Thursday, September 25, 2008

Compensatory Arrangements of Certain (Microsoft) Officers

I saw today that Microsoft filed a Form 8-K. The initial financial news blurb really didn't get my attention and it put in my mental queue to read later.

Then Brier Dudley went and read it and blogged this post: Brier Dudley's blog Microsoft's new bonus plan for Steve Ballmer, et al Up to $20 mil apiece. Snippet: Instead of the current mix of cash bonuses and stock awards, executive bonuses will come from a pool - for fiscal 2009, that pool is the equivalent to 0.35 percent of the company's annual operating income during the year. [...] Payouts are capped at $20 million per individual. Oh well, I guess everyone's got to face the new economic reality.

Suddenly I was very motivated to read the 8-K, in a pissed-off sort of way.

From the filing:

Item 5.02 Compensatory Arrangements of Certain Officers

The Compensation Committee of the Microsoft Corporation (“Company”) Board of Directors has approved a new executive officer incentive plan (“Plan”) for the Company’s executive officers. The Plan replaces the existing annual cash bonus and equity award programs for the Company’s executive officers beginning with fiscal year 2009.

The Plan allows the Compensation Committee to establish award programs for specified performance periods (e.g., one or more fiscal years). The maximum amount payable to a participating executive officer is a percentage of an incentive pool for a performance period. For fiscal year 2009, awards will be granted from an incentive pool with maximum funding of 0.35% of Microsoft’s fiscal year 2009 corporate operating income. The awards granted to each participating executive officer will be limited to a fixed share of the incentive pool, and these awards may be further reduced or eliminated in the discretion of the Compensation Committee (or in the discretion of the Board of directors, for awards to the Company’s chief executive officer, Steven A. Ballmer). The Plan specifies a maximum amount of $20,000,000 that may be paid under the Plan to a participating executive officer for one or more performance periods that end during a fiscal year. Award amounts under the Plan may be made in either or both stock awards issued under the Microsoft Corporation 2001 Stock Plan and cash. Vesting of stock awards will be determined by the Compensation Committee. The 2001 Stock Plan generally requires that stock awards vest over at least a three-year period.

If I could shove my pockets full of cash would I flip off shareholders and employees worried about the stock price, too? No, not even I could do that, for (like this) all the money on the world. I guess the insider-trading gravy train must have started running out of steam and goodness knows we don't want our executive leadership looking for employment elsewhere, so what else could we do to retain them?

Given the feckless vote of confidence that a bunch of screw-ups like Yahoo! got at their recent shareholder's meeting, I don't have much confidence in our shareholders challenging our leadership. Stock price? Don't care, got mine. What kind of performance targets must the company reach to achieve the rewards? Not gonna tell you.

First SPSA. Now this. Microsoft is dying from the inside, and the folks sucking it dry have zero motivation to change things. It's working out pretty damn well for them.

And Microsoft shareholders say?

<<Crickets chirping>>


203 comments:

1 – 200 of 203   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

As a non-microsoftie, I don't understand: does this represent significantly more money than previously? Is $20 million a ridiculous cap?

Anonymous said...

It's hard to read about this and think about this after just coming out of a review period, where managers and leads go through a complicated calibration system and multiple discussion to determine which outstanding performers get a few thousand bucks more than the normal performers. A few thousand bucks. That's the usual difference between Exceeded and Achieved. Maybe ten or twenty thousand difference if you're at a higher level. Meanwhile, the execs need to figure out how to split millions and millions. It seems so not fair. But hey, I guess they deserve it because they've somehow figured out the system and how to win the game. Maybe one day I'll understand this game better and figure out how to become a partner, VP, or exec so I can make millions too. I'm trying.

Anonymous said...

>And Microsoft shareholders say?

Typical nerd arrogance. The people who own the company do not object to how it's being run. You are all merely employees and low level ones at that. Your opinions may be taken into account but the owners of the company are not accountable to you.

That's how it is at Microsoft.
That's how it is at Google.
That's how it is at Apple.
And that's how it is at any other business you care to name.

Get over it.

Anonymous said...

20 million is nothing. I think the SPSA is the problem.

Anonymous said...

I do see some positives in this, but I'm no finance whiz so apply a grain of salt.

For one thing it's capped at 20mil. So no Fiorina-style hundreds of millions of dollars of payout while the company fails. For another thing it's also tied to performance, so if the division looses money their payout should be nil barring achievement of some strategic goal (like early Xbox returns). Sounds like they are "encouraging" execs to care about stock performance. Plus, as you point out, it will dry up the insider trading. That flood of shares maintains an astronomical number of outstanding shares.

That said I would love to see every exec receive 250k or less and all bonuses paid purely in stock options.

Anonymous said...

It's an embarrassment. This is what, the 3rd or 4th change to executive comp this decade? And every time, the "new" change is heralded as key to ensuring the goal of driving shareholder value. Meanwhile, billions have been paid out in return for a now decade long negative stock return (-25% this year alone).

Rather than overhauling executive compensation to avoid a repeat of that abortive performance, the board appears to be committed to extending it. And notice that the payment can be cash or shares. As if the two would be equivalent in any company other than MS. But of course with share bonuses, shareholders get to pay twice: on award and then later via buybacks.

Nice timing too, with record unemployment, rising economic fears, and major concerns over bailouts to failed Wall St execs.

Anonymous said...

>> if the division looses money their payout should be nil

Umm, no. That's not how I read it. It says the "committee" will decide and the pool is company-wide, not per-division. You can be sure the committee will decide to pay them handsomely, since at the level where they are, they run the committee.

That's why your merit increases are below COLA this year.

Anonymous said...

As a non-microsoftie, I don't understand: does this represent significantly more money than previously? Is $20 million a ridiculous cap?

The big deal is that execs are being paid cash while other employees are paid in stock. On the face of it execs have less motivation to care about the stock price now.

Anonymous said...

It could be worse but the incompetence is glaring and harmful, painful really.

WPF as a way to combat Apple? How about fired for stupidity instead.

It could still be a great company but not without massive change.

Anonymous said...

The way I read it, $20,000,000 is not a yearly maximum but rather an event maximum, and performance compensation events can happen multiple times during the fiscal year.

But I agree that the SPSA is a lot worse than this. In comparison.

Anonymous said...

MSFT operating income FY08 was $17.68B. So .35% of that is about $61M. That doesn't seem too high to be split amoung the execs. Of course we hope that $17B will go up in future years.

Also, there have been a lot of top level MSFT executives that have left in the last two years. So maybe better compensation is needed to retain the best and brightest?

Anonymous said...

I like how they phrase it: 0.35% of FY09 operating income. Like it's a pittance. Oh wait, that's right, a pittance was the bonus that *we* got this year.

It's outrageous that they continue to fuck over the rank and file while overpaying management who are destroying the value of the company. They don't care because they already have their millions.

MSFT employees get paid a LOT, but this is disgusting.

And after Steve wasted our time saying that he doesn't worry about the stock price. Guess he has the full support of senior management behind him now.

If the execs believed in the company, they'd go to purely stock-based compensation. It's good enough for other big companies. Why not us?

Anonymous said...

I am not sure I understand how SPSA is worse...can someone explain?

Btw, to the guy who wrote:


That's how it is at Microsoft.
That's how it is at Google.
That's how it is at Apple.
And that's how it is at any other business you care to name.

Get over it.


Yes, this is the exact attitude we need! Apple and Google are screwing their employees so lets screw our employees too!

Anonymous said...

...this is walking change to Ballmer so it makes zero sense for him and his billions. buuuuut, it makes for an interesting compensation package for a non-billionaire Ballmer replacement. nice to have in place...

Anonymous said...

"If the execs believed in the company, they'd go to purely stock-based compensation. It's good enough for other big companies. Why not us?"

I think you answered your own question. They don't believe, and so far have been able to bullshit shareholders to pay them anyway.

Anonymous said...

You have 'exceededs' getting COLA merit increases and the execs are grabbing 80 mil.

Is this a reward for dropping the stock price 30% *this year*? Is it for a 10 year flat rate? Is it for introducing us to the 'white screen of death' and the 'blue donut of doom'?

fucking. goddamn. ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Also, there have been a lot of top level MSFT executives that have left in the last two years. So maybe better compensation is needed to retain the best and brightest?

Given the caliber of management at Microsoft I wouldn't worry about the best and brightest leaving.

If they ever were at MSFT, the best and brightest are long gone.

Anonymous said...

"Is $20 million a ridiculous cap?"

Compared to other companies' executive bonuses? Not really.

Hal said...

"Your opinions may be taken into account but the owners of the company are not accountable to you."

Mini-Microsoft is saying that it would be in the shareholders' best interest to actually, you know, maximize their return.

Your attitude, curiously, is that "all" companies value something other than maximizing returns for the shareholders. That, basically, shareholders don't care how much money they make, they just want to boss people around.

{blink}

I agree that happens a lot more often in amurrican business than the gosh-wow press usually lets on. But it's usually not put so baldly, nor is it "typical nerd arrogance."

I'm reminded of an interview with Penn Gillette:

Q: If you could change one thing about the (entertainment) industry, what would it be?

A: I would make executives more concerned with making money. I'm serious.

Anonymous said...

The SEC filing doesn't say who these certain officers are. May be they are partner levels and up? If so then as per the plan, all partners will have their fixed % assigned to them for the pool. As we already have 900+ partners in the company the average joe partner would have about 0.1% of the pool. For a pool of $80M it translates to only $80,000. This doesn't sound right because pay at partner level far exceeds this. So I strongly believe these certain officers are presidents and their select immediate directs. There must be less than 25 people who would benefit from this plan. In that case $80M of total pool and $20M cap would make sense.

I also don't think that this is designed to benefit Ballmer. He is already a multi-billionaire and last thing he would worry about is getting $20M more in his pay check. The intent of this plan looks like is incentive to increase income which quite explain Ballmer's latest statement that he expects sales to drop in light of economy in next quarters.

On the other hand $20M max compensation isn't unreasonable at president level IF it's cash+stock where stock is at least 75% of total. The SEC filing seems to be kept sketchy regarding cash/stock ratio which leads me to believe that it's likely more cash than stock. Currently industry compensation for equivalent of our president level easily goes up to $20M in cash+stock. Although don't count Google's founders and CEO because last I heard they have accepted a cash pay of $1 and everything else in stock :).

Through out my career at Microsoft I've seen that unusually large portion of people managers and non-technical people at L66+ glaringly incompetent at managing as well as at strategies and innovations. Yes you can always find exceptions but statistically speaking that is the norm. What's worse is they tend to hire more "senior" people just like them and their GMs/VPs keep thinking that they are neccessory evil to keep machinery running and keep happy. They eat up 5 to 10 times more bonus than average actually working employee. The L66+ are the people who gets 60K+ in CASH bonuses and twice more in stock. Collectively they eat far bigger chunk than $80M that this SEC filing is setting aside. How do you identify these suckers? Easy: Move them somewhere else and see if your teams productivity/deliverable changes at all. I can list down at least 10 such suckers in my org who fall in this category and my org isn't even that large.

It's true that Exceeded rating below L66 is purely a joke (indeed very well designed from psychological point of view). You literally work your ass off, arrive 80% of evenings late at home and do 200% more ass kissing whole year to get less than $8K more. If stress, effort and hours were your investment then you get only 20% more returns for 80% increase in your investment if you are below L66. Tragedy is that even for technically superior people they will probably never see light of L66+ because that level is mostly off limit unless you are truly political (i.e. have "soft skills" and "people skills" in HR lingo).

Compensation scheme at Microsoft is fundamentally flawed. The rating that 70% of the employee would end up getting ("Achieved") would actually demotivate most of the hard working ones with this rating. I'm sure all of you know one or more person in your teams who thought they worked real hard and they should have got Exceeded but they ended up with Achieved. What happens to them? Do they get motivated to work harder? If answer is no then our compensation scheme is just not working.

BTW, I always wanted to ask why commitments roll up only to VP level. Why we can't see any commitments of presidents and steveb in HR tool? May be they don't have any commitments and just fixed % of revenue as per this SEC filing regardless of what they actually achieved? Now that's a stark difference from all of you "joe"s trying to get $8K more for being exceeded on your 25 commitments ;).

murrquan said...

Trying to call MSFT shareholders to action? Reminds me of ExtremeMSFTMakeover, may he rest in peace.

So now they're paying your execs ridiculous bonuses to get them to keep messing up? Give me the $20 million! I could mess things up even better than Steve Ballmer could! ^.^ Plus I'd fire like half of the MSFTies and give the $50 billion surplus to them as golden parachutes, so it's all good.

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain what exactly SPSA is? Why is it the big problem?

As a regular visior to this site, no one has explained:
- How much is it, whether is it cash or stock or both?
- Who gets it? I am guessing partners & VPs
- Is it tiered? i.e. do vps get more?
- Are there multiple levels for partners? I saw a thing in the Seattle paper a couple of years ago, but I don't know if it has changed since then.

Anonymous said...

To those talking about the SPSA, I don't understand why it's that bad? Rewarding our most experienced and impactful employees with a profit sharing arrangement? How much would your median partner make out of the SPSA, anyway?

Anonymous said...

BTW, I always wanted to ask why commitments roll up only to VP level. Why we can't see any commitments of presidents and steveb in HR tool? May be they don't have any commitments and just fixed % of revenue as per this SEC filing regardless of what they actually achieved? Now that's a stark difference from all of you "joe"s trying to get $8K more for being exceeded on your 25 commitments ;).

I work in Sever & Tools - Bob Muglia posted out his commitments & those of his VPs & everyone can see them.

In my group, we also got to see the commitments of the people who report to the VP. my only alignment direct to our GM was on a single objective.

Anonymous said...

How about a system that gives them 5 million into their "pool" for every 1 dollar of stock price increase? Fucking hell that 2.5% raise sure was nice. Assholes

Anonymous said...

Is anyone surprised? I'm not, do I care? Yes I care. Can I do anything about it? not likely.

I have worked at Microsoft for a long time and I love the work I do, always have! When asked recently if I was stressed out I replied that I did not know what stress really was. I earn a decent salary and I have pretty good benefits in Microsoft. The person that asked me the question then asked some more questions about how many hours I work, including the sneaky email reviews in the evenings and at weekends. He then told me that if I reviewed the time I put and the overall benefits I get, I really don’t get a great deal from Microsoft.

Microsoft is a sneaky company to work for, it promises a lot and sometimes it will deliver but for the majority, we live the dream that we will win the Microsoft lottery. We think that someone in this company will eventually see how good we are at what we do and they will reward us accordingly. For 99.99% of us this will never happen, your lot is to be happy with the small pay rise, this dreadful stock allocation program and the promise of great things to come.

We are a great company, we do great things everyday but unfortunately our leaders screw it up with bad investments, bad executive hires and an inability to see that the problem is with their decision making (or lack of it).

Microsoft seems to have a policy of going to every village and hiring the local idiot to run this company. Someday soon the village leaders will come knocking on our door looking for their idiots back, let hope that day comes very soon and their is something of this company left to be proud of.

New slogan for the senior executives to use should be “super-stupid”. Believe me, it would motivate this company if the super-excited crowd changed their slogan. We already use it every day, they even use it themselves.

Anonymous said...

The new plan is based on OPERATING REVENUE - NOT PROFIT. Since the annointed 11 specify the budget, I can see more strategic deferred income to line their bank accounts at opportune times. Also forget about getting new PCs, memory upgrades, disk drives since this will cut into their compensation. Soon we will have to go downstairs again to get office supplies and beg for a pen or pad of paper. Free drinks are potentially gone. Just wait until we have to swipe our badges to do any type of printing.

This is going to make shrimp and wienies take on a whole new meaning.

Now if the new compensation model was based on PROFIT, it would be more palatable.

Anonymous said...

>> Is $20 million a ridiculous cap?

> Compared to other companies' executive bonuses? Not really.

How about compared to other companies that have had their stock flat for 10 years?

Now, in fairness, the profit has grown immensely in the last 10 years. So you could make a case that Ballmer has done a great job and Wall Street is mis-valuing Microsoft. But it's usually part of the CEO's job to encourage Wall Street to value the company well (in a publicly owned company). Ballmer seems pretty clear that it's not part of his job, though.

MSS

Anonymous said...

An SAT analogy for you:

Ken Lay : ENRON
as
Steve Ballmer : Microsoft

Is MS the next domino to fall?

Anonymous said...

I have to admit, after 13 years at the company and having long since come to terms with the fact that we're just another bloated megacorp these days, even I was disheartened by this news.

How much do you think it would boost productivity if we took that 80 Million and gave every employee under L65 a one-time $1,000.00 bonus? I guarantee you that we'd see far more from *that* expenditure than we ever will from giving it to the vampiric executive vultures.

Life is great when you're a Microsoft fat cat -- at L66 I can't complain and I'm probably over-paid. But come the f*** ON people -- our executives are gluttonous hogs feasting at the trough.

Anonymous said...

"How about a system that gives them 5 million into their "pool" for every 1 dollar of stock price increase?"

"Now if the new compensation model was based on PROFIT, it would be more palatable."


HELL NO! Pure profit and stock gain oriented executives *destroy* companies because they can bail to other companies after jiggering the strategy to artificially pump up the numbers.

How short-sighted and ignorant do you money-grubbers have to be to even remotely think that's a good idea?

Anonymous said...

Is MS the next domino to fall?

Are you stupid or just juvenile? You think MS is poorly run from a financial perspective? Really?

MS is a safe harbor to which investors will flee with their blood-soaked dollars. Back the truck up and and load up on MSFT you fool.

Anonymous said...

I'm more concerned with the building boom. Microsoft keeps building buildings. Is there not a shortage of land in King County? I mean, how much bigger can MS get before it's in Pierce, Snohomish, or? All these people and buildings and you would think this is the best run company in the world. After all, building and hiring take money - there must ber plenty of cash - they must be doing something right??

Anonymous said...

MS is a safe harbor to which investors will flee with their blood-soaked dollars. Back the truck up and and load up on MSFT you fool.

Are you sure of this?

MSFT stock doesn't grow, which might seem safe, but every so often it drops sharply, only to recover later. I'd be very hesitant to put money into a stock with those characteristics. GE is a fare better choice, as are many mineral-resource companies.

Anonymous said...

I guess Ballmer is worried that the exodous of his leadership will continue. With two of his three Presidents leaving this past summer, Raikes and Kevin Johnson, he needs to make sure he doesn't lose Robbie Bach.

Robbie has only lost about $7 Billion since the inception of the X-box program and is losing big to Wii, has a solid #3 position in marketshare with Zune, and is heading for 4th in market share with Windows Mobile behind Apple, RIM, and Nokia.

Anonymous said...

Mini, what you should be pissed about is how the board keeps adjusting the targets for SPSA payout...and by adjusting, I of course don't mean making them harder to hit. For the 3rd time since the SPSA pig trough was set up, the board has "softened" the targets to ensure that partner-level execs receive their massive payouts. And, yes, there are some partners who object to the practice, but they are usually laughed out of the partner meetings, or are encouraged to go spend more time with their families.

Anonymous said...

"I'm sure all of you know one or more person in your teams who thought they worked real hard and they should have got Exceeded but they ended up with Achieved. What happens to them? Do they get motivated to work harder? If answer is no then our compensation scheme is just not working."

Most readers probably don't want to hear it, but I increased my hourly rate for OT by 50% this year!

Here's the secret: If you're currently working 60-65 hour weeks and checking your email from home, YOU CAN DO IT, TOO!

For many of us, this takes the kind of thinking we would not normally allow ourselves to engage in. I had to hold my nose pretty much all year as I did it, but having seen the numbers now a year later, I'm glad I did, and will do it again next year. Here's how it goes:

1. If they really needed me more than 2000 hours a year, my incentive compensation would reflect the quantity of results I got during the time above that.

2. If they don't need me, and they give me the same "Achieved" rating the 40-hour men and women on my team get, why am I doing anything above and beyond?

3. I'm probably doing it largely to feed my competitive spirit, so that I can say I'm at the top of the heap at MS.

4. Results show that merely having a stellar year isn't all you need to get Exceeded.

5. Hey wait. Is my ego so precious to me that I'll try for that maybe-maybe-not ego stroke over something that would for certain benefit my standard of living more?

6. I've been a fool. I'm now a 45 hour a week man with time to train for half-marathons, paint my condo and go to a movie every few weeks. And to put it in objective terms: that quiet consulting on the side, after taxes, bought me an HDTV. A Pioneer Kuro, not a Vizio. Added plus: it's not costing me 20 hours a week for the whole year, or requiring me to kiss the ass of someone I don't respect.

Literally, if you take my total salary + stock award given out this year + bonus given out this year, and divide it by the number of hours above 2000 that I put in, and compare it to last year's number computed the same way, the "return per hour of OT" is 50% higher this year than it was last.

It's up to you if you want to work that far past the point of diminishing returns. I sure didn't.

Of course, that rule doesn't apply on teams that don't require 60 hour weeks to get Exceeded. We're understaffed. Ours does.

Steven said...

To the person who said "get over it:"

You are correct, the owners of the company are not personally accountable to the employees. However, they are responsible for the performance of the company. And a large contributor to company performance is morale. So you tell me is action a morale-booster or not.
And don't compare this cluster-f**k to Apple. Steve Jobs takes only $1.00 per year in salary for this very reason.

Anonymous said...

"An SAT analogy for you:

Ken Lay : ENRON
as
Steve Ballmer : Microsoft

Is MS the next domino to fall?"


*eye roll*

low quality analogies do not get us where we need to be -- steve is a raging douche and a completely shitty CEO, but he's not ken lay and microsoft is certainly nothing like enron.

c'mon folks -- let's keep the microsoft bashing relevant. there are plenty of things we do that don't require any version of godwin's law to make your head spin. :P

Anonymous said...

A couple of good news last week, a very good week at MS despite turmoil in Wall St.

First, MS buy back stock (sending stock up), increase dividend (making it more attractive) and finally getting cheap loan from its AAA rating. This means MS is able to deduct those interest from tax and no need to bring $$$ back from other subsidiary (which will impose reduce more tax). Great move !!!
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/6420ap_microsoft_buyback.html?source=mypi

Then, MS owe nothing to Alcatel:
http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D93EBV880.htm

Why is MS building more buildings? Those are assets - although MS can even buy over WaMu building in Seattle for cheap :-).

Anonymous said...

great time to be a diversify company - over many businesses and regions.

Here's a quote from Cramer about our friend GOOG:

"Google is best in show, but reports are coming out that Yahoo is weak and that will have to spill over to Google eventually. I see no rush to buy advertising supported companies."

At the same time, thanks for not taking the offer YHOO. We can use the money better now. Remember your revenue in 2001 :-). See you YHOO $12 !!!

Anonymous said...

The new cash award is about $90 million for FY09. The top thousand gets about 20% of overall compensation

From 10-K

As of June 30, 2008, there was $3.2 billion and $586 million of total unrecognized compensation costs related to SAs and SPSAs, respectively. These costs are expected to be recognized over a weighted average period of 3.4 years and 2.8 years, respectively.

SPSAs granted in fiscal year 2008 include adjustments for estimated performance against performance targets.

During fiscal year 2007 and 2006, the following activity occurred under our plans:

Anonymous said...

As of June 30, 2008, there was $3.2 billion and $586 million of total unrecognized compensation costs related to SAs and SPSAs, respectively

> Not entirely correct. Partner gets stock grant in addition to SPSA.

From the 10-K

Total stock award in 2008: 124 million
SPSA granted in 2008: 57 million

Out of the 124 million, majority goes to L68 and above. ( ~50% )

SPSA also vests more quickly than stock grants.

Total cost of stock awards:
About 5 billion/year.

Anonymous said...

Most partners earned their rank today, especially the ones who started in R & D and made their way up. Of course, some exceptions apply.

For the few partners I know, who used to ship high quality big name products over and over, I think they deserve the status and compensations.

Anonymous said...

"I'm sure all of you know one or more person in your teams who thought they worked real hard and they should have got Exceeded but they ended up with Achieved."


I recently talked to somebody who fits that exact profile and his plan going forward is to significantly downsize the amount of work he does. More time with the family, more time spent on hobbies, less time at the office or RASing in.


You can motivate the execs and partners with big bonuses and stock grants, but what's that going to achieve? Are they going to strategize harder? Will they go from "super excited" to 'SUPER-DUPER excited"? If the people writing the code feel like it's in their best interest to work less, not more, brace yourself for more missed deadlines and delayed products.

Anonymous said...

>> Here's a quote from Cramer

It's been shown that Cramer posesses a rare gift - his binary predictions are wrong more than 50% of the time. I.e. white noise is more accurate than Cramer. And Yahoo still has a better portal than either us or Google, their current problems notwithstanding.

Anonymous said...

>> I've been a fool. I'm now a 45 hour a week man

You're still a fool then. You get paid for 40 hours a week, you see. Maybe an occasional 50-60, for a couple of weeks, when it's time to push the product out the door.

Anonymous said...

Average partner salary through stock grants is 2.5 million. Ofcourse, some partners make more than others.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure of this?

MSFT stock doesn't grow, which might seem safe, but every so often it drops sharply, only to recover later. I'd be very hesitant to put money into a stock with those characteristics. GE is a fare better choice, as are many mineral-resource companies.


Yes, I'm sure of it and my money is where my mouth is. It's amazing to me that you think GE is a better choice, or mineral-resource companies are for that matter.

GE is a mess. Their capital financing arm is imploding. Their diversification is exposing them across the board to down-turns. Their management approach is ineffective at best and destructive at worst.

Anonymous said...

Most partners earned their rank today, especially the ones who started in R & D and made their way up. Of course, some exceptions apply.

> Lot exception apply. Why pays partners in live group millions.

Anonymous said...

MS is a safe harbor to which investors will flee with their blood-soaked dollars. Back the truck up and and load up on MSFT you fool.

You're right. If you're already rich, it is a good stock. The dividend went up to $0.13/share per quarter.

e.g.

1000000 shares x 4 x $0.13 = $520000

Though, in the last five years, Microsoft's stock has been beaten by two all beef patties, pickles, onions, lettuce, cheese, special sauce on a sesame seed bun.

MSFT vs MCD

Anonymous said...

Most partners earned their rank today, especially the ones who started in R & D and made their way up. Of course, some exceptions apply.

Lot exception apply. Why pays partners in live group millions.

I'm afraid I agree with the latter poster. I've met many Partners who were many cards short of a deck, and had the vision of a mole.

For each Partner who has been richly rewarded you can name, I promise I can come up with 20 people who actually worked on the same products, in the trenches, out of the view of executive management, and deserve reward just as much.

I don't think most people are angry about the concept of Partners, or the idea of rewarding 'performers'. What people are angry at is the monsterous difference in rewards between partners and ... everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Anybody hear about the devdiv hiring freeze?

Anonymous said...

"I don't think most people are angry about the concept of Partners, or the idea of rewarding 'performers'. What people are angry at is the monsterous difference in rewards between partners and ... everyone else."

Yes, exactly.

Being a Partner in any company frequently means mastering the rules of the local game far more than doing objective, great work... Microsoft is no exception, and although we might have loftier goals for it we are indeed no better or worse than the rest of the world.

The real problem is that Microsoft used to be a place where everyone could win -- even if those who were exceptionally good at the game won far more than others, even the regular folk had a chance to be rewarded well and share in Microsoft's success.

But now we live in a world where the Partners tell the rest of us that we live in a world where the promise of winning is no longer realistic except for themselves, who continue to party on just like the old days. It makes it absolutely ridiculous when Lisa talks about how times have changed when we can all watch her and her executive cohorts cashing in MEGAMILLIONS after megamillions of never-ending rivers of gold.

And *that* is the irksome fact: Microsoft used to be a reasonably level playing field, but now it's thousands of wage slaves and just a few gazillionaires who will do whatever it takes to continue padding their own accounts.

Our executives, whatever else they might be, are passionate about one thing: their bank accounts, and every time they devise a new scheme to give themselves a few more million it screams the message loud and clear. They could collectively give a rat's ass about technology.

Anonymous said...

"Anybody hear about the devdiv hiring freeze?"

Yes, and its true...

Anonymous said...

The partners I knew back in the day made it there sometimes without shipping a single profitable product in their history at Microsoft.

Those that earn their rank and reward seem to be the exception not the rule!

Anonymous said...

Average partner salary through stock grants is 2.5 million. Ofcourse, some partners make more than others.

Uh, no. I am a partner. I know a bunch of partners, and I know that none of us makes near 2.5 million a year. VPs might make that, I don't know. But I do know most of us don't make over a million a year, just based on the partners I know.

In all walks of life, there are people who made it to the top, and a bunch of jealous people who don't understand why and are pissed it wasn't them. The level of whining on this board about SPSA and Partners is amazing to me.

And as a reminder, last year, SPSA was lower because we didn't hit targets. So it hasn't gone up each year. There are also downsides to being a partner, namely less jobs and being asked to do jobs you normally wouldn't want to "for the good of the company."

I wish we all focused on making MS a stronger company instead of whining about who got what in compensation.

Anonymous said...

Anybody hear about the devdiv hiring freeze?

This is mainly in place due to lack of space to put bodies. Once space loosens up a bit (I hear January), it will be unfrozen.

Anonymous said...

Pay for the workers:

All level 58 people are being downgraded to hourly employees. I wonder if they are going to cut our pay as well. No more bonuses for us. (I'll take bonuses over OT, I made more).

Anonymous said...

Ballmer out warning today. Sales forecasts from the financial sector must have come in since last week's bullishness. Expect an earnings miss and guidance downgrade. MS > $22

Ballmer sees global crisis hitting Microsoft

Anonymous said...

>> There are also downsides to being a
>> partner, namely less jobs

Fewer jobs, fewer.

Anonymous said...

Financial Crisis: What Script is Ballmer Reading From?

http://www.portfolio.com/views/blogs/the-tech-observer/2008/09/30/financial-crisis-what-script-is-ballmer-reading-from

"Over the weekend, at a Churchill Club event in Silicon Valley, Ballmer told the audience that while the technology industry is not immune to the troubles facing the U.S economy, it is positioned to weather a downturn. "As I travel and talk to people in the industry, I would say given the current circumstances, people still see a certain buoyancy in the market," he said.

Apparently a little travel relieved some of the buoyancy. In Oslo, Norway, today, Ballmer said: "We have a lot of business with the corporate sector as well as with the consumer sector and whatever happens economically will certainly effect itself on Microsoft. I think one has to anticipate that no company is immune to these issues."

Wonder what his assessment will be tomorrow."

The master of mixed messages strikes again.

Anonymous said...

Nice article in the Seattle-PI outlining exec comp for 2008.
http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/brierdudley/2008/09/29/nice_timing_microsoft_disclose.html

Kevin Turner's total comp increased 18%

Anonymous said...

Microsoft is not immune to the financial issues but it will easily weather the downturn.

I do not see any contradiction. All it means that Microsoft sales and profit will be effected in the short term but after the downturn the longterm outlook should remain the same.

I hate some of the commentators here, whose only objective is to nit pick.

Anonymous said...

At least KJ is smiling. It must have been a bonus to kick him out faster, and not to stick 'till the end of the year.

"Johnson, who now serves as chief executive of Juniper Networks Inc., received 97% of his targeted bonus -- or $600,000 -- for Microsoft's fiscal 2008, which ended in June, according to the company's proxy statement filed Monday."

http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/executive-rewarded-bonus-after-leaving/story.aspx?guid=%7B8FB2D979%2D614E%2D4F88%2DBCBF%2D7CAAD968441B%7D&siteid=yhoof

Anonymous said...

so the top 11 people at microsoft could make about as much as larry ellison alone made in 2008. Why are people saying we got a bad deal here?

Anonymous said...

There are also downsides to being a partner, namely less jobs and being asked to do jobs you normally wouldn't want to "for the good of the company."

You are kidding, right? I've spent years doing the necessary but unglamourous work instead of the cool projects I had scheduled out for the good of the company. While our leads where doing the shiny high visibility things I had planned.

Anonymous said...

Nice article in the Seattle-PI outlining exec comp for 2008.
http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/brierdudley/2008/09/29/nice_timing_microsoft_disclose.html


Wow. Sure wish the rest of us had at least a chance at a 100% (or greater) bonus.

What do we need to do to be able to attend the shareholder meeting?

Anonymous said...

The thing that worries me about the hiring freezes is that no one gets any experience interviewing candidates anymore. It's tough to get a good read on a person's answers if you've only ever seen three candidates ever.

OTOH, I think managers are just a little bit more motivated to move the 10-year level 61's on...

Anonymous said...

All level 58 people are being downgraded to hourly employees. I wonder if they are going to cut our pay as well. No more bonuses for us. (I'll take bonuses over OT, I made more).

This has been ongoing. Years ago when they downgraded me to hourly (w/ overtime) I made exactly what I make now with 59 salary and bonus.

They calculate your wage based on your old salary divided by a 40 hour work week. Don't sweat it, you just got a raise.

Anonymous said...

Uh, no. I am a partner. I know a bunch of partners, and I know that none of us makes near 2.5 million a year. VPs might make that, I don't know. But I do know most of us don't make over a million a year, just based on the partners I know.

In all walks of life, there are people who made it to the top, and a bunch of jealous people who don't understand why and are pissed it wasn't them. The level of whining on this board about SPSA and Partners is amazing to me.

And as a reminder, last year, SPSA was lower because we didn't hit targets. So it hasn't gone up each year. There are also downsides to being a partner, namely less jobs and being asked to do jobs you normally wouldn't want to "for the good of the company."

I wish we all focused on making MS a stronger company instead of whining about who got what in compensation.


Ahahaha.
HAHAHAHAHAHA.
OMFGHAHAHAHA.

Let me guess... 980k?

Or am I the only one that gets the disconnect here?

Only been at the company for 10 years (crawled up from level 56 to 64)...

I have never, ever, ever seen a partner worth 10x the people on the team under them. Ever. Or even close.

Not even kind of close.

Well, almost once.. but he wasn't a partner, and got a sum total of 15% more than I did at my "achieved" level.

Meh.

Going to rot out from the top down. Sad to see. Eventually a board/stock revolution will happen.... But the sad part is we have a company full of smart people.. But the management layer just doesn't give a shit.

Anonymous said...

Compensation scheme at Microsoft is fundamentally flawed. The rating that 70% of the employee would end up getting ("Achieved") would actually demotivate most of the hard working ones with this rating. I'm sure all of you know one or more person in your teams who thought they worked real hard and they should have got Exceeded but they ended up with Achieved. What happens to them? Do they get motivated to work harder? If answer is no then our compensation scheme is just not working.

Poster has nailed it. Our compensation scheme is a slow poison that permanently demotivates significant number of our workforce one review at a time. Thinking about this I can't imagine who came up with this... So many hardworking passionate people this review system has converted in to 9to5 kims every year!

Actually fixing this scheme is also pretty simple... just eliminate the label "Exceeded". Each employee gets either Underperformed or Achieved label. The ones who gets "achieved" are eligible for bonuses anywhere between 5%-20%.

The biggest pain point of our reward system is that 70% of our good and bright minds would indeed end up with Achieved label which is other way of saying "Thanks for all your hardwork and all your care but we don't think you are the one. Please switch to 9 to 5 schedule and don't care about your work so much. BTW, enjoy the benefits."

Mini, please help stop this poison that is killing our so many better ones, if not the best!

Anonymous said...

"And *that* is the irksome fact: Microsoft used to be a reasonably level playing field, but now it's thousands of wage slaves and just a few gazillionaires who will do whatever it takes to continue padding their own accounts."

MS was never a level playing field and I don't think people really expect that it would be. The issue is that the company's results and stock price used to make people think that maybe, just maybe, senior leaders deserved their outrageous compensation. With all of the strategic, execution, and competitive failures this decade, that illusion has been shattered.

Today, we can no longer cling to the belief that all those average or worse middle managers we see around us every day (and existed then) are an anomaly. Now we know that they reflect the limited ability of the people above them, and a culture that in too many cases rewards sycophants over doers; Leaders who were able to muddle through when competition was relatively benign and the monopoly intact, but are inept in the face of aggressive new adversaries and merit-based competition. So now those continued large pay packages just instill resentment, as they should in all but a minority of cases.

Anonymous said...

"so the top 11 people at microsoft could make about as much as larry ellison alone made in 2008. Why are people saying we got a bad deal here?"

See the press writing articles about the demise of Oracle? How it's losing share in its core markets? How its new investments haven't paid off? Offering Larry advice on how to fix his company? Have you checked the relative 5 year stock prices? Earnings and revenue growth? See any markets where Oracle has 2% marketshare after years and is still investing? Losing billions while getting its ass kicked and still investing? Making hostile bids and not eventually getting the target company?

Anonymous said...

Uh, no. I am a partner. I know a bunch of partners, and I know that none of us makes near 2.5 million a year. VPs might make that, I don't know. But I do know most of us don't make over a million a year, just based on the partners I know.

This statement actually matches the information from the partners I know on their yearly compensation. I'd say a more accurate number is closer to $600K-$700K. There are people much lower, of course, and people much higher.

Most regular employees I meet seem confused:

- Partners don't get huge salaries. They tend to get very large bonuses.

- There's a wide range in partner compensation, just like everyone else. The difference that's driving the rank-and-file nuts is that it's at levels that are 5x-15x their ranges.

- It's very competitive among that group (yup, more nasty than the politics those of us in the rank-and-file deal with every day). Your visibility and how hot your project is viewed can mean many hundreds of thousands of dollars difference between a below-average/average compensated partner and a very-well-compensated partner. Remember: A lot of these people were viscious people to get their positions. That didn't change when they were promoted. If they backstabbed their way up, they'll backstab laterally too. Watch your back. (And front. And sides. ****, watch your feet even.)

- This poster is correct, but words his statement poorly. As a partner, there are so FEW 'gigs' available at Microsoft that you end up having to work on things that you hope you can get yourself interested in, or even better, passionate about. It isn't like a level 62 visiting career and seeing hundreds of postings. These are people who may look 18 months to find a job that they could do without revulsion. (Yes, for that money, I'd live with it too. I'm merely stating.)

Note that I'm one of the posters earlier that stated that the problem is the wild difference between rewards, not that partners get rewarded. I believe the fox is guarding the henhouse, and the results are as can be expected.

Anonymous said...

The partners I knew back in the day made it there sometimes without shipping a single profitable product in their history at Microsoft.

I had to reply to this. All, and I mean it, ALL, of the partners I know personally (at a level where we can bullshit behind closed doors and be honest) were invited into the Partner world by either:

(a) Shipping V# of a big product. I.e., they didn't generate brilliant strategy for the company. They presided over all or a major part of the next revision of an existing, profitable product. Low risk, zero vision.

(b) Actually making partner with no successful products behind them. Shipped products, yes. Successful ones, not nary a one. I know a stunning number of these: Partners who made the rank on products that never made a dime of *profit* for the company. Low risk (due to very frequent promotions), at least some vision (out of touch with reality, but vision nonetheless).

I know of only one partner who made the rank from ingenuity, and he left Microsoft. (We didn't like each other much anyway, so I don't lament his exit.)

Anonymous said...

Actually fixing this scheme is also pretty simple... just eliminate the label "Exceeded". Each employee gets either Underperformed or Achieved label. The ones who gets "achieved" are eligible for bonuses anywhere between 5%-20%.

That label is nearly meaningless. It costs nothing to award you that. 10/70/20 costs your management and they have to dole them out proportionally. Bonus, stock, raise, etc. all cost your management. Recognize that not curving those 3 labels (Underperformed, Achieved, Exceeded) make them 'free' to award. Quite a few managers use them freely to salve irritated employees at review time who ended up in 70%, felt they should have been in 20%, and were salved by being given an 'Exceeded'.

Want to know what your management thinks of you? Count dollars. They have a budget. Learn where their boundaries are and see where you land. You'll get instant clarity on management's view of you.

Anonymous said...

"There are also downsides to being a partner, namely less jobs and being asked to do jobs you normally wouldn't want to "for the good of the company."

You are kidding, right? I've spent years doing the necessary but unglamourous work instead of the cool projects I had scheduled out for the good of the company. While our leads where doing the shiny high visibility things I had planned.


I was just thinking the same thing when I read this ABSOLUTELY BONEHEADED response from the poor, long-suffering Partner who was whining about the burden of being asked to lead unglamorous projects for the good of the company -- and stating that we lowly non-Partners at least didn't need to suffer thusly.

How totally asinine is THAT? Hello Partner, but those of us further down the chain are frequently thrust into totally shitty roles due to business need, and ain't nobody ASKING us to do it for the good of the company -- they're just TELLING us to do it for the good of the company because we're just numbers being shuffled around on some random executive's balance sheet.

But hey, I'm fine with that -- it comes with the territory. What I'm not fine with is some clueless, entitled Partner trying to hob-knob with the little people by telling us that we just don't understand their unique burdens.

Partners do not share the burdens of those lower down the chain. This is fine, just realize it. The more you understand your privileged position, the better you can advocate for positive change and not sound like an out-of-touch asshat in the process.

Anonymous said...

"I do not see any contradiction. All it means that Microsoft sales and profit will be effected in the short term but after the downturn the longterm outlook should remain the same."

You don't come out ahead of earnings, unprovoked, saying your seeing optimism where others are seeing pessimism, and then less than a week later admit that you will be adversely effected like everyone else. The former is code for confident in making your numbers. The latter says you won't.

"I hate some of the commentators here, whose only objective is to nit pick."

I feel sorry for some of the commentators here, who "hate" those who understand what they don't: whipsawing investors inside of a week on whether or not MS will make its numbers is ridiculous CEO behavior and not nitpicking.

Anonymous said...

About the "level playing field":

No, I don't think the playing field was ever level. But in the 90's, the little guy could also get insanely rich (at least, insanely rich for a little guy). If the little guy was getting way more than he could reasonably expect, more than he could get anywhere else, it didn't matter so much that the people above him were getting even more than that. There may have been resentment, but not on the same level.

But then the rewards for the little guy dried up to just a trickle, while the rewards for the big guys continued. Now the rewards for the top people look completely unrealistic, even if they are the same as they were before.

And it should come as no surprise that the huge rewards for the top are causing a lot more resentment...

MSS

Anonymous said...

What happened to "don't stick around if you don't like super rewards for super performance?"

Steve Ballmer said...

We are actually low compared to our competitors!

Anonymous said...

bobmu announced a hiring freeze across STB due to the economic downturn

Anonymous said...

here's on reason why partners are so inwardly/upwardly focused and love to take on bright shiny projects - all promotions above L65 have to be approved at the VP+directs level, so unless you generate oodles of visibility, you don't go anywhere (and if you end up going somewhere, it's in part because you generated that visibility)

Anonymous said...

I would argue that the gravy train doesn't stop at the executive level. Folks at a high level (in my case, Principal dev mgr in the CRM Live group) do receive significant financial rewards. The best part is that it does not require any significant efforts to get there. Sorry if this sounds a bit cynical, but it's all about how well you play the Game. Of course, it does not hurt to be smart.

Anonymous said...

>Uh, no. I am a partner. I know a bunch of partners, and I know that none of us makes near 2.5 million a year. VPs might make that, I don't know. But I do know most of us don't make over a million a year, just based on the partners I know.

Number of partner increased.

Anonymous said...

In related news, Nintendo is about to grab another truckload of cash:

http://www.engadget.com/2008/10/02/nintendo-announces-the-dsi/

That's how you run a business, folks. You have a vision and you execute on that vision while keeping profitability in mind.

These guys make money on EVERYTHING they sell, from consoles, to games, to accessories. And they made money right from the start, snickering at the guerre du jour between Sony and Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

This happens everywhere, but I thought microsoft was different - but then, what do I know? I am only an outsider shareholder. I am waiting for the day when the execs will get paid for their performance and not 'mis'performance!

With the stock performance being dismal for a decade, there is no place for hefty exec rewards.

Does anyone remember that old microsoft's slogan - "show me the money!"

Anonymous said...

>"That's how you run a business, folks. You have a vision and you execute on that vision while keeping profitability in mind."

I bet J and Bach have that same idea of how to run a business, but the vision is warped and the concept of profitability is based on the concept of giving away hardware in exchange for sale of software, or something like that.

Since the board and Gates are incompetent to stop them, you get what you get. The duality of two guys who look at their jobs with this vision in mind: "The money is great (for me), if I got canned today I would be set for the next twenty years. Life if good. The kids are paying for my retirement yeah!"

Anonymous said...

It is so blindingly obvious that working 40 hours/week is better than working over 40. If you work over 40, you should feel truly embarrassed.

* First of all, you only get paid for 40. If you were blue collar, would you work extra hours for no pay? What's the difference?

* Do you honestly think that working a million hours is improving either the quality or quantity of your work? Time limits focus people. You're going to have to get your s*** together to finish your work before 5. You might find that your work improves dramatically.

* Nobody likes loser nerds who work all the time. That includes your boss and your coworkers. It's ideal for career advancement if they think you're an Important Person whose time is valuable, not a schmuck who works on weekends to do whatever he's told.

Anonymous said...

Can you believe this? I have been "offered" a role with more responsibilties at the same pay and level but it will be a pay cut since I am losing a few perks.

Yeah, what a great way to treat your loyal employees.

I can't wait to leave. Good bye suckers!

Anonymous said...

>"That's how you run a business, folks. You have a vision and you execute on that vision while keeping profitability in mind."


It's pretty clear you don’t understand the vision behind XBOX. We sell the consoles at a loss so that we can sell 'something else' to go with the console and profit insanely from that. You will realize how effective this strategy proves to be when Microsoft starts buying companies like Puget Sound Energy in 2012 and sells power.

Anonymous said...

"It is so blindingly obvious that working 40 hours/week is better than working over 40. If you work over 40, you should feel truly embarrassed.

* First of all, you only get paid for 40. If you were blue collar, would you work extra hours for no pay? What's the difference?"


Oh, quit you're yapping, wage slave. Chemists, Physicists, Doctors, Researchers, Artists, Directors, Actors, Musicians, Academics -- all work far more than 40 hour weeks frequently because they love what they do with a burning passion and feel an inner drive to make something out of nothing... and *gasp* -- most of them even manage to have families.

I don't know about you, but I find the notion of conforming to a strict 40-hour week every bit as repulsive as mandatory 60 hour weeks. If you love what you do and you do it from a burning fire, you will find yourself occasionally being caught up in the moment... not for financial gain, not because you're feeling pressure, but simply because you need to get it out of your head.

I am conflicted when the fire is lit and I also want to play with my 2 year old son -- but life is messy and imperfect and I figure out a way to make it work, usually be getting less sleep. I would not trade this for a billion dollars, because doing what I do is part of who I am.

I am *NOT* a wage slave. I do what I love because it makes me happy. I would strongly suggest that you find something that makes you feel the same way -- it's the best feeling in the world, and it has nothing to do with an extra few bucks or pleasing a shitty manager.

Anonymous said...

"I know of only one partner who made the rank from ingenuity, and he left Microsoft. (We didn't like each other much anyway, so I don't lament his exit.)"

Okay, read this again really really slowly and then slap yourself. The only partner who got there from ingenuity, according to you, but you don't lament his leaving because you personally didn't like him? Who loses there, him/her or MS?

Anonymous said...

>> usually be getting less sleep

You're under 30 right? I used to be able to get by on 6 hours of sleep when I was younger. Now after a week of sleep deprivation I hate life, can't focus, and feel depressed.

And no, 60 hour work weeks and family are incompatible if both parents are employed. In fact even 40 hour work weeks are a stretch.

Anonymous said...

It's just a matter of time before Kevin Turner's walmart approach to "right-sizing" assets and creating workforce compensation plans starts to hit the bloated, overlay orgs like EPG. How can a CVP like Simon Witts stay employed when he misses his quota by >$300M - oh, that's right he throws Peter Boit under the bus. Funny to think that Peter may still have a hold of Simon's pantleg and Simon will be out the door soon too

Anonymous said...

Man, I just had lunch with a close friend who is one of a very rare breed: a partner with a conscience. He got promoted about a year ago, and has now gone through 2 SPSA payouts. Both times, including last month, the targets were adjusted downward so that more of them would receive the max payout. The first time this happened, he raised his dismay during one of the partner meetings and was almost hounded out of the room. This time he kept his mouth shut...publicly at least.

What an embarrassment. I never thought that "my" Microsoft would get to the point where accountability stops at level 67.

Anonymous said...

rumors of hiring freeze in some divisions and slow-down in hiring in some divisions like MBD. heard there is a company wide review on headcount growth and resources. did anyone else hear the same?

Anonymous said...

"rumors of hiring freeze in some divisions and slow-down in hiring in some divisions like MBD. heard there is a company wide review on headcount growth and resources. did anyone else hear the same?"

http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/brierdudley/2008/10/03/developing_story_microsoft_hir.html

I think the freeze, review, cut or whatever is a meaningful thing to do. What bugs me is the free ride some teams are going to get inspite of this...

Anonymous said...

"You're under 30 right? I used to be able to get by on 6 hours of sleep when I was younger. Now after a week of sleep deprivation I hate life, can't focus, and feel depressed.

And no, 60 hour work weeks and family are incompatible if both parents are employed. In fact even 40 hour work weeks are a stretch."


Nope, I'm 42. :)

I don't regularly work 60 hour weeks, but I'm also not watching the clock. I juggle time between the two things I love the most: family and work. Sometimes it doesn't work out so well, and every once in a while I piss my wife off -- who also works at a job she loves -- because I can't tear myself away from the office. Sometimes she pisses me off because she can't tear herself away. And through it all is our amazing kid who we want to not feel like we're vapor trails...

Like I said, life is messy. But we make it work and we're stressed sometimes and sleep deprived sometimes and sometimes it really sucks.

There are 2 groups of people in the world: people who love what they do and people who work to pay the bills. If you're in the former category you will always feel a pull to achieve simply for the personal satisfaction, and sometimes it will conflict with the other things that are important in your life. If you are in the latter category, well... you might as well join a union where it's all about working the minimum time for the maximum dollars.

My family comes first, but work isn't a distant second.

Anonymous said...

Okay, read this again really really slowly and then slap yourself. The only partner who got there from ingenuity, according to you, but you don't lament his leaving because you personally didn't like him? Who loses there, him/her or MS?

Your point would carry much more weight if you hadn't thrown in the childish 'slap yourself' comment and the arrogant "read it really really slowly". You might consider this if you actually intend to have people take your opinions seriously.

Despite that unnecessary venom, I'll address your question: The man in question gained Partner rank by ingenuity, true. However, he was also a megalomaniac, so difficult to tolerate that you either transferred away from him after 6 months or chose to become a sycophant. Beyond his positive skills lay significant negatives. Were he in pre-school, I'd tell his parents that "He's flunking 'sharing' and just doesn't play well with the other children."

In fact, the same man was removed from his own project due to his significant personality flaws and how they blocked delivery.

Don't assume that someone ingenius enough to make Partner is an ideal or outstanding employee. Someone who made Partner through ingenuity is ... someone who made Partner through ingenuity and not necessarily anything more.

Anonymous said...

Well, yeah. In case you haven't seen the emails yet, there's a hiring freeze in STB, MBD and the rest of the company. Tough luck to those looking to move around after the review.
On the other hand, this is close enough to what mini wanted and should shake up some of the less profit making divisions *cough* Live *cough>

Anonymous said...

rumors of hiring freeze in some divisions and slow-down in hiring in some divisions like MBD. heard there is a company wide review on headcount growth and resources. did anyone else hear the same?

Bobmu sent a mail this week stating there is a hiring freeze due to economic downturn. Positions lost to attrition will not be refilled.

Anonymous said...

> heard there is a company wide review on headcount growth and resources. did anyone else hear the same?

Doesnt affect new investment areas.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the hiring freeze or whatever you want to call it, it's clearly a good thing. And unless we head into a depression or very severe recession, I don't expect to see any large-scale layoffs at MS. It's certainly nice to have a good paying job with excellent benefits at a time like this when the whole country (and a good part of the world) is hurting right now.

Anyone heard the news on this company called Entellium? It was a start-up that ran out of money and laid everyone off on Friday. Must be one of those place where you can get a 140K salary. :-)

All you fools complaining about Microsoft and those who moved to willrunoutofmoneysoon.com for better pay, what do you have to say for yourself now? You can't come back with your tail between your legs because Microsoft isn't hiring so liberal anymore and clearly watching costs.

Anonymous said...

Oh, quit you're yapping, wage slave. Chemists, Physicists, Doctors, Researchers, Artists, Directors, Actors, Musicians, Academics -- all work far more than 40 hour weeks frequently because they love what they do with a burning passion and feel an inner drive to make something out of nothing... and *gasp* -- most of them even manage to have families.

Maybe I'm just jaded about Microsoft offerings but I don't see much of anything that would inspire the passion and drive you describe. Surely if you really love computers and technology you can find projects outside of work that inspire you more...?

Anonymous said...

"Oh, quit you're yapping, wage slave. Chemists, Physicists, Doctors, Researchers, Artists, Directors, Actors, Musicians, Academics -- all work far more than 40 hour weeks frequently because they love what they do with a burning passion and feel an inner drive to make something out of nothing... and *gasp* -- most of them even manage to have families."

Maybe I'm just jaded about Microsoft offerings but I don't see much of anything that would inspire the passion and drive you describe. Surely if you really love computers and technology you can find projects outside of work that inspire you more...?


Not everything at Microsoft is a consumer offering, Not everything sucks (although we have plenty of dogs, we have a bazillion products and services of all kinds and some of them are actually quite good) and there is great work to be found lurking within even mediocre products.

Vista, for example, is on the whole a steaming pile of poop... but there are plenty of good, meaty things buried in the gunk that Devs, Testers, PMs and designers feel rightly good about, and there are plenty of people who are passionate about the slices they worked on.

It's sad that many of the best folks leave Microsoft because eventually you get tired of doing great work that either doesn't see the light of day, or that gets so lost in "better together" initiatives that everything ends-up being mediocre. But that's orthogonal to my original point, which is that when you love what you do you are not thinking about your dollar-per-hour rate every waking moment.

Microsoft has too many clock watchers -- in fact, I would say that the vast bulk of our Partners and executives are interested in nothing other than adding additional zeros to their compensation. They love making money but so many of them know virtually nothing about loving the work of creating technology.

Anonymous said...

"Microsoft has too many clock watchers -- in fact, I would say that the vast bulk of our Partners and executives are interested in nothing other than adding additional zeros to their compensation. They love making money but so many of them know virtually nothing about loving the work of creating technology."

and you came to this conclusion by speaking and working with the vast bulk of our partners and executives, presumably?

Anonymous said...

The people who own the company do not object to how it's being run. You are all merely employees and low level ones at that.

If the stockholders who own the company thought it was doing well, they would be busy trying to buy more stock, and the stock price would go up. The fact that the stock price has been stuck for nearly a decade indicates the owners are not very happy.

So why don't they just get some new managers? It's because there have been changes in corporate governance law in recent decades that favor the executives over the stockholders. It is now almost impossible for stockholders to revolt and elect new board of directors to replace one filled with the CEO's good buddies. The consequences is CEO's almost never get fired, no matter how badly they perform. And Microsoft is a good case in point.

Anonymous said...

"Microsoft has too many clock watchers -- in fact, I would say that the vast bulk of our Partners and executives are interested in nothing other than adding additional zeros to their compensation. They love making money but so many of them know virtually nothing about loving the work of creating technology."

and you came to this conclusion by speaking and working with the vast bulk of our partners and executives, presumably?


Over the last 13 years, and in the positions I've held, I've managed to work closely with probably... 40 Partners? That includes 7 VPs and just under 20 GMs with a smattering of Architects and some other random >68s.

In 1995 in DevDiv -- many folks who would have been considered Partners (had that structure been in place at the time) were absolutely passionate about the art of technology, and it showed in what we did and how customers responded.

And then during the tech bubble something changed -- I started seeing senior people and executives with a different kind of motivation and a much, much different level of intimacy with the products -- a Steve Ballmer kind of salesman's intimacy with the products, if you will. An intimacy born exclusively on market share and with only a passing understanding of what the products actually *did* for people.

And that's when the shit really hit the fan. We stopped being a company led by someone who was passionate about technology, and we started being a company led by someone who was passionate about dollars and market share. And as the Partner program evolved, the skills required to be successful at that level changed in the same direction -- the heart and sould of what we made stopped being as important as the market share we were able to capture.

So yes -- I've interacted, and continue to interact, with a wide range of senior management. I'm close to senior management myself, but I guarantee that I won't ever get there at this company -- I don't have those skills and I'm not willing to do what it takes to acquire them.

Anonymous said...

Steve Ballmer makes a comment as a sidenote of a business conference in Norway.

- The current global economy will also impact Microsoft -

WTF? As a CEO he is obliged to hold up the stock and the name of the company until we have to publish results that are bad.

I am 11 years at MSFT. Watching with amazement how this company is not growing up.

Not producing new types of Software, still trying to find its core while maintaining many many projects.

Hey, I'm still here and I'm the geek that is interested in so many things that I have not found my core...

Anonymous said...

So how is everyone voting on the proxy statement? Is anybody voting "no" to any of the initiatives despite what's being recommended? Or think they should be voted "no"?

Anonymous said...

"How can a CVP like Simon Witts stay employed when he misses his quota by >$300M - oh, that's right he throws Peter Boit under the bus."

Because Ballmer picked him as a "comer" back in the 90's and has been providing cover ever since. So he isn't keen to admit he has been wrong for two decades.

Like a lot of people, you confuse ability with success at MS. Witts is a classic example of the Peter Principle. Always was, still is.

Anonymous said...

"WTF? As a CEO he is obliged to hold up the stock and the name of the company until we have to publish results that are bad."

Part of his job is to set street expectations. And that means talking down the stock if you think those are getting out of control or, in this case, know you're going to guide down for the year and maybe miss for the quarter.

Svetainiu kurimas said...

The partners I knew back in the day made it there sometimes without shipping a single profitable product in their history at Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

"The man in question gained Partner rank by ingenuity, true. However, he was also a megalomaniac, so difficult to tolerate that you either transferred away from him after 6 months or chose to become a sycophant."

And that makes him different from many partners how? Oh right, he had unusual talent.

Anonymous said...

Is this true?

http://reddevnews.com/news/article.aspx?editorialsid=10265

hiring freeze at MSFT..I wish Ballmer would be straight up on stuff like this.

In the article they mention a former MSFT guy who did his own start-up. Sounds like the right thing to do for all of us working here.

Anonymous said...

"Over the last 13 years, and in the positions I've held, I've managed to work closely with probably... 40 Partners? That includes 7 VPs and just under 20 GM..."

As I was reading this, I was thinking, "Holy crap, did I post and just don't remember it?!?"

I have been here over 13 years, have interacted with dozens of partners (still have a couple of them who are personal friends), and have even spent quite a bit of business and casual time with Ballmer, Raikes, and the late not-so-great Kevin Johnson. Your timing is spot on. Their behavior started to change in about 2000 when the stock price started to drop. Sure, there was the Comp2000 plan that was a belated attempt at stemming the outflow of good developer talent to the .com's of the world, but that was pretty much the last time that partners gave much of a damn about anyone's compensation besides their own.

These days, the partner compensation plan is designed to do one thing, keep partners happy. Not motivate them. Not reward them for showing accountability. Just keep them happy.

And, no, I am not a disgruntled employee who has no hope of making partner level. I am on the verge of being there (bench program, high ratings, level 67,etc.)

I'm just not sure I really want to...

Anonymous said...

I was told today that MBS is now under a hiring freeze. What's driving this? What's different between now vs. the early 2000's?

Anonymous said...

Just finished reading yesterday's finance news.

Have I ever mentioned how grateful I am that we didn't manage to buy Yahoo? Whoever's listening, I'm really, really, really grateful.

Anonymous said...

Part of his job is to set street expectations. And that means talking down the stock if you think those are getting out of control or, in this case, know you're going to guide down for the year and maybe miss for the quarter.

Isn't it typically the CFO's job to guide expectations? Or somebody other than the CEO? I can't remember the last time I heard about a CEO of a major tech company being downbeat about its stock.

Anonymous said...

It's BS like this that really makes me wonder...

I've been in and out of Microsoft a couple of times, back in the '90s when men were Men and code was fun... and now have a couple of people trying to get me re-interested, this time with MacBU - which, ordinarily, I'd backstroke across the Pacific to do, except...

...except that it's gradually becoming clear to me that SteveB's pulled a Taster's Choice, secretly replacing the technology giant with a marketing spin machine led by a man who mistakes the techniques of P. T. Barnum or Frank Lorenzo for those of Peter Drucker or Jack Welch, with the motivational skills and personal warmth of the beadle from Oliver Twist. Is Silicon Valley going to be far enough away that I can feel excited about working at Microsoft again without having to worry about the management psychodrama? Is Fiji far enough? Maybe Ceti Alpha Five...

I've still got stock from back then - yeah, long-term it's done OK, what little bit I've got...but I do wonder when we'll get a management team that can take the share price north of $50 again. That Microsoft would have to be building inspiring products, with a more motivated, more focused, less bureaucratic dev structure than seems to be the case now. How can we help make that happen? Mini and the late, great ExtremeMSFTMakeover have done yeoman work, but...?

(deep pondering)

Anonymous said...

Ballmer should look at this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/07/business/economy/07lehman.html

Anonymous said...

"The man in question gained Partner rank by ingenuity, true. However, he was also a megalomaniac, so difficult to tolerate that you either transferred away from him after 6 months or chose to become a sycophant."

And that makes him different from many partners how? Oh right, he had unusual talent.


He made waves the upper echelons due to ingenuity. Unusual talent? Is it? I'd argue that it's a talent, but unusual? Maybe. Let each be the judge for themselves. I see it as a talent, but his reaching Partner was certainly due to that ingenuity in part. I don't believe you can make partner, however, without bypassing what most of us would consider both ethics and morals.

Anonymous said...

"We wanted to share some thoughts on Microsoft (MSFT), which we closed during the quarter. We believe that we purchased the shares at an attractive time, and for a good while the investment worked nicely. As has been our habit of late, we overstayed our welcome as the shares peaked after the company announced a very good September 2007 quarter.

Since then, management has acted in an overaggressive and almost panicky fashion regarding its online offering. First, it sought to acquire Yahoo! and then after that failed, it announced extremely high internal investment requirements to pursue this “huge” opportunity (read: “Google-envy”). We doubt the opportunity is what they say it is and wish MSFT focused on its core strength: software.

The CEO is a very smart and very wealthy man. Perhaps, he is so wealthy that he has bigger ideas and aspirations than making MSFT’s shareholders wealthier. We’ve given up on MSFT for now as we feel better investing in companies where management at least appears to be trying to work for shareholders."

http://www.alleyinsider.com/2008/10/investor-david-einhorn-done-with-microsoft-ballmer

Anonymous said...

"we don't want our executive leadership looking for employment elsewhere"

Uhm, why the hell not? Wouldn't having Ballmer taking over the reins, of, say Google, be a most wonderful thing for Microsoft? Then he could ensure that Google's stock price staid flat for a decade too. It might, just maybe, give Microsoft enough time to get competitive again, if only you'd use the decade to fire most of the rest of the exec staff.

Anonymous said...

"The CEO is a very smart and very wealthy man. Perhaps, he is so wealthy that he has bigger ideas and aspirations than making MSFT’s shareholders wealthier"

I don't think this could have been said better. Do a couple of edits and this becomes the succinct definition to Microsoft. Change 'CEO' to anyone > L67 and add 'customer's happy' to 'shareholders wealthier'.

Anonymous said...

So, I'm wondering whether anyone has taken Lisa up on her suggestion/proposition of submitting a ThinkWeek HR paper? I feel it would at least let the management know where we're coming from.

Anonymous said...

"The CEO is a very smart and very wealthy man. Perhaps, he is so wealthy that he has bigger ideas and aspirations than making MSFT’s shareholders wealthier. We’ve given up on MSFT for now as we feel better investing in companies where management at least appears to be trying to work for shareholders."

Truer words have never been spoken.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe you can make partner, however, without bypassing what most of us would consider both ethics and morals.

Thankfully you're wrong. You belong to the club of self-perpetuating ignorants that has reduced the insider insightfulness and value of this blog's comments to that of a peanut gallery.

Or I work in the only division where senior management is intelligent, productive and accountable.

Occam's Razor anyone?

Anonymous said...

"Isn't it typically the CFO's job to guide expectations? Or somebody other than the CEO?"

Formal ones, yes, Informal ones, especially during a quiet period before earnings, no. Anyway, Ballmer had to informally talk them down because he inexplicably talked them up the week previous.

"I can't remember the last time I heard about a CEO of a major tech company being downbeat about its stock."

Maybe he was reflecting on his track record.

Anonymous said...

Can mini-msft read the proxy statement and distill it for readers? What exactly is the performance criteria (proposal 2) and the amendment to stock option plan (proposal 3)?

thanks.

Anonymous said...

I just voted against all of the rascals on the msft board. I fully expect my badge to not work tomorrow... :)

Anonymous said...

I don't believe you can make partner, however, without bypassing what most of us would consider both ethics and morals.

Thankfully you're wrong. You belong to the club of self-perpetuating ignorants that has reduced the insider insightfulness and value of this blog's comments to that of a peanut gallery.


You don't seem to be able to answer a post without resorting to name-calling. Is this one of the criteria required for Partnership?

Or is hypocrisy the primary requirement?

I've rarely met an arrogant man who felt he was arrogant. Nor cruel, ignorant, foolish, naive, ...

Gauge your personal value however you like. If name-calling helps improve your self image, or helps assuage any sense of guilt, by all means. Most of us won't be joining you.

Anonymous said...

Where is this hiring freeze? There is no hiring freeze in SMSG. I hope there will be a hiring freeze or better yet, mass firing.

There are lot free riders that need to go. We have way too many sales managers and many account managers are ineffective. The whole quota system is a joke. People play game with it.

Anonymous said...

I was told today that MBS is now under a hiring freeze. What's driving this? What's different between now vs. the early 2000's?

2001 is a mild cold, this crisis is a flu. It is like blood (cash flow) clot in the body (market) and can kill you anytime.

Look at what happen abroard. Look what have the financial system done using unsecure Credit Default Swap and Leverage spilling things all over.

Anonymous said...

"I don't believe you can make partner, however, without bypassing what most of us would consider both ethics and morals."

Thankfully you're wrong. You belong to the club of self-perpetuating ignorants that has reduced the insider insightfulness and value of this blog's comments to that of a peanut gallery.

Or I work in the only division where senior management is intelligent, productive and accountable.


I would suggest the latter.

"Honor" and "Virtue" are not something I pin on the likes of many Microsoft senior executives. As a general rule, the more deeply technical the senior exec is, the closer s/he can stick to their ethics -- you can rise one of two ways, and that's either by the genius of your technical mind or by the genius of your how to get ahead in business skill. I've met some awesome technical leaders at the company, but very few business sharks who didn't make me thank the universe that I preferred my soul over the ability to crush large numbers of my enemies.

And as others have mentioned, we have a lot more business sharks these days than technical geniuses.

And then we have the elephant graveyards like MSDN and microsoft.com -- oh my GOD, where did we find these people? There are General Managers over there who couldn't get entry level jobs in other parts of the company... it's like we grabbed a handful of people from temp agencies and made them executives. WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE???

some exMSFT guy said...

Hey Mini,

seen this? http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10/08/david_einhorn_manager_stops_microsoft_investments/

In case the link doesn't make it through: the shareholders are voting with their wallets, closing out on MSFT. Sure, this may be one manager's/fund's reaction, but it's also possible the buyback may be in fact a fortuitous plugging of a finger into yet another hole in the sea wall.

lookingelsewhere said...

Where is this hiring freeze? There is no hiring freeze in SMSG. I hope there will be a hiring freeze or better yet, mass firing.

There are lot free riders that need to go. We have way too many sales managers and many account managers are ineffective. The whole quota system is a joke. People play game with it.


Yes, and its been true for years and it only gets worse. The worst offenders about the 'quota' system are the overlay groups that don't have to make any real money, they just claim to have been 'instrumental' in someone else's success. All the US field orgs need a serious cleaning out, including mine (services).

Anonymous said...

So, after annual review, I'm supposed to get down on bended knee and thank them for making stock a significant portion of my compensation package, but the execs will stick with cash, thank you very much. More accurately, f*ck you very much.

Anonymous said...

"So, I'm wondering whether anyone has taken Lisa up on her suggestion/proposition of submitting a ThinkWeek HR paper?"

Unlikely. Even if any of them had a proposal that amounted to more than "cut the pay of the partners/executives and give me more money", they're far too yellow to attach a name to their complaints.

For all their threats to leave for greener pastures, I expect they'll still be here a decade from now greedily suckling at the corporate teat even as they complain the milk is sour.

Anonymous said...

http://mcpmag.com/news/rss.asp?editorialsid=1672

"The company's stock price has been flat for 10 years, which is something typical of large-cap stocks, he said."

This is simply false. Large cap stocks have not been flat over the past 10 years. Some are up over 100%, and the average is around +30%. MS is one of only three in the top ten with a negative performance. Knowingly making false statements is actionable, so Ballmer better be careful. And it doesn't bode well that the CEO would rather pretend there is no problem, than admit it and try to address it.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know details of the hiring freeze? At first I thought it was just a few groups, but it seems to be everyone I have talked to!
Have we been through this before? Why does it apply to internal transfers? Doesn't seem like we'd be taking on extra costs there.

How long would it last?

Would love to see the original memo

Anonymous said...

Is MS still a good place to work for? I had a screen recently. Please advise.

Anonymous said...

">This is simply false. Large cap stocks have not been flat over the past 10 years. Some are up over 100%,. . ."

Wow. When you get your head out of your Arse, please, let us all know. I was just watching the MSFT page on Yahoo finance, spending just about a minute watching the stock slide from 23 to 22 to 21 to 20 then back up to 21, and you can watch the market cap fluctuate in real time while the stock shifts up and down. And in that one minute it fluctuated from 199B to 196B.

Like everything else in finance for the time being, you will just have to suspend everything you thought was true and deal with what is dealt to you. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Ten year support is broken. MS > $16-19.

Anonymous said...

speaking of compensating the top officers - that company they wanted to pay $42 billion for?

today it has a market cap of $17 billion.

Anonymous said...

Thankfully you're wrong. You belong to the club of self-perpetuating ignorants that has reduced the insider insightfulness and value of this blog's comments to that of a peanut gallery.

You don't seem to be able to answer a post without resorting to name-calling. Is this one of the criteria required for Partnership?

Or is hypocrisy the primary requirement?

I've rarely met an arrogant man who felt he was arrogant. Nor cruel, ignorant, foolish, naive, ...

Gauge your personal value however you like. If name-calling helps improve your self image, or helps assuage any sense of guilt, by all means. Most of us won't be joining you.


I'm not a partner. Again your perceptions and conclusions are mal-aligned and maligning. Making poorly informed or generalized statements based on myopic points of view seems to have become the M.O. for most posters here. Do you not understand when you can't draw the conclusions you want to from the minimal facts you possess?

THAT was my arrogant point.

I work with many partners and my division is full of them. Just about every single one of them is productive, intelligent and effective. Oh, and they have strong ethics, morals and business accuity.

So conclude something from that, will ya?

I'll name-call idiocy when I see it.

Anonymous said...

Where is this hiring freeze? There is no hiring freeze in SMSG. I hope there will be a hiring freeze or better yet, mass firing.

You're about to get your wish. The WalMart Wonder has cashed his $10 million paycheck for last year, and has now mandated not only a hiring freeze in the US subsidiary, but an across the board 15% cut in all expenses, including payroll...but of course, that doesn't mean he'll be taking a 15% cut in his pay.

Anonymous said...

Mini - Time for another post...how about one on economy and hiring freeze? I know, it might not be pleasant but people want to hear about it.

Anonymous said...

http://news.moneycentral.msn.com/ticker/article.aspx?Feed=OBR&Date=20081009&ID=9256128&Symbol=YHOO

i really hope Ballmer and mgmt don't fall into the trap of buying YHOO for $22 (YHOO closed at $12 Friday). Let them go down.

MS can revisit that "opp" when YHOO is down to $5. You have time on your side !!!

Anonymous said...

I am an outsider with MSFT in my retirement portfolio. The stock's been flat for a decade & I am disappointed.

The sad thing is that no one has accepted the responsibility.

I read about about bigger & bigger pay packages more often than true innovations & cool products. I hope that this is only because I am an outsider & do not have access to the 'good news'........

Anonymous said...

This statement actually matches the information from the partners I know on their yearly compensation. I'd say a more accurate number is closer to $600K-$700K. There are people much lower, of course, and people much higher.


The above is correct. I'm a partner and my target is between $500K and $600K, and the package fell into that range this year. Most partners I know are making this, and not the 7 digit numbers quoted by someone above.

I work 60 hours a week, and try to make a difference. It is a little depressing to see the view on this website. I definitely see "dead wood" in the upper ranks, but I also see some brillant and passionate people there too.

The top L63 and L64 people that work for me have packages around 200K, so I'm making about 3 times what they are, but I'm not making 10 times what they are like someone said.

Am I worth 3 times as much? I have no idea. But I do have the same compensation oppertunity at Google (they've come calling), so this seems to be about the going rate at this level across companies.

People on this site probably know this, but other companies like Google are similar. In fact the senior executive Alan Eustace of Google said "One top-notch engineer is worth 300 times or more than the average".

Anonymous said...

""So, I'm wondering whether anyone has taken Lisa up on her suggestion/proposition of submitting a ThinkWeek HR paper?"

Unlikely. Even if any of them had a proposal that amounted to more than "cut the pay of the partners/executives and give me more money", they're far too yellow to attach a name to their complaints.


You're missing the mark with this one. The reason Lisa is unlikely to get many Think Week papers is because any topics of substance will fall into a black hole, never to be seen again, just like every single quality suggestion that's come through the official INSIDEMS blog.

Lisa's call for papers is yet another in a long, long string of diversionary tactics designed to pacify employees and make them believe that senior management is willing to act based on their feedback.

Only a fool would waste time writing a Think Week paper on HR topics when Lisa has never shown any action based on the mountains of employee feedback coming through her own blog.

Anonymous said...

Guys? You may want to reign in your CEO a little. In a recent interview (http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2331363,00.asp) he's trashing the Mac and then stating that "can you find the applications you want on the Mac? Well, you don't really get full Microsoft Office."

Isn't Office on OS X a nice little earner for Microsoft? Do you really want a CEO who gives people reasons *not* to buy your products, especially when there are alternatives available, some for free?

After the "Mac vs PC" ads, maybe people at Microsoft think this is fair play. Perhaps, but the people being hurt here aren't Apple, but Apple's customers. These are the people who look at Office in the shop and wonder if they should buy it. They look up reviews on Google and see that they're not going to get a full version. The obvious question is then "why should they spend money on it?"

I don't envy the guys at the MacBU. They produce some high-quality Mac software and apparently get no love from management.

CEOs have to tread a fine line with anything they say, and usually do so by saying very little in public. After years of noticing that a Ballmer interview is often followed by a drop in the stock price, it'd be kind of nice if he followed the standard practice of thoughtful speech or silence.

Anonymous said...

"I don't believe you can make partner, however, without bypassing what most of us would consider both ethics and morals."

Thankfully you're wrong. You belong to the club of self-perpetuating ignorants that has reduced the insider insightfulness and value of this blog's comments to that of a peanut gallery.

Or I work in the only division where senior management is intelligent, productive and accountable.


As an observer I'd be very interested in learning what is this division you are working in .... I'm sure most of us have friends able to validate your claim.

Anonymous said...

Is hiring freeze only for external candidates or internal too? Isn't this supposed to be "peak time" for internal transfers? If anyone have been trying, please let us know your experience. Are hiring managers responding for current ads in internal careers site or everything is silent?

What are you opinion about internal transfers at this point in time and economy?

Anonymous said...

I recently got a phone interview and its been more than a week without any result. I also noticed the Ballmer's statement about a "hiring freeze" (in quotes). Is this true? At one time, I gave up on MS, but now it looks like a good opportunity for my background.
Any comments are welcome.

Anonymous said...

"Only a fool would waste time writing a Think Week paper on HR topics when Lisa has never shown any action based on the mountains of employee feedback coming through her own blog."

Only a fool would keep whining impotently on anonymous blogs too. I'd rather be only a fool than a fool and a coward.

Anonymous said...

I recently got a phone interview and its been more than a week without any result. I also noticed the Ballmer's statement about a "hiring freeze" (in quotes). Is this true?

If you do not have an offer already you have to wait. But college recruiting will continue as usual.

Is hiring freeze only for external candidates or internal too?

Same rules apply to internal candidates.

Anonymous said...

Yep... there is a hiring freeze. The email went out on Thurs night. I just went through and interview loop on Wed... and talked to the hiring manager on Fri... I got the job, but it's all on hold. Apparently everything has to be approved by a CVP... and a case has to be made to fill any headcount.

The one thing I don't get is I understand placing a hiring freeze on external, as it adds to our overall cost... but internal hiring just moves the cost... Also, if it's a customer facing role, and let's say it's an Account Manager role... and lets say there's 20 million bucks associated with that role... does it make sense to not fill the role... and let the $20mil not get renewed? I know our fearless Walmart leader wants to reduce the cost of sale, but is he considering the fact that if we have no sales... the "cost of sale" won't really matter...

In my opinion... if we're looking to cut some costs... we need to take a hard look at marketing... we are always re-inventing the wheel... and creating 110 page slide decks that NOBODY reads or uses. Do we even have any kind of ROI on our Marketing spend? My guess is probably not. I think we spend $5billion/year on marketing... I have a feeling we could cut $1billion and really not notice it. We may have to scrafice terrible commercials and posters that litter the walls of every building... but I think we could probably survive.

Anonymous said...

Do you not understand when you can't draw the conclusions you want to from the minimal facts you possess?

THAT was my arrogant point.

I work with many partners and my division is full of them. Just about every single one of them is productive, intelligent and effective. Oh, and they have strong ethics, morals and business accuity.

So conclude something from that, will ya?

I'll name-call idiocy when I see it.


You've legitimately left me grinning. Thank you. At this point, I probably don't even need to post responses: You've alienated so many readers already. (C'mon, call the blog a Peanut Gallery again! That'll endear you to everyone! More angry tirades! Sensible people love those.)

That's unfair of me. Despite your unintentional damage to your own argument, I should try to respond.

From what I can tell from your last point, you consider me ignorant about Partners and the true path to entrance, and feel that I'm spreading untruths.

If I did not still have a number of Partners who I can visit across campus, and behind closed doors talk about "reality", I might give pause to your claim. However, that is not the case. I have no doubts about the things I've said.

I have no problem with you disagreeing with me. I admit that I'm not fond of those who choose to replace specifics and details with insults then seem to just get louder rather than more convincing in an argument, and that this is what you've seemed to do.

Anonymous said...

The above is correct. I'm a partner and my target is between $500K and $600K, and the package fell into that range this year. Most partners I know are making this, and not the 7 digit numbers quoted by someone above.

I work 60 hours a week, and try to make a difference. It is a little depressing to see the view on this website. I definitely see "dead wood" in the upper ranks, but I also see some brillant and passionate people there too.

The top L63 and L64 people that work for me have packages around 200K, so I'm making about 3 times what they are, but I'm not making 10 times what they are like someone said.


I admit that I'd love to know what division you're in. Your top Sr grades are receiving $200K? At 20/E, that's doable, but you're starting to push the guidelines, and you're somewhat constrained by budget. I don't actually expect you to reveal your division, but would you consider guessing at a % of your 63/64s that are earning in that range? (Are you estimating using Salary + Bonus, or are those numbers based on stock grants as well?)

(For others: Yes, this seems unusually high to me unless it's being calculated using stock grants in some manner I'm not expecting, such as including the full 5-yr value of the grant in a 1-yr calculation, or including the accumulated grants of these individuals from prior years as they vest, etc.)

Anonymous said...

""Only a fool would waste time writing a Think Week paper on HR topics when Lisa has never shown any action based on the mountains of employee feedback coming through her own blog."

Only a fool would keep whining impotently on anonymous blogs too. I'd rather be only a fool than a fool and a coward.


Sorry, were you contradicting the original point that it's foolish to spend time on a Think Week paper when Lisa has never responded to any of the suggestions left on her blog, or did you just want to throw out a pithy ad homimen bon mot?

Cowardly, maybe yes maybe no -- but was it truthful? I say yes. If you disagree, I would love to hear your argument in favor of taking the time to write a Think Week paper, and would be very interested to hear an example of something you believe might actually change as a result based on any supporting historical evidence...

Anonymous said...

Some interesting budget info

The next item on the chopping block after the hiring freeze is a restriction on travel. But they aren't being smart about it. They are asking employees to stay away from big customer events like PDC. But travel to useless industry group meetings in exotic locations is all still approved. Great move, beancounters.

Guess which org is having a full group offsite, for a week, at a ski resort. Here's a hint: The product they are working on doesn't have much market share and hasn't broken even yet. The project you are working on probably funded this event.

Full day offsites are a waste of time. What in the world do they expect to accomplish in a week?

Anonymous said...

(For others: Yes, this seems unusually high to me unless it's being calculated using stock grants in some manner I'm not expecting, such as including the full 5-yr value of the grant in a 1-yr calculation, or including the accumulated grants of these individuals from prior years as they vest, etc.)

Why would you not take the whole SA as part of salary? Total comp # = base pay + bonus + stock award (let's ignore valuing benefits).

For a 64 at base 20% exceeded rewards, annual salary would be $135,000 (1.0 compa) + $27,000 (20%*$135k) + $33,000 ($25,500 target * 130%) = $195,000

You can ASSume that someone at 64 has been at the company at least 5 years, so their annual stock grant value is more than $33,000/5.

Anonymous said...

...ignorant about Partners and the true path to entrance...

New poster here, and this is a remedial question in this context, I know, but for the uninitiated, could someone provide the "official" Microsoft definition of a Partner: how does someone become one, what are they required to do after becoming one that the rank and file are not, and (besides the bigger paycheck) what are the benefits of being one?

Also, how many of these Partners does Microsoft have?

Anonymous said...

For a 64 at base 20% exceeded rewards, annual salary would be $135,000 (1.0 compa) + $27,000 (20%*$135k) + $33,000 ($25,500 target * 130%) = $195,000

You can ASSume that someone at 64 has been at the company at least 5 years, so their annual stock grant value is more than $33,000/5.


Yes, all good math, but you forgot one important point. If you've been at L64 for all 5 of those years, you are no longer getting 20%/Exceeded. After three years, you're named Kim and start getting Limited/Achieved in most orgs, unless your boss really likes you and is willing to fight for you. That does happen, but only for one L64 per group at most, no boss can fight for all his senior guys and win.

But then again, he did say "top L63/64" and not "most L63/64" so, his claim is probably true. Like the rest of Microsoft, he's giving lots of candy to the Teacher's Pet and stiffing the rest of his org. Ballmer would approve.

The stock market on the other hand, is not so happy.

For the guy asking about the official definition of Partner, it's Level 68 and above. I think there are around 900 to 1000 in the company.

Anonymous said...

A little off topic, but I am curious, whatever happened to the late great Seinfeld vs I'm a PC add campaign that kind of fell off the radar? Is it still going, or is Microsoft now re-tooling for something completely different?

Steve Ballmer said...

What I get should be no concern of you people!

Anonymous said...

You can ASSume that someone at 64 has been at the company at least 5 years, so their annual stock grant value is more than $33,000/5.

Are you the Original Poster?

I know a fair number of people brought into the company at Principal levels. I had worked for over a decade before joining Microsoft, and my employers had always well compensated me. I joined Microsoft as a 64.

I think our calculation methods differ. If you're the OP, and you were including 5-yr stock value, I understand where your numbers come from. Apples-to-apples, comparisons should come the same; I wouldn't want a Partner quoting their numbers using different calculations that make them look inflated: That isn't fair to them.

Anonymous said...

New poster here, and this is a remedial question in this context, I know, but for the uninitiated, could someone provide the "official" Microsoft definition of a Partner: how does someone become one, what are they required to do after becoming one that the rank and file are not, and (besides the bigger paycheck) what are the benefits of being one?

Also, how many of these Partners does Microsoft have?


Sorry. Microsoft has 'level' grades that in some areas dip into the mid-50s, but in general you see 58-70. Human Resources defines an 80, but the area between 70 and 80 isn't documented to the public. Entry level people (college, 1 yr experience, etc.) tend to come in 58 or 59ish (60 in some orgs and positions). Promotions are quick at the low levels: A solid performer can count on seeing 60 quickly. 61 isn't far away. As the numbers grow, the demands of the job grow, and the promotions become less frequent (err, of course, if you have a friend at a very high level above you, you might get a promotion a year until you're at 67 waiting for an invitation). For the rank-and-file, 64 seems to be a large roadblock. Moving from 64 to 65 usually requires a great deal of visibility and demonstration that you "did someting" of significant note.

Each of the ranges have title prefixes that go with them: 'Title', 'Title II', 'Sr. Title', etc. 'I.e., SDET II, Sr. SDE, etc.'

(PM & Dev seem roughly on the same level track; Test levels seem rather suppressed, and the number of Test-driven Principals at least seems much smaler.)

The compensation for 59-64 is fairly easy to calculate and pretty sensible. At 65, you enter a much more poltical arena (some have argued to me that this starts at 64, but without the rewards). 65-67 are known as "Principal Title" (Principal Software Development Lead, as an example). The compensation in these ranges rises significantly, not at all like the calculation methods used for lower levels. At 68, you reach 'Partner' and gain quite a bit; entrance into bonus programs unavailable to lower levels, and a list of "good things" that I'm sure you've read. At 70, if in a technical field, you reach 'Distinguished Engineer'.

What most people don't seem to realize is that the higher your level, the fewer the number of peers you have, and the more significant the competition. Politics at the high levels makes backstabbing at 63 look childish. (That is of course true in any company including Microsoft. It's very difficult for a Partner to find new job opportunities inside Microsoft; they have to be patient and careful. Yes, they might get paid very well, but they also might despise their jobs and be biding their time until a new good opportunity comes along.

Microsoft allows for employees to search job openings in the company. As can be expected, the lower the level # requested by the job opening, the more opportunities. A 62 furious about 68s might not recognize that life is very different, dealing with people very tenuous, the stress level is much much much higher, and while life is "good" for a Partner, it isn't perfect. (As I've said before, I'd still take it. :) ) (Though I do encourage any angry 61s to visit career and look at the number of openigs for 'level 68'.)

I don't know an accurate answer to your second question. I can ask if I need to. My guess is ~ 1000-1100, but I could be way off. Any takers to throw out an accurate number?

Anonymous said...

Microsoft: Mac buyers pay Apple tax

http://news.cnet.com/8301-10805_3-10064580-75.html?tag=txt

Is Brooks press trained? Talk about making a fool of yourself, and MS.

Anonymous said...

"and has now mandated not only a hiring freeze in the US subsidiary, but an across the board 15% cut in all expenses, including payroll..."

Makes sense. Revenue guidance for the year is going to be reduced. And unlike IBM, earnings are probably going to come down as well (still not sure how IBM felt confident enough to maintain theirs). Anything below $2.10 (roughly where the two new analyst downgrades today put it) is going to result in further selling pressure. And yes, it would be nice to see the executives at least make a token effort to share the pain.

Anonymous said...

Is hiring freeze only for external candidates or internal too? Isn't this supposed to be "peak time" for internal transfers? If anyone have been trying, please let us know your experience. Are hiring managers responding for current ads in internal careers site or everything is silent?

Internal is frozen, too, for the most part. I see Live and MSN technical openings, and various business-oriented ones. I had just seen a couple positions for which I wanted to do informationals. Before the hiring managers and I met, they both called me and said that they had just been told that couldn't hire anyone for the time being.

It's really my time to leave my team, because the three year timer is ticking and I'm topped out in my org given the kind of work management wants it to do. I'm capable of more, but the level of work isn't there. When I've tried to just go get it, I've caught flack from management - because I was taking on actual business risk that scared them, instead of the safe work our team usually does. I don't like the online services biz, so I hope the powers that be finish evaluating the business climate and open up a few more product heads in profitable divisions sometime soon. My preference is PM or dev in Exchange, as I'd like to contribute to that. But at this point, any core product would be interesting.

And with regards to managers afraid to take on any sort of business risk, how ridiculous is that? These people are so insecure that they need a committee of 20 to approve going forward with something before they'll assign the related tasks to their group. The feeling seems to be that if 20 other people approved it, they won't be the only one to blame if it fails.

If there is any greater sign that our compensation system is broken, I don't know what it is. We need to reward smart risk taking. We need to reward NOT wasting 20 peoples' time with a decision that would only take one person if that person had a pair.

Anonymous said...

And with regards to managers afraid to take on any sort of business risk, how ridiculous is that? These people are so insecure that they need a committee of 20 to approve going forward with something before they'll assign the related tasks to their group. The feeling seems to be that if 20 other people approved it, they won't be the only one to blame if it fails.


I wish I'd posted that.

Once on the gravy train, you don't want to get pushed off. So, you react by taking few risks unless a lot of peers are willing to take them too. The CVP can't penalize everyone at once, can s/he? Pfew, still getting the SPSA!

Anonymous said...

Why isn't anyone noticing that the hiring freeze is on for several major teams... in Redmond... yet there's no hiring freeze at all in India? Or in China? Could it be because you can get 2 or 3 people there for the same # of alloted headcount here?

Shouldn't someone be asking rather pointed questions about Microsoft's hiring priorities? Especially when the U.S. is starting a recession?

Anonymous said...

What the Hiring Freeze Means to Me
An Open Letter to HR

I am high performer, a gold star winner, have a relatively high level and I have a problem.

In an all too common scenario, my group was re-orged and I was given a new manager. As is many times the case, this manager is well regarded for his technical skills but is absolutely an abysmal manager. He has little aptitude or interest in actually managing his people and still operates like he's an IC.

Multiple members on the team have gone to the new manager, as well as the skip level manager to discuss the situation.

The skip level manager now has a dilemma - does he support the manager, and help him grow into the role?

If he does, it will clearly take 6+ months, and this is on top of the 3 months it took the team to muster the courage to escalate to the skip level manager to begin with. If the manager stays and doesn't improve, myself and the people on his team will surely take a hit at review time at the end of the year.

In our case, the manager doesn't know what to do. He's thinking about it, and in fairness we recognize he's in a tough spot.

All the while, though, the clock is ticking, and the high performers on the team are looking for the exits. We're demotivated, demoralized, and are placed in a position where we cant realize our potential.

Most people reading this are likely nodding their heads. This happens here. Alot.

Typically when this happens, employees see this as an opportunity to explore another part of the company, and round out our experience.

But not today. There's a hiring freeze, no internal transfers are allowed, and we're stuck.

We've done the appropriate thing, we've talked with our manager and our skip level manager. We're now in a weird limbo.

Of course this comes at a time when we're in a down economy, and in many respects lucky to have our jobs. We're sure as heck not going to rock the boat any more than we already have.

This seems to leave to options. The first is to suffer in silence, the second is to leave the company.

Neither of these options are good for us or for Microsoft.

Our group is not alone.

I'd ask you to consider four things:
(1) New rule - anyone new to people management is on a trial basis for the first year, to be reviewed and renewed quarterly.

(2) New rule - anyone new to people management shouldn't be given a team of more than two people. If they do a good job with two, go to five, and so on.

(2) Make managers of managers responsible for their appointments.

If you put a bad manager in place, and you don't resolve the issue after 1-2 quarters, you take a percentage hit on bonus and stock.

This will result in people spending more time in the decision making process for this.

(3) Allow for internal transfers, atleast for higher level positions. When you take high leveled, high performers and you put them in a position where they can't be high performers due to poor management, they either leave or grow demoralized and become less productive to accomodate a bad manager.

Eventually, this second group also leaves, with the ones that don't downgrading to average performers.

Anonymous said...

>> If he does, it will clearly take 6+ months,
>> and this is on top of the 3 months
>> it took the team to muster the courage
>> to escalate to the skip level manager
>> to begin with. If the manager stays
>> and doesn't improve, myself and the
>> people on his team will surely take
>> a hit at review time at the end of
>> the year.

You're fucked either way. I was in the exact situation you're describing about 4 years back. A dude was promoted to a lead position and myself and a couple of other folks became his reports. He SUCKED really bad - I don't have the vocabulary to adequately describe the extent of his suckage. All three of us fought and we had him removed. It took six months. Then another manager was installed instead. He didn't care what we did and he had his own folks to care for, so he gave 3.0's to all three of us so he could give 4.0's to his reports. As you probably know, fighting a 3.0 is an exercise in futility, so I just wrote a rebuttal and let it slide.

In retrospect, the right course of action is to work with your manager, no matter how shitty, and move on at the first opportunity. And don't complain - you're only making the situation worse.

Again, from experience - it's very, very difficult to interview if your review is bad. Even if you do well in the loop, majority of teams will not hire you because "something is wrong with you". Your prior gold star might help some, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Anonymous said...

With the stock near the decade low, Ballmer is once again publicly talking up a Yahoo deal of some sort, driving their share price up 17% on the day. I can't frikin believe it.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aK6VdgpZiLvI&refer=home

I'm not an effing pc. said...

>"Ballmer: ‘Windows 7 will be Vista, but a lot better."

From http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=1645

Oh crap. Here I was waiting for a faster, cheaper, lighter, and more reliable replacement to XP thinking it was going to be 7. Oh well. I guess I had better start my dreaded changeover to something else, like Linux or OSX, because as your Oracle has stated, 7 is Vista.

And, as we all know we nobody wants Vista (again), even if it is better.

Omega said...

Aside from the complaints about management, what does any of this have to do with improving your products?

Focus guys, focus!

Anonymous said...

The mouth that roared has increased Yahoo value again . . .

"Shares of Yahoo jumped as much as 17 percent as investors hoped Ballmer’s comments could lead to the two sides returning to the negotiating table."

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27218848/

Anonymous said...

Why isn't anyone noticing that the hiring freeze is on for several major teams... in Redmond... yet there's no hiring freeze at all in India? Or in China?

You are misinformed.

Anonymous said...

"An Open Letter to HR"

Hey, LisaB is asking for people to submit ThinkWeek papers on how to improve MS, or, heck, even just send her an e-mail. You should take her up on it.

What's the worst that can happen?

Anonymous said...

From today's New York Times:
Shares of Yahoo jumped after after Steve Ballmer, the chief executive of Microsoft, said Thursday that a deal with Yahoo would still make economic sense for the two companies’ shareholders, but Microsoft later said it had no interest in acquiring Yahoo.

I wish somebody would tell SteveB to keep his fool mouth shut.

And, no, Steve, it does not still make sense. It never made any sense and never will.

Anonymous said...

<.snip>
In retrospect, the right course of action is to work with your manager, no matter how shitty, and move on at the first opportunity. And don't complain - you're only making the situation worse.
<./snip>

+1

This happened to me as well. One bad review made it very hard to move groups.

One thing that did help was to point out that this one bad review was just an anomaly (all my others had be vgood to great). Bad situations happen....

Having said that, many managers were scared away, but at least one saw that the review was the output of a bad situation that I did not blame my manager for.

Having said that, those who were scared away were not the ones I want to work for anyway. If they can't see potential due to their own fears, biases, whatever, fine...I'll take my toys elsewhere.

It is key to take responsibility for what happened, even if it wasn't your fault, and just say, "I take full responsibilty for it, it wasn't a good fit and I'm looking for a new opp" and leave it at that.

Whining about how awful the manager, team, whatever was will only add to the stigma of a bad review and make it that much harder to move.

As a footnote, the manager that did hire me told me that another candidate for my job had a similar issue with her review. But she whined about how bad the manager, group, etc. was for 3/4 of the one hour informational.

I got hired and she didn't.

Anonymous said...

What is the role of the "business manager" types? In online services BG they are totally lost in their world of spreadsheets and powerpoints. If you ask them anything about the product, you will get a dazed look. They are merrily creating tables in PPT slides and capturing "status", "issues", "action items" and "owners".

Anonymous said...

I think Sinofsky should be the next Microsoft CEO. He set a very high bar in the MS-Office group and is doing the same in the Windows group. As soon as W7 is out, and if it's as succesful as many of us expect, then he should step up to CEO. He's a technologist, knows the industry and the business very well and even more important, he knows when to speak and when to shut up.

Anonymous said...

Any updates on the hiring freeze anyone? I desperately want to get out of my current team but teams I have interviewed with are withholding offers because of this damn freeze...

Anonymous said...

Aside from the complaints about management, what does any of this have to do with improving your products?

Focus guys, focus!


Umm... one cannot improve products when piss-poor management is the reason those products suck.

::facepalm::

Anonymous said...

What's the worst that can happen?

Original poster here. I have two kids and one on the way. Not really interested in finding out what the worst thing that can happen is in a down economy.

Anonymous said...

"I wish somebody would tell SteveB to keep his fool mouth shut."

His comment about Yahoo was blown out of proportion and was a response to a question asked. And at some price, like under $10, Yahoo (without Yang) does make sense.

His statements about Win7 being Vista only a lot better is unfortunate. But the Google apps comment was the most concerning. With stories this past week about Washington going with Google for their intranet and P&G requiring a direct visit from Turner to avoid the same, that's just not credible. It sounds like either denial or the usual feeble excuse for being late again. This company seems incapable of doing two critical things:

1) Continuously making improvements in existing offerings that customers consider compelling

2) Taking the lead in trying to obsolete those same products using new architectures and paradigms.

As a result, it's losing ground on existing products and increasingly not the choice for those looking for a simpler or cheaper alternative.

Better wake up, because with the economy in recession people are going to be looking to cut costs and will be more receptive than ever to new options. For MS's sake, you want that choice to be MS or MS, even if the latter means lower margin products.

Anonymous said...

time to talk about layoffs. Hiring is frozen and teams are being told to reduce head-count through attrition. Sounds like layoffs to me.

Anonymous said...

Again, from experience - it's very, very difficult to interview if your review is bad. Even if you do well in the loop, majority of teams will not hire you because "something is wrong with you". Your prior gold star might help some, but I wouldn't bet on it.

You are correct. I was honest with a hiring manager after a very political 3.0, and he returned the honesty. His answer was that I had passed his interview lineup fine, but that he was not going to make me an offer due to the 3.0 as he could not afford to take any risks.

I did find another position, and my reviews went back up to normal. I am bitter about the situation, though. Had I interviewed for that position as a non-employee, I feel that I would have been offered it.

I will disclose first that I am a manager, to try to dissuade knee-jerk reactions:

It doesn't seem entirely wrong for intra-job-interviews to give the hiring manager access to your reviews. In fact, HR demands that you review them for anyone you're hiring internally, it's a checklist item.

What is wrong is that corporate culture and Human Resources do not encourage someone hiring a manager internally to contact that manager's former reports as well as former managers.

Contacting former reports as well as current reports certainly has dangers: It nearly broadcasts that you're interviewing. It carries with it the danger of talking to employees that are bitter because they feel that they were slighted in a prior review.

Talking to former managers (or current managers) runs at least the same level of risk: You may well be talking to someone who has an axe to grind.

The only upside I can mention is that an old manager of mine apparently counted on the hiring manager's integrity. The same man who didn't hire me also told me exactly what each person he talked to said about me. HR would have a fit with him, but I certainly wasn't going to turn the man in: We'd both been honest and I appreciated the lack of any attempt to bullshit me. (Oh, and I now know what a smile-to-your-face backstabbing weasel said about me when he didn't think it could get back to me. He still doesn't know that I know, but perhaps he'll get a hint if he reads this. :) )

I wish there was some method to be able to talk to - even anonymously if necessary - reports or ex-reports. I believe it would not likely have changed my situation, but at least would've given some weight to my claims.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft's Board of Directors are fucking brilliant for changing the compensation of our top execs to essentially a profit sharing program. The execs don't have to worry about the stock price any more. Instead, they can put in place a hiring freeze (probably followed by layoffs) to decrease costs and increase profits. Microsoft execs are coin operated. The board just told them to maximize profits and they are taking the easy road by maximizing short term profits through the hiring freeze.

Once they've squeezed out bigger bonuses they'll leave (like Kevin Johnson and Jeff Raikes) for greener pasteurs before their shortsighted cost cutting impacts revenue. This is the acceleration of the end of Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

Once they've squeezed out bigger bonuses they'll leave (like Kevin Johnson and Jeff Raikes) for greener pasteurs before their shortsighted cost cutting impacts revenue. This is the acceleration of the end of Microsoft.

Can we *please* stop predicting the impending END OF MICROSOFT? The company is not going to collapse any time soon, for crying out loud, regardless of the bad decisions being made. A company like Microsoft can continue limping along indefinitely.

Every time I see one of these "zomg beginning of the end!!!" posts it just makes me groan.

Anonymous said...

I was a Softie for more than 15 years until recently and this is one major reason why I left. Idiots (who shall not be named) who got us into big-time DOJ problems with IE that cost us billions are now above xVP level and making millions more a year. Capping exec pay at $20 MM a year when the stock price is at at 2002 levels (not counting the market gyrations of late) is ridiculous.

And for those who think a $20 MM cap is "ok" -- you're idiots too. There isn't a CVP in the company who isn't worth at least a couple of million in MSFT. And there are a TONS of CVPs now. And anyone who worked there knows there are a lot of CVPs who don't know what they're doing and certainly don't earn their pay. On top of Bill and Steve, SEVERAL execs are worth hundreds of millions already. Yes hundreds.

So what exactly are they doing for this $20MM???

Anonymous said...

Typical nerd arrogance. The people who own the company do not object to how it's being run. You are all merely employees and low level ones at that. Your opinions may be taken into account but the owners of the company are not accountable to you.

Hi Steven Ballmer!

Anonymous said...

Some teams are hiring. However, it is not easy. If you are 20,70 you have a chance. Many positions require VP approval. Therefore, if you are at 10 on your review they will not consider you.

This is a way they can get rid of the 10 out of the company. Even if the person is not a 10 he is marked on their review.

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 203   Newer› Newest»