, maybe. However, being smart does not guarantee results. I tend to think of being free as having a value equal to that of high test scores. Free to invent, as I call it.

Heck, I know this is true, as I have a brother and sister in the top 1% of academic achievement and I know for a fact I am smarter than them and looking at the results of their careers, ya gotta wonder :]

Anonymous said...

"You can't sell stability or device compat."

Actually - this time around - they are exactly what we have to sell; those and performance and futher enhanced security.

Most people I speak to could do without the super fancy UI and frankly are sick and tired of us changing where they find things/how they do things simply because we feel the need to.

A little less sizzle and a lot more steak.

Anonymous said...

>> I am smarter than them

It's not just the smarts. It's the mindset and education as well. Researchers are good at coming up with stuff. It may not be applicable today, but in 5-7 years it usually ends up somewhere. And most of Microsoft products don't really need research (or don't see how they could apply innovations from there, at least). You don't need a PhD to create Spaces or Office Live for example. You may need some for Search, Ads, Compilers/Languages, SQL, Digital Media, etc.

And people at MSR file tons of patents. It's not uncommon to see rather large _pyramids_ of patent cubes in people's offices. In fact, there's a room on the 4th floor of building 99, where there's a mountain of cubes no one picked up. Remember, unlike patents filed in product groups, these are for the stuff that hasn't actually been invented by anyone else yet (mostly). There are some ridiculous ones, but the signal to noise ratio is much higher.

And no, you are not smarter than an average MSR Senior Researcher.

Anonymous said...

MSDN is translated into multiple languages using an in-house machine translation system.

Maybe that's part of the reason the MSDN documentation continues to be so thunderingly useless. A 10-second Google search almost always finds blogs or articles far superior to the cruft in MSDN.

Anonymous said...

>And no, you are not smarter than an average MSR Senior Researcher.

Doh. I resemble that remark! Does that mean I have to give back all my patents? And can I stop bitching now about the half dozen or so ideas stolen from me and patented by others? At least smart people aren't as irritating as arrogant ones. :[

No, seriously now, dang, I guess that's why I didn't invent that thing used by the wicked witch of the west in the Wizard of Oz that some MSR Dr. Who calls Sphere. You'll sell a lot of those. You need to downsize it a bit to ergonomically fit witches with small hands. Really you softies are the best. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

re: Selling device compat.

You have to have some sizzle to sell that steak for $150+ per plate.

You can't sell device compatibility because it can't be boiled down into talking points. It's very complicated. I've been to a lot of presentations in the Windows team, and I haven't seen anyone that's capable of delivering this message. I'd love to know what they're telling management.


As far as translation:
http://www.windowslivetranslator.com/Default.aspx

They tried to get a longer URL, but the partners over in Live couldn't come up with anything better after several offsite retreats.

"Remember, unlike patents filed in product groups, these are for the stuff that hasn't actually been invented by anyone else yet (mostly). "

Which is worse...spending $5-10k+ per useless patent that has no practical application, or filing a patent on something you know how to implement that may happen to already exist?

Anonymous said...

>> MSDN documentation continues to be
>> so thunderingly useless.

MSDN is the sole reason why Open Source hasn't yet completely taken over as a development platform. They don't have proper documentation for stuff and we do, so when you develop something you KNOW you'll be able to figure things out quickly, either from MSDN or from people who have read MSDN and created their own samples (where else do you think they got their knowledge from?).

I could name quite a few things Microsoft puts out that are "useless", but MSDN is not among them.

Anonymous said...

Maybe that's part of the reason the MSDN documentation continues to be so thunderingly useless. A 10-second Google search almost always finds blogs or articles far superior to the cruft in MSDN.

I use MSDN content - I would not call it cruft.

But I would agree - my only chance of finding content on MSDN is a google search :)

Anonymous said...

Did anyone see Jobs canning Rob Schoeben? That's the kind of accountability that Microsoft needs.

Alot of VP's and GM's should be fired. There are so many deadwoods.

Anonymous said...

Maybe that's part of the reason the MSDN documentation continues to be so thunderingly useless.

Actually I don't that machine translation is the reason why MSDN's documentation sucks. Just take a peek at it's org. Way too bloated. There is an army of PMs, devs, and testers working on silly things like Facebook integration while they outsource search to the MSN team which is way more interested in crawling the entire internet than providing a decent search for developers. I could go on about my problems with MSDN but I don't have the time...

Anonymous said...

>> on something you know how to implement
>> that may happen to already exist

You forgot to add, "and someone else may have a broader patent for". See, e.g. Eolas. I'm sorry, but product groups are simply incapable of coming up with things like Word grammar checker, machine translation engine, speech recognition technology, audio/video compression, search engine rankers, etc. This is because this stuff REQUIRES research, which (as is the case with all research) may or may not be successful. Even if folks in product groups could do research, they're far too schedule driven to work on something for 2-3 years with less than 100% probability of success. Believe me, the science-intensive groups do come to Research and seek help. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not (like I said, such is the nature of research - most of the time you do something that's never been done before), but if you don't ping someone there and ask, it won't work for sure.

Anonymous said...

Quote "MSDN is the sole reason why Open Source hasn't yet completely taken over as a development platform. "

MSDN might be a factor but not the most decisive one. Open source hasn't taken over (never will imo) simply b/c doing FOSS and getting a rewarding salary just don't happen at the same time. When people look for jobs in IT, they see proprietary companies on one hand waving check books and FOSS on the other going around asking for donation. The choice is pretty darn obvious to them.

Anonymous said...

>> They tried to get a longer URL,

If you don't like the long one, here's a shorter version:

http://translate.live.com

sort of like

http://translate.google.com

but 2 letters shorter. I'm not sure why this is not the main domain, though. That's probably why I'm not a PM.

Anonymous said...

Btw if any of you think MSDN search is lame, you ain't see nothing yet. Try this http://www.msdewey.com/ setup by our beloved Live Search team.

skc said...

>>Did anyone see Jobs canning Rob Schoeben? <<

Whats ironic about that is that Jobs is the one that wanted to do a massive roll-out of three products at the same time.

Too bad someone else had to take the fall for what is actually Jobs fuck up.

skc said...

>>Doh. I resemble that remark! Does that mean I have to give back all my patents? And can I stop bitching now about the half dozen or so ideas stolen from me and patented by others? At least smart people aren't as irritating as arrogant ones<<

Dude, this is the internet. There's no way of knowing whether you're for real or just a pimply 16 year old in his parents basement. Either post your credentials or STFU.

Anonymous said...

"Actually I don't that machine translation is the reason why MSDN's documentation sucks. Just take a peek at it's org. Way too bloated. There is an army of PMs, devs, and testers working on silly things like Facebook integration [...]"

Are you sure you don't have MSDN confused with MSN? MSDN is a publications group. Their content comes from multiple other groups at MS.

And when a single writer is responsible for maintaining 3500 pages of documentation, content will usually suck to one degree or another. Pick about 10 tech books on your shelf. That's the amount of text some writers are responsible for keeping up to date.

They'd love to write samples or dig into obscure failure modes of APIs, but just don't have the time.

Anonymous said...

On an unrelated note: California Supreme Court has found that non-compete clauses are invalid. MS employees are now free to join competitors, in CA at least: news

Like totally, dude said...

SKC said: "Too bad someone else had to take the fall for what is actually Jobs fuck up."

From Rob Schoeben's Wikipedia page:
"Before joining apple in 2004 he worked at Microsoft."

What does that say about ex softies? Nuf said.

SKC said: "Either post your credentials or STFU."

Dude, this is the internet: and as a humble inventor, I follow rule no. one: don't write anything on the internet with your name, as it will be on Google for a thousand years. Besides, I thought all MSR geniuses were pimply 16 year old hackers who cut their teeth in their parents basements. What a shock.

But FWIW, some of my ideas are worn daily and comfortably by millions of telcom users all day long and a another of my ideas was co-opted without credit to become the most popular new concept in cell phone history.

I really admire MSR's work though. When can I buy my own Orgasmatron-Crystal Ball Sphere for home use?

MojoJojo said...

"And when a single writer is responsible for maintaining 3500 pages of documentation, content will usually suck to one degree or another. Pick about 10 tech books on your shelf. That's the amount of text some writers are responsible for keeping up to date."

Which is why the MSDN folks need to transform the documentation into a moderated Wiki initially open to MVPs, UA, product groups and other credible folks.

How else to get meaningful how-to, scenario, code snippet, and in-the-trenches content on a regular basis?

Anonymous said...

>> on something you know how to implement that may happen to already exist

> You forgot to add, "and someone else may have a broader patent for".

Even if they don't have a patent for it, it's probably not patentable due to either prior art or obviousness. This doesn't mean that the Patent Office won't issue a patent, but it does mean that the patent is not likely to stand up in court against somebody with the money to seriously challenge it.

MSS

Joe said...

>simply b/c doing FOSS and getting a
>rewarding salary just don't happen at
>the same time.

Geez, I guess that the way I've been paying the bills for the last 7+ years has simply been a figment of my imagination. Thanks for the correction.

Truth is, OSS people are in incredible demand, and make a significant premium over MSFT skillsets. There's a lot less skill OSS'ers than MSFT, but the ROI on OSS is so frigging better than MSFT that all the big companies are looking at doing it, and paying quite handsomely for accomplished OSS technologists.

As GI Joe would say, knowing is half the battle.

Anonymous said...

Ahw man, not Bill Baker too!
http://news.yahoo.com/s/cmp/20080806/tc_cmp/209903418

I was sorry to see him leave the Sql Server team when I was there. More sorry to see him leave the company completelly. Wish him all the best.

Anonymous said...

>> MS employees are now free to join
>> competitors, in CA at least

Non-compete still holds, since you've signed it in WA. So you can be sued in WA, if you somehow manage to find a job where you do the exact same thing. I've never heard anyone getting sued, except for Kai Fu Lee, though.

Anonymous said...

>> doing FOSS and getting a rewarding salary

Um, no. Just because you write on top of Linux and use GCC or Python, doesn't mean your product has to be free, let alone open source. Heck, you can even use open source libs licensed under LGPL and some other licenses without showing anyone your source code. Finally, if you're writing a web site/service or an internal tool and don't sell your binaries to the customer, you don't have to disclose anything at all, period, even if you use plain GPL. That's how GOOG does it. It's 100% Linux, yet you don't see much FOSS coming out, right?

The problem with platforms other than Microsoft is that they're poorly documented. Take an arbitrary FOSS Web framework, and you will have to do 10x the guesswork to figure things out. Same with Apple - their documentation is even more atrocious and it's a miracle to me anyone writes software for them at all. Ask folks in MacBU - they'll share some horror stories about Apple documentation.

Anonymous said...

If MSDN sucks that bad it is every MSFT employee's fault. That is something that is well within their power to fix.

File some documentation bugs! Have everybody else in your team join you for documentation bug bashes. Work with your doc writers. All you have to do is find a useless meeting on your calendar (not hard), skip it and spend that time explaining your features to the people who write the doc. The more they know, the better the docs.

If the doc is still not good enough, do something lots of Microsoft employees do. Start a blog and post articles about your product. I did it when I was an SDET. I would pick a common error message in my feature and write an article about it answering the following questions: why did I get this error and how can I fix it?
It worked. If you typed the error messages in Google my blog posts would often come in first. A large portion of my hits were coming from Google searches.

All those things are time consuming but well worth it, and it sure beats standing around whining about poor doc quality while doing absolutely nothing about it. If your boss is smart s/he'll give you credit for all that work at review time.

Anonymous said...

MSDN documentation continues to be so thunderingly useless.
I found MSDN documentation to be excellent. I stop buying books long time ago. I simply go to the MSDN online (via google, mind you) to find answers to all my ms products questions and examples.

Anonymous said...

> From Rob Schoeben's Wikipedia page:
"Before joining apple in 2004 he worked at Microsoft."

Ahhh... that explains it. Now we know why MobileMe pulled a Vista.

Anonymous said...

"Truth is, OSS people are in incredible demand, and make a significant premium over MSFT skillsets. "

LOL!!! Is that the reason the constant donation begging emails I used to receive from an OSS community I signed up. I eventually had to put it under spam blocker. What happened to that "significant premium"?

And regarding being so "friggin better", my MS-skillset firm has levels ranging from 200, 250, 300 to 350/hr, and we have problem filling the client request. I'd like to know what rate OSS folks get.

Anonymous said...

Open source hasn't taken over (never will imo) simply b/c doing FOSS and getting a rewarding salary just don't happen at the same time.

I don't subscribe to the FOSS philosophy and never will but I would like to say to its advocates that very few Microsoft employees have the same ignorant and foolish view of FOSS as the person who posted the above text.

Anonymous said...

>> When can I buy my own sphere

Probably never. It's a concept, and as such it probably won't ever be released. And if it IS released, it won't be released by MSR.

That said, if you're going to watch the Olympics online, you'll be using the tech invented in MSR. Bought a VC1 encoded BluRay disk lately? MSR, too. Word is fixing your embarrassing spelling and grammar? MSR. Generics in .NET? MSR. Ranking in Search? MSR. Spam detection in Hotmail and Outlook? MSR.

What have you invented, zitface? If you don't want to make your name public, at least give us a hint why anyone should listen to you at all.

Anonymous said...

Reg. Patents


Please stop cribbing about the quality of patents.

Many times, companies patent "obvious" ideas becuase someone else will patent it if they don't. And if that idea happens to be at the core of their product/business, they patent it to prevent "patent"-squatting (not sure if the phrase exists -- I guess I should copyright it :-) ).

In short, Patents are necessary evil - we can't avoid it.

Anonymous said...

Numbers are out.. sucks this time.

Anonymous said...

The main problem at Microsoft is how long it takes to move out an incompetent partner. We couldn’t just make a mess in the Great Plains, Navision, Axapta and project Green story: we had to repeat it! How many times will Microsoft let a partner with a vision go on acquisition sprees just to build empires, all based on visions from people that no longer have a clue about source code or effective people management? Is SteveB really looking at this?

Bill Baker was literally moved out of SQL, but only to give him the chance to execute his vision, delaying another project (Biz#), while acquiring useless (ProClarity, FRx, etc.) companies in the process of trying to build an empire that quickly collapsed as revenue didn’t come as planned.

Customers don’t want to buy a vision of some unified future: they want to buy products that work, are installed quickly and easy to maintain. All this collapsed vision came from a "BI expert" who tried to build an empire on top of forecasting, monitoring and analyzing data! What an irony.

Better than Bill Baker going away: he will soon extend invitations for all his "friends" to follow him, so that he can continue to practice his hypocritical style of "management by consensus". It is a great day for Microsoft!

Anonymous said...

>"Anyone claiming IBM is somehow an "ethical" company is an idiot in my book. I assume you've never had to deal with IBM enterprise "consultants"."

OP here. Yes, how right you are SKC, come to think of it, their interface to the consumer is a miserable record, to wit, OS2 Warp and lately Lotus Symphony Open source which I have as yet not been able to download.

Maybe Ethical was the wrong word. Certainly, IBM lately has been quite productive on the actual level of accomplishing great and significant technology breakthroughs. Like Microsoft there are probably so many layers that define the company you can't really pin the brand on just one group.

Anonymous said...

>Even if they don't have a patent for it, it's probably not patentable due to either prior art or obviousness.

Good point MSS. People do not realize how hard it is to come up with something completely new and patentable that will hold. Software is tough, product designs with utility features that can be patented are really tough, but a talented inventor (whatever the speciality) can find them, but those people are as rare as the great and valuable patent.

Anonymous said...

MSDN documentation continues to be so thunderingly useless.
I found MSDN documentation to be excellent. I stop buying books long time ago. I simply go to the MSDN online (via google, mind you) to find answers to all my ms products questions and examples.


Yep - MSDN is ok, so long as you have Google to find things in it...

Anonymous said...

has anyone got reviews yet? can we have folks talk about scores/rewards?

Anonymous said...

Haven't heard the numbers yet in our team (WLID).
Hope they won't suck as last time.

Anonymous said...

Review model hadn't locked as of Thursday, not sure if anyone's had their review yet?

Anonymous said...

>> I don't subscribe to the FOSS philosophy and never will but I would like to say to its advocates that very few Microsoft employees have the same ignorant and foolish view of FOSS as the person who posted the above text.

I used to be a Microsoft employee and before that Java, now I run tech for a startup and I use both .NET and OSS (no Java). While Microsoft is the easiest to build and maintain, it is just too expensive to make money. OSS maybe be complicated with no documentation but it needs no Windows or SQL. Its for this singular reason people use OSS. When the world moves to SaaS, Microsoft products would be too expensive for companies to use.

Anonymous said...

>"That said, if you're going to watch the Olympics online, you'll be using the tech invented in MSR. Bought a VC1 encoded BluRay disk lately? MSR, too. Word is fixing your embarrassing spelling and grammar? MSR. Generics in .NET? MSR. Ranking in Search? MSR. Spam detection in Hotmail and Outlook? MSR."

What have you invented, zitface? If you don't want to make your name public, at least give us a hint why anyone should listen to you at all.

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my. Hmmm. Let's see now, . . .
>"if you're going to watch the Olympics online, you'll be using the tech invented at MSR."

You mean Silverlight? Oh dear, looks like I don't have a choice, except CCTV.com from China (is that Silverlight too?). To wit this article from the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/10/sports/olympics/10stream.html that talks about how Microsoft is cramming the technology down our throats:

"But for many industry executives who compete with Microsoft, the world’s largest software company, the Silverlight strategy recalls a federal antitrust case in which Microsoft was found guilty of using its market muscle to stifle competition from the Web."

If I were you, I wouldn't be touting how great Silverlight is, as it could end up being your next antitrust war if you actually manage to use it as an unfair leveraging tool like you are doing at the Olympics.

>"Bought a VC1 encoded BluRay disk lately? MSR, too. "

Oh yeah, VC1 is another revised and slightly improved technology NOT invented by Microsoft. It is derived from the conventional DCT-based video codec design also found in H.261, H.263, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4 Part 2.

Although widely considered to be Microsoft’s product, there are actually 15 companies in the VC-1 patent pool (as of August 17, 2006).(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VC-1).

>"Word is fixing your embarrassing spelling and grammar? MSR."
I don't use Word to spell check, as it is so cumbersome and works like crap. I use Firefox inline with my browser. Just wondering, is spell check in your browser yet? Me-too too late.

Is spell check something Microsoft invented? Hardly. Microsoft purchased its spell check technology to include in Word, if I remember somewhere back in the 80's, besides, spell checkers were first used in WordPerfect and Wordstar and were invented by six linguists at Georgetown Universtity for IBM. Oh yeah, I believe Microsoft eventually bankrupted the company which wrote the checker used in Word when it wrote its own version.

>"Generics in .NET? MSR."
Yes, I believe Generics was an invention used in Ada programming language, not sure if it came about as a result of Ada 95 or the original Ada from 1983. Is this another example of Microsoft taking a good idea and making it better, therefore improving a technology and not inventing it? MMMMeeeee-ttoooo.

>"Ranking in Search? MSR"
Yes, search is a sensitive subject for Microsoft. I am sure your work has helped Microsoft Search dominate the market. Nuf said there.

>"Spam detection in Hotmail and Outlook? MSR."
*sigh*. Spam is a non issue for most people these days and not because of Hotmail or Outlook. And I hardly think those two products are even significant as primary spam filters. Just another me-too add on. Pretty much all spam is filtered at the server or through other more popular and earlier users of spam for online email.

While I am sure MSR has made some great contributions to technology those listed are not among them. And, it is important for you to know that this non-programmer is not dissing MSR. I was having fun with laughing at how some Microsoft `oooh aaahh' technologies (sphere, surface etc.) are 100% meaningless as new inventions and technology contributions in the overall scheme of things. Maybe a commercial market for casinos and hotels, but not a mass produced item that sells to everyone. When you are ready , I can do that for you, (come up with products that are mass produced for everyone that everyone will want) but I am not holding my breath. Microsoft is so inept at knowing the difference between talent and me-too copiests, I doubt you will get there.

As to who I am, well, you're such a smart person, I am sure you can figure it out, since you wrote the software. To quote Kirk in Star Trek's, the Wrath of Khan, "Kahn, I'm laughing at your superior intellect." Zitface? Only an adolescent would say that. How low.

Anonymous said...

People do not realize how hard it is to come up with something completely new and patentable that will hold. Software is tough, product designs with utility features that can be patented are really tough, but a talented inventor (whatever the speciality) can find them, but those people are as rare as the great and valuable patent.

When I left Microsoft I was a level 63. At the time I left I felt like I was under huge pressure from my manager to file patents. That pressure was one of several aspects of working at Microsoft that left me wanting out. I thought the expectations were unrealistic. I'm curious to know if others still at Microsoft (or who have left) felt similar pressure?

Anonymous said...

Rumor on deck -- anyone shorting Kevin Turner's career? Maybe just chatter post FY08. Lies, damn lies, and scorecards. Plus look at morale and motivation. Too much to hope for?

Anonymous said...

Re: Patent pressure

I remember back in Longhorn/Vista time frame it was "more patents the better."

Now we have strict patent budgets, so I guess we are aiming for quality not quantity. Some folks explained to me (don't know if they are right) that the shift occured because we have obtained enough "defensive" patents.

Anonymous said...

Reviews were final approved as of Friday 3:00PM...

Anonymous said...

Yes scores locked - was at printer and saw (literally left on printer) some of the numbers. If you're a top 67, you're looking at a 60% bonus off base with 400K in stock. Hot damn!

Anonymous said...

>"At the time I left I felt like I was under huge pressure from my manager to file patents."

OP here. I don't and never have worked at Microsoft. What a shame about the pressure to patent. As a person who has successfully patented lots of successful products while working for various companies, it was usually because of three things:
a) I am a natural inventor, have a sense of what works and what does not, and inventing is the ability to discern into the future what the population needs.
b) I have been lucky enough to work for companies that understood the process of invention and how to make it successful. The no. one thing about an environment favorable to invention is that it must be free of political and psycho pressure from within.
c) The force driving the patent disclosures to management came from me not the other way around. I have over the years developed a methodology for recording and reporting patentable ideas that I perceive as valuable. About one percent may eventually be developed as an actual product or receive a patent, but it all gets recorded by hand and dated daily in my personal engineering notebooks.

So the key is to develop a scheme that you are comfortable with that delivers to you first what you may deem as patentable ideas for further development, then it is a slow process of concept development, documentation, prototype and test to verify the validity of your idea. After that comes social verification, focus testing, customer feedback and so on until eventually you have something the you may have known for years is what customers want, but you now have the proof to get the funding for manufacture and distribution.

Anonymous said...

As someone who's been involved in filing multiple patents (both here and in prior gigs) - what about out and out patent theft from peers? Anyone experience that?

I've had an instance where I was asked to sit in on a cross-group v-team on an envisioning session, and white boarded an out of the box process to solve a vertical industry business problem using upcoming MS technology.

Six months later I get called in to provide some guidance on how to implement the solution for a major customer. During the process, I learn that one of the members of a member of the v-team had filed a patent on my idea and left my name off the application. People in the room at the time all acknowledged it was my idea, and the guy who filed the patent denied he stole it, despite a fundamental understanding of two of the technologies (he was best known as a mainframe guy and clearly didn't get some of the cloud and federated identity concepts).

I confronted him on this and asked to have it amended, but didn't have the bandwidth to take from other high profile projects to fight it.

Talking with a couple of other colleagues subce, anecdotally it appears mine does not seem to be an isolated example. From the instances noted, this has occured primarily with cross-group collaboration where certain parties file without informing the rest of the v-team (even if others on the team came up with and/or fully documented the idea)

Is this an anomaly or have other people seen this as well? Anyone successfully fight to have a patent amended? Any HR implications for those filing on your ideas?

Anonymous said...

That said, if you're going to watch the Olympics online, you'll be using the tech invented in MSR. Bought a VC1 encoded BluRay disk lately? MSR, too. Word is fixing your embarrassing spelling and grammar? MSR. Generics in .NET? MSR. Ranking in Search? MSR. Spam detection in Hotmail and Outlook? MSR.

Oh.

Dear.

Someone's forgotten their computing history.

Newton said it far better than I could: "If I have seen further than others, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants."

The poster forgets that many giants are below them, lifting them up. Many of the giants invented the technology that the poster mentions, others made it possible. Few (if any) were in MSR, and I strongly suspect that the people in MSR would be a bit more humble in blowing their own trumpets. But then, I don't know them personally.

Please. Don't say that spell checking and generics were from MSR. Or that spam detection was perfected there. As for claiming Blu-Ray... hmm, best not to say anything.

Anonymous said...

Is this an anomaly or have other people seen this as well? Anyone successfully fight to have a patent amended? Any HR implications for those filing on your ideas?


It's not isolated I've been at MSFT for about 15 years, I can think of at least 4 specific patents that had these issues. 1 is clearly debatable, the other 3 all involve a specfic couple of people in research. They went the lawyers and quietly amended people off the inital disclosure. No, they didn't tell anyone, yes they added the tame PM that approved it.

skc said...

>>The poster forgets that many giants are below them, lifting them up. Many of the giants invented the technology that the poster mentions, others made it possible<<

Seems like too many people here have a problem with comprehension. The poster didn't claim the tech was invented by MSR. But it's reasonable that advancements to specific technologies were dreamed up and researched at MSR and ended up making their way into various products.

At least point out where he claimed MSR "invented" Blu Ray.

Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

>"what about out and out patent theft from peers? Anyone experience that?"

Non softie who has been posting about patents here. Boy do I have some stories to tell there.

I don't want to identify the product because it would identify me, but this happened to me about fifteen years ago:

I came up with an original idea for a product, very successful, useful invention that the company did not recognize until after multinational focus studies of the prototypes verified it. I had long since written a patent disclosure for the patent attorneys, signed the assignments, etc. I then left the company and was asked to sign a patent that put me as last inventor of about ten people I selected as co developers of my idea (people who helped on the project but did not actually invent the thing.) What I did was two things. I wrote the patent office contesting the inventor list, and I had proof it was my patent to back it up. I also hired a patent attorney who defended inventors. He did not help me much except to negotiate a deal to get the company to correctly identify the primary inventor as me in exchange for my giving all my drawings and engineering notebooks to my attorney for permanent storage. The patent was issued with me as the primary inventor and two years later the person who had listed herself as primary on the first patent (a utility patent) stole a second invention from me. She filed it as a design patent with the utilitarian patent feature included in the drawings of the design patent. She was issued the patent and it would have been too expensive for me to fight it. You win some and you lose some.

Patents are almost always absconded by managers or weasels who couldn't invent their way out of a paper bag. The best defense is to keep good notes, keep your own copy, and watch the application lists that come out on the USPTO patents applied for lists for at least six or seven years. Also if they are issued a patent that is your invention you can always sue them after the fact if you can prove the design dates. This is why you must keep a bound engineering notebook written in your own hand with dates on each page backed up by other data.

Steve Jobs iPhone was developed this way, as was the UI of the original MAC OS. The MAC OS was of course developed by Xerox Parc. If a company or person can steal your idea and get away with it, they probably will.

You will win if you keep the detailed records, but you may lose your job in the process.

Anonymous said...

"Yes scores locked - was at printer and saw (literally left on printer) some of the numbers. If you're a top 67, you're looking at a 60% bonus off base with 400K in stock. Hot damn!"

Yawn..... and the magic word here, even if the numbers are legit, is IF.

observer said...

-- LOL!!! Is that the reason the constant donation begging emails I used to receive from an OSS community I signed up. I eventually had to put it under spam blocker. What happened to that "significant premium"? --


Sigh. There are many different ways of getting profitable employment working on OSS. If you already have a solid reputation, you may be able to find employment at an outfit like the Linux Foundation where you are directly paid to contribute code to OSS projects.

But probably the bigger opportunity is in providing support and maintenance services for shops using OSS. This is the RedHat model and works ok (margins not as good as MSFT's but still solidly profitable). Other than the big boys (RedHat and SuSe), there are numerous individual consultants who do essentially the same services for a fee and make an excellent living out of it.

Just because an OSS project is asking for donations does not mean there is no one making money on it.

Anonymous said...

Talking with a couple of other colleagues subce, anecdotally it appears mine does not seem to be an isolated example. From the instances noted, this has occured primarily with cross-group collaboration where certain parties file without informing the rest of the v-team (even if others on the team came up with and/or fully documented the idea)

Is this an anomaly or have other people seen this as well? Anyone successfully fight to have a patent amended? Any HR implications for those filing on your ideas?


Umm... how familiar are you with the baser aspects of human nature? I'm guessing not very.

Dude -- this kind of drama has been a fundamental part of academia since the beginning of time. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

That said, if you're going to watch the Olympics online, you'll be using the tech invented in MSR. Bought a VC1 encoded BluRay disk lately? MSR, too. Word is fixing your embarrassing spelling and grammar? MSR. Generics in .NET? MSR. Ranking in Search? MSR. Spam detection in Hotmail and Outlook? MSR.

Wait a second -- there's spam detection in Hotmail?

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