Monday, July 14, 2008

The Tumbling Tumbleweeds of Summer

(Rocking back and forth in the rocking chair after a nice fine sunny NW day - pity they have WiFi in so many places nowadays...)

Oh, hi.

Looks like it's going to be tumbling tumbleweeds here for a while, at least until the weather turns rainy again (bizarre pre-4th thunderstorms excluded).

Perhaps as a sign of resignation here, I'm far more interested in enjoying some concerts and great hiking than sharing any perspectives about my take on Microsoft. I look back four years ago from when I started sharing my conversation, and it's sort of a wash. Yes, we've had some flattening that Jack Welch even might grunt a tacit approval to. Internet Explorer reformed. There was a revamping of the 4.0/3.5/3.0 scale. Towels. But JHC, we continue to balloon and expand with no rhyme and reason, and cutting back in employee size is the tune I came here to sing. So, enjoying a breeze off of Puget Sound is a lot more pleasurable than thinking about our constricting bloat.

First thing: for those in Redmond / Seattle who read this post right while it's fresh, Ms. Mary Jo Foley, author of the book Microsoft 2.0, will be in Redmond to discuss all things Redmond on July 22nd: Bringing Microsoft 2.0 to Microsoft. 6pm. Malt & Vine. 16851 Redmond Way.

BillG put in his goodbye since my last post. Pick up Ms. Foley's book and read the Mini-Microsoft foreword for some of my feelings around that. Look, BillG is not replaceable. No one is going to take his place at Microsoft. I mostly enjoyed his goodbye presentation, though I had to shake my head when Ballmer reflected that Bill's greatest parting gift to us was the culture of Microsoft. No, that's messy. You can impart a culture and expect it to continue in your daily absence. Bill's culture fades day to day, unless the emerging leadership truly pushes forward with it as their own. But can they even live up to him? No. Time for a new culture, one that makes sense for our current challenges and that shows the level of quality of our leadership.

As a small example of culture: I'm back to reading some business books. It's pretty sad that I have to read Jack Welch to get an understanding of the basis of our differentiated rewards review system, vitality curve and all. I may not agree with it, but at least Mr. Welch takes time to explain its application, end-to-end, to the huge organization that GE is. Which is more than Microsoft leadership does. We just sort of assimilated it, bolted it on, and said "it is what it is."

As BillG heads out, Ballmer's in the middle of leading this classic Pacific Northwest passive aggressive can't make a clear decision to save our lives play for Yahoo! Well, as of today, less passive, more agressive. I feel like we are Yahoo!'s creepy and inappropriate neighbor, peeking through the slates in the fence, asking for a date whenever given a chance. And, oooo!, the Yahoo!s have a new boarder moving in, Carl! Carl's not exactly our friend, but he will invite us over to hang. We're gonna get a date with that cute Yahoo! chick yet! She has an awesome car we've been dying to drive around town.

For Yahoo! we stumbled over our own feet and had to put away the hostile takeover knife we pulled, and in the immediate aftermath was folks wondering: "Gee, this Ballmer guys needs to be replaced. But with who? There's no obvious replacement. Dude. Looks like Microsoft better just keep him."

That's scary in two ways: one, the lack of confidence and respect the community has for Mr. Ballmer's leadership and results (though, a large part of this is riding on Kevin Johnson's shoulders). Then, two: not to wish bad things, but if Mr. Ballmer was run over by a truck (American made, thank you): then what? Who'd take his place?

In short order, Mr. Ballmer has to start a race, running from President down to Corporate VP, to identify his successor. My money was always riding on Jeff Raikes, but BillG has Mr. Raikes now. I'm concerned about who Mr. Ballmer and the board would choose. Some golf-club flim-flam smooth-talker, someone who thinks another Microsoft-branded web browser would be a swell idea? Someone who has never written a piece of software in their lives, let alone shipped and supported it?

No, not to run Microsoft.

I guess I'll spend some time lingering over the VP biographies (trying not to sigh and swoon [remember: inappropriate]). Who would you follow? Who do you respect? I don't care if you hate their guts, who would you want to step up and lead Microsoft in the years ahead?

As part of the challenge of discovering a worthy CEO.next, I hope this year's Company Meeting returns and builds out the theme of Many Microsofts. I'm a fool for thinking of one leader to run it all, perhaps. But we need some obvious folks to step up. Cos we're not there.


69 comments:

Anonymous said...

Microsoft's Sleeping Giant gets Performance Reviewed - Podcast Ep 21 (starts at 48m:30s)

Podcast

Anonymous said...

Ok OK.. I will run microsoft. But only three hours a day, 10 am to 1 pm, monday to friday, and I will work from home (New Zealand). This is not negotiable!

Anonymous said...

We need youth at the top. I firmly believe much of the challenges we face today are grounded in age.

Anonymous said...

Here's my theory:

Ballmer is going to be forced out within the next three years in an effort led by...Bill Gates. Then Jeff Raikes gets inserted as the new CEO of Microsoft.

That's why he recruited Jeff Raikes to be the CEO of the Gates Foundation - keep him waiting in the wings before BillG drops the hammer. Ballmer was never going to cede control in a timeline that would keep Raikes patiently waiting.

I think BillG has lost confidence in Ballmer as well. Various news stories indicate Bill is very much against the Yahoo deal and killed it the first time around. Our negotiations with Yahoo make us look downright stupid and boorish.

A $200M ad campaign to freshen up our image is overdue, but Ballmer's sweaty antics will quickly erase any brand deoderant we apply.

Anonymous said...

My vote is for ScottGu!

Anonymous said...

SteveSi?

Anonymous said...

I think Eric Rudder or Sinofsky would be good choices. We need leaders who are technical and actually wrote code and were close to metal at one point in their career.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mini,

it might not help you in your situation, but there are other companies that face similar problems and challenges. Mine, for example. The culture is one of the major factors for our low turnover rate. However, as my company becomes more and more global, the local culture is more and more watered down. Hey, we even have an employee representation akin to that of all other major companies in my country now, when for 30 years we did without, because of the (great) way people were treated!

(Then again, it is not so much due to mismanagement but to the egos of some union fanatics. Oh well...)

Retaining a positive corporate culture once you reach a certain size is a big subject. I am really, really interested in how these things are handled at Microsoft. For two reasons: one, because it is important to us, too. Two, because there are persistent rumours of a merger between our organisations.

Which makes it breathtakingly easy to figure out where I come from I guess, if you combine the information provided with my dodgy English :-)

Anonymous said...

stevesi

Anonymous said...

Ballmer will run the company until either he or the company dies. What else is he gonna do? Sell used cars? It's not like he has an established charitable cause to turn to, like JeffR and BillG. Board is weak - it won't displace him unless he truly screws up. So far, financial (revenue/profit) results of his regime are pretty positive, so I see no change coming. He pays the upper management handsomely, too, so retention is pretty good there. Good people are leaving the company at the lower levels everywhere - but if you were Ballmer, would you care about those replaceable cogs down in the bowels of the machine?

Anonymous said...

"who would you want to step up and lead Microsoft in the years ahead?"

You, of course, Mini. Firing parties at five, film at eleven.

Anonymous said...

Robbie Bach? Decent guy, good values but some say he is not fond of dealing with confrontation. (I can't say for sure having not ever been part of any confrontation that high up the E&D food ladder.)

Anonymous said...

Instead of putting in a new CEO to run the whole thing, I'd split the company into two - One company that makes its living off of selling software (the business MSFT "should" be in) and the other that makes its living from selling advertising (the business that MSFT's proven time and again that it shouldn't be in).

I'd put Steven Sinofski in charge of "softwareco" ... Based on his results and his thoughtful comments on his internal blog, he looks to be one of the better leaders we have in the company and one who would take us a long way towards making better products that the market actually wants.

As for "Adco" I don't really care (I wouldn't hold this stock for more than five minutes after the split).

Anonymous said...

Richard Branson for MS CEO.

Anonymous said...

> Ballmer will run the company until either he or the company dies. What else is he gonna do? Sell used cars? It's not like he has an established charitable cause to turn to, like JeffR and BillG. Board is weak - it won't displace him unless he truly screws up.

But now BillG is part of the board, but not part of the management team. That could make the board a lot more powerful wrt management. (I'm kind of echoing anonymous@Monday, July 14, 2008 10:26:00 PM here.)

> So far, financial revenue/profit) results of his regime are pretty positive, so I see no change coming.

Everything is doing great, except for the stock price and the corporate image in the external world.

MSS

Anonymous said...

> We need youth at the top. I firmly believe much of the challenges we face today are grounded in age.

Don't confuse age with maturity. It seems to me that many of the problems were because Bill and Steve weren't mature enough (with their ages being irrelevant).

MSS

Anonymous said...

You need someone from outside...anyone from inside is tainted by the culture. MSFT needs a culture-ectomy and that can only happen from the top down. As for who; figure out the core competencies that will match the direction the industry is traveling and find a dude/dudette that fits that groove. Pluck them from a start up or out of the entrenched bourgeoisie but get them soon.

It'll be hard as hell, for sure, but dying a long slow death is as hard (only less noticable).

Anonymous said...

Either Eric Rudder or Sinofsky would be a disaster.

Anonymous said...

I'm with the guy who suggested SteveSi or Eric Rudder. Both of these guys have been down in the trenches, *and* have successfully transitioned to the very different skills necessary to run huge organizations.

Personally, I prefer SteveSi, but that's because I've worked in orgs that he has run.

Speaking of which, Mini, you should print out his blog, bind it into a little book, and read that in the sun. He does exactly what you like about Welch -- explains the reasons behind his decisions and actions.

SuziB said...

You must have been in my head last night because I was wondering about Ballmer's successor as well. I keep thinking there must be someone in the lower ranks who is brilliant, hip, trustworthy, and tech savvy beyond measure. NO sleeksters, just genuine passionate geeks who are multisyllabic and acessible.

I think it is time for some new blood to be the face of the company and it might be best if that new face better reflected the diversity inside the company. No more patriarchal middle aged men. Someone who has a glimmer in their eyes and is full of passion about the future of technology and how it can touch everyone in a non creepy way.

Anonymous said...

What is it with the "sigh" and "swoon" about Gounares? i dont get it. I worked with him several times - he is absolutely worthless.

Anonymous said...

run microsoft - which microsoft?

as a field person back in the states for our annual meeting, let me share some thoughts.

the commercial business is going great guns - we really have a groove on with the server products and the office server products. these really are great products. Office is a solid product and while everyone knows that selling the latest version of an incredible product is tough, especially if the last one is also great, the strategy of tying it closely to the server is dead on.

Vista - Sp1 is a huge improvement if you have a clean build. When you think about it, we've taken everything bad that was really possible - the security problems, the vista time ship cycle, a resurgent apple with great devices - and we're still holding a huge piece of share. things can only get better and we all have some faith in steve si.

My only complaint on the vista issue is that the oem team needs to get off their collective asses and make the machines coming out of our oem partners scream. guggs, you need to think about the right strategy to get on the offensive, rather than the coasting strategy. At this point, you are probably the guy who can impact our eps the most - please don't blow it.

i do have to say that in general, we all wonder what the f&%# kevin johnson is doing. from our perspective, we are spending oodles of money with nothing to show for it. hey, sounds like xbox, msn...sorry. the strategy may be right, but we have nothing to show.

so i guess my point is, split it up. have kevin johnson, robbie or ballmer run the core commercial business. split off the online "assets" - msn, live etc. split off zune and xbox and make that an entertainment company.

i agree that this yahoo thing is really embarrassing, but i don't think any of those guys really are web people. and no, i don't think you need a coder to run the commercial business right now. sorry, you need a business guy. the mindset that says you need an ex-developer is just survival instinct for the engineer crowd. think about it - do you want a ceo writing code? no - you want them planning your business strategy. UItimately how you build something is very secondary to what you build, and even us business folk can understand that one since it is all about the customer.

Anonymous said...

Whoever comes in needs to be a kick-ass take-names sort of guy, so when he sends out a memo like BillG's 2003 Movie Maker rant, something actually happens.

Anonymous said...

ChrisCap

Anonymous said...

...you should print out his blog, bind it into a little book, and read that in the sun.

And Mini, bring with you some toothpicks to keep your eyelids open and lots of Mountain Dew to stay awake.

I appreciate what Steven Sinofsky is doing with his internal blog, too: there's a lot of good insight there that you just don't hear or read from anywhere else in the company. Like, say, LisaB. But good-gods, man, brevity is the key to good writing.

It's odd, because in those rare moments where he'll actually talk to you, he doesn't seem to be the dense, wordy type.

Anonymous said...

Which leaders do I see playing important roles in our future? One in particular is Bill Veghte.

I respect the guy and I like the guy.

Anonymous said...

Consoles cant be spun off. Consoles need a massive cash infusion to pay for them and then, eventually, they either become profitable or the bring you rewards in other ways - ie -resurrecting the corporate name.

Always ignored on this blog for some reason, the value of that is PRICELESS to MSFT. MSFT is a DESPISED company. Maybe some of us insiders fail to really understand that.

LOATHED

XBox fixes that. When I visit customers I am endlessly battling b/c they view me as serving Satan

When I do charity at schools kids cheer for the XBox.

Thats the value of it.

Unfortunately, those businesses are a massive cash sink and need SOME profitable business to fuel them.

Only Nintendo manages to be a pure gaming company, but without Shigeru Miyamoto, they would never have been and there is only one him - much like Billg - so FORGET NINTENDO.

Im tired of people (ignorant of larger issues) assuming that Nintendo is so easy to duplicate by just making a cheap crap console like they did.

They sell b/c of Miyamoto... PERIOD... end of story. Mario, Zelda, etc are priceless.

So MSFT cant be "split". Maybe some of you refuse to understand the value of something less than fully tanglible like image recovery via XBox, or even future positioning via online brand, but those are long term investment businesses that would just die on their own. I suppose what some of you are saying is MSFT doesnt need them and they SHOULD die, but I would say that just marks you as being incredibly shortsighted and narrow in industry view.

Anonymous said...

I'm hearing absolute nonsense. Names are being thrown around as if notoriety or Partner status (or above) were equal to either skill or talent.

Anyone you name from the Microsoft Elite is, by definition, in a conflict of interest. They have every reason to maintain each and every damaging policy that benefits them and harms the company as a whole.

Microsoft bears resemblence to the Roman Empire to me. The same corruption, the same core problem (those who could end corruption have every incentive to continue the corruption, those who have incentive to end corruption have no power to do so).

Anonymous said...

Whoever comes in needs to be a kick-ass take-names sort of guy, so when he sends out a memo like BillG's 2003 Movie Maker rant, something actually happens.
Or like Jim Allchin's rant about "losing our way"? I kinda miss JimAll to be honest.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who has worked with SteveSi or in one of his organizations knows we'd be lucky to have him take over.

I don't see it happening though...

Anonymous said...

Steve Jobs. Imgaine what he could do...

Anonymous said...

I've just finished (what I could put up with) of MJF's book.

On a 10 hour flight I battled with it, and 3/4 of the way through I gave up and read the inflight entertainment magazine twice instead.

By page 6, I was wincing every time I saw the words "softies", "the Soft", or "Redmondians". Maybe it's just me, but I hate those terms - and many other colleagues hate them too. Outside of Ms Foley's colloquialisms, there's nothing in the book you can't figure out from reading the "top 100" blogs from Technet and MSDN (by top 100 I mean in terms of hits), plus minimsft/mss/msftextrememakeover plus their comments.

I presume dedicating time to reading all those blogs pays off - never before have I actually truly resented paying money for a book before. The book is a load of twaddle, mini I hope you got recompensed handsomely for your foreword. And the bit that really made me put the tome down and have a long think about what exactly I was reading was the 2 page list of Vista SP1 changes. Like wtf does that have to do with the company post-Bill????

I read the sleeve, figured it was an interesting read despite having a gut feel it was going to be sensationalist. Sensationalist I wish - just a load of rehash of content everyone already knows. I guess that sums up such "watcher blogs" anyhow.

Buyer beware.

Anonymous said...

I would vote for an emerging star - Scott Guthrie. The man is a new CVP so he is way down on the seniority list but with Silverlight leadership, he has shown that he gets the competitive challenge and is not afraid to go against legacy and internal conventional wisdom (Windows-only good, .NET investment etc.).
He is way better than many SVPs around who are never willing to rock the boat.
About Robbie Bach - since when did losing billions of dollars and failing to turn a profit constitute a great resume? Besides, we have so many of his kind who have consistently failed to deliver (Satya Nadella at MBS, Yusuf Mehdi at MSN).
BTW, is Mr Elop going to spend more than 365 days at MS?

Anonymous said...

If Win7 goes well, SteveSi all the way.

Anonymous said...

--Or like Jim Allchin's rant about "losing our way"? I kinda miss JimAll to be honest.--


I used to feel that way too. But then you realize that Allchin was in charge of the division. He always comes across as a straight-shooter at first glance, but he had a real knack for taking himself out of the circle of blame.
Any failure of Windows should fall directly on his shoulders. And I still feel he pinned the whole thing on BrianV.

Anonymous said...

First name comes to my mind is scottgu. I'm not in his org but I don't know of one single person in his org who don't praise him enough for his drive, vision, pushing the limits and encouragement to innovate. I've NEVER seen so many people praising their CVP. This is actually quite surprising considering that I've known lot many more people always complaining that their CVPs have no clue whatsoever about what is going on. BTW, you are right on BillG comment - he is not replaceable. At his peak career, BillG used to do spec reviews authored by guy 6 levels down of him. That was the kind of his care, passion and intensity from his level. How many Presidents/CVPs you know who have meticulously reviewed those number of specs in their orgs? Except, of course, scottgu which people tells me he knows sometime more than author of the spec!

I think one of the tragedy we have (and which steveb have frankly intensified) is huge accumulation of non-programmers, people who don't understand code but are in charge of delivering it. When I look around in my own team I shudder at the thought that every two out three person in my team don't even know how to start VS.Net and write Hello World even in C#. My org may be extreme but bloat is big enough that its on your face all the time instead of the corner.

And guess what? ScottGu CAN write code. How many other presidents and CVPs can claim that? I know most CVPs would cheat by claiming that they USED to write code 20 years ago. So they are out of touch with everything that came out since then? May be then CVP is the only job they can apply for :).

Anonymous said...

Bill Veghte is a leader. He is the only person I've met at Microsoft whom I would follow in to a (literal) battle.

Anonymous said...

We need youth at the top. I firmly believe much of the challenges we face today are grounded in age.

Lol, kids. Most of the genuinely crappy code is created by kids that haven't learned how not to yet. They may be cheap, but their code isn't.

Anonymous said...

Mark Zuckerberg

Anonymous said...

"I kinda miss JimAll to be honest."

Yeah, he did such a great job with Vista.

Anonymous said...

"Then Jeff Raikes gets inserted as the new CEO of Microsoft."

Don't know about Ballmer getting forced out. But Raikes does seem to have been kept on ice for a reason. Part of it is obviously making sure he didn't go to a competitor. But part may be leaving the option open for the prodigal son to return if or when required.

Anonymous said...

If only stevesi were running for president... as a Microsoft employee, I'd settle for having him as CEO.

Anonymous said...

I'm succumbing to the temptation. No one mentions Bob Muglia or Iain McDonald. Both of them come from very strong teams and the fact that they are so close to metal can be beneficial. What if MS is run by someone who knows software and who knows what it's like to lead a team to success?

Anonymous said...

SteveSi and co have instilled a fear of accountability from top to bottom in the windows org, I don't know why people are throwing his name around.

Anonymous said...

did you know scottgu has 0 transfats and is made of candy
by the way bill veghte can bench press 700 pounds

Sheesh Scott and Bill this is a sad way to get attention have your wives and parents find a more subtle approach to name dropping

Anonymous said...

BillV == WinMe. Not sure what he's done since then. Today, BillV is responsible for fixing Vista's image. It will be good to see how that in action.

ex-Dev said...

Hey Mini, I love your blog. I'm an ex-Softie, and it keeps me communicative with my Microsoft espousal unit. We watched the the videos together for that silly "Standards of Business Compliance" or whatever -- guess what -- video #3 is the blogger who gets caught blogging about stuff he shouldn't blog about.

I freaked, hoped they hadn't caught you, and dashed right out here to see if you were still here:

Whew!

Guess it's just wishful thinking on their part... :)

Anonymous said...

what is classic is that good stuff like this can go on for decades impacting windows update service

http://msmvps.com/blogs/bradley/archive/2008/07/13/if-you-want-a-realtek-driver-i-just-may-have-one.aspx

What is wrong with the driver publishing story?

Anonymous said...

If you want a CEO for growth purposes and building new businesses from scratch then Robbie Bach is your CEO.

If you want a CEO for improved operations and maintaining existing businesses then Bob Muglia is your CEO.

Anonymous said...

Business and technical acumen are both important, as is having some kind of visionary insight into the future of computing, but ultimately the most important thing for the company comes down to being an advocate for the customer. That's what Steve Jobs is and that's the only reason why Apple is successful now. Whoever's in charge of Microsoft next needs to call BS on the sort of stuff that drives your grandma nuts about Windows, so that people will once again get excited and line up around the block to buy the next version.

Anonymous said...

"No one mentions Bob Muglia or Iain McDonald. Both of them come from very strong teams and the fact that they are so close to metal can be beneficial."

I was thinking Bill Laing, even with the Vista code as a base he made sure we created a kick-ass server.

I agree that Brian took the fall for Jim. Sucked.

SteveSi hasn't proved himself in Windows yet. Hi s whole "no cade names" nonsense feels like a bad sign of things to come. He feels quite a bit like Jim v 2.0 when I think about it.

Anonymous said...

Mini - which Welch book are you referring to that explains the rewards system?

tresna said...

The challenges in the Net is very fierce. But according to history, innovation can beat Giants. (Remember MS vs the Big Blue)

I think what MS must do is shop again for new innovative startups but don't eat it up but just let it grow naturally (company growth and brand growth). Adding it to the bureaucracy is a big mistake.
Should there be any leader in the business that is in the way of innovation then he or she must be FIRED.
When shopping new startups, negotiation skills are put up front and Bill's visionary ability must be put at all will. Visionary leaders are like fortune tellers. They can tell the future.

Anonymous said...

Such Jostling in the vacuum of space is bound to excite the electrons! Well, after reading the complete blog here, it reminded me of that scene in 'Sleeper' where all these guys are dressed up as sperm, bumping into each other trying to get somewhere, anywhere. Pan out of the wet paper bag they are all in, pan out a little more to show the crumpled up bag in a trash can, pan out a bit more to show bill gates kicked back at home and the trash can under an office nerfball hoop. To give his tosses a little weight, he soaks em in water in a bowl on his desk.

So here are all the jostling spermatozoans:Some guy from New.Zealand.will.work.from.home.SteveSi?ScottGu!Jeff Raikes.Eric Rudder.Sinofsky.Robbie Bach?Loses Microsoft Money Every Day.You, of course, Mini.Richard Branson.what the f&%# kevin johnson is doing?ChrisCap.Bill Veghte needs yahoo to succeed-lame?they view me as serving Satan.BillG's 2003 Movie Maker rant,movie maker still does not effing work.jim allchin:"I'd buy a Mac".Scott Guthrie.??Steve Jobs. Imgaine what he could do...after answering the 64 lb question. . .mary jo.not.Mark Zuckerberg?Bob Muglia or Iain McDonald.BillV == WinMe.?Bill Laing,??and last but not least, from crf, marvin martian and his dog k-9.

Your company really needs a leader with an attitude and a ray gun . . . (er, . . .Marvin Martian once said, like a Bill Gates role model --he IS older than Bill; "I claim this planet in the name of Mars, er, isn't that lovely?").

Anonymous said...

Mini,

If you really want to gut the bloat, then I repectfully submit my candidate for CEO of Microsoft, the one and only, Mr. Al Dunlap.

This guy would make each division stand to account. While he completely Borked Sunbeam, Crown Zellerbach (a once well-known paper company that operated a paper mill near where I lived in Camas, Wasington) became a much more efficient and competitive James River Corporation after he split the company up.

If not Al, then someone just as agreessive at cost-cutting and increasing shareholder value.

Goodbye Entertainment Division!

Anonymous said...

Visionary leaders are like fortune tellers.

Ha, this analogy might be more apt than you expect.

Anonymous said...

1 more vote for BobMu, he knows how to make money and he's done grat with Server and Tools. He knows how to build winning teams and hire great managers who build great teams.

And no freaking way for anyone from E&D. Been there, done that, hated it, they aren't that bright, I was amused by how MJF cast Allard as a response to Jobs.
Ha!
More like a foil to Jobs. (sadly for us stockholders)

Anonymous said...

Bobmu - but he seems too sensible and pragmatic to be a CEO. Server has had a great few years due to the strategies he started. Everyone else has to stay the course, don't fuck things up, and have some luck. Bob ensured no one chased Linux on price and no one stuck new unproven technology though out the server. Laing got really lucky he couldn't ship at the same time as Vista.

Anonymous said...

Bring back Bob Herbold please.

Anonymous said...

Do you really want the next Microsoft CEO to be someone socialized in the dysfunctional leadership environment we currently have at the company?

I certainly wouldn’t, which is why I think you either have to look at someone new to the company, like Stephen Elop (formerly CEO at Macromedia), or someone external who is a Lou Gerstner turnaround type, like Mark Hurd at HP.

Anonymous said...

One of the problems is that the smart people are so far from the power. And to gain power, requires people to play a game that smart people don't want to play. While the powerful people use their power to avoid having to discuss smart ideas. Just squeezing more sales out of pseudo-monopolies is not going to raise the share price because the market already expects it... so the only way of boosting the share price is to do something (many things) that are surprising. Like shipping a super slick, micro-footprint, open source kernel, MS skinned, OS before end of 2009. Or - adding a multi-touch driver to all OS in the next six weeks (it was possible 5 years ago - must be possible now) - or launching an internal market for applications that could actually ship. But hey - they're just ideas... time for some grass roots action that can't be ignored. Like IBMers taking on the Olympics web site, or Honda engineers building a car in their spare time...

Anonymous said...

Stephen Elop is the next CEO. His keynote @ MGX was stunning, and I've spoken to dozens of field folk who concur.

As for all the comments re KJ and Live etc, I would have agreed with most of those until his own MGX session. Things like this don't change overnight - but the landscape will be very different in 3-5 years and our investments are backing this up. We're in this game for the long haul and I feel the strategy is a good one. The other bonus is that Kevin understands customers and partners, something that PG VP's don't get as well as he does. The supertanker is turning for sure - I've had deja vu all this MGX week by being constantly reminded of where we were at pre the "internet tidal wave" and w2k. Time to take the gloves off.

Anonymous said...

>>"I kinda miss JimAll to be honest."
>Yeah, he did such a great job with Vista.

Maybe its because I don't work in Windows, but does JimAll deserve ALL the blame for the vista fiasco? I'm looking at his online bio and it says he served as "co-president" while sharing responsibilities with Kevin Johnson. Whats odd is how they go out of their way to point out that he "retired" on the same day that Vista was launched. I guess thats a bit like corporate-seppuku..

Anonymous said...

"As a small example of culture: I'm back to reading some business books."

What books are you reading, if you don't mind sharing?

fCh said...

I think it's way too early to think of a replacement for Ballmer. Not even as caution. Your reasons could not interest the outside world beyond/under the current price of MSFT stock.

Anonymous said...

Why do so many comments hint towards 70's style, guitar wielding programmers as the next CEO ? Come on, we need a real leader,someone to take create a vision and chop some dead wood out of this huge forest.

Anonymous said...

Rudder? The guy who manufactured rumors about being the heir-apparent to Gates? Please, more like the guy who dropped the ball with developer division. The ball no one has managed to pick up yet. Remember when developers were key to winning folks to our platform? Rudder makes a good GM, he's out of his league even as VP.

Anonymous said...

ScottGu might be great, I don't know. But don't give Silverlight as evidence. Until I need Silverlight to view the web it's a novelty with 'success' nowhere in sight. Not to view the olympics, but to actually make use of the internet. You know, like how that turd Flash is required on my browser daily.

Anonymous said...

Jon Shirley would get investors excited, and probably work towards a mini msft (turning us into IBM perhaps, be careful what you wish for mini).

How about Reed Hastings?

Elop? Maybe.

I reserve judgement on Sinofski until I see Windows 7 release. If it ain't received as the second coming, then he is out of the running AFAIC.

BrianV would get me pretty excited, speaking of close to the metal for one and creating his own culture for two.