Wednesday, September 03, 2008

(tap tap tap) Is This Thing On?

(tap tap tap... is this thing on?)

Review Season: well, just about everyone should have their reviews and numbers by now or very very soon - at least by the time you get your next automatic deposit! Given that address book updates went out the beginning of this week (for titles that are no longer opaque thanks to the CSPs) I've barged into more than one conversation of "Can you believe that <fill in the blank> was promoted to- oh! Hi."

Personally, while I still deeply appreciate not having to fork over sacrificial 3.0 reviews, I am still seeing, for all of my organization, okay compensation numbers for great work. And freaking-fantastic numbers for super-star work (salary schmalary for those people). That is how our system is set up and for those individual super-stars, it works out very very well. But by necessity, it requires great workers to get okay compensation in order to put the super in super-rewards.

And if it makes you angry, put that energy into networking around Microsoft for a new position or spiffing up that resume and seeing what other opportunities there are.

Company Meeting ahoy: not too long until the 2008 Microsoft Company Meeting. For any new readers: I absolutely love the Company Meeting, though last year's Company Meeting certainly tried my patience... like that Sweetheart that starts being a a real dick to make you break up with them. Things on my wish list for this year's Meeting, kind of echoing that old post:

  • Very few demos: at least, any demos there are should be short, fast, new vs. repackaged, and presented as if you were doing a power demo to the smartest people in the world. Cos you sorta are. And goodness, no calls for helps if your demo goes belly up.
  • Ballmer early: Ballmer gave a fantastic and interesting speech last year. Which most people didn't hear because their endurance gave out long before. I'd still expect him to be the end-of-day blood-rushing presenter. But I hope he can show up early to either kick things off or serve as a punch to keep things going.
  • Shaking Money Makers: time to show off Win7 and Office 14. Well, if you're like me you get to see them a lot everyday, but there needs to be a highly condensed so fast you miss half of what you see demo spurt of Win7 and O14, along with teasers of other emerging properties. They are our financial foundation and while most of the development work is done for them and we have at least a year before they surf through DCRs and stabilization, the employees deserve a peep show here.
  • New Blood: thanks to our great Town Halls, I kinda don't need to hear from our executive leadership team. I'd like to see some new, up-and-coming blood on stage vs. the same-old-same-old. And please, we're geeks, so make sure the new blood is geek-o-riffic like the rest of us vs. those country club shiny people that popped up so much last year. <<Shudder>> How about some Microspotting interludes?
  • Surprises: we come to this to be surprised and see things before (most) anyone else. Get CliffyB on stage to demo Gears of Wars 2 or something. Show us the new Halo stuff. The new 120GB Zune and interesting new Zune software features. Something. I won't blog about it. Cross my heart. Just please don't make the Xbox or Zune seem as lame and empty as they did last year. Here's Apple popping out another special event soon. Pop 'em back.
  • The Great Seinfield Reconciliation Paradox: or, time to show us the new ad campaign and how we have a coherent brand strategy that makes sense. There are a lot of fronts of our business with aggressive competitors that we're slipping in (mobile, gaming, television, OS, browsing, consumer). Time to see that not only do we realize this, we have a plan to meet and exceed. And goodness help you if your advertising solution to this involves some guy stuck in a big vat of orange goo in a barren landscape bragging how he can still check his Outlook email on his Windows Mobile Device. What?
  • Logistics: man, be on the first bus out of Redmond if you want to enjoy the Company Meeting. I usually leave as soon as I can but I'm still there after things have started. And I feel bad being into the third or fourth presentation and seeing a line of charter buses still making their way to Safeco Field. I do hope our buses figure different routes to get to the same point. And non-Microsofties: stay the heck away from Safeco field on 9/18/08.
  • No Paper: how about you sit down on the floor / first level and get pelted with poorly made paper airplanes for the whole meeting? That should be your penalty if you are involved in the least in distributing any paper to the Microsofties as they come in to Safeco.

Am I right in that they've dropped the whole best manager competition? Hmm. Guess after that one winner we exhausted all the candidates. What do you want to see at the Company Meeting or have the leadership talk about?

Old Business: it has been a while. The next thing I planned to write about was the Word from Wall Street with Charles Di Bona and Dylan Yolles from back near the end of July. Colleen, you crack me up, asking if Mr. DiBona was Mini-Microsoft. I wish! And Charlie, you could never disappoint me. Dividends. Buy back. Whatever.

Anyway, one interesting impression I got out of the vibe from the analysts: Microsoft leadership, time is up. Time is up to have us trust that you have a super secret plan that will really, truly work any year now. You went and convinced us that you have a huge vulnerability with respect to the online world by that totally confused and befuddled attempt to acquire Yahoo! and now you give us no specifics about what you're doing. Other than spending a whole hell of a lot of money (nice: You're telling us that there's a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Only, that rainbow is going to cost a lot of money to build to get us to that pot). Time's up.

I disagree with Mr. Yolles about the consumer market.vs. the enterprise market. If anything, we've suffered in doing so much for the enterprise market that most of the features are either user hostile (look, I can shut you out of using a USB drive) or just non-interesting. I think you can have both. There's a bunch of money walking around in the pockets of everyday people.

As for our huge cash reserve: now that we're not buying Yahoo! (right, right?) what to do? Not a dividend! But a big buyback of our stock. There was a rumor a couple of weeks ago that a buyback was under consideration, but nothing's come of it since.

An interesting observation was made that Google's Android has been created with 30 people at Google. That makes analysts look at how many people are responsible for Windows Mobile and ask, "Why? Why so many people? Why so much overhead? How do the results match up?" This feeds a desire now for some picking around in our overhead of our groups. Not a place our leadership wants to be, but a hard question that goes unanswered: what the hell do you need all these people for, anyway? Can you get by with less?

Yes. Of course we can. If you had to lose 10% of your group, not only would you get by, you'd receive a new sort of clarity about what was truly important vs. distracting. Our over abundance of people allows us to overwhelm our work with marginal, half-thought-out features to keep the mediocre C contributors busy and lets us go into the weeds pursuing edge cases. Ah, well, tired of listening to this same broken record?

Final take-away: Microsoft has to demonstrate that it is efficient and effective. What does that look like?


Administrivia: apologies for being away for an extended duration. It was a necessary departure and absence to be elsewhere with a situation that required my full attention. Best wishes to you to avoid such experiences for a long, long time. I'm about to go through... fifty pending comments. Whew. Where's that wine bottle?


297 comments:

1 – 200 of 297   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

Welcome back, Mini - we missed you!!

Anonymous said...

one year since I left MS and I can't be more happy to work in a company without all the political BS and to be truely appreciated for actual work rather than just rewarding people who "plan" for 9 months of the year.

My best wishes to those still there, I hope they really make changes but I fear it is too late.

Anonymous said...

So what is super-star compensation? Us poor schlubs in the 2.5% merit (what a misnomer!) band want to know.

Anonymous said...

Why does MS pay so much less than the other Seattle area software companies?

Anonymous said...

Can we have something like review palooza we had last year.

Anonymous said...

To whoever left MS and fears the company is "done".

Dude, come to Sql Server. This is an example of a good product steadily growing YOY with some kick ass engineering team.

We just shipped the 2008 version and going to the next one with full speed ahead.

The good thing about MS is that it has places like Sql Engine where quality engineering counts and results into profits. Sure enough there are more sweet spots within the company.

Anonymous said...

I have seen some ass kissers get 20% ranking, not for any good work, but for knocking on their managers' doors more than > 5 times a day.

Confused on what 20% stand for and how the system works.

Anonymous said...

Group: Office

Numbers:
Level 59 -> 60 SDET
Merit 4%
Bonus: 6.7k
Stock: 115%

But I just took a job outside of MS and got a 28% pay raise, yea that is more like it. Adios MS, but the pay is not enough to deal with the process heavy, political BS that comes with large orgs like Office. I would rather you know... produce useful crap

Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous above and others who have moved or are considering moving. When you look at your 28% salary increase, how do you factor changes in benefits, if at all?

Are all the other benefits at your new company as good? Health? Gym? Legal, etc.

If not, how can you quantify the loss in benefits against pay raise to calculate a net pay raise?

Of course, it also depends on how you use the benefits.

Just curious.

Anonymous said...

That makes analysts look at how many people are responsible for Windows Mobile and ask, "Why? Why so many people? Why so much overhead? How do the results match up?"

Ask one of your FTE buddies in the Mobile division about how things are going there. I can promise you that the answer will come as a big surprise.

Anonymous said...

IE8 has been in development for 2 years and is still unstable, not standards compliant, and overly complex. If you count IE7, it's 5 (or more?) years of development!

3 engineers at Google took WebKit and built Chrome in 2 years. It puts IE to shame and is poised to replace FireFox pretty easily.

What do we gain by having our own rendering engine? We are advancing the state of the art through Silverlight, so why spend so much engineering effort on becoming more standards complaint? We should have just left the old rendering engine as-is for compatibility and dropped in WebKit. We need to get over our fear of open source software and just use an open source renderer. Let it be someone else's problem, we can go work on Silverlight.

It takes over an hour to install IE8. Chrome installs in less than a minute, without a reboot. Chrome installs into the user directory and never requires UAC elevation.

We should be embarrassed and really take a step back and figure out "what are we doing wrong".

Anonymous said...

In India - DSI - it is something like...

1. Kiss Ass -> Good
2. Lick Ass -> Better
3. Kiss and Lick ass throughout the year -> AWESOME... 20%!!!

If you are leaving since you are either fed up of politics, or due to lack of opportunities, just pray to the "God" that the managers give you your due. Oh well... but the God doesn't do reviews.

Never mind, back to 1.2.3 above!!!

Murrquan said...

Welcome back! Good to hear from you again. ^.^

Have fun at the company meeting!

Anonymous said...

>>"To whoever left MS and fears the company is "done".

Dude, come to Sql Server. This is an example of a good product steadily growing YOY with some kick ass engineering team.

We just shipped the 2008 version and going to the next one with full speed ahead."

Good to hear that someone associated with SQL is happy. I sell SQL Server for a living and I didn't like what I heard from Simon Witts the other day. Our App Plat business is headed downhill unless we figure out what we're going to do in the applications space (Dynamics as well as ISV partners). if our market share does fall to under 10%in FY11 thats not good news for anyone associated with SQL.

Anonymous said...

Group: Xbox / Live

Numbers:
Level 63 PM
Merit 3.22%
Bonus: 10.8k
Stock: 120%

All and all an OK but "meh" reward - and by far the smallest increase I've had in 4 years; I guess I didn't make the "superstar" cut and only did "great" work. That has me (sadly) looking around outside the company in search of the next step in my career growth. So friggin' frustrating. I love what I do and what I'm working on but I'm bumping up against a ceiling here. I'm at a point in my career and my personal life where (gasp) money matters more than before and I need to be better compensated for my efforts.

In my experience, at MSFT doing great work and getting promo'ed to 63 is pretty straightforward. Beyond that, lotsa luck. Great work isn't enough after that.

Anonymous said...

FYI in Office we do have to cough up people for the sacrificial bottom 10%. Fortunately, it isn't really hard to find them.

To the poster that asked "why does MS pay less", this is only true until you get to around level 62. Which unfortunately can take an insanely long time, but I digress. Check out glassdoor.com, it has pretty good salary summaries. If you are in the senior band, stop whining and pop another bottle of cabernet.

Anonymous said...

L60 PM @ Office
Merit 3.5%
Bonus $7k
Stock 100%

Anonymous said...

No sound of performance numbers yet.

For the poster who says "it is straightforward until 63 after that it is luck", my suggestion is get life.

It has always been luck for upto level 63 as well...

Anonymous said...

>> When you look at your 28% salary increase, how do you factor changes in benefits, if at all?

What MS benefits worth 28% of base salary? The only MS benefit most other companies cannot beat is medical, but it worths at most 5% of the salary.

Anonymous said...

SDET 61
Exceeded -70%
Bonus 12%
Merit 4%
stocks 150%

Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous above and others who have moved or are considering moving. When you look at your 28% salary increase, how do you factor changes in benefits, if at all?

To reply to this... The biggest benefit I care about right now in my life is money, money and money. I am young and want to work hard and get a decent amount of cash for it (i.e. 100k+). The benefits are fine they will cover what small medical issues I might have and most of the other benefits I could care less about. I understand MS is great with medical benefits I saw that and if I had a family I probably wouldn't leave, but while I am young and can make more outside of MS that is what I will be doing. Maybe I will come back some year...maybe...

Anonymous said...

"Hey anonymous above and others who have moved or are considering moving. When you look at your 28% salary increase, how do you factor changes in benefits, if at all?"

I left back in May, and to answer your question, you'd be surprised just how much the benefits at Microsoft are oversold. Let's break it down some...

- Medical - yeah this is nice, but my experience is that it creates an unhealthy reliance on doctors and not on just being healthy. That being said, the Cigna network is just as good as Premera is like Aetna, you could basically end up with the same doctor. So you pay a little co-pay, and a little PRE-TAX premium...big deal. Just factor that into your negotiated salary.

- Dental - let's face it MSFT dental plan is dismal. I have found other company plans to be much better.

- Vision - same as dental.

- Legal - many companies do have some form of legal help line and estate plans are what most employees use this for, so again, just factor that into the cost. Me, personally, I used this to pay for my divorce (thank you MSFT) and that was a great benefit at the time, but looking back, I got what was paid for and definitely could have gotten better divorce terms outside the network.

- Gym - let's be honest, ProClub was getting to be a nightmare, parking, crowding, etc. So unless you were close to Redmond and willing to put up with that and a die hard, this can easily be replaced.

- Primecard - most companies have something similar.

- Free sodas, etc. - the company that I moved to not only has these, but a very well stocked larder of snacks, is close to real food at the same MSFT cafe prices, treadmills, ping pong and great comfy common areas onsite. The environment benefits at MSFT are way overrated.

Bottomline is that many benefits can be replaced by $$ or bought by $$. Medical can all be dealt with pre-tax and factored into the offer you craft. Until you figure that out, you're naive to think that it isn't out there. Me personally, I walked away at level 64 and got a 55% bump in salary, historical bonus potential of 30% - 60%, raises of 15%, stock options, great signing bonus to buy out my "upside", etc.. And the BEST thing if all, BEST BY FAR, is actually working in a company where there is accountability, maturity and where you are respected and treated with respect every day. I finally work with grown ups and couldn't be happier.

Anonymous said...

So I've been thinking of jumping the ship, but would like to finish my last September here, to get the payout, use up some medical insurance and attend the company meeting.

The dilemma is whether I need to tell my manager now or just a few days before I leave.

I'm not leaving because I'm disgruntled or anything, or because of a bad review (I don't even know the numbers yet, but I don't see why they'd be bad). I'm just really, really bored with Microsoft and I no longer believe being here is conducive to achieving my career goals. So I'll probably either join a startup or found a company of my own.

Which is to say, I don't want to screw the team (or its management) by leaving a difficult to fill position without warning them a few weeks in advance. OTOH, I'm wary of the situation where, upon my telling them this, security immediately escorts me out.

Could someone advise?

Anonymous said...

Services Delivery
Level: 62 -> 63
Merit: 3.5%
Promo: 4%
Bonus: 11%
Stock: 88% of L62 target

Anonymous said...

We missed you Mini!

Anonymous said...

I do have to challenge you on the reduction of HC across Microsoft. In the operating groups--Finance, HR, Procruement, Operations, etc., we have been reduced to the bare bones and don't have enough people to do the job right. In HR for example, there is one HR generalist for 400 employees. Can you imagine the stress? I agree with you that Microsoft needs to trim our HC across Microsoft, but it needs to be done intelligently. As a group that doesn't make a profit, we are constantly looked at to save the Company money by cutting heads, reducing services to the Company and we get cuts to morale $$, equipment, training and T&E--to the point where we are barely hanging on. More cuts to operating groups and employees will be using leaves for toilet paper (greenies should love that!), getting no HR or Finance support.

One area we have a lot of bloat is MSIT. Take a look at the address book and explain to me why IT needs level 65-66 people doing marketing? And the sheer number of them!! Who are they marketing to? What are they marketing? Their charter is all internal! Why do we have all of these BUIT people but crappy apps? That is another place to look at efficiencies.

Anonymous said...

"I sell SQL Server for a living and I didn't like what I heard from Simon Witts the other day."

Good to see that Witts hasn't lost his communication and motivational skills.

"if our market share does fall to under 10%in FY11 thats not good news for anyone associated with SQL."

It's not good news for MS generally. But then losing share is something we're pretty good at lately.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what people are talking about with respect to MS paying low. In my experience it seems like Microsoft overpays. I came over with the Aquantive aquisition, and was there for 2 years prior to that. As part of adjustments made across the board for all those going MS FTE from Aquantive, my pay rose about 29%, before you consider the review cycle changes that I just found out last week. So, my new salary after review metrics applied is 43% higher than what it was prior to July 1st, when Aquantive to MS converts got their initial MS paychecks. So for all of you who are bitching that 3% increases on the already inflated MS salaries aren't enough, good luck getting anything more than you get now, unless your such a super star as you all seem to think.

Anonymous said...

Level/Title: 61/SDET
Merit: 3.5%
Bonus: 8400
Stock: 100% ~10k/share price

Anonymous said...

Numbers:
Level 61 Content Publisher 2
Merit 2.5%
Bonus: 7.95% of bonus elligible salary
Stock: 100%

Anonymous said...

Mini - suggestion for a future post (and yes - welcome back and you're already getting pestered for future post ideas!).

Cloud computing:
Is it hot?
Is it hype?
Is it a money pit?
Or is it just magic pixie-dust?

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what people are talking about with respect to MS paying low. In my experience it seems like Microsoft overpays. I came over with the Aquantive aquisition, and was there for 2 years prior to that. As part of adjustments made across the board for all those going MS FTE from Aquantive, my pay rose about 29%, before you consider the review cycle changes that I just found out last week. So, my new salary after review metrics applied is 43% higher than what it was prior to July 1st, when Aquantive to MS converts got their initial MS paychecks. So for all of you who are bitching that 3% increases on the already inflated MS salaries aren't enough, good luck getting anything more than you get now, unless your such a super star as you all seem to think.

Good point. In this economy, all these fools who are complaining about pay and the others who can so easily go to another company and get a 30-40% salary bump (yeah, right), just shove it. Be lucky that you have a job with a very decent salary and benefits and quit your whining.

Anonymous said...

Here are my numbers...
L60, secondary citizen (aka SDET)
Rating - Achieved, 70%
Merit increase - 3.5%
Bonus - 8%
Stock - 90%

Anonymous said...

"The dilemma is whether I need to tell my manager now or just a few days before I leave. "

I gave one week notice. I had my external offer already accepted and locked down and even attended my new company's user conference using some of my personal days (so I wouldn't lose them) before I told my manager. Then when I finally did, I gave one week. Face it, you're a cog in a wheel. Thare are VERY FEW critical roles at Microsoft and most likely there are 3 people already doing your job that you may or may not know about it. Short of slightly harming a personal relationship with a manager you may like, you will not be missed even with a day or two notice. The question is, will people notice you cleaning out your office? (best to do that after hours). Me personally, I knew I was leaving pretty much for a month. And after 10 years at the company and all the shit they put me through, that was pretty much a month of paid vacation, plus then the vacation payout when I left was nice...I figure they owed me both for the opportunity cost of having stayed so long. Just go, trust me, the best decision I ever made. That first night after you give notice, you will sleep better than you have in FOREVER.

Anonymous said...

>> Cloud computing

It's a hot, overhyped money pit. There, no Mini post necessary.

Anonymous said...

Level 58
Operations Engineer 2
Merit 3%
Bonus 7%
Stock 100%/$3000
Achieved/70%

Anonymous said...

Whoa! I know it's off topic, but I just saw the first Gates/Seinfeld commercial. OMG! Does anyone think this is good? Seriously, I'm not getting it and I can only imagine how much this is costing me.

L63
Exceeded>70%
4% merit
12% bonus
125% stock

Anonymous said...

So for all of you who are bitching that 3% increases on the already inflated MS salaries aren't enough, good luck getting anything more than you get now, unless your such a super star as you all seem to think.
1 year ago SDE @ Windows -> Startup in Bellevue
Merit: +47%
Bonus: 10%
Stock: N/A, bunch of options
Benefits: essentially the same

Anonymous said...

I left adcenter months back. So glad I moved on. It is such a poorly run org.

To fix the chaos, the GM there must be let go. So must his reports (mostly his fellow Indian friends and/or asskissers).

Not sure how someone like that got all the way to be a general manager at microsoft.

Anonymous said...

Just saw the BillG/Seinfeld commercial on TV. It's breathtakingly awful! Whoever thought of this debacle and approved it should be fired.

Anonymous said...

Level/Title: 63/SDE
Merit: 4%
Bonus: 15%
Stock: 150%

Anonymous said...

>Services Delivery
>Level: 62 -> 63
>Merit: 3.5%
>Promo: 4%
>Bonus: 11%
>Stock: 88% of L62 target

Dang. I'm in Office, and my L62-63 promo was:

Merit + Promo = ~10%
Bonus = ~15%
Stock = ~250% = ~$50K

Of course, a NEO buddy of mine (not Office -> MSN) was promo'd 63->64, 14% bonus and 500%+ stock. Nice. I'm leaving Office, toooo stingy. (actually, that's not true, but you move slower and the rewards are spread out more, even for the best. Too much talent.).

Anonymous said...

Group: Office
Level 60 SDE
Achieved/70%
Merit: 2.2
Bonus: 6700
Stock: 75% = 4500

This year, I worked a lot harder, produced better results and ended up with nothing negative in my review. FY07 was much rougher for me--slacked off a bit too much, dropped the ball on some important work, boss pointed it out in the review, etc. The reward numbers for this review and the last one are almost exactly the same. It makes me wonder why I even bothered to try--apparently it makes no difference.

I moved elsewhere in the company after the end of the review period, but before reviews were complete. It looks like they just did a repeat of the last review to avoid raising any red flags to HR. Can't say I blame my old group too much--they've got to use their resources to keep those who haven't left yet. The whole thing just reinforces my belief that it was time to move on.

Anonymous said...

"Be lucky that you have a job with a very decent salary and benefits and quit your whining."

Seriously dude, get some self respect. Unless you change that attitude, you'll be a doormat forever. Fact of the matter is that while the economy may be tanking, IT and Tech is still a HOT job market, if you are even marginally good. But hey, you're probably in HR or tech writing or something, in which case you should be worried. (or you're SteveB lurking) I left MSFT two months ago and got a 43% raise, documented. The trick...find a good executive headhunter to work for you.

John C. Randolph said...

"3 engineers at Google took WebKit and built Chrome in 2 years."

Funny, I can't really see what would take six man-years of work. Apple and the KHTML contributors have already done all the heavy lifting for them.

-jcr

John C. Randolph said...

"Just saw the BillG/Seinfeld commercial on TV. It's breathtakingly awful!"

Eh, I didn't hate it, but I don't see why it would make anyone want to buy a computer or an operating system.

-jcr

Anonymous said...

>> I gave one week notice.

That's probably what I will do, too. Except I don't have an offer lined up. Just a few other folks, a bunch of vague ideas, a garage, and a year or two of time before we run out of our savings. :) Get rich or die tryin'.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what people are talking about with respect to MS paying low. In my experience it seems like Microsoft overpays. I came over with the Aquantive aquisition

That is the key word right there. Acquisitions are treated very nicely to smoothen the integration. If you can manage it, getting acquired is the best way to come in as a fte.

Anonymous said...

For the guys who are moving i have a question. I am considering moving but i dont see any companies paying higher than microsoft. I am in india may be thats the problem.. can you post the name of the companies as well?

Anonymous said...

>> 3 engineers at Google took WebKit and
>> built Chrome in 2 years

Tech Crunch counts at least 20 (one ex-MSFT, even) and says there were a couple of acquisitions - one for the tech they use to sandbox the tabs (I think it's called Greenbridge) and one for the cross-platform graphics engine.

Also, if you're on XP, try entering about:internets into the address bar. Now tell me, is Microsoft boring or what?

Anonymous said...

L60 SDET (Green card holder compared with SDE/PM Citizens) in Office Org.

Merit 4.5%
Bonus 9%
Stock 110%

Anonymous said...

SDE, L61->62, 70%/exceeded
Merit: 3%
Promo: 4%
New salary: 100K
Bonus: 12%
Stock: 17K

Will someone please explain what that new commercial is about? What are they talking about?

Anonymous said...

Reg:adCenter

"Not sure how someone like that got all the way to be a general manager at microsoft."

Which GM are you referring to? ADCENTER is full of people fitting this description ;-]

Reg:Review Numbers
61->62,Office,Exceeded/20%
Promo/Merit 8%
Bonus 18%
Stock ~300%

Not sure if I should be complaining or be happy

Anonymous said...

I don't get some of the complaints. This Office guy who got promoted from 62->63, 10% merit, 250% stock, 15% bonus, and he's still unhappy and wants to leave!??

I will never understand how greedy some people can be. What more can you possibly want?

Anonymous said...

> But hey, you're probably in HR or tech writing or something, in which case you should be worried.

Crap on your tech writers and you're crapping on your customers by proxy. As long as you continue to produce products that are unintuitive, overly complicated, and half-finished, my job explaining it all to the poor end user is safe (and so are the six-figure salaries required to keep all of those intelligent, educated, and literate people working with a bunch of socially challenged ego cases). Working with people with attitudes like yours makes good writers run elsewhere (and put the word out to friends), leaving your group with the newbies and the second-stringers. You're working at a Fortune 50 corporation. Get over yourself and try to learn how to work as a team with the grown ups.

Anonymous said...

I left MSFT two months ago and got a 43% raise, documented. The trick...find a good executive headhunter to work for you.

I made the comment about fools complaining. I'm a level 62 SDE on the SQL team. 7 years with the company, 3 promotions, so a pretty decent career. By all accounts, as long as I do a good job in the next 12-24 months, another promo is in the bag. So, no, I'm not in HR or some other crap.

My base salary after this year has just gone over 6 figures (101,500 to be exact). Are you telling me I can find another job as a dev in the Seattle area for $143K? You're simply delusional. There's no way you got a 43% raise, unless you were making $60K here, in which case I can believe your new salary is now in the mid $80s.

When will you folks either stop lying, or get off this fantasy world that there are $150K jobs waiting for us as soon as we leave MSFT?

Anonymous said...

Hearing some people wants to leave the company. I did the same last year and just recently came back to MS.

There's a lot of benefits that you are talking for granted as MS employees. Here's the list:

1. Medical Insurance
$0 Copay for doctor and $0 for generics prescriptions. Outside company you have to pay like $15/doctor visit and $$ for prescriptions.

2. 401k matching
50% match is huge and add to your income.

3. ESPP discounts
This is another 1-2k additional $$$

4. Pro-club
I don't use this one but i figured this is a great deal.

5. Parking
FREE !!!! I need to pay like $100/month for parking in downtown area.

6. Connector Bus/Bus Pass
Very minor but still something.

Overall the whole process of leaving for 1 year and come back works out nicely. I got a level up and get to negotiate sign-up bonus etc.. It is all fair game again. However this is not for everyone. If you are a star performer, go for it - find a company like Adobe, Google or smaller startups.

Politics happens everywhere, smaller company is even worst - you need to do every minor stuffs. Distracting you to do real work.

Now I realize I will do the right thing and give someone who don't contrib much a hard time. If you are doing the work, you have nobody to fear. ASK and QUESTION people. Don't let politician use you for their gain.

1 thing I really like to see more and more is the ratio of dev/test to be more balanced. IF I have my own company, I would hire all Devs that also write Unit test etc. Completely outsource manual testing.

Anonymous said...

> One area we have a lot of bloat is MSIT.

Don't even get me started on MSIT. Let me give you a little taste of that instead. When Stuart Scott was VP he created a new org called "SD". He insisted anyone in this org needs to be L64+. But the only problem was he did not had given much thought about exactly what this org was supposed to do full time. He went ahead anyway and hired 100s of these guys within single year. For entire year people were confused and kept harassing Stuart about role of SD. So he did several rounds of meetings to "clarify role of SDs". In every meeting he will say something different about their role anyway. Finally he is gone. Now when our new CIO Tony Scott opens up Q&A people still ask him what is the purpose of SDs. He also isn't clear but he thinks there must be something "big and profound" in there. So he keeps dodging the question and gives same executive BS. We finally met and asked one L65 SD about what role his org plays in MSIT. He told us his job was to go to "top level" meetings between engineering leads and BG leads and make sure there are consensus between decisions made. Can you believe this? These 100s of L64+ people got hired in single year so they can sit in meetings and doing "job" of getting agreements between attendees who are, BTW, already supposed to be mature L67+ leads! And don't forget that these meetings are for projects related to our intranet websites and internal field applications - all that while you pithy L62s in Office and Windows division were working your ass off to get 3% merit and 7K bonuses. If this doesn't move you then take this: he also told us that he is looking to hire a vendor for himself because he is getting tired of meetings!

Such a spectacular waste is only possible in wealthy companies like MS. We joke about this SD org as Microsoft's full funded retirement program like UN diplomat job. If you are L64+ and have screwed up your savings but want to retire with full salary and all the benefits, go and join as SD in MSIT!

Anonymous said...

RSDE 60
Commitment Rating: Exceeded
Contribution Ranking: 20%
Merit 5%
Bonus 15%
stocks 200%

Anonymous said...

They paid $ 300m for that crappy Jerry Seinfeld ad? Are you serious?

Anonymous said...

"The Great Seinfield Reconciliation Paradox"

Saw the ad last night - who do we pay for this crap and why? What does billg in a show store do for us as a company? I mean come on, show shopping???

My wife and I watched. Dumbfounded.

Anonymous said...

"What MS benefits worth 28% of base salary? The only MS benefit most other companies cannot beat is medical, but it worths at most 5% of the salary."

Spoken like someone that is young and doesn't have a family. The Medical benefit is worth far more than 5%. If you have a family that level of insurance will run at least $1000/month, probably more and the coverage won't be as good.

Anonymous said...

L62
2% merit
$7k bonus
75% of target for stock

Not too pleased.

Anonymous said...

Services Delivery - L64
Exceeded: 20%
Merit: 4%
Bonus: 17%
Stock: 274.51% = $70K

Anonymous said...

"getting acquired is the best way to come in as a fte."

aaah yup, I couldn't agree more. Look no further than the levels of employees at Groove vs the product's worth.

Anonymous said...

regarding the billg/seinfeld commercial it's probably just the first part of many commercials

Anonymous said...

Level 63 (Office)
20% / Exceeded
Merit 3.9% (128k base)
Bonus: 17%
Stock: 230% (~50k)

just kick ass and hang in there fellas. Those stock awards and puny merit increases add up after a while.

Anonymous said...

MSIT
L62 Dev
Exceeded / 20%
Merit: 3.5%
Bonus: 13.5%
Stock: 300%

MSIT has a bad rap, but we're doing some really cool stuff with all the latest technologies.

Anonymous said...

Group: E&D

L62 SDET
Achieved, 70%
Merit: 3%
Bonus: 11%
Stock: 125%

Anonymous said...

Level 64
Technical Sales professional
Merit 4%
Bonus 55% (about $60k)
Stock 100%/$25k

Anonymous said...

"Anyway, one interesting impression I got out of the vibe from the analysts: Microsoft leadership, time is up."

YTD return: -27%
1 year: -9%
3 year: -1%
5 year: -5%
10 year: -2%

Anonymous said...

The more greedy you are, the more money you gets.

You have to change your perspective before the money will come to you.

Anonymous said...

My base salary after this year has just gone over 6 figures (101,500 to be exact).

Re the L62 SQL guy. I think you're underpaid at L62. I was told last year that $108K is at comp ratio 1.0 for L62 SDE.

Anonymous said...

Looks like for most folks merit doesn't even cover inflation this year. WTF? It should be 5.5% and up for you guys to even get the _same_ salary in real terms. Otherwise you're getting a pay _cut_.

Anonymous said...

I liked the Seinfeld commercial. Mostly I was happy that Seinfeld was just being funny and not selling out and being a direct shill for MSFT--just giving Bill a chance to talk. Anybody who doesn't think Seinfeld is funny, don't worry, I'm sure there are some episodes of Full House that you still haven't seen.

Anonymous said...

On the SQL side, great to hear you're building a great product, small problem: you've heard it from sales, I'll add that you've a clown running a rapidly disintegrating marketing team.

On the ads. Can anybody explain to me why we have a corporate marketing group blessing this s%^##$^ and what the impact of riffing all of them would be?

Otter Boy said...

Sound Transit bus 545 will get you to Safeco Field a LOT faster than the shuttles. It doesn't get stuck in traffic at the ass end of I90.

Anonymous said...

Mich Matthews, our Senior VP in charge of marketing, corporate communications and public relations, is the one who is ultimately in charge of the Microsoft image. She is also the one calling the shots on other "great" examples of her competency--the company meeting. town halls and MSW. I have been at Microsoft 12 years and I continue to be amazed at our stupid marketing, lack of coherent messaging and gross spending on marketing and internal posters (we need to market our products to our employees--HELLO!!! We use them already!!)--all for no great return. As payment for her incompetence, Microsoft promoted her from a Corp VP to Senior VP.

Wonder what her bonus will be for getting Billg to shake his backside on national television for an incoherent ad?

Anonymous said...

"There's a lot of benefits that you are talking for granted as MS employees. Here's the list:"

OK, let's dissect this a little bit...

"1. Medical Insurance
$0 Copay for doctor and $0 for generics prescriptions. Outside company you have to pay like $15/doctor visit and $$ for prescriptions."

1. I left a few months ago and now have a $10 co-pay and $10 co-pay for generic prescriptions. I also have a $250/month PRE-TAX premium deduction. So that was $3000 that I just factored into my office and when I was really honest with myself I realized that I really didn't go to the doctor that much or take that many drugs. And so for that small anticipated amount did the HSA which my new company does much better than MSFT anyway.

"2. 401k matching
50% match is huge and add to your income."

2. Most companies do matching. You may have to wait for a little time to vest, but not much and you know, that just shows job commitment. MSFT 401K matching is actually below other comapanies that I've been at.

"3. ESPP discounts
This is another 1-2k additional $$$"

3. Maybe when the stock is performing, but after the ESPP changes a few years ago, this is less and less valuable. Given the flat stock performance over 5+ years and the change, I have ESPP shares from years ago that are still in negative return territory. At best if you flip this immediately you make a 6% roughly return after transaction and short term capital gains. Seriously, learn about investing and how to save and you can make more on your own.

"4. Pro-club
I don't use this one but i figured this is a great deal."

4. I agree with the previous poster that ProClub was getting to be a nightmare.

"5. Parking
FREE !!!! I need to pay like $100/month for parking in downtown area."

5. That's IF you can find parking on campus. So it may be free, but you're walking a great distance. Not every non-MSFT job is in a downtown area. Plus, if you're working in a downtown area, take public transit already.

"6. Connector Bus/Bus Pass
Very minor but still something."

6. For the select people that use it. Minor benefit.

Again, medical is the biggest thing here. But honestly, I have a family with 5 kids and left and costs haven't gone up that much with healthcare. You have to detach from the emotional ocnnection to MSFT (a company that doesn't have any allegiance to you at all) and once you to and look objectively at the numbers and lifestyle, you'll see it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks yet again for a great thread confirming that I made to right choice to Mini-mize myself a little more than 2 yrs ago.
I love looking at the review results, and cross-referencing with sites like Glassdoor to yet again confirm I am MUCH better off. Had I stayed, and worked my tail off to move up 2, maybe even 3 levels (yeah right...) I would still be behind where I am now.
Proof? I interviewed and recieved and offer for an MS position earlier this yr. Even with all the promises, the up-level tick, the signing bonus, etc, I still had a better offer elsewhere.
I went with an FT position with a local company and I make more just on baseline salary than my former MS competitors/coworkers do now.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but I make more now than my former MS bosses two levels up do, even when they gutted it out the last few yrs. The Good,the Bad, and the truly ugly members of my former food-chain still don't make as much. I don't say that to brag, just to set a standard of comparison. Some of those people have been at MS 10-15+ yrs. Even factoring in the bonuses, merit increases, 'great' MS benefits etc, I make more on just my base. The increase is more than enough to offset the benefits, which frankly, are so close to being the same, I may as well just carry the same Premera card.

An added serendipity; I work on projects that streamline and reduce the churn and onerous processes that MS is near hopelessly mired in, to return actual usable results. (I'm serving to further MINI-mize Microsoft, without off-shoring, out-sourcing, or staff-pimping.)
Well, that is unless we get acquired. That's not likely, as most of us are former 'Softies and probably wouldn't want to go back. But big buyout bucks speak very loudly for some.

I do kind of miss the Company Store, but not that much. I have a life, I have XP and don't need/want Vista, although I eventually will compromise and buy an OEM box or two. Saving a few bucks on software just isn't that big a deal anymore.

Unlike the 'good old days' at MS, I almost always head home at 5 and still get more done in a day because I don't have to deal with all the MSBS.

Yup, life is good. C'mon, the water's great!

Anonymous said...

"Looks like for most folks merit doesn't even cover inflation this year. WTF? It should be 5.5% and up for you guys to even get the _same_ salary in real terms. Otherwise you're getting a pay _cut_."
--------------------------

Okay, you just don't understand how Microsoft works. My merit was a paycutting 2%! ***Sounds bad***

Yet in less than 2 years I've been here I've seen my total compensation go up about 30% from where I was on the outside. When I was looking for a new job I was told my compensation was very high by many companies in the area. I coming to Microsoft I only got a modest increase in salary.

So how do I get 30% more?
1) Salary is about 5% ahead of where it would be.
2) Easy 7% bonus on top of that. Maybe more.
3) Stock grants. (3 so far) These really add up. Once I've been here 5 years it could even be more than 20% of my total comp.
4) Benefits. I was paying ~$280 every two week for 80% coverage. I was typically spending $3k to $5k a year out of pocket. So we are really talking $900 to $1000 a month. At Microsoft I pay $30 a month and my out of pocket expenses have been $0 since I've been here.

There you have it: 5% + 7% + 9% (stock) + 9% (benefit savings)

Microsoft pays pretty well even when they kick you in the teeth.

Anonymous said...

Lead PM in MSN
L63
Exceeded/70%
Merit: 4.5%
Bonus: 15%
Stock: 130%

Anonymous said...

Marketing
Level: 64 -> 65
Raise (Merit + Promo): 12% ($145K Base)
Bonus: 13%
Stock: $40K

Ok but not super exciting. After 1 year at 65 should get a lot better.

Anonymous said...

-sarcasm on-
Nice ad Microsoft - keep up the great work.
-sarcasm off-

You're competitors will just keep churning out innovative products while Gates wriggles his butt cheeks.

Anonymous said...

How much more could the 70 percenters have been paid if we didn't buy the useless Seinfeld commercial campaign?

Anonymous said...

>How much more could the 70 percenters have been paid if we didn't buy the useless Seinfeld commercial campaign?

$7500 for each employee eligibal for CBI

How much all these people would have got paid if we (sorry, I mean, our strategic think tank) didn't bought aQuantive?

$145,000 for each employee eligibal for CBI

Anonymous said...

"-sarcasm on-
Nice ad Microsoft - keep up the great work.
-sarcasm off-"

The tags are not redundant...

Anonymous said...

"I do kind of miss the Company Store, but not that much."

You leave MSFT and you can join the MSFT Alumni Network and get company store access with a $600 limit. Problem solved. Plus with MSA you get Prime card type discounts as well as other network benefits.

Anonymous said...

>> Yet in less than 2 years I've been here
>> I've seen my total compensation go up
>> about 30% from where I was on the outside

You're either a brutally-ass-kicking rockstar (in which case you'd be easily able to find a better paying job on the outside) or your ladder level is really low.

Besides, what makes you think that in those two years your compensation "outside" wouldn't have gone up?

Be Paid said...

Leave Seinfeld alone, people - it's so obvious he did't come up with this ad's dialogues himself, they just gave him some half baked scenario (written by some moron in marketing who thinks he can be funny) to play.

As always, Microsoft thinks that if it spends huge enough money on something, then it has to be good, and noone with at least half brain has even reviewed it before airing (and especially before paying for it).

I say, give Seinfeld free hand for next installment of this, see what he comes up with, and pay him 20M, but only if it leaves Mac vs. PC ad in dust.

Anonymous said...

Re the L62 SQL guy. I think you're underpaid at L62. I was told last year that $108K is at comp ratio 1.0 for L62 SDE.

Not the SQL guy here, but I figured I'd chime in. Suppose you're being underpaid by a few grand. Is that really a big deal? I'm a single guy (lvl 61 PM)making in the mid 90s, and I'm totally content. I have a very good life, decent home, car, clothes, food, I don't lack anything honestly. I'm not quite sure what a few more thousands would bring. This doesn't mean one is a doormat or lacks self respect, but some of us are happy with our compensation relative to the work we do.

Anonymous said...

i have my first review this year (no numbers yet) but i expect 70% coverage.

Currently at 120k base for a L62

Anonymous said...

How long before Apple has an ad with Justin Long trying to explain Apple features while John Hodgman wiggles his behind?

Anonymous said...

L60
Achieved/70%
9% bonus
3% merit
130% stock
After merit increase, 86k base salary

I feel rather 'meh' about my numbers. My group is comprised almost entirely of very strong performers, so there wasn't a lot of extra money to go around. Counterbalancing that is the fact that I get to work on stuff that I'm passionate about. But at the end of the day it hurts knowing I could get significantly more money on a different team, or for that matter at another company.

Anonymous said...

don't know why you always think that the curve has gone
Exceeded/20% 5.0
Exceeded/70% 4.5
Exceeded/10% + Achieved/20% 4.0
Achieved/70% 3.5
Achieved/10% 3.0
Underperformed 2.5
and now start to drawing...

Anonymous said...

So looks like yet another year of crappy rewards for the masses.... same ol', same ol' ... Thanks for all the extra hard-work.. and take that you sucka!

So what's new? Take a look at the insider transactions for the MSFT stock. It looks like Christmas came early for our great leaders. As we exit August vesting, the execs are dumping stock en-masse ... much more spectacular this year than before. What's cookin'?

Anonymous said...

There you have it: 5% + 7% + 9% (stock) + 9% (benefit savings)

Your math assumes that other companies are 0% + 0% + 0% +0%. That is not accurate and your conclusion is faulty.

Magical Princess Minky Momo: Embracing the Dream said...

Am I the only one who thinks the new add is funny, dry stupid humor?

FYI, nobody cares about Microsoft, or the software or the products, so why not make us laugh about how invisible your company is? El Conquistador shakes his booty to indicate edible computers in the works? Yaahh, ahm wit ya dude. For $300 million, I would think this is building into something valuable.

Anonymous said...

I am just wondering why anyone of these people who moved to different companies and got hefty raises don't mention name of their new companies. I would assume this will creat +ve publicitiy of their new companines.

To me it seems that deep down they know they don't have that much better deal in new company and if they mention the name of their new company, 10 people from their new company will post about how miserable their salaries are.

I am level 64, making around 170-180K with Salary, Bonus and Stock Awards. I have a good trajectory and will mostly move to principal in next review. I anticipate to have around 200K of total compensation at that time. Pretty good deal. I am curious to know what other companies are providing this kind of compensation and contiuous career growth. It is easy to get one time bump when you move to other companies, but you will be stuck with those salaries for quite sometime unlike Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

L61
Exceeded/20%
Merit - 4%
Bonus - 14%
Stock - 225%

These "merit" increases are pathetic. It's sad that MS can't cough up a COLA increase even for the "rock stars".

Anonymous said...

Live Core

Level 63 Dev, exceeded, 20%
Merit 6.5%
Bonus: 18.5%
Stock: 300%

Anonymous said...

"There you have it: 5% + 7% + 9% (stock) + 9% (benefit savings)"

Your math assumes that other companies are 0% + 0% + 0% +0%. That is not accurate and your conclusion is faulty.
===============================

No, I was computing above and beyond. I have over 20 years work experince at a bunch of other companies, some large and some small. I have had many stock options that never paid and many bonuses that were somehow greatly reduced even when companies were doing great. I had one year out of 20 where I had a bonus slightly greater than 5 figures. You can also go to places like glassdoor.com and see what people are putting for bonus/stock. I have only been at one other company which was a startup that didn't charge a lot extra for medical insurance.

All in all Microsoft has a much fairer and balanced compensation system than any other company I've seen or heard about. There are always exceptions. Like some guys at Apple probably did really well with stock options. However those are exceptions and not the rule.

Where I'm working I'm easily making 30% more than I would have been if I hadn't come to Microsoft. That best thing though, is instead of being topped out, I have plenty of headroom for advancement. So while a 2% merit increase is a kick in the teeth, there are probably very few jobs out there (outside of management) that will pay me as well.

In fact the only sure way to beat it would be to do contract work.

Anonymous said...

Level 61 - SDE
Merit - 3.5%
Bonus - 9%
Stock - 130% ~ 12,800/stock price
Acheived/20%
New Base with raise: 95.2K

Anonymous said...

For those who are thinking of going back to Microsoft IDC or relocating there, think twice or even thrice. I spent my first few years there and was f***d up by pretty crappy managers. They were all bunch of politicians promoting ass kissers and lickers. Trust me, it is better at Redmond.

Anonymous said...

You folks complaining about salaries are absolutely nuts. I suspect you are the guys who give up around level 60-61 because you can't figure out how to compete or just lack talent to begin with. "Oh the politics at MS are SOOOOO bad. I'm such a STAR and I'm not rewarded. All these successful people around me are suck-ups and/or idiots. I'm quitting to join outofbusinessin2months.com and make all kinds of cash."

Please. Shut. Up. You. Asses.

I worked my tail off to get to level 63. My total compensation per year is $185k (base / stock / bonus) and still growing. There simply is not anywhere else in Seattle where you are going to get that kind of money, and there are maybe a handful of such places in the entire country. None of them have the scope, resources, and potential for impact that Microsoft does. Now get back to work. Or don't - more money in the bonus pool for me and all the other 'softies who bring their
A-games to work every single day. Suck it.

Anonymous said...

"I am just wondering why anyone of these people who moved to different companies and got hefty raises don't mention name of their new companies. I would assume this will creat +ve publicitiy of their new companines."

No, probably negative publicity. This just isn't the right forum for posting that type of info. But as one of the people you mention, I can verify it all to be true. I was in your camp level-wise and paywise. And got a 40% bump leaving. And the great thing is that a level 64 inside MSFT maps to a Director or VP level at other companies. I now run a global team of over 30 people. It would have been years at MSFT to get to that point.

Tell you what though. If you want to find which companies these are...Go to LinkedIn and look at the some of the groups of ex-MSFT there. Join the MSA network (well you can't until you leave, but) and find some that people post there.

There is a huge intangible to leaving MSFT. Even if the $$ were break even. I work at a company now that is a real company. I personally have a connection to the bottom line and can see my impact immediately. We don't do endless planning, meaningless meetings, countless hours of navel gazing...we just do great work and work hard. And because we are smaller we are MUCH more selective on hiring. I would say there are 97% rock stars at the company where at MSFT the stupidity was contagious. So we can talk about money all day long, but until you see what MSFT has become, from the outside, you'll never really understand. Worse still...try leaving MSFT for a MSFT partner and then trying to do business with MSFT. It's then that you realize just how bad MSFT is.

Anonymous said...

Department => hidden

L67 => L68

Salary => 5%
Bonus => 60%
Stock => 150K

Looking forward to the SPSA.

Anonymous said...

HR Manager, L64

Exceeded, 70%
salary - 4%
bonus - 14%
Stock - 100%

Anonymous said...

re: cleaning out that 10%

I absorbed another team this year, inherited some low performers, and then did my part, cutting 3 people. I didn't pass them along to another team, I didn't bury them in the org somewhere. I did what all of you managers need to do: get rid of your bottom 10%.

And I don't plan to backfill 2 of them. My team was already picking up their slack, and my stars were stars because they could handle it.

Having said all that, cleaning house really sucked. It was hard. It took effort. They were people, they had families.

And yet they did not belong here at Microsoft.

Get some gonads people, and do what needs to be done to clean out the lower ranks. The execs won't do it, so make it a grass roots effort.

Anonymous said...

I worked my tail off to get to level 63. My total compensation per year is $185k (base / stock / bonus) and still growing.

That's adorable that you still think your promotion trajectory is due to hard work and not because you happened to luck out politically. I know plenty of level 63s who do nothing all day and keep getting promoted, and I know plenty of people who do great work 12 hours/day and are still more or less entry level.

As long as Microsoft is rewarding individuals and not groups, this "rock star" mentality will continue to ruin teamwork and products.

Anonymous said...

At root level, the new review system is more similar to the old one than being different. Managers still have to be unfair to meet the curve & still have to justify that with the straight face. Managers still have to wait to write their review comments until after the numbers are approved. Focus from 3.0 shifted to 10%, thats all. Innovation?

Anonymous said...

Hey, nerds, the Seinfeld commercial isn't aimed at you. In fact Windows advertising is never going to be aimed at you (duh). In fact computer-related advertising that is effective at anything is never going to be aimed at you (double duh). It's like expecting a Merrill Lynch promo to cater to the mindset and prejudices of Warren Buffett. Think about that.

The ad is plainly aimed at all those consumers who just have this vague idea that Vista and PCs suck, and the intent of the ad is to start rehabilitating Microsoft's much battered image (some of the battering is Microsoft's fault, but not all of it).

Steve Jobs can run all the smarmy in-your-face my-edick-is-bigger-than-theirs ads he wants--guess what, they have a very limited appeal to the general public and zero resonance (Apple product placement in movies and TV shows has much greater effect, bet on it). Mostly they just make existing Apple users feel smug about themselves and secure about being tethered to the mothership.

What you nerds need to understand is that the average consumer needs any kind of pro-computer product message coated in tons of sugar (they don't look at computers as their best friends). This looks like a smart ad campaign that softens up Microsoft's image and sets up its target audience (repeat: NOT YOU) for a pro-Vista pitch down the line.

And Microsoft needs to do something, because ABM rage (abetted by typically dishonest Apple marketing) has created the unfair perception that Vista is the biggest load of crap since Microsoft Bob. To fight such a perception you don't just run some ad shouting VISTA IS AWESOME HERE READ THIS LIST OF FEATURES, that gets dismissed right away as so much noise. Triple duh.

Anonymous said...

Historically, Microsoft has never been a top paymaster & never claimed to be one. Period. Things changed since attrition rate increased, stock price failed to compete with CD rates & company stopped measuring exec performance! All these surveys simply try to cover up for the stock (& exec) performace. If the stock rises by, say, 40% YOY, all this drama will stop, because no one will care if the company is the top paymaster or NOT.

Anonymous said...

SDE 64 (Windows)
- Exceeded/70%
- merit 4.5% (base ~ 125K)
- bonus 16%
- stock 130%

Good but not great.

Anonymous said...

"Please. Shut. Up. You. Asses."

To the anon who equated complainers to losers - there is some truth to what you are saying. However, I am very interested in knowing the team\group you "worked your ass off" for and "impact"-ed the product.

P.S : If your answer is E&D or online, don't bother replying...

Anonymous said...

I agree with the poster about Microsoft IDC comment. In one of the teams, I saw many of the devs who were at just 60-61 level getting promoted to level 63-64 within 1-1.5 years, just because one of the recently relocated PUM (kid) wanted to build an empire, which he couldn't build at Redmond (he was just a dev manager here). WTF. Not sure if any of those devs could make even a 62 here. Not because people here are smarter than Microsoft IDC, but because you have to earn it more here than there.

Anonymous said...

Group: Exchange
Level: L61 SDE
Exceeded - 70%
Merit: 4.5%
Bonus: 15%
Stock: 120%

Anonymous said...

The review experience makes sense as long as some random GM (Wing-dar Ker) in some random country (say China) decides to close your org (CTS) in your sub (ANZ) and can't really bring himself to be fair with review outcomes.

I personally exceeded expectations in every sense of the word and still got the short end. Thing is, so did everyone in the sub. My team met all stretch targets while simultaneously hitting targets in a Global English CTS pilot and Wing-dar handed us back a bucket of puss. There's nothing fair here - just his personal ambition to build an empire.

Anonymous said...

Reply:
Anonymous said...
My base salary after this year has just gone over 6 figures (101,500 to be exact).

Re the L62 SQL guy. I think you're underpaid at L62. I was told last year that $108K is at comp ratio 1.0 for L62 SDE.

----------------------------

The high comp ratio does happen for lot of people stay 6+ years in microsoft as far as I know. I am in the same page, 8 years in MS, SDE 62. 101k. Seems they never fixed that. New hires are getting better deals because current job market.
I guess the right way to correct this is to leave the company and come back again.

Anonymous said...

SDE L62
Exceeded/20%
Promotion: None
Merit:4.5%
Bonus:20%
Stock:200%
New salary: 101k

no much complain about the result other than comp ratio. 8 years in microsoft. Still love the job. But spend less time in coding than a few years ago. May think of moving out after the coming re-org.

Anonymous said...

Someone mentioned looking at Microsoft alumni on LinkedIn to find other companies.

There is also a job section on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn jobs

There's also John Cook's venture blog at the Seattle PI. There's a layoff tracker there so you can get some idea of companies to avoid. There are also links to other venture blogs.

VC Notebook

Typing "innovative seattle startup" in Google turns up a lot.

Examples:

List of Seattle area Web 2.0, Startups and Technology companies.

Seattle Startup Scene

Seattle Companies

After several years of working for a large company, it is easy to get into a routine of letting someone else decide what you get to work on and what technology you get to use.

If you can create a product in a few months, have you considered starting your own company? If you don't want to work alone, get a few like minded people together.

Even if you decide to go back to working for someone else, it is a good way to develop new skills.

Anonymous said...

Dept - Anon

L67
Exceeded/20%
Merit: 6%
Bonus: 40%
Stock: 200%

I'm happy with the review & numbers

Anonymous said...

L68 partner
Salary 4%
Bonus 90%
SPSA 200K ( 600K from prior years )
Stock 180K

Anonymous said...

L63 -> L64

Exceeded / 20%
Merit + promo = 12%, base now ~$125k
Bonus = 20%
Stock = 200%, ~55k

I am pretty happy with my results.

Anonymous said...

64->65
Exceeded/20%
Merit+Promo-7%
Bonus- 22000
Stock - 65000

Anonymous said...

Steve Jobs can run all the smarmy in-your-face my-edick-is-bigger-than-theirs ads he wants--guess what, they have a very limited appeal to the general public and zero resonance (Apple product placement in movies and TV shows has much greater effect, bet on it). Mostly they just make existing Apple users feel smug about themselves and secure about being tethered to the mothership.

D-E-N-I-A-L much?

Have you taken a look at Apple's rapidly expanding share of the PC market lately? Allow me to help you out with a quick search link -- http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=mac+market+share&aq=f&oq=

The brilliant Ads you're mocking are *incredibly effective* at telling a story to the average consumer that Microsoft is inferior and out-of-touch. The campaign has been a monster success, and our Seinfeld series is a direct counter to what Apple has done to us over the last few years.

Anonymous said...

I is PM from IE team. We works hard. Gives vision. Ships IE 8 beta-2. Our review suck. Get less than 3% raise, team not happy.

No IE, no search. No IE, no adcenter. Money go to search, MSN, live, adcenter.

Anonymous said...

For those who are thinking of going back to Microsoft IDC or relocating there, think twice or even thrice.

And

I agree with the poster about Microsoft IDC comment.

You have it wrong. IDC is a great deal because senior level salaries in India are better than those in Redmond (in PPP terms).

Here's a link to read more (subscription required).

http://www.economist.com/markets/indicators/displaystory.cfm?story_id=7282749

Anonymous said...

Crispin Porter + Bugosky, the geniuses that billed $300 million for the Seinfeld Vista campaign, are such great believers in Microsoft products that they use Quicktime on their web site.

Anonymous said...

Marketing Org for a kick ass product

L65
Achieved/70%
Merit 3%
Bonus 9%
Stock 80% (~$30K)

Nothing to write home about, probably been around too long...

Anonymous said...

I absorbed another team this year, inherited some low performers, and then did my part, cutting 3 people. I didn't pass them along to another team, I didn't bury them in the org somewhere. I did what all of you managers need to do: get rid of your bottom 10%.

Sure, that's an easy year for you. Now what if you hadn't absorbed a loser team? Which of your many superstars would've gotten the 10% bucket? Because you know, EVERY team has them, right?

And now that you've nailed the three losers from the absorbed team and gotten rid of them, whatcha going to do this next year? Make sure you inherit another team so you can protect all your remaining superstars? How about the year after that?

Do you see that this is not sustainable, unless you constantly rotate teams around and some other manager (not you) gets to decide that YOUR superstars are, so sorry, actually losers that need to be 10 percented?

That's why the system doesn't work. It's not always just and exactly 10% of a team, year in and year out, that is slacking. There are actually teams where every single member is working their tail off. And others where 9 out of 10 are coasting along in some cushy spot, never being challenged or having their toes held to the fire.

If you don't believe that, then you've been in one place in this company (and in the world) way, way too long.

Anonymous said...

It does look like merit raises this year were low for both strong and weak performers alike. When I got my review this year, my manager made a point to mention that the targets for merit were a couple points lower this year and that the number was not targeted at the cost of living but rather what local competitors pay. Considering that inflation and unemployment are up, that situation's probably not getting much better anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

My base salary after this year has just gone over 6 figures (101,500 to be exact).

ouch sorry man, Lv 62 1.0 CompA is greater than $107K, i know this because that's what i make and i have a less than 1.0 CompA, guess you are a fool

Anonymous said...

Group Product Mgr: L63 > L64
Merit 5%
Promo 4%
Bonus 11%
Shares: ~$30k

New Base Pay: ~$124k

I'm tracking L62 > L63 after 3yrs and now L63 > L64 after another 3yrs. I've exceeded commitments every year, and getting to L64 is a nice proof point of these Exceeds. I'm looking forward to finding ways to working still smarter and more efficiently to the benefit of my team and myself.

Anonymous said...

FTE -> Contractor

don't care about levels
Not subject to reviews
100 days vacation a year
fair salary
happy life

Anonymous said...

I was hired in as L60 2+ years ago, and though I've gotten exceeded both reviews, no promo. Am I doomed to mediocrity?

Anonymous said...

The high comp ratio does happen for lot of people stay 6+ years in microsoft as far as I know. I am in the same page, 8 years in MS, SDE 62. 101k. Seems they never fixed that. New hires are getting better deals because current job market.
I guess the right way to correct this is to leave the company and come back again.


Agreed. I joined 4 years ago as a L59 SDE, I was given $15K signing bonus and 300 sh. stock awards. Last year, I heard new college hires could easily demand 1000 sh. stock awards!

It simply means that the IT job market is still good. IMO, the company doesn't choose to pay the old folks at bottom as much as the market suggests. Why? they either have to work hard to move up to earn it or they don't deserve that much and they can be replaced by new guys. If their orgs don't have have enough promotion opportunityies, just look around.

Anonymous said...

PM II: L62
Merit 5%
Bonus 11%
Shares: ~$10k

New Base Pay: ~$128k

Anonymous said...

Sure, that's an easy year for you. Now what if you hadn't absorbed a loser team? Which of your many superstars would've gotten the 10% bucket? Because you know, EVERY team has them, right?

And now that you've nailed the three losers from the absorbed team and gotten rid of them, whatcha going to do this next year? Make sure you inherit another team so you can protect all your remaining superstars? How about the year after that?

Do you see that this is not sustainable, unless you constantly rotate teams around and some other manager (not you) gets to decide that YOUR superstars are, so sorry, actually losers that need to be 10 percented?

That's why the system doesn't work. It's not always just and exactly 10% of a team, year in and year out, that is slacking. There are actually teams where every single member is working their tail off. And others where 9 out of 10 are coasting along in some cushy spot, never being challenged or having their toes held to the fire.

If you don't believe that, then you've been in one place in this company (and in the world) way, way too long.

Amen!!!!

I am awaiting the day this hero himself runs afoul of the system and learns the hard way. He is so typical of the culture its nauseating...."Its the my team and especially I am so good culture...and anything NOT INVENTED HERE or part of another team sucks. Oh yes, my team is all super stars ...inherited team is the one with the losers. I'll fix that....

Anonymous said...

P.S : If your answer is E&D or online, don't bother replying...

Heard someone in search got promoted from L60 to L63 in just 3 or 4 months. He/she must be something, but still I think I want to move to those orgs.

Anonymous said...

FTE -> Contractor

don't care about levels
Not subject to reviews
100 days vacation a year
fair salary
happy life


If you like doing all of the janitorial work that FTEs don't want to be bothered with, then that's absolutely a good move. :P

Anonymous said...


PM II: L62
Merit 5%
Bonus 11%
Shares: ~$10k

New Base Pay: ~$128k


Ah, you make more than many those L64s above; not to mention those poor L62s

Anonymous said...

SDE L64
Achieved/70%
Merit:4%
Bonus:12%
Stock: 152%
New salary: 130К

Observation: looking at the numbers, 20% contribution ranking always seems to result in 200% or higher stock award. Also, Exceeeded/70% is not much diffеrent from Achieved/70%.

To а PM II with 128K base pay: looks like your comp ratio is very high (since this salary is close to an L64 base pay) but they still haven't promoted you to next level. Weird.

Anonymous said...

Look at L67/L68s


Department => hidden

L67 => L68

Salary => 5%
Bonus => 60%
Stock => 150K

Looking forward to the SPSA.

Total = 180K + 108K + 150K = 438K (+SPSA)

Dept - Anon

L67
Exceeded/20%
Merit: 6%
Bonus: 40%
Stock: 200%

I'm happy with the review & numbers

Total = 160K + 64K + 354K = 578K


L68 partner
Salary 4%
Bonus 90%
SPSA 200K ( 600K from prior years )
Stock 180K

Total = 180K + 162K + 200K + 180K = 722K (OMG)

Assuming L67 average base is 160K, L68 is 180K.

Anonymous said...

"Heard someone in search got promoted from L60 to L63 in just 3 or 4 months. He/she must be something, but still I think I want to move to those orgs."

I think I know who you are talking about. Not 3 months

Anonymous said...

Saw L62 get paid (128k) higher than L64( 124k) from comments. Does it make any sense? Asume normal employee needs to spend 4~6 years to get to 64 from 62.

Anonymous said...

P.S : If your answer is E&D or online, don't bother replying...

Heard someone in search got promoted from L60 to L63 in just 3 or 4 months. He/she must be something, but still I think I want to move to those orgs.


OMG I HEARD THEY MADE A CAMPUS HIRE A VICE PRESIDENT AFTER 2 MONTHS!!!

without context these rumors are totally meaningless and should never be used as the basis of making any decisions -- this could be a complete fabrication, or this person could have done a one-in-a-million thing that you'll never be able to do, or they might have been heinously misleveled when they hired-on.

chances are it's a bullshit story, but if it's true there's likely an explanation that puts things in a bit better perspective. microsoft does really bonehead things, but 3-level skip promotions are about as common as steve ballmer's winning decisions. ;-)

Anonymous said...

My base salary after this year has just gone over 6 figures (101,500 to be exact).

ouch sorry man, Lv 62 1.0 CompA is greater than $107K, i know this because that's what i make and i have a less than 1.0 CompA, guess you are a fool

Actually, he's not a fool, but you're the idiot. As others mentioned, this is called salary compression, and nothing short of getting promoted or leaving/returning at a new rate will fix it. That's how things work, and they haven't done anything to address the issue.

It's very much possible for 2 people at the same level to have a 10K disparity in pay. One has probably been here 6-7 years, got in at 59 or 60, and therefore his pay is completely normal. The other is probably a new hire, came in at 61, and now after one promotion, makes quite a bit more.

So, understand how things work before calling people fools.

Anonymous said...

re: new commercial

This is gonna blow a big announcement planned for the comp meeting, but most of you will probably still be on busses and miss it anyway.

Here goes...

SteveB heard that Google was gonna start selling churros by the end of the year. The commercial is a pre-emptive strike to let everyone know we were there first.


I actually thought the commercial was funny. Doesn't say anything about MS, but it was funny. It doesn't have the replay value that the Mac/PC ads have though. I'm interested in seeing what more they have. Beats the hell out of the boring crap we've been showing for years.


re: Services delivery L64

How can ANYONE in services delivery rate an "exceeded", let along get 70k of stock???!!

Anonymous said...

I did what all of you managers need to do: get rid of your bottom 10%.
Do people (or did they in this case) get their severance package when they are the bottom 10% and they are pushed out?
I've gotten my Achieved/10% three years in a row, do very little, make good money, and don't rush to leave.
Next year I don't expect to perform differently, so that might be 4 times in a row at the bottom 10%.
I would leave if I got my 22-week pay severance package (2 weeks x 11 years at MS).

Anonymous said...

Field Sales
Level: 62 -> 63
Merit: 4%
Promo: 6%
Bonus: 18%
Stock: 75% of L63 target

Anonymous said...

>> I've gotten exceeded both reviews, no promo

First of all, "Exceeded" is not enough for automatic promo. Exceeded doesn't really affect your placement near the promotion trough. It's been made intentionally confusing so that fewer folks are disappointed. What you need to be working for is 20%.

That said, you're probably due for a mid-year promo. It is also safe to say that you have a shitty manager who won't push his reports upward during stack ranking, so my advice would be to get that promo mid year and MOVE ON immediately to another team.

Anonymous said...

>> such great believers in Microsoft products
>> that they use Quicktime on their web site

Makes sense for two reasons:
1. It's cross-platform
2. Video is usually done on the Mac, and guess what, Final Cut doesn't output WMV.

What should they do? Do the ads in Movie Maker?

Anonymous said...

Not a lot of people are 'super-excited' about the new ads. See link:

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/S/SEINFELD_MICROSOFT_AD?SITE=AZTUC&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

Also, Exceeeded/70% is not much diffеrent from Achieved/70%.

E/70% denotes typically a low exceeded rating. In this case the difference between E/70% and A/70% can be as little as 1-2% merit increase and 3% bonus. Worthwhile?

I was hired in as L60 2+ years ago, and though I've gotten exceeded both reviews, no promo

You need to have a friendly chat with your manager and find out why you were not promoted. What is still missing to get you to 61?

Anonymous said...

Shareholder
Level: 1, General
Salary: .43 (dividends)
Merit: .01 (dividend increase)
Promo: 0%
Bonus: 0%
Shares: 0%

New Net Worth: -10%.

Anonymous said...

Talking about the Bill and Jerry ad - didn't Silverlight get a leg up with the Olympics? Why then, is it still hosted online on the Microsoft site (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/), no less, on MACROMEDIA FLASH??? Argh!

Anonymous said...

Shareholder
Level: 1, General
Salary: .43 (dividends)
Merit: .01 (dividend increase)
Promo: 0%
Bonus: 0%
Shares: 0%

New Net Worth: -10%.

> You sir, are a bag holder.

Anonymous said...

As long as Microsoft is rewarding individuals and not groups, this "rock star" mentality will continue to ruin teamwork and products.

Exactly.

By the way, we should be showing this as a commercial. Why has it been sitting on a shelf since TechReady 5?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rE2zD5NvRfs

Anonymous said...

L61 SDET:

Exceeded / 20%
Merit: 4%
Bonus: 14%
Stock: 140%

4% merit and 140% of target for an exceeded / 20%? Why the hell do I work hard? I could do half the amount of work and get basically the same amount of compensation as an achieved / 70%.

Anonymous said...

Now that we've talked about reviews, let's talk re-orgs.

I hear one group will have one post-PDC. Anyone else hearing these rumors?

Anonymous said...

I was hired in as L60 2+ years ago, and though I've gotten exceeded both reviews, no promo. Am I doomed to mediocrity?

I had a similiar problem. Do what I do - move. If you're good at what you do, you can find another gig. Scope out a manager with a track record and a commitment to helping move his people up.

Anonymous said...

To а PM II with 128K base pay: looks like your comp ratio is very high (since this salary is close to an L64 base pay) but they still haven't promoted you to next level. Weird.


---

yep very strange ... i am only 6m into the company so must have brought me in under-leveled and highly paid ... so they expect a fast track i'd imagine.

Anonymous said...

Do people (or did they in this case) get their severance package when they are the bottom 10% and they are pushed out?
I've gotten my Achieved/10% three years in a row, do very little, make good money, and don't rush to leave.
Next year I don't expect to perform differently, so that might be 4 times in a row at the bottom 10%.
I would leave if I got my 22-week pay severance package (2 weeks x 11 years at MS).




1) No, you don't get severance if you are fired for performance issues. And even though the new system is still a little confusing, I think the only way you end up in the bottom 10% is if you have performance issues.

2) Your manager sucks to let someone stay in the 10% bucket more than 2 years in a row. You should've been removed by now.

3) Since your manager sucks, maybe wait it out another year and he/she will be fired instead of you.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what 'promotion value' actual ##s represent?

Mine show a .17 on managepoint but no clue what it means.

Anonymous said...

L61 SDET:

Exceeded / 20%
Merit: 4%
Bonus: 14%
Stock: 140%

4% merit and 140% of target for an exceeded / 20%? Why the hell do I work hard? I could do half the amount of work and get basically the same amount of compensation as an achieved / 70%.



It's bad to see you get screwed this way. But take it as a lesson learned. You are at that level where the trick is to not actually sweat it out doing real work. You will only get puny rewards as you just experienced.

At Microsoft, you really have to BS your way to 70/E, maybe 20/A or E, call yourself the light-bulb of the team, and you'll see yourself get promoted. Those increments from promotions make some difference.

I've seen too many real worker-bees (including me a few years ago) getting screwed the way you went down. It's not pretty, not worth all the real work.

Anonymous said...

love all the fear-inducing posts: "you should be lick Steve's boots to thank him for having a job", "MS benefits are better than a 28% salary bump"

As a 2 times ex-softie I can tell you that MS doesn't pay as much as other local software companies, not even close. If you average things out, it might seem like parity because the level 64+s get paid so much larger than than every one else that the average is artificially high.

I work for another large software company in Seattle (not google, not a startup) and when I hire MS people, I usually have to give them substantial bumps to get them into our salary ranges.

Sure, MS has a nice medical plan, but it isn't that nice, and it certainly isn't a reason to stay in a sucky job with crappy politics that doesn't pay you well. My salary difference more than makes up for the very nominal extra I pay for medical stuff (and my family has A LOT of medical issues).

My brother-in-law still works at MS and I don't know why. His team gets punted around like a football, he gets mediocre merit increases even though he is a major contributor. His boss tells him over and over how lucky he is to have a job in such a good group and continually puts FUD into the organization to prevent a mass exodus. Not a great way to live.

Anonymous said...

PM, L61 (Windows Live)
Achieved / 70%
Merit 3.5%
Bonus 11%
Stock 150%

Anonymous said...

"I work for another large software company in Seattle (not google, not a startup) and when I hire MS people, I usually have to give them substantial bumps to get them into our salary ranges."

Off the top of my head, there isn't another large software company in the Seattle area except for MSFT, GOOG, and RealNetworks. Now if you're from Amazon, you're a retail company and yeah I have friends working there who have colorful words to say about work/pay there. If you're from Expedia and saying you guys get paid higher than in similar levels at MSFT, then I find that hard to believe.

Not sure how Real pays :)

Anonymous said...

Kimmed! No future value, because I express disagreement with our senior leadership. But still -- the numbers:
L62
Merit 2.5%
Bonus 8.5%
Stock 40% ($7200)

Anonymous said...

I left MSFT two months ago and got a 43% raise, documented. The trick...find a good executive headhunter to work for you...

My base salary after this year has just gone over 6 figures (101,500 to be exact). Are you telling me I can find another job as a dev in the Seattle area for $143K?..."

In the UK my take-home total pay (salary plus bonuses) increased from £56,100 my last year at MS to £89,000 by leaving for what is in all aspects an easier, less stressful job. All other benefits and perks are comparable. So that's about a 58% increase.

Another key is career-shifting laterally.

In the software industry, there are two groups of people who make the big bucks.

Executives and enterprise sales people.

The difference between them and a superstar techie is "soft" skills. In the big wide world, those are actually the skills that usually pay off big-style.

So if your current career track isn't making you a partner, and you don't want to leave MS, and you think you really are the superstar, try on an SE role in pre-sales or even an BM role in enterprise sales.

Anonymous said...

L64
Achieved/70%
Merit:2%
Bonus:8%
Stock: 90% ($23K)
New salary: 135К

Anonymous said...

I would leave if I got my 22-week pay severance package

Companies use known tactics to avoid paying severance package to people they want to get rid of. You will realize when these 'tactics' are being applied to you. The important thing for you is to figure that out before you start being "managed out", and leave to another group(if you want to remain at your current company), otherwise you will go through some difficult times at work.

Anonymous said...

1) No, you don't get severance if you are fired for performance issues. And even though the new system is still a little confusing, I think the only way you end up in the bottom 10% is if you have performance issues.

I know two people who were in a "up or out" situation, and both of them got their severance packages. One of them was in Windows and the other one in SQL group.

Also, achieved/10% does not mean you are not performing, otherwise it would not say you achieved.

Therefore, with such rating you can not get fired for not performing.

Anonymous said...

I did what all of you managers need to do: get rid of your bottom 10%.

My team was already picking up their slack, and my stars were stars because they could handle it.

Which of your stars are your bottom 10% to be cleaned out this coming year?

Anonymous said...

Level 56 CSR (Some of us are still blue...)
Commitment: 70% - Achieved (6mos on job)
Merit - 2.52%
Bonus - NA
Stock - 75%

Not bad for someone who just started, IMO. Or I just have low expectations.

Anonymous said...

Looks like they let the Zune out of the bag before the Company Meeting. I picked up a 120GB today at the Company Store (they have lotsssss).

It does not portend well.

What the hell? Talk about released too early. First, duh, it doesn't have the new features yet. I guess I'll wait until 9/16 and (yeah!) update my firmware. What consumer doesn't delight in updating their firmware in a new expensive device, especially to get all that cool stuff they just read about.

But its 120GB hard drive is practically empty. Nothing like the 2nd gen of Zunes full of fun stuff. All it has is 34 Zune pictures and one video about Zune. Talk about a sucky experience out of the box.

This feels horribly, horribly rushed. Someone was trying to get this out before Apple's next gen iPods and for the holiday shopping season.

That 9/16 Zune software release? It better be solid gold, Zune-softies. If it's rushed, crappy, and full of crashes we're going to have the Zune equivalent of the red-ring-of-death on our hands. And no one will give Zune a second thought again.

Anonymous said...

Your manager sucks to let someone stay in the 10% bucket more than 2 years in a row. You should've been removed by now.

Hogwash. He may be in the Office team where one can have a long term career while staying in the 10% bucket.

Anonymous said...

"Kimmed! ...

L62
Merit 2.5%
Bonus 8.5%
Stock 40% ($7200)"

Well I wasn't "Kimmed" (70/A) and you got a larger merit raise (+.5%) and a larger bonus! I did get more stock, a little bit more ...

So your "Kimming" is a bad as it could be!

Anonymous said...

Kimmed! No future value, because I express disagreement with our senior leadership. But still -- the numbers:
L62
Merit 2.5%
Bonus 8.5%
Stock 40% ($7200)
------------------

LOL. It's almost like reading my own situation from someone else. Also disagreed with management vision (note to self: very very bad move, never tell the truth if the person talking garbage is 2+ levels above you :-)

numbers:
L60
Merit 2.5%
Bonus 4.5%
Stock 70%

Anonymous said...

The Zune stuff was announced for multiple reasons.

1) Most of the info already leaked out anyway.

2) Apple announced new ipods/software today. Looks like some similar things. At least by announcing today, MS can't be accused of just trying to copy what Apple was doing.

Anonymous said...


tell me if someone in Marketing getting bonus for this ad.


http://adblog.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/09/08/1362333.aspx

Anonymous said...

Office is all about heroism. You get fast-tracked and reap huge rewards if you're part of the in-crowd (be it through skill, luck or brownnosing). On the other hand, if you're not part of the in-crowd, there is nothing you can do to ever get at the gold. So, try it on for size for two years. If you've gotten stared or promoted, stay, otherwise move on.

Anonymous said...

Suggestion for new article:
Bad Managers - Patterns and Practices

It may become a book if someone decides to write about it. :)
Anyway, after several managers (about one by year) and some very bad managers I got the skills to recognize the "modus operandis" of bad managers. And there're several other folks that know it very well since lots of folks went through the same situation. So, my point is, if you disseminate the Patterns and Practices that bad managers deploy others (new hires and people with bad managers) will be able to recognize the patterns and take defensive actions! I know folks that think they're the best because they've had great reviews and never got a bad manager. However, anyone that had a bad manager knows that managers are the most important factor in your review and this is out of your control! In other words, you can be a top performer and become average just because you got a new manager or changed teams thinking you'd be a star in this new team and got a manager that is a bad manager.
My simplest definition to classify a manager as bad manager is: someone that is not fair.
Let me clarify it, I don't expect to get great reviews every year because I know that a fair manager would try to reward the top performers in such a way that they'll get great reviews sooner or later, so not all top performers will get great reviews every year because we have the *&^%$#@$*( curve . They know we have a curve and they try to reward different top performers year after year and this is fair. However, this kind of manager is one in 20. A typical bad manager would reward the same folks every year or almost every year. He'd create a business justification to defend his/her guys, etc. My point is, the behavior usually is a common set of patterns that you see over and over again. Why not disseminate it? Mini, do that for the guys in a bad situation because they got a bad manager or those new hires that don't know how to play the game and will go through the same problems that you, I and others went through.

Vladimir S. (Pewty Pewty ) Putin said...

A recent rumor was that Mini was caught and sent to a Microsoft Re-Education camp by Balmer in lieu of being fired. Fell the love mini. Koolaid like for ever.

Also, with all the hoopla on the new Zune, it still has the mickey mouse face on the control panel. What is new actually? Internal refinements of things that should have been in the first one? Looks like a Microsoft management pattern: release the product and let your customers tell you what to change.

What to change: Start over.

Anonymous said...

"Office is all about heroism."

Not disagreeing with you here, it's just that you can make the same claim about other divisions as well. In fact this is probably true no matter where you go. Windows, for example, REALLY sets up the top performers well. I have seen people get 400% of target stock awards and 20% merit+promo increases over there. Outside of Office I've seen a few double promotions and even 1 triple promotion in the 8 years I've been around the company. That is basically impossible inside Office. However there are other benefits that do make Office pretty great, if you're a "hero" ;)

Anonymous said...

This "bad manager" stuff is a crock of shit. ICs just blame management by knee jerk reaction because they don't have the full picture of what is going on. Managers blame upper management for the same reasons. And I bet upper management blames VPs. Anyway, if you want to be successful you need to learn how to manage your reputation inside your direct peer group and 1 peer group above you. If all you are doing is sucking up to a "bad" manager and expecting good rewards. You are doing the wrong thing. If you come into work and work your ass off with no visibility to the *entire* lead staff, you are doing the wrong thing. If you are unwilling to acknowledge that this kind of self promotion is important not only in MS but in LIFE then you are doing the wrong thing. good luck out there

Anonymous said...

I've gotten my Achieved/10% three years in a row, do very little, make good money, and don't rush to leave.

You inspire me! In particular, with the remark that it's possible to do very little and still make good money. It's the new goal for me Microsoft until my stock awards finish vesting and it makes finanancial sense to leave. They called it years ago, QV (quietly vesting).

A former 6-year top performer shafted by a reorg, my new management chain has yet to take advantage of the skills and ambition I bring to the team. I've encouraged them to make as full use of me on the team as prior managers did, and would relish the chance to use my skills as in years past, but it hasn't happened.

This set has their chosen, and my reviews attest that I'm not one of them. I work in a sub that does not offer many ways for technical FTEs to move around, so thems tha breaks unless I want to join MCS and spend my work weeks away from my family.

Technology is what I do. I live for it. If my employer won't harness my technical drive, then I need to make time, and lots of it, to use that drive on my own outside of work hours in ways that may pay off outside the company in the future. And ways that will keep my skills from atrophying.

My learnings over the past 2 years in my position have mainly involved, "Don't sweat it, man." If the pay and responsibilities aren't in line with the results I created and am willing to continue to create, and the company won't adjust the two variables they control, then I will adjust the variable I control. Microsoft, hear this: I'm adjusting my effort downward.

From talking to others, superstars treated poorly for long enough that they just give up, like me, aren't uncommon. When will the corporation notice that it's damaging itself by creating Kims out of blue badgers who still have the desire, passion and ability to be more than Kims? Maybe they think all they need is an army of obedient Kims mind-lessly doing the chosen superstars' bidding. At least on my team, that's not the case. We have a few misguided superstars of the political type. To protect the team from an avalanche of do-over requests that would happen if we did the superstars' bidding without question, we spend many minutes explaining to them why certain ideas won't work and other ideas are better.

Why not let them fail? Tried that in the past. The failures are overlooked, and more work ends up on the Kims plates to recover from them. It reached a point where some of us opted to protect personal work/life balance, now precious to those of us who seek to spend as little time here as possible. None of us ever cared about that before being Kimmed, except to chide those who used it as an excuse to skip out from late nights required of the rest of us, to deliver on schedule.

Microsoft, I want to care! I want the company to use every bit of the skills I bring here, and to give me opportunities to develop more! But if you're going to tell me I'm no longer worth being given work that will develop my skills, if you're not going to reward me proportionately to my results for the company, I can only derive satisfaction from unchallenging, repetitive work for so long. Why Kim someone whose lifestyle, personal goals and talents don't mandate Kimhood?

Anonymous said...

How about a manager who just doesn't give a shit. How do you deal with this? I like the team I'm in and the work I do, but my manager can't be bothered to even do a 1:1 every couple of weeks and is openly indifferent to it even if we do have it (sometimes to the point that he responds to his backlog of email while I talk to him). Frankly, I've been thinking of just throwing in the towel on Microsoft in general and going somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

Group: DevDiv

L62
70%/A
Merit: 2.5%
Bonus: 8K
Stock: 150%

Total comp for year: ~$130K

New in role, off to a good start.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Off the top of my head, there isn't another large software company in the Seattle area except for MSFT, GOOG, and RealNetworks.

A quick web search shows that Adobe employs "about 500 people" in Seattle, might be them.

Anonymous said...

EXCEEDED!


Level 61 -> 62 SDET
Merit 2.0%
Bonus: 5.7k


see ya! -- looking forward to this company becoming a case study in business schools everywhere --

How the once most admired company blew it.

My new gig will give me the opp to play a part in destroying the tanker

Anonymous said...

Marketing Org for a kick ass product

L65
Achieved/70%
Merit 3%
Bonus 9%
Stock 80% (~$30K)

Nothing to write home about, probably been around too long...

- Judging from the latest marketing campaign I agree with you. It is probably long overdue for you to leave.

Anonymous said...

"If you come into work and work your ass off with no visibility to the *entire* lead staff, you are doing the wrong thing"

and this is how you ensure you create software users like.

Anonymous said...

SDET L60->61 Exceeded/70%
MErit+Promo 10%
Bonus 14%
Stocks 100%
Sal now arnd 91K

I guess my comp ratio is still shitty

Keeperplanet said...

Just a couple of notes on the recent Zune offering. The music player business is quite saturated now, and even Apple has realized the hotspot has moved from players to phones that play music and movies too.

But really, for you guys to win on this you need a true visionary to manage the product line. Somebody who can see what the market wants and how to build it about three to five years before the market is ready for what the visionary sees. Otherwise it is just a managed process of copying the leader and hoping for some small market share.

Jobs is Apple's visionary, and he has the power to make it work. Microsoft cannot hope to succeed until it learns how to identify that person and give that person the ability to succeed. It's not rocket science but in all probability, it is a thousand times harder for Microsoft because of the nature of trying to innovate in an environment that forces an almost committee-like development process.

Anonymous said...

To the poster who said he'd have to join MCS but didn't want to__

Don't. Join.

MCS means no family life and you have to suck up to every EM and SE you come in contact with. It won't matter how the project goes, good or bad. Everywhere you look there are managers that you need to kiss the backsides of. No org can have as much management as services does.

My mistake was not to listen to those here before me. My 09 goal is to get out of it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Off the top of my head, there isn't another large software company in the Seattle area except for MSFT, GOOG, and RealNetworks.

A quick web search shows that Adobe employs "about 500 people" in Seattle, might be them.


And what about Amazon?

Anonymous said...

Off the top of my head, there isn't another large software company in the Seattle area except for MSFT, GOOG, and RealNetworks. Now if you're from Amazon, you're a retail company and yeah I have friends working there who have colorful words to say about work/pay there. If you're from Expedia and saying you guys get paid higher than in similar levels at MSFT, then I find that hard to believe.



I guess you've never heard of Adobe. Or IBM. Or SAIC. Etc.... And since you work for Microsoft I'm just going to assume you're so behind technology's evolutionary curve you don't know what these startups are doing.

All the review numbers are around 3-4% bonuses and raises. Unless your the star category, then we seem to break 10% bonus in some cases, still under 5% raises. Big numbers in stock. Oh yea, you gotta wait around 5 years for stock to vest! But that rolls up with every year as well you're saying. Except that you will not overperform 5 years in a row. Instead they will bump your level to mix in some meager 10%/kim numbers. Or you leave (the money on the table).

Typical bonus in the industry is over 20%. 30% if the company is doing well. Plus raises well over COLA. No one here at L62 should be under 6 figures. Neither should anyone be waiting an additional 6-8 years to hit L64. Microsoft is wasting your talents, your potentials, and your lives. Why burn that many years of searching for the magic team that values developers (they're around sure) and SDETs (fat chance)? Why fight for relevance and opportunities in your overstaffed teams? Especially when upper management will just trump our performance with "area averages."

Unless you have a family of 5 and really like the school system in Bellevue. Or Monroe/Duvall I should say (love that commute). That's what Microsoft is: a safe corporate place where you can raise a family. Sound to you like a young fast moving company of the technology field? Me neither.

I love a lot of our products and vision, but due to asshat executives and those who perpetuate the bs "superstar" culture, I might never buy another Microsoft product after I leave.

Anonymous said...

SDET 59 (E&D)
bonus 3%
stock $1k
base $70k

10% achieved - my feature was cut

Start of the year management made the stack ranks and assigned features based on that. Those who got top ranked got the features that returned E/20%. Should've seen the writing on the wall that I was set up to fail. Salary compression. big time

Anonymous said...

I haven't got my numbers yet...

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