Thursday, September 10, 2009

Quick Thoughts on the Microsoft 2009 Company Meeting

Some quick comments on this year's Microsoft 2009 Company Meeting.

First, how did my six hopes for the Company Meeting hold up?

  1. Steve Ballmer comes out first to set the context for the meeting in light of a pretty awful FY09 Q3 and Q4: Zilch.
  2. Practical vision: well, Craig and Ray did seem to focus on the practical aspects of product groups, research, and inbetween the technology transferring power of the labs groups. Seemed practical. But then there was that whole Avatar assistant thing that no one around me felt like was real: one-half.
  3. Demos are short, sweet, powerful... sorry, but Elop's demos sucked the life out of entire stadium. Some were good, and some were really really short. So: one-half.
  4. Show us the new stuff. Hey, we did get to see some new stuff. Bing. Zune HD. Map goodness. No Halo. New ad cuteness. But it was still conservative. Hmm. How about: three-quarters realized.
  5. New simple review system? Phffft. Not unless thwacking balls w/ your avatar is our new review system. 160 for that. Zero for this.
  6. Serious wrap-up by Ballmer. Zero.

Add that up and we get 1.75/6.00 - hey, almost one-third realized.

Now, I'm not going to go into revealing anything all that interesting that happened in the meeting. Just my general impressions of the day.

Kevin Turner was first and, well, I'm kind of tired of the "ThankYou"s by now. He did take on the job of addressing the tough year and I believe he said some things that really surprised me. Growth hides mediocrity being one of them. That we over hired. Sure we all thought it, too, but to now go and put on the 20/20 glasses and speak it in front of the company gives me hope (hmm, need a new word) that it won't happen again. Same with the realization that you shouldn't start up doing work in good-times that you know you'd drop and cut during bad times.

Dr. Qi Lu might be my favorite techie right now. I was impressed with what he's brought together for Bing and what's coming and how he has focused the team and adopted some of the new technology that Satya was showing. Who the hell thought we'd be feeling so good about our search decision engine? Ever?

Elop. Steven. Baby. Dynamics. XRM. Really? What did I do to you to have that forced down my eyeballs? I'm pouring another glass of wine right now hoping I can kill whatever brain cells are still connecting this demo memory together. Geez. Did anyone give you advice that this was a bad idea? If so, keep listening to them. If not, you're seriously lacking good reports willing to give you honest feedback.

Robbie Bach did okay, but I can't say the demos blew me away. The table-top demos were full of slick sparkly presentation but... it was all stuff I've seen one way or another so nothing new there. He missed a golden opportunity for Microsoft-Fan-Boy love to go and have someone play Halo:ODST on stage or show some great Zune HD apps.

Bob Muglia. What did he talk about? I remember the real cool tech for traces and then WinDiff. Did he talk about how we're losing the edge on client development for Windows and how it's all a confused multi-SDK technology mess centered around everything being .NET based?

Sinofsky went pretty fast - when in doubt, load up the stage with a bunch of new, cool technology and play with it. I loved the reveal on the Mac Air case ("It's aluminum!"). And I think Steven gets the best line for when the train let loose its blaring whistle he said something along, "This is where someone mentions about the trains running on time."

Craig and Ray: it was nice that they switched up their presentations - that added some energy. But not enough. It seemed a lot more practical this year, other than what I mentioned previously about the whole very well staged Starfire demo. I hadn't seen that in like... over ten years.

And then Steve Ballmer. I've got say, at this point in the day I was pretty much in a "Where's mai KoolAid" funk until Mr. Ballmer came on stage and started presenting. I feel this is a big transitional year for Microsoft. I've said we've turned the corner, but that doesn't mean we're out of the bad neighborhood yet, nor are we incapable of making bad decisions all over again. The second half of FY09, and what we are still enduring as part of the economic crisis, has provided a certain level of alarmingly crisp clarity to refocus, and I believe Ballmer's presentation served for about as much focus we're going to see in the near term.

And I like how he ended his presentation. How do we feel? He reflected on how Microsoft is not a normal company and that its employees have an unnatural emotional attachment to it (yep, that's true - it can cause them to have all sorts of crazy reactions and do crazy, passionate things). How do you feel? Steve, well, he wants you to feel good about where we are, what we're doing, and where we're going.

I must feel good, because I have hope.

(Oh, by-the-way, if you see Mr. Ballmer walking your way: hide you iPhone. Trust me on that one.)

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-- Comments

531 comments:

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Anonymous said...

Ballmer seriously needs to get off his iPhone hate. If WinMo 7 can rival the iPhone (in two years' time), and that's a very big "if", I might consider getting rid of my iPhone. Until then my iPhone is a better WinMo phone than WinMo, what with its Exchange integration for email, contacts, and calendar.

There's being pro-Microsoft, and then there's Ballmer. He needs to get off it.

Anonymous said...

A few observations.

1. It's difficult to put Ballmer's comments about the layoffs in context when he and other members of executive staff are taking tens of millions in bonuses. Sorry, I don't believe that this is appropriate or justified, given our financial performance over the past year.

2. Was I the only person who was kind of shocked by Seth Myer's riffing? SitOnMyFacebook? Making fun of old people? Don't we all have to take annual training to prevent precisely the kind of behavior exhibited onstage by Seth?

3. Stephen Elop's presentation was HORRIBLE. Dynamics is cool, but the director drilled down way, way, way, way too far. He should have picked a couple common scenarios and left it at that. But, no, he wanted to torture us. Then, Elop piled on by talking about Garage and some kind of random nonsense about collaboration. Seriously, why? What was the point? Why not demo the latest version of Office?

4. Did everyone notice the exodus of people when Ray Ozzie and Craig Mundie went onstage? It was striking. I don't believe that everyone spontaneously needed to take a bathroom break at that moment. The tag team of Ozzie and Mundie nearly put me to sleep. I wish that I had strapped my head to the back of my chair; otherwise, I might have risked whiplash or damage from a sleepy forehead strike.

5. Kevin Turner said that Microsoft was "the most innovative company in the industry". I beg to differ. Apple is without question the most innovative, they're doing all the right things (other than having a lower-priced competitor to netbooks), they have developer mindshare, they single-handedly killed our smartphone market share lead, and they've unified their entire product line with a common development platform. Meanwhile, we've got unbelievable overlap, infighting between divisions, inability to recognize failure, we reward incompetence/mediocrity, we get very low ROI on our R&D spending, etc. That's not innovation.

6. Bing, Windows Live, Natal, and Windows 7 are notable exceptions. They rock.

Anonymous said...

The iPhone incident really says a lot about Mr Ballmer. A true CEO would have wondered why his employee feels compelled to use a competitor's product. He would have asked for the employee's email and solicited his feedback on how to make our products better.
Instead, he chose to belittle the offending employee.
Mr. Ballmer doesn't want intelligent employees capable of critical thinking. What he really wants are henchmen who exhibit blind loyalty.
Somebody should tell Mr. Ballmer that he's the CEO of a major corporation, not the leader of SPECTRE.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I felt the impact of Dr. Qi Lu's presentation. It was going to be my first time seeing him speak and I felt it really should have started with an ice-breaker. Like what Elop did his first year over. Lu just jumped into it while saying something about renaming everyone -- and it was obvious nobody understood what he said. He also looked like a nervous wreck. Also, speaking of first impressions, I also didn't like the fact that he was dressed so poorly. Yes, he's a developer at heart but if you're going to wear t-shirt and jeans on stage at least wear some Bing-branded crap.

Say what you will of the XRM demo (it's going to be dry demo'ing anything out of ERP/CRM) but I thought the presenter for Zune HD was terrible. Absolutely terrible. Even that Andrew kid presenting his Garage project did better.

Also, I'm not sure why you mentioned Satya. He never presented. I think you got him and that other SVP mixed up.

I missed Liddel. I really thought it would have been an appropriate year to have him share his thoughts on our financial planning.

This was also the first time in the last five years that I recall an entire meeting without the SLT mentioning "shareholder value" or "stock price".

Anonymous said...

Bing, Natal and Windows Live demos were awesome. Sinofsky had the best theatrics of the day - LMAO.

Dynamics demo was a snooze - maybe customers love CRM but stick with the flashier stuff at the company meeting. Also tough to get excited about SQL - almost better to see one of those customer testimonial videos to talk up the product.

The futuristic scenario from Mundie was hard to get into. Would have liked to see more specific research projects talking about the state of the art in vision systems or wall displays - not a concocted scenario looping them all together.

Anonymous said...

did anyone stick around to see the scorecard ballmer showed at the end with the colored arrows?

how did internet explorer earn a sideways arrow? I think someone forgot to rotate it 90 more degrees...

does Sinofsky only focus on Windows and Windows Live? was the internet explorer team too busy optimizing for the zune hd browser?

internet explorer and windows mobile 7 should be in the same circle of scrutiny.

Anonymous said...

Having the highest R&D spending makes one thing clear: our efficiency is the worst in the industry. For sure. But again, our R&D costs are mostly headcount... so I can only assume that partner compensation comes into play as having such "great" R&D spending. Not that is produces anything at all that will ship and not be a cluster-f!

Anonymous said...

demo for Zune HD was the worst demonstration of Zune HD I have ever seen, engadget/gizmodo amateur videos do a better job than the person who did the demo.
If saturday was the first time that person got the device, why do u have such people do the demos (one who is neither passionate nor knows anything about the product) !

Anonymous said...

i think ballmer did the right thing on the iPhone incident. Any sane person already knows what makes iphone better and what wm7 needs to do better.
you need to be a little faithful to the company that provides ur salary.

U are just another customer if u are just choosing the best product in the market irrespective which company u belong. Where is additional loyalty for the company that employs you.
If every employee worked and acted this way, the company would be a much better off

Anonymous said...

- ...not the leader of SPECTRE.

rotflmao, and I don't use chatspeak. Kudos, cheers, [snort], that was funny.

Anonymous said...

Is it just me or might it perhaps be that Microsoft's failure on so many product fronts should be mainly blamed on it's leadership team.

In my eyes Microsoft currently is more like the Wal-mart of the tech world. It does everything cheap but nothing really new or that well.

As far as innovation goes has Microsoft really ever innovated anything that actually made money in the long run?

Windows based GUI? Well Parc Xerox innovated that
Word processing? Hm, I think Lotus was the main innovator here
Smart phones/ PDAs? Didn't Palm and to some extend Apple come up with this first?

I think what Microsoft has been good at in the past was to buy technology and successfully mass market it. Not much innovation there...

Anonymous said...

I know Qi Lu is popular for his plain speak and for his drive. However, I'm not sure why we think he will make much of a difference to OSD. Wasn't he in charge of Yahoo's Search and Ad technologies at Yahoo for 10 years, during which Yahoo lost its first mover advantage to a start up, Google? If he didn't do that well against Google at Yahoo, why do we think he can make a difference at Microsoft?

I am not suggesting that he is incompetent, but I think we shouldn't get too excited unless he proves himself by taking market share from Google.

It is about results, not about style, enthusiasm, and effort.

Anonymous said...

Disclaimers:
*I never thought that I would ever work for Microsoft, but I love the product that I support.
*I have been with Microsoft for over five years now and have only attended one company meeting, since they are a waste of money, inhibit productivity because of the ensuing conversations and don't inspire anyone.
*The basic principles taught in business school are not even employed by the SLT.

BALMER NEEDS TO BE FIRED NOW AND AS WELL AS THE MAJORITY OF THE SLT!!!

They do not understand the marketplaces that Microsoft is heavily investing in - mobile, music, search and LIVE Services among a few to mention.

Am I the only one that remembers Ballmer belittling the iPhone when Apple announced it in January 2007? "Customers don't want touch screen keyboards, etc." Well, 26 months and 30 million iPhones sold after Apple launched the "Jesus phone," and Ballmer wants to stomp on one in front of the entire company? The SLT has no clue to market trends and once again as always we are playing catchup.

And why are they showing demos of Bing Maps with pretty pictures, when what I really need are basic functionalities like a way to alter the path of the directions provided (Google Maps has been able to do this for a while.), especially when I know for a fact that the ClearFlow technology is full of crap?

And why is Ballmer boasting that MSFT outbid its rivals for new talent? It can be interpreted two ways - that the company got the best and brightest or that our competitors knew that talent was only worth what they offered and that MSFT is wasting money.

My two cents on what needs to be kept and jettisoned from the company.

Windows - Keep. It's a cash cow.
Office - Keep. Cash cow.
Enterprise software. - Keep. Cash cow.
GFS - JETTISON!!! Why is my division paying anywhere from 30-50% more than what it would in the open marketplace?
E&D- This is a tough one because it has been Microsoft's dumping ground for all the products that don't fit neatly into another division.
MacBU - CASH COW, even if E&D's CFO is rumored to have said that they didn't meet projections because Apple didn't sell enough computers. I distinctly remembered hearing Apple stating in their analysts con-call that they met their projections. One thing the SLT should do is move the MacBU to the Office division and launch Windows and Mac versions of Office with the same feature set on the same day.
Xbox - Keep - All the money that has been spent so far are sunk costs and as such should not be considering in the decision to continue Xbox. And that decision is simple. It's making money so why stop it now.
Zune - Jettison! Unfortunately, its management team thinks too small in that it doesn't compete on a big enough scale (ZuneHD only in America? Not even in Canada), rumored to spend too much money and really doesn't have any distinct value.
Mobile - Keep, but with major management and strategy changes. It's been 32 months since the iPhone was announced and WinMo has floundered. In the process, it's lost market share and Apple is on track to pass it if it hasn't already. (2008 Q4 - WinMo 12.4%, iPhone 10.7%)
Embedded - Keep. Cash cow or so I have heard. Even Apple was using embedded devices in its stores. Not sure if it still does though.
Surface - Jettison!!! It's an expensive toy!!
Mediaroom - Toss up. Never hear anything about it anymore. Is it even making money? European carriers are the only ones that I have heard even using it.
Microsoft Auto - Toss up. Never seen the numbers. But one thing is for sure I'm not buying a Ford because of it being included, especially when it doesn't even deliver on what it's supposed to do.

DebugNinja said...

The new Bing features blew me away, really really cool stuff.

Elop's presentation on Dynamics CRM was _painfully_ horrific. Long. Boring. So Boring. Did I mention it was boring? Why the hell should I care ??

So was Muglia+Mundie's. Pipedreams.

The new Ad starring Kylie is supercute/funny while maintaining a "Bing it on!" attitude. I like it!

Some good quotes:
- "Dynamics CRM is dead-sexy". To what I respond, "well, you have half of that right" :)
- "(tells long story). True story! I'll tell you later". Um...then what did I just listen to for 10 minutes?
- "Microtalk [an internal twitter clone] is not ready but we're showing it here anyway". And I care because...? Come back next year. Or don't.

Anonymous said...

Ballmer's jumping around like a schizophrenic gorilla is embarrassing. Seriously, there is motivating the crowd and there is acting like an LSD induced primate.

As for the people who hive-five him, well they're just perpetuating the problem. Please, just stop.

This is the man who just fired 5000 employees and tried to spend all the cash reserves on buying Yahoo. Does he really deserve such adulation? I dont think so.

Anonymous said...

"What he really wants are henchmen who exhibit blind loyalty."

Nah. I gobbled the company's dog food for a decade -- lusted after several Apple products but always bought our crap -- and it didn't save me when the January scythe slashed through the division that had employed me.

I learned the lesson, and I commend the still-employeds who spend their money on the better product.

Anonymous said...

Somebody should tell Mr. Ballmer that he's the CEO of a major corporation, not the leader of SPECTRE.

No... I'm pretty sure he's the leader of SMERSH. You saw what happened to that spy with the iPhone, right?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 10:31PM asked if anyone was surprised by "SitonMyFacebook" and the making fun of old people. I was. It was exactly like the kind of thing they tell us not to do in the yearly diversity training. Why would anyone take the training seriously when the very things they tell us not to do happen on stage at the company meeting?

Anonymous said...

I've mailed Ballmer about my WinMo device and how much it sucks (including ideas on how to fix it). He fwd'ed it on to the CVP in the area who wrote me a personal note and replied to each of my points. In most cases, they have a plan to fix them (I don't believe that they will get them all fixed, but that is a different discussion)

I think Ballmer gets that the devices have to compete. I think that the company meeting is about ra-ra Microsoft and he will focus on that in that forum.

Anonymous said...

I'm in Dynamics and think we have some great products, but I couldn't have been more bored or embarassed by "our" demo.

It's no wonder the rest of the company doesn't "get" us if the likes of XRM are the best we can come up with for our few minutes of stagetime.

Our story shouldn't be told with XRM or X++ or whatnot. Our products aren't "sexy." What our products have helped customers achieve, though, some of that is downright erotic (in an ERP sense, of course.)

Next year, we should have a basic "What the heck is Dynamics?" presentation ready to go for the rest of the company. I still have the feeling we haven't been properly introduced.

Anonymous said...

For the first time, I stayed home and watched the archived video of the Co. Meeting last evening. I admit to feeling a twinge of regret when I saw everyone standing and cheering. I really do like being a part of this company. However, I found myself fast forwarding through things like annoying KT, blah, blah, blah, Bob Muglia (what does he talk about anyway?)and YAWN, Stephen Elop's demos. I loved seeing Bing 2.0, Zune HD (but show me more - the demo wasn't that great) and Natal was cool - although I could have done without the Robbie Bach and Lisa Brummel 'competition.' I think Win 7 rocks and, like you, Mini, hold out hope that it really will help us turn the corner.

WinMo - sorry, not impressed yet. You can show me improvements all day long, but what about making sure the damn thing works?
Ballmer - I admit it, I like the Kool-aid he serves. However, his rabid loyalty to WinMo, demonstrated when he picked out the iPhone and acted as if he wanted to crush it - sets a bad precedent for the people working on WinMo. I agree with the commentator who says a really thoughtful CEO would want to know WHY employees are buying competitors' products - and get to the heart of the problem. For chris'sakes - it's not just the 'cool' factor - it's that they work. Unfortunately, Ballmer just gave all WinMo devs license to ingore learning anything about iPhone by giving them permission to exhibit blind loyalty.

Anyway, go MS, rah, rah. Back to work.

Anonymous said...

You guys still don't get it. SLT knows they can't fix the problems.

Microsoft Exec's $1.7 Million Sale

Jonathan Moreland, director of research at InsiderInsights.com says Mundie's sale is significant. It's no secret, he says, that a mature and slow-growing Microsoft has not been the greatest investment over the past few years.

Still, Moreland notes, it's not common to see insiders below the top rung selling at Microsoft.

"This was a large percentage of his holdings," Moreland says. "The stock has traded well since March. I would argue that its growth years are over, and I wouldn't be surprised to see other shareholders selling soon."

Anonymous said...

I have been a faithful WinMo user so far and am planning to jump ship to Android. WinMo is JUNK - the phones have no resale value after 2 years (unlike iphone 3G which still sells for a good amount on ebay), the software is laggy and playing catchup to iPhone, battery life is miserable (if you are on itwmbeta, look at the endless threads complaining about the battery life on COM3), and so on. If we are truly a software company, we should have innovated on the software faster than apple, but that did not happen, and we are now playing catchup with a eternal time frame betweem WM6 & 7.

Ballmer needs to understand that people are chosing our compeitetors because our product is truly lacking. It is one thing to believe, and another to be blind.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mini! I did not go to the company meeting since I had other pressing business, but from what I'm (not) hearing, Chris Liddell did not speak? That's concerning, given I recall listening to the CFO speak at many of these meetings before. John Connors was always a highlight, but Chris is a good speaker too.

I note that it appears the Liddell's may be selling their homes in the area which were purchased just a few months after he came on board (for net less than original costs). They have been on and off the market a while. wonder what this all means and why? any thoughts, Mini?

Anonymous said...

The iPhone incident certifies that Ballmer is mentally deranged. It's all good when you cut one of those 'I'm a PC' ads using a Mac but not cool when you use a iPhone camera app.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised at how much the SLT emphasized on Microsoft being the most innovative company. Ofcourse we are innovative - I don't think many people within the company would dis-agree with that. However, our problem is not the lack of innovation. Rather, our problem is the lack of AGILITY. If you look at the market place right now, we have compeitetion who can churn our products much faster than us. As another posted noted the "eternal" (nice choice of word) time between WM6 and WM7 - look what others have done in the mean time! Palm came up with a completely new OS, Google came up with a compelling phone product (Android), RIM has re-defined itself while holding good grounds in corporate world, Nokia has come up with capacitive screen products. Where are we? In technological terms, we have made no progress at all. We just put lipstick on the dirty WM6.1 pig, made some good-looking screens and thumb-friendly gestures, and called the thing WM6.5 - Spb has done it already! And we spent like 2 years on that?

We need to be more AGILE- not more innovative. I sincerely hope that the SLT puts a greater emphasis on agility rather than trumpeting the innovation horn over and over again.

Anonymous said...

Did Satya speak? Or are you cofusing it with Yusuf Mehdi?

Anonymous said...

To the person asking the employees to be more faithful to the company, and agreeing with Ballmer, you dont know what you are talking about.

It is one thing to say that as a member of the company, I should support a product that is in beta, and needs dogfooding to iron the bugs out. It is quite another to say that employees should continue using a product that is inferior to the competition, even after so many years of investment. Loyalty can only go so far, and at some point you really have to decide what is the best product for your money.

if the SLT wants us to use more WinMo, then go ahead and give each employee the latest and greatest for dogfooding. And I will be happy to use it. But I wont spend money to buy an inferior product.

Anonymous said...

I respectfully disagree with the iphone lovers I work with. I wish Mr. Ballmer would have set the iphone on the stage and crushed the living crap out of it and made the point that is what we are going to do to our COMPETITION. I'm sure Apple would have been happy to send him a new one.

What ever happened to company loyalty? Would you expect CEO of Pepsi say nothing to guy holding a can of Coke in the front row of their company meeting? C'mon folks, think about the message it sends to our competition, fellow employees, and those friends/potential customers seeing a Microsoft employee using this device.

It's a slap in the face to Mr. Ballmer, to WiMo Team, to every Microsoft employee that believe's we can win in this space.

Anonymous said...

- I am disappointed that I didn't get to hear Lisa Brummel talk. I really wanted to hear her honest take on topics related to moral and company wellfare. She was one exec that I still believes 90% in.

- I think Ballmer did a pretty good job in his talk to make me feel "good" - but I am a little confused as to why he took so long talking about "how we beat everyone at hiring people". I just cannot relate to how that has to do with good products. You can have more smart people in one place than Google or Apple but if your smart people don't work together, that's just still mean the other company have better products in certain areas (not to mention their employee will get a bigger share of the pie). I just don't know why he has to mention it so hard so long.

- Bing demo and Dr. Qi Lu is impressive. It's one of the demo that get my first impression of "wow, google really don't have this yet!". It's that kind of demo and talk that we need to make us believe we are not just chasing others behind. We need more of those!

- Natal would have been cool demo if we have not seen it so much yet. But what about other apps for Natal? I was disappointed not seeing more.

- The Windows latop demo is a nice eye candy, but it didn't make me (a tech junkie) wanted to get one even if I have money. But the little girl ad was cute and effective (I think).

- The dynamics demo is one that might have potential but really done wrong... way too deep for common employee to relate to. It was simply painful to watch it and then realize the whole auidence on the other side is just chatting among themselves.

In general I feel the overall effect of the meeting was positive, and realistic, which I like for a change.

Anonymous said...

I am laughing at the kool aid comments on the i-phone act by Steve B.
You are assuming:
a) Steve b has great eyesight and can spot an i-phone at 100 feet
b) Steve B, a consumate ham and actor, would go on stage without props to make his point.

Come on people, ease off on the Kool Aid a little the i-phone thing was an act.

squarebing said...

Just a comment, WinMo is a dog, everyone knows. But I think we focus too much on Iphone as a phone.

It is clear to me that Apple to moving from music and phone business to mobile gaming now. And they already have a great device for that.

The thought of "apple live", as in xbox live, should make some people worried.

The way I see it, MSFT still holds the title for the core of "consumer computing", and Apple's strategy to compete in the surround space of the core is obvious.

By the time WinMo is on par with Iphone, I am sure iphone will be a mature business and apple will already start another fight.

Anonymous said...

I believe what Ballmer wanted to show was not his hatred for Iphone but rather MS employees not showing support for something their company trying to compete and become successful in. I guess Steve can at the least expect some dedication and commitment from MS employee on the products which MS emp is building and need great support...I feel MS is big one family form outside so everyone is part of all MS products...!

Anonymous said...

Was I the only person who was kind of shocked by Seth Myer's riffing? SitOnMyFacebook? Making fun of old people? Don't we all have to take annual training to prevent precisely the kind of behavior exhibited onstage by Seth?

==============================
I found the references to porn and SitOnMyFacebook particularly inappropriate...something employees would get in trouble for. Outside the US, those references can be totally embarrassing and culturally inappropriate.

I'm sure there will be some feedback to our SLT about that.

SSC said...

hi, i wanted to check with people here for their advise. I really loved the demo of laptop that fitted inside the case for MacBook Air. I think it was super cool and want to spread some buzz about it.
It is ok if i write about it on my blog or twitter? my identity on the blog and twitter can be very easily associated with the fact that i am a MSFT employee

Anonymous said...

"It is about results, not about style, enthusiasm, and effort."

Agree. It is more about the end game than it is about Qi Lu's style (who cares what we wears) or enthusiasm (seems more of an introvert than an extrovert so public speaking is probably hard for him).

Share is up, albeit not much, but let's see if we continue to gain ground. Don’t know what inner politics he faced at Yahoo, but it seems like he'd get free reign to do whatever he wants at MS given our bottom of the barrel position.

Why it may be 'soft' to say, but with Lu at the helm, I actually have more hope than I've had in years that we can stop bleeding red in Online and do something cool that makes $$ with our 'decision engine'. Whodathought.

Anonymous said...

RE: "This is the man who just fired 5000 employees and tried to spend all the cash reserves on buying Yahoo. Does he really deserve such adulation? I dont think so."

There was no upfront payment associated the Yahoo deal.

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9136050/CEOs_Details_slowed_deal_on_Yahoo_Microsoft_search_tie_up

Anonymous said...

Today Microsoft died as a consumer company. You heard Balmer say that the big opportunity is in enterprise and SQL will lead the way.

Microsoft will remain bloated and profitable in the short-term. But Microsoft is the new IBM and has been for a while.

Two years to see the iPhone build a nearly insurmountable lead with their app store and overall ecosystem. Launching a new phone with WinMo 7 will not put a dent in Apple's cash cow. Ever tried to find and download a WinMo app? You wouldn't wish that on your worst enemy.

Balmer needs to step down. This is the same guy who won't allow his children to own an iPod and mocks an employee carrying an iPhone. The Zune and WinMo are not competitive products in the eyes of consumers.

As a long-time Windows user, I'm thrilled with Windows 7. But I'm sad to see the company pump out one crappy consumer product after another. Maybe it's time to pull the plug on consumers and concede those markets to Google, Apple and the like.

Anonymous said...

@DynamicsAnon,

Time to do a roleguide mandatory training on how to sell Dynamics for SMSG!

Anonymous said...

@Anon at September 11, 2009 1:38:00 AM,

+1
and add to that list BGIT + SD or whatever they are called now.

Anonymous said...

Do people really sit through the entire meeting? I was working.

Anonymous said...

Hope? Yes. Belief? Not so much.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Qi Lu is your favorite now? I have been in Search longer than he has. He just came to Search this January.

I think sometimes it is so interesting how perception has played into reality.

While Qi is tenure at Search is so short, it is kind funny how people are crediting him with a lot of things which he didn't really do

Anonymous said...

"Why would anyone take the training seriously when the very things they tell us not to do happen on stage at the company meeting?"

Seems to be a trend these days across the board. I'd just like to see a little integrity. Lets put the porn references aside. Obviously, that was completely inconsistent with who we are as a company and as a group of people who are committed to changing the world for the better. Isn't that what we are? Am I wrong?

Either way, integrity is NOT achieved by trashing the iPhone in front of the company. I remember way back when, I admired Microsoft because our leaders didn't focus on putting down our competitors (our competitors did that very well by themselves, thank you). We didn't play that game back then. We just focused on our strengths. We went out into the playing field with the intention and confidence to beat them. We were called arrogant. Great! Microsoft had a mission and it had confidence in that mission. My how times change and it all started with the DOJ. After that MS became a political, twitching, gelatinous version of its former self. Even when we do pull some great stuff out of our hats, we still look in the mirror and see jello. We look back into the past, we sigh, and return to our usual quivering. In my division, no one wants innovation. They say they do, but only so that they can put a tick on their review: "I Innovated". Bull. Whenever innovation, real innovation, tries to crawl out of the dark attic, it gets attacked by those who are guarding the imperial posts. We are afraid of innovation. We love it, we worship it, we talk about it, we idolize it. Unfortunately, if memory serves me right, talking about something overmuch betrays the fact that it is slipping far far away.

Anonymous said...

Word processing? Hm, I think Lotus was the main innovator here

Help me out here. That was Lotus WordStar? Lotus Easywriter? Lotus Word Perfectg? Or even Lotus PC Write? Errm, no.

Lotus did spreadsheet programs and an awkward groupware system called Notes.

Anonymous said...

We really need to pull our heads out of our fanboi loving butts.

We seem to run around with the age old "wait & see then dominate" 20yr old playbook. The reality is our competitors not only know this, but typically have staff who helped shape such playbooks in their payrolls (the old days of belonging to just one software company are over, we're all spread out now).

I went to the windows 8 planning meetings and saw the Apple Compete presentation and i'm sure our overlords, the leadership (which is a swear word at times - leadership) team surely have as well.

Apple are building a powerful consumer device and orbiting everything they have around it, so assuming we pull our fingers out and get to market with WinMo7 or Project PINK, the likelihood of dominating Apple iPhone is unrealistic. That horse has bolted and its going to take some aggressive ground cover to make up for lost time.

The overall consistent theme i've noticed in the company meeting was lack of user-centric design. We seem to still caught up in this engineer culture and less focus on creating user experience driven solutions.

The reason our overlords demos all pretty much sucked as they lacked focus and don't excite the imagination.

Damn i am over the whole top-down approach from Microsoft, its getting us nowhere fast and laying off people is a great incentive for staff to consider risk taking when its needed the most.

HR are a complete waste of space, and typically are reactive and never really proactive.

Anonymous said...

Seth Myers was hilarious. I'm sorry if you were offended by SitOnMyFacebook.com and the jokes about old people - you mustn't get out in the real world much, and obviously are easily offended. He's a comedian, not an employee - he doesn't need to follow the Standards of Business Conduct. Lighten up.

Anonymous said...

you need to be a little faithful to the company that provides ur salary
In a previous thread in either the 1st or 2nd round of layoffs someone did just that, faithful to the company. Did not get their kids Apple stuff, etc.

If msft wants my faithfullness, they need to hold up their end of the faithful bargain of not laying off hard working and "company" people.

Anonymous said...

During Sinofsky and Mike's presentation, what was the significance of the 5GHz super overclocked AMD phenom machine with DX11 GPU's and liquid nitrogen cooling? On the webcast the rendering demo looked like crap. What exactly were they trying to show there?

The "LOGO goes here" branded Nokia netbook looked HOT. (Note I assume it was Nokia due to the ringtone as they made a point about not disclosing the vendor :) If they could just make one of those with full-bandwidth twin digital monitor outputs like DP+HDMI that would be fantastic. Replace my desktop PC with a slick netbook with 1/10th the power consumption and 2 second resume times!

Why does the ZuneHD interface look so different than Windows Mobile 7? Why is ZuneHD NOT a phone? What is preventing merging these two? Just like MCE is a part of Windows, why isn't ZuneHD GUI simply a part of Windows Mobile 7?

Boo no Halo demo :(

Anonymous said...

Why does the ZuneHD interface look so different than Windows Mobile 7? Why is ZuneHD NOT a phone? What is preventing merging these two? Just like MCE is a part of Windows, why isn't ZuneHD GUI simply a part of Windows Mobile 7?

In software (more than in any other industry) you can see direct correlations between the organizational structure of the company and of the product. Of course this is true elsewhere (a car company has an "engine division" and a "design department") but it's true in software more than anywhere else because of the pure abstractions involved.

Microsoft's deep structural and organizational problems relate directly to the products. The Zune product and the WinMo products don't correlate together because those two parts of Microsoft are inadequately connected and don't communicate or synchronize their goals properly.

By contrast, a company like Apple has efficient communication and workflow channels established and regulated between its various departments and divisions. They have to, because that's the only way they could do what they're doing. Their phone OS and their game OS and their desktop OS are all the same. Their advertising and their website match (with the same consistent visuals and text). Their physical stores work with their online commerce; the R&D budget spent on one product soon migrates over to subsequent projects (in the form of shared features and engineering). All the Apple software looks and works the same.

You can't reproduce that level of synchronicity and efficiency -- where problems are solved once and the solutions distributed -- unless the parts of the company that correspond to the abstract components of the product line can work together. You can't build efficient software or hardware systems without an efficient corporate structure that mirrors it. For these reasons, there's just no way that Microsoft can compete with Apple in the same consumer space; it's intrinsically impossible. I don't know how this can be more clear.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with people who say that we should be loyal to the company. Sure we should be honest about how things we make suck, when they do, like say ie, BUT have you looked at what you contributed to the company TODAY (or anyother day for that matter)? You and I are microsoft, so if it sucks, it sucks because of us...own this, internalize it, stop wallowing in self pity that Apple is so much better at doing stuff, if it really is AND you are REALLY that good - go f'ing join Apple - you have a f'all attitude. If you really feel that you're better than this (i.e. working here) leave this company, we're better off without you - if you really had the BALLS you'd leave, but the truth is you SUCK - every single person over here who complains about Microsoft AND works for the company, should take a long hard look at themselves, look at the salaries you are earning, and be happy you have a job, but don't just sit back and mope around and complain, get up and DO SOMETHING!!

Anonymous said...

the iphone joke was about as classic as the winmo marketing person who came on the iphone discussion alias calling all of us there traitors and disloyal.

They did not even listen or ask why we wanted the phone over winmo.

After 1 week of harrassment, they changed their viral campaign. What is funny, is they should really talk to non-MS employees who will grow the attach rate.

I was surprised they did not talk about system center online junk.

Anonymous said...

"hi, i wanted to check with people here for their advise. I really loved the demo of laptop that fitted inside the case for MacBook Air. I think it was super cool and want to spread some buzz about it.
It is ok if i write about it on my blog or twitter? my identity on the blog and twitter can be very easily associated with the fact that i am a MSFT employee..."


There are blogging guidelines on LCAWeb. Check 'em out.

Anonymous said...

" Anonymous said...
I respectfully disagree with the iphone lovers I work with. I wish Mr. Ballmer would have set the iphone on the stage and crushed the living crap out of it and made the point that is what we are going to do to our COMPETITION. I'm sure Apple would have been happy to send him a new one."

You know you're not supposed to use words like "crush" about the competition, even internally? Even if you don't, Ballmer sure does.

"What ever happened to company loyalty?"

That's a ridiculous concept, and a really stupid one. Artificially limiting yourself. I should hope that the WinMo team has lots of the suckers. I'm honestly kind of disturbed that somebody could ever have loyalty to an abstraction like a company. Loyalty is for individuals. Loyalty to any abstraction, be it a company or an ideal, is shorthand for turning off your brain instead of thinking for yourself whether you believe in it.

"Would you expect CEO of Pepsi say nothing to guy holding a can of Coke in the front row of their company meeting?"

A can of soda costs a lot less than a phone, and the difference between Pepsi and Coke is negligible.

Do you think every car in the parking lot of a Ferrari Assembly plant is a Ferrari?

"C'mon folks, think about the message it sends to our competition, fellow employees, and those friends/potential customers seeing a Microsoft employee using this device."

This part is perhaps fair, although see also: Ferrari plant. Anyway, I think it humanizes us that we're not all robotic drones with severe Not Invented Here complexes.

"It's a slap in the face to Mr. Ballmer, to WiMo Team, to every Microsoft employee that believe's we can win in this space."

No, slapping them in the face would be a slap to the face. This is a gentle prod to improve ourselves further. Only the Windows Mobile team could reasonably justify feeling offended, but then, if they believe they have indisputably the best product, they need to be sharply awakened. Otherwise they'll stagnate down failing paths, taking our profitability with them, whilst we fill our ears with cookie dough and yell "NAH NAH NAH CAN'T HEAR YOU" in the name of "company loyalty".

Anonymous said...

I bing, you bing??

Let me tell you this guys,, yea Dr. Qi Lu might appear to be the chef, but without the secret ingridient bing would have been nothing...

What is the secret ingridient: a bunch of good brains from FAST ;)

Anonymous said...

The "LOGO goes here" branded Nokia netbook looked HOT. (Note I assume it was Nokia due to the ringtone as they made a point about not disclosing the vendor :) If they could just make one of those with full-bandwidth twin digital monitor outputs like DP+HDMI that would be fantastic. Replace my desktop PC with a slick netbook with 1/10th the power consumption and 2 second resume times!

I think you'll have to wait for the Maemo version for that :)

Anonymous said...

What ever happened to company loyalty? Would you expect CEO of Pepsi say nothing to guy holding a can of Coke in the front row of their company meeting? C'mon folks, think about the message it sends to our competition, fellow employees, and those friends/potential customers seeing a Microsoft employee using this device.

Really? Just because I work at Microsoft, I have to use ALL Microsoft products? If I worked at GE on, say, jet engines, am I obligated to only watch NBC shows, or buy GE appliances for my home?

People really need to get over the iphone. If you are so upset about it, march right over to the mobile group and join and force them to become CONSUMER focused and not ENTERPRISE focused, and perhaps you will end up with a product people want.

It has nothing to do with loyalty -- I don't have to use every single product Microsoft produces. Your anger should be more inward focused -- when is this company going to pull its collective head out of its ass and focus on design and end user value?

Anonymous said...

RE: "I respectfully disagree with the iphone lovers I work with. I wish Mr. Ballmer would have set the iphone on the stage and crushed the living crap out of it and made the point that is what we are going to do to our COMPETITION. I'm sure Apple would have been happy to send him a new one..
What ever happened to company loyalty? Would you expect CEO of Pepsi say nothing to guy holding a can of Coke in the front row of their company meeting? C'mon folks, think about the message it sends to our competition, fellow employees, and those friends/potential customers seeing a Microsoft employee using this device.

It's a slap in the face to Mr. Ballmer, to WiMo Team, to every Microsoft employee that believe's we can win in this space"

I would agree with you if we have a WM product that kick ass but till then (and forget about WinMo 7) Ballmer should shut up and focus in getting the stock price up, as a CEO he sucks big time and he deserves a kick in his ass and slap in the face instead of pathetic high fives (nothing new here). That is what matters as employee and shareholder. In the good old days loyalty was not an issue as far as we built great innovative products we were proud of and the stock split every 6 months or so (who are we kidding here). For all those who missed the good old days and hope they may come back forget about it, if you are not happy leave instead of crying like a babies. Before the iPhone came out most of us proudly carried WinMo devices as it was the best in class (well BB was out there already) but now is too late, we had the opportunity and the company never invested in mobile till was too late. I know because I was there for many years. Ballmer only bets on short term returns WinMo was not a profitable business and we had incompetent narcissistic idiots like Pieter Knook thinking more on posting his ugly face pictures all over MEDPG sites and buildings (YUK!!!). No matter who leads the division now, it is too much too big of a beast, too late and the politics involved make us slower that a snail. Watch out Robbie/Andy/Terry, Steven is now President of Windows and he will claim what is rightfully his

Anonymous said...

set the iphone on the stage and crushed the living crap out of it and made the point that is what we are going to do to our COMPETITION.

Talk is cheap. *Show me.*

My expensive, top-of-the-line WinMo phone is flakey and a continual disappointment. Every time I ask someone how they like their iPhone they say exactly same thing--"I *LOVE* it!"--and then proceed to give me a demo of why.
Steve: Enough with the cheap histrionics and competitor bashing; you win in the marketplace with better products. You can bully your employees out of their iPhones, but that won't improve market share. Same goes for Google bashing. Acknowledge a worthy competitor, then kick his ass with better products. THAT is how you compete and win.

Anonymous said...

Qi Lu is good... but he has been here for a few months. Associating him with Bing is unfair to the guy. If you want to credit or blame an exec for Bing.... you may want to direct it at Satya.

I think Satya along with Brian & Harry have done a remarkable job of getting us real credibility in this space!

Anonymous said...

First Time, I did not go to Company meeting in my last 10 yrs stay at Microsoft. I was already frusted the our way our company is leading but Steveb made me more frustated. I really miss BILLG and I am hoping that he was seeing this along with rest of board members.

BTW - Win7 team.. Heads up to you guys. You are really awesome and this product is really really cool.

WinMo - really peace of sh*t.

Zune - I like the product but people don't know about its feature and it is still not a cool product to own.

Bing - Decent job but I agree on why did we hire Dr. Qi who made yahoo what it is today. He does not seem to have a good track record. Also why are we going Bing credit to him. Most work was done by the time he came onboard. That is bad for people's moral.

SQL: We should continue to compete in this market.

I am really sick with Steveb and his leadership team.

Anonymous said...

The demos were so dialed down that they were a waste of time. "Hi, I just got my ZuneHD Saturday and now I'm going to demo what little I know to the whole darn tootin' company!"

Most of this has been in progress since forever. I have zero idea what new features Windows Live creates with all their resources. And I discovered last night that Live leadership has destroyed Windows Live Writer into little nothing bits and chased the team out of Microsoft. Good job, ChrisJo. What next?

Anonymous said...

"But Microsoft is the new IBM and has been for a while."

At best MS is the old pre-Gerstner IBM. The new IBM successfully reinvented itself, has a 30% greater ten year stock return, and achieved stronger financial results throughout this recession (on a relative basis).

Anonymous said...

As someone who spent more than 15 years working at Microsoft (I left a couple of years ago), I thought I’d add some perspective on innovation.

I have to disagree that Microsoft is not an inventive company at its heart. It most definitely is. That’s what senior management strives for every day and what the 90,000 rank and file employees think about constantly. And the focus is not just on technology innovation (which I agree MS does tpoorly and slowly) but also on process innovation, organizational innovation, business model innovation, and marketing innovation.

The problem is that MSFT has become too big to capitalize on that innovation at the pace required (and expected) in the technology industry. There are amazing pockets of innovation all around Redmond. Some, like Xbox, are well known and have become somewhat successful, but most of the others are buried in a bureaucracy that stifles them.

Microsoft has 2 viable options:

1)Continue on the path history has given it. Ride the profit waves generated by Windows, Office/Business Apps and Servers & Tools while investing in new areas, with the goal to become the leader in the “next big thing” in order to generate the kind of revenue and profit growth that the Street requires.
2)Split into 3 or 4 organizations – mini Microsoft’s if you will – that each focuses on a core market and doesn’t waste enormous amounts of time, money and executive attention worrying about how best to make the hugely disparate pieces work together.

The problem with option #1 is that the Windows, Office and Server businesses are great today but they’re changing fast, and not in Microsoft’s favor. Can Microsoft make the switch in its core businesses from PC- and server-based applications to the world of Software as a Service computing? Given enough time, they could likely pull it off, but it’s a gamble of enormous proportions. The main question is whether they can do it in time, before those cash cows are displaced by smaller, nimbler competitors. So far Microsoft doesn’t have a great track record here. Another problem with this option is that Microsoft has failed to turn any of their “emerging” (e.g. non-traditional) businesses into anything remotely as successful as their core businesses. So even if they do succeed along this path and in time, will it be enough?

For option #2, separate companies focused on (1) device operating systems, (2) business applications, (3) online services/search and (4) consumer/entertainment certainly look logical on paper. The problem here is that, while any exec would be happy to take over the first two mini Microsoft’s, few would want the money-hemorrhaging online business or barely-profitable consumer/entertainment businesses without the deep pockets of the mother ship to help smooth out profits.

That said, over time – and, more importantly, without the organizational and bureaucratic “tax” these businesses have today as part of Mother Microsoft -- the emerging Mini Microsoft (pun intended)businesses would likely thrive. If not, they would wither and die, which is the healthy and normal lifecycle for an unsuccessful business but is something that doesn’t happen today inside Microsoft, at great cost to the company and shareholders. In the end, we’d have 4 smaller, more innovative, faster moving, more exciting companies whose combined market share 5 years from now would surely be much higher than the best case scenario we’re looking at for MSFT as we know it today. Think AT&T of old vs. the value of the Baby Bells today.

My vote is for option #2.

Anonymous said...

What ever happened to company loyalty? Would you expect CEO of Pepsi say nothing to guy holding a can of Coke in the front row of their company meeting? C'mon folks, think about the message it sends to our competition, fellow employees, and those friends/potential customers seeing a Microsoft employee using this device.

When Steve Jobs re-took control of Apple (i.e. was made "acting" CEO) in 1997, he did a New York Times interview. The reporter described Jobs in his new office, giving orders while working furiously on (IIRC) a Dell laptop.

Point being, Apple's computers were not up to snuff, and Jobs knew it. Rather than concealing what he knew, he was blatantly using a non-Apple computer in front of a reporter to show that he understood. The message was clear: "I need to get my work done, and our current product line is insufficient to the task." Jobs seemed to be implying that he would use his own products only when he was satisfied that they met his own personal needs and not a moment before.

How's that for sending a "message"?

Anonymous said...

"What ever happened to company loyalty?"

That's a ridiculous concept, and a really stupid one. Artificially limiting yourself. I should hope that the WinMo team has lots of the suckers. I'm honestly kind of disturbed that somebody could ever have loyalty to an abstraction like a company. Loyalty is for individuals.


Couldn't agree more. Like a CEO once said - "Love your job and not your company. You never know when your company's going to stop loving you."
In this case loyalty has to be mutual, not one way.

Anonymous said...

"Split into 3 or 4 organizations – mini Microsoft’s if you will – that each focuses on a core market and doesn’t waste enormous amounts of time, money and executive attention worrying about how best to make the hugely disparate pieces work together."

Amen. +1

Anonymous said...

"There was no upfront payment associated the Yahoo deal.

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9136050/CEOs_Details_slowed_deal_on_Yahoo_Microsoft_search_tie_up"

I was referring to the fact that he initially tried to spend all the cash reserves ($45b) on buying Yahoo outright, thankfully Yahoo! said no.

Ballmer doesnt seem to have a plan. What Fortune 500 CEO gets away with what he has gotten away with for so long and keeps their job? Not a single one, they would be fired within 2 years. I really have faith in a CEO who doesnt care about the stock price....all those high-fives make me want to shout "Look at all the sheep!!"

Anonymous said...

There is one thing about MS which we don't see or choose to ignore. By and large, people don't like MS, they think it is something forced down their throat and at many instances in the past, MS has acted as a bully. Compare this with Google. A company which gave world a free service for which there was a huge pent-up demand. I will never stop using Google till MS really comes up with a better product. Talking of better product reminds me of SLT. SteveB is now doing it to his employees what he tried to do with the world: forcing it down their throat. One last thing, MS never was and is not a innovative company. It can never become one. The only little brain it had was in the form of BillG. SteveB is a salesperson with a big ego and no understanding. He will be instrumental in bringing this company down.
PS November is my last month at MS, so long :)

Anonymous said...

You and I are microsoft, so if it sucks, it sucks because of us...own this, internalize it, stop wallowing in self pity that Apple is so much better at doing stuff, if it really is AND you are REALLY that good - go f'ing join Apple - you have a f'all attitude. If you really feel that you're better than this (i.e. working here) leave this company, we're better off without you - if you really had the BALLS you'd leave, but the truth is you SUCK - every single person over here who complains about Microsoft AND works for the company, should take a long hard look at themselves, look at the salaries you are earning, and be happy you have a job, but don't just sit back and mope around and complain, get up and DO SOMETHING!!


Your cute little rant assumes that all those complainers aren't ALREADY busting their chops. I know I spent 4 years working on a v1 feature for one of MS' flagship products. It shipped with great quality and customers loved it. It is the best work I've done in my entire career. And yet I kept seeing the people whose shoddy work I was constantly fixing get the gold star bonuses and the promos. I realized that since those were the people put in key positions I was swimming against the tide. I quit. I had no problem whatsoever finding another job and went on to achieve great review scores based on the technical merits of my work.

As long as Microsoft is run like a dysfunctional high school where popularity is valued above tangible results there is no hope. You can work as hard as you want, it won't do any good to you personally or to the company.

I don't believe Microsoft is beyong saving but it won't happen with the current SLT. My prediction is that you are at the beginning of a long painful slide. More disappointing financial results are to come... and more layoffs too. Capable people wil leave. Inept managers will fire the rest. MS will lose whatever ability to deliver it still has. At some point you'll hit bottom. What happens then will determine the future of Microsoft. If Balmmer and his cronies are left to their own devices they will pul out the shoveks and start digging.

Anonymous said...

"I don't believe Microsoft is beyong saving but it won't happen with the current SLT. My prediction is that you are at the beginning of a long painful slide."

LOL -- could you be any later to this party?

Microsoft was at the beginning of a long, painful slide in 2000. We are now nearly a decade-in.

At this point we're all waiting to see if a phoenix rises from the ashes in the form of the next big thing.

Anonymous said...

"Split into 3 or 4 organizations – mini Microsoft’s if you will – that each focuses on a core market and doesn’t waste enormous amounts of time, money and executive attention worrying about how best to make the hugely disparate pieces work together."

My god, if one more person suggests this I think I'm going to stab someone in the eye. Yes, for fucksake, everyone and their mother has been suggesting this FOREVER. It's never going to happen, so please just stop.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to the many people to whom the company meeting was disappointing. I was not there as I left a few months ago and based on the comments here, ho-hum.

Anyway, to those of you dissing Elop's presentation on CRM as boring, unexciting and not sexy ... I beg to differ. I use CRM 4.0 daily, and the more I use it, the more I like it - intuitive interface, useful features, not perfect but a great product. Amazingly enough, MS has done zero to sell it. Not sure why. It beats the shit out of salesforce.com at half the price. See, people, CRM is the kind of thing that BUSINESS people use, and it deserves more mind-share from MS execs.

Oops, forgot, the partners are too busy to worry about the real-world application of Microsoft products.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe Microsoft is beyong saving but it won't happen with the current SLT.



Completely agree...but who in the industry do you think would be a good candidate to assume the helm?

We've already had a few short lists of internal candidates listed here...but I think we need someone from outside the company. Even the best of the internal possibilities are too entrenched in the current way of doing things, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Steve Berkowitz should be given due credits for initiating the projects on visual search and streetscape.

Anonymous said...

Good job, ChrisJo. What next?

Is there anything that guy has touched that has been successful or well executed?

Anonymous said...

"What ever happened to company loyalty?"

Company loyalty lasts as far as when you show up in the morning and when you leave at night. If you still have a job at the end of the day the company was loyal.

I don't remember signing or reading something that said the company would employee me forever?

And I'm sure the Layoff v1 and Layoff v2 people can substantiate the loyalty of Microsoft Corporation.

Anonymous said...

It's a slap in the face to Mr. Ballmer, to WiMo Team, to every Microsoft employee that believe's we can win in this space. .
.
So be it. We live in a free market, capitalist society. If you're not making products people want to buy, you need a wake-up call. Just because you go to the office for 50+ hours/week doesn't mean people will buy your product--or that you deserve your job. Nobody at Microsoft should be buying WinMo phones just to soothe some group's hurt feelings.

Anonymous said...

Anyone know the name of the SQL SEO add in that was demoed at the meeting. Awsome technology out of that team!

Anonymous said...

Dare I say it: Bing certainly DOES NOT ROCK. I'll grant that it is way better than Live ever was. However, if you're a web site manager of a microsoft.com domain, check your stats. You'll find that Google whips by ever 24-72 hours. Bing? Um.....never? I can make changes to my site and they show up in Google by end of week and sometimes by end of day. Bing can't find my microsoft.com web site even after months. It's absurd.

Anonymous said...

WinMo OS IS A JOKE (6.1 on a Q9). I cannot wait to abandon that OS when my contract is up in December. I've been told by the nice people in the Sprint booth over at the Commons that the next release of WinMo will focus on "touch" and therefore I conclude that my Q9 is obsolete (2 years old). Therefore, I'll need to buy 5 more phones for my family. Do you think I'd consider reupping with WinMo after the way our family has been treated by it? NO WAY. I'm joining my fellow Microsoft co-workers who want a stable, innovative, and dare I say stylish mobile platform. Hello iPhone. Goodbye WinMo....our family is so done with you. I'm looking forward to Christmas this year when the teen sons open their gift and see the iPhone.

Anonymous said...

"Microsoft has 2 viable options:"

I'd add a third:

3) Change leadership and strategy.

It's too late to break the company into separate pieces. Maybe a decade ago when MS was still clearly in a leadership position and financially healthy that might have worked. But now it would be a disaster. The competition is too strong, too well positioned to take advantage, and frankly MS's financials are too weak. Also, do you wonder why there's no outcry for Apple to split into three, or Oracle into two, or IBM into five? Because they're succeeding. Each has figured out how to make big company benefits easily outweigh the tradeoffs, despite very different leadership styles and strategies. MS hasn't.

Cure the problem, not the symptoms.

Who da'Punk said...

Administrivia: alright, potty-fingers, I'm flipping back into a strict PG-13 mode having had slipped well into R.

I feel obscenity peppered comments are dirtying any sort of reasonable discussion here and use of such will get you bounced into the Reject bit-bucket, just like spelling Microsoft with a dollar sign.

Anonymous said...

I don' think most people, at least within OSD, give Qi Lu credit for Bing. The wheels were in motion way before in joined and, as the other poster mentions, a lot of the credit goes to Satya, Harry, and Brian.

As OSD's frontman, Lu represents Bing and all those that have contributed to its success. I seriously doubt he would take credit for the work the team has done to date. I do expect, however, that he'll be hands-on for all future releases.

Anonymous said...

I have absolutely zero guilt about owning an iPhone, an no patience for any exec (including Ballmer) who is mad at me for having one.

He thinks he's mad at me? I'm the one mad at him. He's the one who let our mobile division get so out of hand that we haven't made a reasonable product in 3 or 4 years (while Apple designed, created, shipped, and improved the iPhone).

I view mobile the samew as as Bing. A year ago, 40% of MS was using Live search. It wasn't good enough. Fast forward a year: the product is better, and >80% of employees use Bing. If Ballmer wants us to use Windows Mobile phones, the answer is simple: Make one worth using.

Anonymous said...

Bing demo was very impressive.
Seth did a great job. Very funny throughout.
All in all, the meeting did boost my optimism regarding Microsoft's immediate future.

Anonymous said...

Its so easy to be anti-microsoft in the web. So many people simply go with the flow. I attended the company meeting, and I really enjoyed it.

1) Looks like people cannot take a joke. SteveB pretending to crush an iPhone was simply that - a joke. Nothing more nothing less. Everyone (including SteveB) knows that iPhones are better than WinMo. SteveB acknowledged that in his talk. He said what any exec in any company would do - I know that there is a problem, we will have to learn from our mistakes, and act on it.

2) For those offended by Seth Meyers jokes, please watch Comedy Central more often. I found him very cool. (Better than the Office guy we had last time.)

3) MS not an innovative company? Come on. Did you guys see the latest photosynth demo? 3D models from 2D pictures. Blew my mind. Imagine the same demo coming from an Apple product. The whole web will be touting how "innovative" that company is.

4) We are a techy company, but still cannot take a techy demo? The XRM demo was showing off a cool product that just does not demo well. So what? When did nerds started wanting flashy demos?

5) Overall I found SLT more honest this time. Many literally said "we screwed up" and "we need to learn from our mistakes".

6) The whole stadium was roaring when Sinofsky opened the MacBook Air case and showed a laptop that fit in it. Why arent we talking about that stuff?

Anonymous said...

Pardon me for interrupting your bitching at the SLT, but I have a problem. I need to pull together a team of 3 or 4 people (including myself) to co-found a start-up.

Here's your chance to become a senior leader, the head honcho, the big kahuna. If things go well, you may also get rich.

I am legally prevented from soliciting Microsoft employees, so if you are one - ignore this message, it's only for folks who are not employees anymore. I will not respond if your name shows up in the GAL (a friend of mine will verify). I don't care if you leave "in 3 to 6 months" -- if you're a current employee, I will not respond to you.

The requirements are simple:
1. Must not be an MSFT employee
2. Must be a kick ass dev. If you're a PM, you must either kick ass real hard at it (and by "real hard" I mean you can exhibit Jobsian attention to detail and can sell sand in the desert), or have dev skills too, preferably both.
3. Must be able to go without pay for a year or more.
4. Must be able to co-invest into ongoing business needs (hosting, hardware, etc). We're potentially talking $ tens of thousands here, but not hundreds. If we get that big, we'll get funding.
5. Must have realistic business ideas addressable by a team of 3-4 people within a year to a year and a half of hard work (we will brainstorm and pick what to focus on).
6. Must not be a pussy, and must have a sense of humor.

If you're interested, please drop me a line at kickass.engineers@gmail.com and describe your work history, as well as when you left the company and why. If you were laid off, that's fine too, as long as it happened this year. Don't forget to leave your contact information. A formal resume would be an OK way to start the conversation, if you don't feel like writing an essay.

One last thing, though. Make sure this is something you really want to do, and you can afford it. I don't want you to bail out two months later.

Anonymous said...

Word processing? Hm, I think Lotus was the main innovator here

Lotus was the main competitor in spreadsheets (Innovative Software with Wingz was arguably the main innovator). The slogan around campus was "Windows isn't done until Lotus won't run". (Also, see the main Excel 3.0 Easter egg.)

WordPerfect was the main competitor for Word. If Pete Peterson hadn't bet the WP farm on OS/2, and been so late to try to surf the Windows 3.0 tsunami, they could well have maintained their dominance.

You don't have to be good, sometimes you just have to be lucky.

Anonymous said...

>> I don' think most people, at least within OSD, give Qi Lu credit for Bing

What is there to give credit for, really? Recent reports indicate 0.9% market share gain compared to pre-Bing Live Search. And that will probably go down once the marketing campaign wears off.

You guys are talking about Bing as if it killed Google already. It hasn't, and it wont.

Anonymous said...

BTW - Win7 team.. Heads up to you guys. You are really awesome and this product is really really cool.

I feel like I'm using a different Win7 than everybody else. Vista's performance was terrible and they seem to have worked out most of those problems... but otherwise... am I the only person who thinks the UI is a huge mess? It seems like no two windows or dialog boxes were designed by the same team. Most of the old Win95/WinXP UI is buried in there, along with a layer of Vista UI, along with a new layer of Win7 stuff. Doing almost anything makes me feel like I have to be familiar with 3 different operating systems. It's annoying and it looks like a mess on-screen.

Anonymous said...

Any info about these cuts?

my first post did not show. Re-posting.

http://flyawaysimulation.com/article3645.html

"Redmond, Washington-based ACES Studio, the Microsoft-owned internal group behind the venerable Microsoft Flight Simulator series, has been heavily affected by Microsoft's ongoing job cuts. Development sources have told Gamasutra that a large portion of the dev house's staff has been let go - with multiple reports indicating that the entire Flight Simulator team has been axed."

"Corroborating the reports, Twitter messages from collaborators of the Flight Simulator workers are claiming that the layoffs occurred earlier today, following Microsoft's announcement that it would immediately cut around 1,400 jobs."

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one that thinks Natal is Surface all over. The light saber kind of technological "breakthroughs" - uber-cool and useless on a day to day basis, unless you are a hardcore Jedi.

And our HR SVP should have shown some respect to everybody who has been part of this rough year and addressed the changes that have happened and the changes that are about to happen.

Anonymous said...

1. Bing features are great, but it still wont get you a bus schedule. Had to use google maps to figure out when the next 545 was leaving OTC. Such an awesome feature whay is MSFT so behind?

2. A lot of past tense talk about the reset, does that mean it's over for now unless another catastrophe happens. What about all the serious rumours of another deep cut coming @ before next qtr earnings are annouched?

Anonymous said...

I read this and wanted to vomit:

There is one thing about MS which we don't see or choose to ignore. By and large, people don't like MS, they think it is something forced down their throat and at many instances in the past, MS has acted as a bully. Compare this with Google.

The fact is most people don't really care. We are so Redmond centric that we think people really care they don't. They jus want to do their thing and not be hassled. Nobody on average likes or hates us. Some Mac loyalists hate us, some google loyalists hate us, some people who blog hate us, but for the vast majority of us who live outside of Redmond, outside the state of WA, who have a life, we really don't care.

Google was great because in a world of dial-up and pop-ups. it gave you the best, fastest results, wtih no pop-ups. It was it's simplicity in a time of annoying banner ads everywhere and slow connection speeds that won it over. It just did something a little different than the next guy.

Apple is a true gadget company, it makes cool gadgets. The software is secondary to apple if you think about it. People love cool gadgets.

Microsoft is a software company, people bought computers and for the most part got windows and grew acustom to it. They are very loyal, hence why the whole linux netbook thing never took off. It wasn't until XP was on Netbooks that they started to make traction.

I'm not sure what my point is other than lets not read too much into these things. Microsoft is a cool company to a lot of people. People outside of Redmond are just as interested in Microsoft as they are Apple or Google. As SteveBe said, it's the future, it's cutting edge, it's fascinating. Other than that general fascination of "What's on the Horizon" most people really don't care.

The whole "Evil Empire" thing came from within the industry. Perhaps the term has leaked out a little to the pclayman, but if you ask the average non-redmonian what MSFT did to earn the the evil empire nickname, they probably couldn't tell you.

I guess I've lost my point in all of this other than, be realistic. Other than the .005% of people that are into this stuff the Billions of the rest of us people don't care. So we need to keep this in mind before we make assumptions that somone hates us or doesn't like us. It's one thing to choose an apple phone over an WMO phone or search with google versus bing, but that's just good business on the part of our competitors winning over customers. None of this is fueled by a sense of hatred. You dig!

Anonymous said...

Re: Any info about these cuts?

ACES was dissolved and all staff were laid off. While MS still has the source code, the specialized expertise and infrastructure needed to ever deliver another version of Flight Simulator has been irretrievably lost.

Anonymous said...

If you're interested, please drop me a line at kickass.engineers@gmail.com and describe your work history, as well as when you left the company and why. If you were laid off, that's fine too, as long as it happened this year. Don't forget to leave your contact information. A formal resume would be an OK way to start the conversation, if you don't feel like writing an essay.


Can I come work at your lemonade stand?

Anonymous said...

Hey, I left MS over 3 years ago. Thus stopped reading mini around then. I was just checking in to find out if the Ballmer iPhone stomping story was true.

Anyway, I read the last couple posts from Mini to see how much things have evolved. And... OMG, all the recent posts and comments look just like they did 3 years ago. (well, plus some externally caused economic downturn impact).

Nothing has changed. Go back and read some 2005 or 2006 posts and comments! Mini, with this lack of change you could just go back and recycle posts from 3 or 4 years ago. In fact you could automate that and never have to post again until things REALLY change.

Anonymous said...

Any info about these cuts?

my first post did not show. Re-posting.

http://flyawaysimulation.com/article3645.html


Those cuts happened back in January. The same story was posted back then:

http://flyawaysimulation.com/article3139.html

The only "new" part is the update at the end of the story.

Anonymous said...

Oh brother. What is with the company loyalty thing here that Balmer champions and others follow?

This is a J.O.B. I like working here but this is a company not a religion. Maybe if (like Balmer) I had made a $1B here I would feel differently but I just work here. I get the same paycheck for my time that I would get at Amazon or Apple or anywhere else except my own company. Get over it.

The ongoing iPhone silliness reminds me of our national political struggles recently. its like people cannot hold two conflicting thoughts in their pea-brains:
a) I like working for MS
b) Other companies make some good products too

The idea that I HAVE to use the MS product because it is disloyal not to is childish. Grow up.

It is also bad for business. No one invents stuff at product companies; everyone evolves and borrows good ideas. If we arent using the best products we arent seeing the best ideas in action and our own products will (and do) suffer for it.

The loyalty thing is what creates the Redmond-bubble culture where we toast our own awesomeness and are shocked, shocked! when others point out that there are better products out there. (A few more industry hires would help here too.)

So try a Mac, or an iPhone or a PS3 and be honest with yourself about the experience. Use that experience to make our company better.

Anonymous said...

"Why does the ZuneHD interface look so different than Windows Mobile 7? Why is ZuneHD NOT a phone? What is preventing merging these two? Just like MCE is a part of Windows, why isn't ZuneHD GUI simply a part of Windows Mobile 7?"
Uh ? They showed WinMo7 ? what how did I miss that ?

Anonymous said...

I feel like I'm using a different Win7 than everybody else. Vista's performance was terrible and they seem to have worked out most of those problems... but otherwise... am I the only person who thinks the UI is a huge mess? It seems like no two windows or dialog boxes were designed by the same team. Most of the old Win95/WinXP UI is buried in there, along with a layer of Vista UI, along with a new layer of Win7 stuff. Doing almost anything makes me feel like I have to be familiar with 3 different operating systems. It's annoying and it looks like a mess on-screen.


be sure to turn on ucm and ndf when using windows 7, they rock!

Anonymous said...

I did not attend the company meeting this time. But I had one hope. That they would go without a comedian and have someone from within the company do the hosting. I was disappointed. I have nothing against Seth Myers and don't know about his jokes as I did not attend the meeting, nor have I had the time to watch it online.

But would like to ask this question: how much was he paid? Even by a conservative guesstimate I guess at least half a dozen people could have kept their jobs with the amount they might have paid him (considering annual salaries and that this is an annual event.) What kind of message is being sent to the employees? That they had to cut more so that they could hire a comedian for one day to make jokes those who survived can laugh at?

Anonymous said...

be sure to turn on ucm and ndf when using windows 7, they rock!

---

yes and that framework was invented by the team who owned diagnostics before you .. glad you guys finally delivered other peoples ideas after getting the original parties out of the way ..

Anonymous said...

and the changes that are about to happen

another deep cut coming @ before next qtr earnings are annouched

So far it does not seem there has been a credible post on whether there are more cuts planned or if there is a cut in reserve in case another is needed due to the economy.

With all the cuts for performance out of the 10% bucket over the last few years...and moving more batches of 70%'ers into the 10% to back fill the bucket do we keep managing out aggressively in the 10% bucket? Seems a majority of employees will eventually get a turn in the 10% bucket.

Anonymous said...

3. Must be able to go without pay for a year or more....

6. Must not be a pussy....


LMAO, sorry, but these two are mutually exclusive now that the 1990s are over.

You might as well add, "Must be willing to go weeks at a time on just a few hours of sleep under your desk."

Nope. That train done left the station years ago.

Anonymous said...

"Even by a conservative guesstimate I guess at least half a dozen people could have kept their jobs with the amount they might have paid him"

He was paid over $1.2 million? I don't think so, Tim.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ Sunday, September 13, 2009 4:02:00 PM - "Kick Ass Engineers" guy

You really must be some kind of stupid ... so your pitch is leave MS for a place like MS but only you have to pay to work there?

Umm ... I guess you're one of them 10%ers we keep hearing about ... and I have some sand err bridge in brooklyn I would like to sell you. Fair warning it won't be hundreds, only thousands.

Anonymous said...

"Overall I found SLT more honest this time. Many literally said "we screwed up" and "we need to learn from our mistakes"."

I notice none refused their hefty stock grants though. SLT has screwed up for most of the decade. They're acknowledging some of it this year because it's impossible not to. But when the economy improves, the clueless swagger that got us into this mess will return.

Anonymous said...

3) MS not an innovative company? Come on. Did you guys see the latest photosynth demo? 3D models from 2D pictures. Blew my mind. Imagine the same demo coming from an Apple product. The whole web will be touting how "innovative" that company is.

Apple doesn't do "demos", they show features that are in shipping products. Google doesn't generally do demos either, they just do an invite-only release and slap a "beta" badge on it.

Photosynth is cool technology but what does it do that is of great value to the customer? Do Microsoft's customers have a burning desire to make 3d images out of their pictures? Is this technology being applied in a more practical way elsewhere in their product offerings?

If you can get over the AAPL rah-rah syndrome this is a good article about this sort of thing:
http://counternotions.com/2008/08/12/concept-products/

Anonymous said...

I don't know about you all, but as a shareholder I want to ask a simple question - Which other company would has been easy on execs when they didn't deliver any significant shareholder value for one full decade?

Joe said...

>Seems a majority of employees will
>eventually get a turn in the 10%
>bucket.

Somebody get this man a prize.

Yes, eventually everyone ends up in the 10% bucket. It helps compress wage scale and reduces overall human capital budget.

This system was first designed by Neutron Jack Welch, but has many, many drawbacks, such as diverting focus from external threats to internal ones. I.E. you are fighting with your team mates over who will draw the black marble this time, and be sacrificed.

Not a good way to run a company long term. The system can be useful in short bursts (2-3 years) if you have truly gotten bloated, but over the long term you end up with solely political players at the top, and a churn of bottom rungers all the time.

Anonymous said...

>> That train done left the station years ago.

Then shut up and stop whining at the SLT. If you can't do it on your own, take your salary and proudly serve your corporate masters in return - as simple as that.

Anonymous said...

Re. Anonymous @Sunday, September 13, 2009 11:44:00 PM ... I think you're right that the majority of people don't hate MS. There are a lot of people in the industry who hate us, which is the FUD every MSer hears, but the average consumer does not hate us.

That said, they don't like us either. They're neutral. They could care less. And when they do have a emotive thought about us, it tends to be a negative one because it's caused by some product problem they have. That's not a good place to be either.

Microsoft makes so many positive impacts on people all over the world that it's truly stunning. The sad thing is that corporate-level marketing is so poorly executed that none of that goodness gets out. I remember the Co Meeting a few years ago when that girl from rural China was featured in a video and then came on stage. Her school had recently gotent PCs, which literally changed their lives and opened them to new information, new learning experiences and a better future that they never even contemplated before. It was an incredibly emotional and uplifting story that made me tear up. Microsoft has thousands of stories like that that we never tell (or don't tell effectively) to the outside world. Highlighting those in a corporate image campaign could have a huge impact on how customers think about us.

People love Apple. They love Google. They don't give a damn about MS, and that's a huge problem for us and a bigger opportunity for competitors.

Anonymous said...

I was waiting to get a Zune 120GB (not HD) for months now, but I need the unicode support, since my collections includes songs from other countries.

Now the wait is over. Unicode support is available only for HD family.

I will never buy a zune ever.

It is OK if you just want it to be a US release, but assuming your customers just have non-unicode songs are just stupid or arrogant or incompetent or all above.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how Win7 sales are going? I know we released to the our Enterprise customers.

Anonymous said...

..
2. Must be a kick ass dev. If you're a PM, you must either kick ass real hard at it
3. Must be able to go without pay for a year or more.
4. Must be able to co-invest into ongoing business needs (hosting, hardware, etc). We're potentially talking $ tens of thousands here, but not hundreds.
5. Must have realistic business ideas addressable by a team of 3-4 people within a year to a year and a half of hard work (we will brainstorm and pick what to focus on).
6. Must not be a pussy, and must have a sense of humor.

Your 'job description' is so ridiculous it looks like spam mail. so you basically will create an environment like Microsoft but with no salary, and worst yet, you want people to give away their money!. dream on....

Anonymous said...

"Seems a majority of employees will eventually get a turn in the 10% bucket."

That's a valid mgmt strategy. IBM, for instance, works on turning over technical employees in its services ranks every five years. Cuts down training costs and brings folks with fresh ideas from other companies and fields.

Anonymous said...

"Even by a conservative guesstimate I guess at least half a dozen people could have kept their jobs with the amount they might have paid him"

Huh? You think they paid him 1 to 2million dollars for the day? You're dreaming. My guess is $25 to 50K at most.

Anonymous said...

ACES was dissolved and all staff were laid off. While MS still has the source code, the specialized expertise and infrastructure needed to ever deliver another version of Flight Simulator has been irretrievably lost.

RIP Flight Simulator. Why was the group dissolved?

Anonymous said...

So no email about the Zune HD today. Company store DOES NOT have them, and WON'T have them. We are supposed to get some email in the future about how to get discounted Zune HD's.

Wht a slap in the face of every MS employee. THey should be in the Co store, or this "how to get a discounted Zune" email should have been sent at 6am this morning.

The people working the Co store were turning people away like crazy all day.

Lame

Anonymous said...

"Completely agree...but who in the industry do you think would be a good candidate to assume the helm?"

How about Steve Jobs left pinky? More talent there than the whole of the Ballmer-corpus ...

Anonymous said...

Pardon me for interrupting your bitching at the SLT, but I have a problem. I need to pull together a team of 3 or 4 people (including myself) to co-found a start-up.

Although your tone was unpleasant, I'll try to offer some constructive criticism:

If you've ever worked in, much less founded a startup before, you don't seem to have the tone of someone who has experienced one.

Those who have don't post on public blogs asking for "kick ass developers". I've never been in, founded, or even heard of a startup founded by people who didn't already have a long-standing relationship.

I would (this is only me; others should make their minds up purely on their own) steer away from you purely because I'd walk in (potentially wrongly) assuming that you're a startup newbie.

If you don't have the dev contacts already, you need to find someone you already know who you 100% trust who has the heavy-hitter contacts.

Anonymous said...

Latest rumor: Xbox very close to spinning off as a separate company.

Unknown if anything else in E&D goes with it. (Doesn't seem likely)

This will happen before CES.

Anonymous said...

Pardon me for interrupting your bitching at the SLT, but I have a problem. I need to pull together a team of 3 or 4 people (including myself) to co-found a start-up.

um.... yeah. Good luck finding people that don't want a paycheck for a year and want to invest as well. Sounds like an ad for developers for a porn website

Anonymous said...

Re: Kick Ass Engineers guy,

This moron was either drunk or just trolling and trying to have some fun.

Anyone stupid enough to join his "team" deserves whatever happens to them. According to his requirements, in this economy, you have to not only work for free, but actually pay for expenses, which may run into tens of thousands of dollars.

Yeah, right.

Anonymous said...

People love Apple. They love Google. They don't give a damn about MS, and that's a huge problem for us and a bigger opportunity for competitors.

I would agree with that. When Joe Sixpack buys a computer it comes with Windows, which more or less works to do the things he wants. After a while, because he's not an expert at Windows, he inadvertently ends up with so many toolbars and startup programs and system tray things and (possibly) spyware and malware that the computer/OS is basically "worn out"--most people, even if they don't know anything else about computers, will tell you that you have to reinstall Windows every year or two just to "get it running right again," as if it's a used oil filter in a car. This doesn't really result in a positive or a negative impression, any more than you feel strongly about your oil filter.

One can quibble about the technical accuracy of Apple's "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC" commercials but the idea that Macs "just work" has some merit. The way OS X handles software makes it more difficult to inadvertently install a bunch of stuff you don't want/need, have it running in the background, etc. (Actually even the idea of "installing" software on a Mac is relatively foreign.)

Unfortunately Win7 seems to be going in the wrong direction on this metric, if anywhere. Now the system tray hides icons by default, so you have even less of an indication if your computer is full of crapware.

Anonymous said...

>> I'll try to offer some constructive criticism

Not the brightest bulb in the box, are we? This was a social experiment, just to see if anyone would respond. _No one_ did. Not a single goddamned soul from inside or outside even sent any probing questions. It's so much easier to whine and have a raging sense of entitlement than it is to go out on a limb and try something else for a change.

Me? I'm quite OK with my blue badge. I won't ever make a partner, but my pay is good, my promotion velocity is good, so barring anything unforeseen, I'll be around for a long time. I figure another 7-8 years should be about right.

My point is, if you're such an awesome bunch of geniuses as some of you seem to believe, why dontcha get out and show us how it's done? Come to think of it, I don't know of a single tech startup founded by ex-Microsoft people that really made it big. Not a single one.

You know why that is? That's because the majority of you are risk averse and grossly overpaid. Majority of you wouldn't even pass a phone screen at Google, let alone found a startup. Majority of you have zero creativity. Majority of you have amassed tens or hundreds of thousands in debt in spite your six figure salaries. Majority of you don't have any non-Microsoft experience, and guess what, most of the world runs on Linux these days, and quite a bit of it runs on Java. Majority of you don't have any side projects going on. You're bored out of your mind at work and those of you who have been around for more than five years probably hate their jobs already.

But you won't do anything. You see, it's all SLTs fault, and never yours. If it wasn't for them, things would be so much better. If only Ballmer resigned, we'd all be able to instantly get rich just because we're entitled to it. If only.

For folks who have also worked elsewhere (I have), this kind of mindset gets tiresome after a while. The problem is, Ballmer is not going to leave, SLT is not going to change, you're not going to get rich, you're powerless to change anything outside your immediate work environment. Heck, oftentimes you're even powerless to affect your own review score, because someone else has to get an Exceeded/20 and you're not that someone, or because you're under a shitty manager, or because you're promoted beyond your own personal level of competence.

Whining achieves nothing. Love it or leave it.

How's that for constructive criticism?

Anonymous said...

what does getting exceeded 20% mean? it could mean nothing is your group is canned within the next 15 months, but under normal circumstances, how should one interpret Exceeded 20%?

Anonymous said...

re: Company loyalty and buying our own products

I use Microsoft products, but that's because I like them, not because I work there. Buying products just because you work for the maker doesn't show loyalty to the company; it blinds you to the alternatives out there. And if you can't see the alternatives, you can't compare to your own products. As far as I'm concerned, everyone should go out and buy a competitor's product, if only to see how we can improve on them.

As for company loyalty, it should be earned, not bought with a paycheck. Companies relinquished their claim on loyalty when they stopped with pensions, 30-year single-company careers, and layoffs at the drop of a hat. Treat me like family and I'll do the same; give me nothing more than a paycheck and I'll be your hired help.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Shane Kim finally retired to "spend some time with family." Finally, those of us in MGS can stop cringing every time he's quoted in an article revealing how shockingly shallow his "deep passion for games" runs. I'm not surprised he "has no immediate plans."

Maybe if this day had occurred five or six years ago, the name "Microsoft Game Studios" would actually still mean something. As it is, he's the guy who dismantled studio after studio and let Bungie sneak away on their own. I guess that's not completely fair - he did buy Lionhead, and if there's one thing Peter Molynieux is known for, it's underpromising and overdelivering.

Good riddance.

Anonymous said...

"Which other company would has been easy on execs when they didn't deliver any significant shareholder value for one full decade?"

Or lost 60% over the last nine years.

Anonymous said...

How about Steve Jobs left pinky? More talent there than the whole of the Ballmer-corpus ...

There may some unused Jobs liver available. It's probably still in better shape than Ballmer's. :)

Anonymous said...

I read this and wanted to vomit:

"There is one thing about MS which we don't see or choose to ignore. By and large, people don't like MS, they think it is something forced down their throat and at many instances in the past, MS has acted as a bully. Compare this with Google."

I am gonna put my kool-aid down and give you some nuts and bolts to play with. The fact is that MS makes shitload of profits on its products and obviously, nobody likes it, whether it’s our customers, partners or the government. It’s a disproportionate amount that we charge for our products and that’s why people don’t like us. You wouldn’t want to talk about Apple or any other niche product here.
If we had a efficient CEO, he/she would have controlled the expenses (hello there…XBOX, Zune, Bing, me too, me too) and focused on their strengths (Vista – broken record…yes), the company would have been in a much better shape. People don’t like us because we charge blockbuster amount for not-so-blockbuster products.
As the SAAS and datacenters evolve, MS might be competing with firefox or some other fox, people wouldn’t care less then either.

One more thing, I have never been to US, let alone being Redmond-centric. Now you go and dig deeper.

Anonymous said...

Surveys will continue to be sent out until everyone is convinced the review system is awesome.

Anonymous said...

I feel obscenity peppered comments are dirtying any sort of reasonable discussion here and use of such will get you bounced into the Reject bit-bucket, just like spelling Microsoft with a dollar sign.

What reasonable discussion do you mean? This blog is for one thing only: venting. Why moderate venting? seriously...

Anonymous said...

"Huh? You think they paid him 1 to 2million dollars for the day? You're dreaming. My guess is $25 to 50K at most."

Jerry Seinfeld got $10mill in the ill-fated commercials ... in a shoe store. Sinking 'sans' trace. So my guess is your guess is Rob-Lowish.

Anonymous said...

Oh brother. What is with the company loyalty thing here that Balmer champions and others follow?

When I hear the rah-rah noise, I go through a mental checklist:

- Is this person required by their position to say this crap, or do they really believe it?

- Is this person VERY-WELL-compensated? It's easy to be RAH-RAH! when bringing home $660K/yr. (Sal, Bonus, stock, etc.)

- Is this person sadly naive? There are a lot of young employees that guzzle the Kool-Aid.

The first two cases show people who have justification to spout the nonsense, whether they believe it or not. The last case are people to be sympathetic to, rather than angry at.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about you all, but as a shareholder I want to ask a simple question - Which other company would has been easy on execs when they didn't deliver any significant shareholder value for one full decade?

Probably none unless there's another company where the CEO owns as much stock as Balmer does. Clearly it's still a 'family' show in Redmond and no one has the guts to ask him to leave. In cases like this it's the board that should be held accountable.

Anonymous said...

So no email about the Zune HD today. Company store DOES NOT have them, and WON'T have them.

There have been many cases where we don't have software in the company store on launch day, because we have to fill the channel first. And it's a hell of a lot easier to produce that than it is some expensive hardware.

Not sure why you are disappointed. Have you compared company store hardware prices to other places?

Anonymous said...

My point is, if you're such an awesome bunch of geniuses as some of you seem to believe, why dontcha get out and show us how it's done? Come to think of it, I don't know of a single tech startup founded by ex-Microsoft people that really made it big. Not a single one.

That's because most of the people in the early days retired with their millions and didn't need to work again. Those days are over for the Google folks too.

Then there was a long rant filled with lies...

Whining achieves nothing. Love it or leave it.

How's that for constructive criticism?


Your post wasn't the least bit constructive. I hope I never get stuck working with you at Microsoft.

Mini - You should be CRF'ing obvious trolls like this. There's enough anger here without idiots like this person stirring things up.

Anonymous said...

> what does getting exceeded 20% mean? it could mean nothing is your group is canned within the next 15 months, but under normal circumstances, how should one interpret Exceeded 20%?

E/20 means pretty much what's written on hrweb.

1) In the eyes of your immediate manager you are significantly exceeding his/her expectations of your performance for the roles and responsibilities that you had over the course of the year.

2) When you were calibrated (aka stack-ranked, lifeboat exercise, etc.) with peers from your organization that are in the same level-band, your management organization (aka your manager, his/her peers and own manager) concluded that you were in the 20% most contributing/valuable employee to have in the organization. This most likely included an assessment of your short-term future potential.

Basically, your boss thinks that you are doing great and your org thinks you are better than 80% of your peers. Congrats, go celebrate.

With this basic understanding in mind, note that there are many other reasons why you might get E/20. You asked for the normal circumstances.

Anonymous said...

Despite everything that has happened, especially this year, Steve’s recent outline of MS’s strategy is almost indistinguishable from what he said last year, the year before, and every other year since 2000. If that approach was going to succeed it already would have. Continuing down the same failed path is not a strategy, it’s corporate hari-kari. And with Apple growing much faster and poised to become more valuable than MS within the next twelve months, and Google becoming more of a threat every day, the company has enough worries without self-inflicting additional damage.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how Win7 sales are going?

A little too good. Stock will rally crazy.

how should one interpret Exceeded 20%?

WTF. You are your manager's favorite employee?

Anonymous said...

Latest rumor: Xbox very close to spinning off as a separate company.

Unknown if anything else in E&D goes with it. (Doesn't seem likely)

This will happen before CES.


probability: zero

Anonymous said...

Not the brightest bulb in the box, are we? This was a social experiment, just to see if anyone would respond. _No one_ did.

Because your experiment was stupid. If you had said "hey I know a great way to make your penis bigger" it would have gone straight to the spam bucket--and your idea/offer was even less specific. The fact that nobody responded to your "social experiment" only indicates that the IQ of readers here is above 70. If you think it proves all the rest of the stuff you said, I actually know a Nigerian prince you might want to get in touch with.

Anonymous said...

That's a valid mgmt strategy. IBM, for instance, works on turning over technical employees in its

That's not true for the team I'm in. I used to work for MSFT, now at IBM in a technical team. Many of my colleagues have 10, 15, 20 or more years working with IBM. They are technically sharp, *and* have an impressive industry and domain knowledge; which was often absent at MSFT.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft's Model Is Not Working Anymore

This past quarter was notable for Microsoft because it was the first time in the company's entire history that year-over-year revenues declined. Sure, the global recession has impacted Microsoft, but in retrospect it's been an increasingly dry decade for Microsoft when compared to companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon.

Apple has been cranking out hit after hit this decade. It's increased its market share in personal computers, but more importantly has successfully entered (or created) new markets by combining its iPod and iPhone hardware with online stores for content and applications. Apple isn't alone in its success, though. Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) is bringing life back into the e-book market with its Kindle reader, which also delivers content through an online store. Both Apple and Amazon have built products with this model and managed to grow in the past quarter despite the recession.

Microsoft is becoming increasingly invisible to consumers. Remember those recent Microsoft ads where people buy PCs because they're cheaper than Macs? They're not buying Microsoft, they're buying Hewlett Packard or other brands of PC hardware. Microsoft isn't on center stage; they are barely appearing in their own advertising! Companies like Google, Apple, and Amazon have products and services that put those brands in the user's minds every day, and in a positive way. When people do think about Windows, it's often with anxiety or frustration regarding their broken printer driver or the latest virus alert.

Anonymous said...

Pardon me for interrupting your bitching at the SLT, but I have a problem. I need to pull together a team of 3 or 4 people (including myself) to co-found a start-up.

IF this is your recruiting pitch you're doommed. Who wants to work for free for a year ! and buy hardware and other assets for your company.
On a side note if you think you're going to lead teams and meetings using the same unpleasant tone you used on your post you won't have much success.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft's Mobile Strategy Is A Mess

Anonymous said...

OK, after a bunch of research I've figured it out and I hope mini will let me post this: THIS YEAR'S REVIEW WERE THE NEXT ROUND OF LAYOFFS.

Now that all the reviews are in I can confirm that the 10% bucket in E&D was much, much bigger this year. About 20% of the people in my band got limited. This is how E&D hopes to layoff a bunch of employees without paying any severance.

And it's happening now. Limited employees are either being asked to leave or (in the case of employees that met all objectives and have no history of poor performance) are being told,"Everything's fine, but you do realize that you have no future here, right?"

It's the most evil kind of layoff I have ever seen. Just to save a couple bucks E&D is ruining the careers of excellent, achieving employees. By growing the limited bucket WITHOUT ADMITTING TO IT Microsoft is slandering the reputation of these employees. How is it slander? This year twice as many employees are walking around with a "limited", but hiring companies do not know that just about anyone can get a "limited" now. So if an employer asks for your last review, and you provide it, they will think you are a low performer.

I think this is a pretty horrible way to improve profitability. I don't know if other groups are laying off people in this back-handed manner, but I would like to know. Maybe mini could find out, just how widespread was the recalibration?

Anonymous said...

---Latest rumor: Xbox very close to spinning off as a separate company.

Unknown if anything else in E&D goes with it. (Doesn't seem likely)

This will happen before CES.---


Why would MS only spin off Xbox but nothing else in E&D.That's retarded.

Anonymous said...

We cannot split into 5 separate, smaller, more focused companies because 3 of them dont make enough money? Wow, think about for a moment. I think it says volumes about our problems.

Half the 90,000 person company cannot survive without the unlimited funds from two divisions? What you are actually saying is that we dont have a "business" - we have two businesses and three bankrupt companies living on corporate welfare or life support. That is pretty shocking.

Even before I joined MS, I thought the breakup&focus strategy made common sense. I suppose a GE conglomerate strategy is theoretically possible but in practice it does not even seem to be making employees happy let alone any money. We are profitable overall but there is a lot of resentment here between divisions. Maybe a different CEO/LT could pull it off but it also possible that the GE model does not work in software.

I have heard that Balmer really tries to model us after GE but at least from the fiscal accountability angle, I dont see it. If your product cant be profitable within a few years of startup investment, it is a loser. Kill it and move on. The whole "long bets" argument is an excuse for poor execution.

Our cash cows put off so much cash, it allows us to live with pet projects instead of healthy businesses. A lot of this company is a vanity project of the wealthy rather than a healthy startup. I think that also leads to the complaints about management problems and high-school antics.

This company today is more like IBM than many people would like to admit. We just havent sunk far enough to create enough urgency to cause change. It will come.

Anonymous said...

"Probably none unless there's another company where the CEO owns as much stock as Balmer does. Clearly it's still a 'family' show in Redmond and no one has the guts to ask him to leave. In cases like this it's the board that should be held accountable."

All but two of the current directors were appointed by Steve. One is Gates, his friend, supporter, and still owner of nearly 800 million shares. The other is Marquardt, who owns a million. The remaining directors own less than 200 thousand shares combined. Some, like Maria Klawe, have just a couple thousand. What's their upside in alienating World's #29th richest man and his #1 richest friend the company founder?

You can hold every outside director responsible and have them all replaced. Then what? All you will create is gridlock should Steve or Bill remain.

Ballmer is here until one of three things happens:

- Bill decides otherwise
- Steve decides to leave
- Shareholders kick them both out

Anonymous said...

"Now that all the reviews are in I can confirm that the 10% bucket in E&D was much, much bigger this year. About 20% of the people in my band got limited. This is how E&D hopes to layoff a bunch of employees without paying any severance."

Confirmed. Just heard a friend of mine is being buried in this round of "layoffs" with a U/10 and no severance. Nearly 20 years at the company and never a bad review until now. He's so screwed.

Rumor is 8,000 layoffs company wide in mid-October.

Anonymous said...

I feel good because I'm working even less than I was working before.

To keep up with my colleagues, I can use only 10% of my capacity. The rest of the time I do things that I really like, such as writing code (I'm a dev). I spend the whole day developing little apps for my kids or learning (human) languages. When a work item shows up for me, I transfer it to some sucker. I'm being lauded for my ability to delegate!

As time goes by, I'm working less and less. The less effort I put the better I am perceived since at Microsoft only your mistakes are evaluated. And the more time I have to learn for other positions at Microsoft or outside.

Anonymous said...

"We cannot split into 5 separate, smaller, more focused companies because 3 of them dont make enough money? Wow, think about for a moment. I think it says volumes about our problems."

Yes it does speak volumes. About Ballmer, and about the Board. And shareholders.

Good luck with that. Seems to me that none of those folks have the cojones to deal with the issues.

Anonymous said...

All but two of the current directors were appointed by Steve. One is Gates, his friend, supporter, and still owner of nearly 800 million shares. The other is Marquardt, who owns a million. The remaining directors own less than 200 thousand shares combined. Some, like Maria Klawe, have just a couple thousand. What's their upside in alienating World's #29th richest man and his #1 richest friend the company founder?

Gulp! Nothing to say on this level. Anyone? Anyone at all?

Anonymous said...

Not the brightest bulb in the box, are we? This was a social experiment, just to see if anyone would respond. _No one_ did.

Well look who's talking. When you were composing your little "experiment" solicitation -- amidst your self-indulging thoughts of how clever you thought you were -- did it ever occur to you that maybe quite a few of this blog's readers are Microsoft employees, and therefore, your own filter (that you clearly talked up) would have cut out a significant portion of the folks who might have otherwise taken the bait? Nah, you did it 'cause the real point was to mislead and appear as a troll, and then you could get up on your soapbox and lecture us while wearing your new tinfoil hat.

But you won't do anything. You see, it's all SLTs fault, and never yours. If it wasn't for them, things would be so much better. If only Ballmer resigned, we'd all be able to instantly get rich just because we're entitled to it. If only.

Whoa, now there's a master talking if I've ever seen one. Gee, I guess we all suck, huh? Guess we should hang our heads in shame and give the SLT a break for their mediocrity. Thanks ace, for saving us from our own pitifulness. Where we would be without you? Hey, I've got a sense of humor, can I please work at your purdy little company?

In all seriousness, after reading and re-reading your posts, now I don't feel as dumb as I thought I was. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I am not an MS employee but it sure sounds like the company is a real snake pit. So, if the gravy days are over why would anyone want to work there? Why subject yourself to the grief that I read about in these posts?

I presume there are a lot of people stuck in Seattle and it's pretty much a one company town as far as software dev jobs go.

Seattle is a nice place in the summer time but it is gray and wet most of the rest of the year. So why does anyone stick around? What would possess a person to move and settle down in a gray wet one company town.

Anonymous said...

More layoffs coming in October?

Please do not kill me, this is what I heard from 2 reliable sources. And I do not like it.

Anybody heard the same news?

Anonymous said...

MSFT people are clueless about startups. Good luck finding a startup where you'd simultaneously be a co-founder (which implies a non-trivial equity stake) and a paid employee. Also good luck finding a startup where as a co-founder you won't have to invest your own money.

Anonymous said...

Why would MS only spin off Xbox but nothing else in E&D.That's retarded.

Maybe they feel that only a company with the xbox-related stuff has a chance of being profitable?

They aren't going to spin off just to lose billions.

Anonymous said...

So if an employer asks for your last review, and you provide it, they will think you are a low performer.

And if you provide it, you are an idiot.

Your review doc almost definitely includes MS-confidential data.

If the company contacts MS to verify your employment, all they are allowed to do is confirm it. They can't discuss review scores.

Anonymous said...

"Somebody should tell Mr. Ballmer that he's the CEO of a major corporation, not the leader of SPECTRE."

Close, but no cigar. You work for KAOS now, agent (hint, check your badge number.)

KAOS and MSFT are both incorporated in Delaware. Coincidence? I think not.

Anonymous said...

(http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2009/apr/24/microsoft-revenues-future-concern)

Is Microsoft facing its Ozymandias moment?

When one looks to the future, for all the King Lear-ish bluster from Steve Ballmer about how it's going to do dramatic things in search, Microsoft just isn't there. It's making noises about Azure, while Amazon (Amazon?!) and Google have moved far ahead as the providers of choice of cloud computing for small and medium businesses; its Xbox franchise still lags far behind Nintendo's for both numbers sold and profitability; and while people might have gotten upset that Apple sold a few copies of Sikalosoft's Baby Shaker, that pales in comparison to one billion apps downloaded from the iPhone App Store. Nobody's talking about a Windows Mobile app store. Well, Microsoft is, but nobody outside Microsoft.

And there's the corporation's problems in a nutshell. As long as PC sales roll along, as long as corporations aren't cutting budgets, it's fine. But once it's forced to create new profit (not just revenue) centres, it flounders.

Anonymous said...

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance,"

Steve Ballmer, 4/30/2007

"In terms of impact on our business, we think little to none," Bach said.

Robbie Bach, 5/2/2007

Anonymous said...

One company that Richard Parower, manager of the Seligman Global Technology Fund, says never quite makes the right deal at the right price is Microsoft (MSFT)—"the one glaring example of [tech companies] that can't do acquisitions." For example, Microsoft paid more than $6 billion for Web advertising company aQuantive, a price several investors say was far too high. And its on-again, off-again talks to buy Yahoo! have shareholders worried about another surprise deal. T. Rowe's Allen thinks "investors are still discounting the probability they'll do something so risky again." A Microsoft spokesman says: "We buy where it makes sense, where we can accelerate growth, and generally we buy companies early in their history."

Anonymous said...

Robbie Bach

26-Sep-08
95,273


Stephen Elop

26-Sep-08
51,301


Stephen Sinoksky

31-Aug-09
82,173


Robert Muglia

29-Aug-08
152,716


Craig Mundie

29-Aug-08
154,021

Anonymous said...

The whole "long bets" argument is an excuse for poor execution. Our cash cows put off so much cash, it allows us to live with pet projects instead of healthy businesses.

Amen, brother! Well said. I agree. There are 2 healthy businesses (Client, MSB); 1 "just okay" business (STB); and 2 consistently failing businesses (OSB, E&D).

This company today is more like IBM than many people would like to admit.

A minor caveat: "more like IBM in the late 1980s". As per my previous comment, after leaving MSFT in 2006 I now work at IBM. I saw IBM in Akers' dying days, c.1990; and back then it was indeed a sad, lost place. Today however, IBM is powering ahead: staff are enthusiastic, business is booming, stock price is up, and customers love us. MSFT will have a long, hard path to travel, before it can be ever like IBM is today.

Anonymous said...

"Here’s a fresh new company that was gunning for an aging incumbent. And not only gunning, but gaining. They had a great product, great design, and great potential. They were growing rapidly and figured out the revenue game. They were on their way to redefining an industry — one that was left for dead by the current custodians.

They were everything their main competitor, Intuit, was not. While Mint was inventing, Intuit was out of it. People used Quickbooks/Quicken out of habit and legacy. People used Mint because they loved it. Intuit was disgruntled, Mint was disruptive.

But here’s what happened: Intuit, last decade’s leader in personal finance, just became the next decade’s leader in personal finance. Mint had their number, but they sold it for $170 million. A big payday for sure, and if that was their two-year goal then they nailed it, but I can’t believe that was the point behind Mint. It had too much potential.

Mint was a key leader of the next generation of game changers. And now it’s property of Intuit — the poster-child for the last generation. What a loss. Is that the best the next generation can do? Become part of the old generation? How about kicking the shit out of the old guys? What ever happened to that?

As more great new companies are absorbed into big old companies, a whole new generation of change is lost. They can issue press releases saying how excited they are to be able to bring their product to a whole new world of customers, and how their new suitor will bring enormous resources to bear, but we know that’s usually not really what happens. Development slows, products stall, the staff that built the great stuff leaves, and mediocrity creeps in. Not always, but usually."

Replace Intuit with MS.

Joe said...

For the guy saying that no ex-MSFT exmployees have ever started anything, you have heard of Valve Software and Gabe Newell, right?

Anonymous said...

Ballmer is here until one of three things happens:

- Bill decides otherwise
- Steve decides to leave
- Shareholders kick them both out


If the above is truly correct, then if I were a shareholder I would be pulling my money out of MSFT so fast it would make your head spin.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure where to give this and it's not directly related to the ms company meeting. but ms said that there were no raises unless you got a promotion. and i just read that ballmer got a 4% raise: http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5iIen-wkQZDo2w_P0eQwk4B28Aq0Q.

did he get a promotion or is there a policy for execs and another for employees? bad form.

Anonymous said...

Just to save a couple bucks E&D is ruining the careers of excellent, achieving employees.

If you're an employee in E&D, you should be happy you still have a job. Any other company would have closed up all of E&D years ago.

Anonymous said...

"Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said the move would encourage dialogue with shareholders on Microsoft's compensation approach, which he said was "designed to maximize shareholder value by attracting and retaining world-class leaders and aligning their financial rewards with the growth and success of the company." "

WTF? Oh I get it now, these are the same losers that have sent the stock price into the toilet and wasted tens of billions on ego-driven projects that have amounted to nothing, while greedily enriching themselves. Thanks Brad for your input on these world class leaders!

I'm sure the 5000 people who lost their jobs thanks to these world-class bozos will be right behind you in this important initiative.

Anonymous said...

Wait a moment, there are no merit increases for anyone except from Komo:

"Ballmer's salary rose to $665,883 from $640,833, according to a preliminary filing Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission."

NICE.

Anonymous said...

How's that for constructive criticism?

Odd, to the point of wondering whether you're a troll or merely have nothing better to do with your time?

I offered the constructive criticism.

I've worked at and several startups, and have been a founder at two.

I am currently employed at Microsoft.

While I do find most Microsoft employees risk-averse (what do you expect? At one point in time, you could work for a company, have job security AND get rich on stock options.), I consider that their business.

Whining achieves nothing. Love it or leave it.

If you don't like the opinions of others, go elsewhere. Trying to silence them isn't going to be effective.

I need to return to 'Odd': I have no idea what your goal here was. To demonstrate your superiority? To attack Microsoft employees as being beneath you? What, exactly, are you trying to prove, and who, exactly, are you arguing with?

Anonymous said...

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2009896765_apusmicrosoftexecutivecompensation1stldwritethru.html?syndication=rss

Well, it wasn't a merit raise, that's for sure. So "no merit raises" this year is still technically true!

Anonymous said...

win 8 re-org...
finally secured a position, bingo!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Mr. Ballmer with the 4% merit raise!

I guess we employees have to make some sacrifices because we failed to do a good job, but you totally rock as always.

Anonymous said...

Anyone find it odd that on a year where there was supposed to no merit increases, Ballmer's salary increased 4% from $640,833 to $665,883[1]?

[1] http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2009896765_apusmicrosoftexecutivecompensation1stldwritethru.html?syndication=rss

Anonymous said...

>> Valve Software and Gabe Newell, right

I'm not the OP, but dude, that was almost 14 years ago. That Microsoft no longer exists.

It'd still be interesting to see anything successful done by ex-MSFTies in the new millenium tho.

Anonymous said...

Confirmed. Just heard a friend of mine is being buried in this round of "layoffs" with a U/10 and no severance. Nearly 20 years at the company and never a bad review until now. He's so screwed.

Rumor is 8,000 layoffs company wide in mid-October.


Bullshit on both counts.

It's not a hidden layoff. People got the score they deserve.

The layoff rumor is BS. And you posting it here twice doesn't mean it's from 2 sources.

How many times have we seen this rumor pop up here over the last year? Almost all have gotten people stirred up for no reason at all.

Steve just got a raise, so we must be doing well. So obviously there won't be layoffs.

Anonymous said...

"Ballmer's salary rose to $665,883 from $640,833, according to a preliminary filing Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission."

One more reason for LisaB to go. Microsoft is not the buildings, the computers, or even the software it ships today. Microsoft is the human resources it has.

The HR team for years considered that hitting diversity goals for the company meant only hiring exquisite people for the HR team itself. Find me a single American-born, Caucasian straight male person younger than 50 in HR, and please let me know who he is, since I want to beg them to change my HR generalist. It is impossible nowadays to go and talk with HR simply because in their eyes everything is an opportunity to show their skills in avoiding discrimination based on age, race, fitness, language, etc. Someone that has (or think he/she has) been discriminated all their lives cannot see things otherwise. And it starts with LisaB.

Worse: HR should have pointed out long before the recession that Microsoft had hiring problems, and performance problems in several teams. They should have clearly pointed out the failures of several of the company leaders. Instead, they chose to misuse millions in the InfoPath-based review system that is one of the rare unanimities within the company: everyone hates it. How big was the kickback? Yes. I accuse. The performance site wouldn’t resist any SOX auditing, since people that left Microsoft were contracted to develop it (and they know it before leaving!).

HR also failed miserably in all acquisitions. Employees from every other company came into Microsoft at a level based on the salary, and not the other way around (the salary based on their “levels”). One can see it easily now with the flood of ex-Yahoos. Would you think that everyone from Yahoo was a Principal or Partner there? Why is it that several of these high-level employees from other companies fail miserably when interviewing for Senior level positions in Windows/Office, and then go on to seek refuge in OSD/E&D? Meanwhile, several others are demoted in the first real review done when Microsoft-experienced GMs take over?

The worst reality is that HR refuses to accept the truth. The best entry I’ve every saw in this blog was written above:
Surveys will continue to be sent out until everyone is convinced the review system is awesome.

Anonymous said...

Unreal, talk about people who don't understand anymore, no raises for anyone this year and Ballmer takes 4% in. Did he really need that extra 15k a year? Why would he even take it, why would anyone in Senior Leadership take a raise after telling everyone else no? Do these people just enjoy rubbing it in or what is their deal? If I was worth hundreds of millions (or a few billions) I'd just say "no" in a year like this and at least give the appearance of leading by example.

Yes, I know he turned the stock down but why the hell was he or anyone else walking the ivory halls getting any reward after canning 5,000 people due to their over hiring. Are times that tight for Monkey Boy? He doesn't get the industry, he doesn't get his employees, he doesn't get the layoffs, what the hell does he understand anymore?

It just seems to surprise me every other month when another dumb*ss thing like this happens. I suppose at this point I should be used to it. Unreal.

Anonymous said...

Ballmer's pay raise that was reported today was for FY09. The merit budget was nonzero for FY09. The merit budget for everyone, presumably including Ballmer, was zero for FY10. It's a weird situation because annual review occurs in Septemeber when we're 2 months into the next FY.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Ballmer gets a raise in 2009 when the employees he has that DID exceed against their goals did not. That makes sense...

Anonymous said...

Failing upwards.

Microsoft CEO Ballmer's salary up 4 percent in '09

Microsoft Corp. raised CEO Steve Ballmer's salary by 4 percent at the start of fiscal 2009, a year in which the software maker's profit declined 17 percent as the economic meltdown decimated personal computer sales.

Anonymous said...

My favorite part of the story is the map. They mark the area near the cafeteria "Cougar Central". People food.

Cougar reported on Microsoft campus for second day

But on Friday, a cougar was reported at the Redmond campus for the second day in a row. Both sightings were in the area of Buildings 30 to 35.

Anonymous said...

I was surprised to see that Ballmer got a raise. This, right after many were told - even with decent performance - they'd get no raises this year (due to economy, etc.). Ballmer gets a raise. Go figure. This fact now piggy backing on many high profile promotions after this Spring and Summer, after a loss in revenue.
SLT, why are you only angering the masses? To what end does that 4% raise get you/Steve? A bunch of angry folks, good at what they do, who will gladly leave when the economy turns around. SLT probably thinks 'new blood' is a good thing - then move out of the way.
Sure, someone might say Steve's one of the lower paid CEO's, but then I'd just point to the non Billionaires like John Chambers who takes a $1 salary (Cisco), and other exec's at other companies taking cuts (HP), and the costs to keep Mr. Ballmer around (Security costs, Stock slide, one of the worst performing stocks for a company this size and well capitalized during his reign); however Microsoft does have something that no other company has that contributes to the downward pressure on the stock:

No other company in the world has an ex CEO and now chairman that can exert as much downward pressure on the stock price by selling off as much stock as he is. (It appears he/foundation sold nearly $300Million last May alone, a bit of an upswing from his typical "planned" sell orders... but I'm sure the decision to sell these shares in Q4 had nothing to do with the quarter's results.) This isn't all about 'diversification' but the foundation/chairman investment arm electing investment in other equities that they believe will have more future value.
Most all exec/board share orders are sell orders. What does that tell you?
Anyone going to the MSFT stockholder meeting? That's the only meeting of importance to the SLT and where you may be actually heard.

Anonymous said...

I have heard that Balmer really tries to model us after GE but at least from the fiscal accountability angle, I dont see it.

Based on how crappy my GE appliances are I am beginning to see some similarities between the two companies.

Anonymous said...

I would like find what are driving the blind WinMo lovers within the company.

I assure you something. Not because I work in Microsoft I will get a Ford as my new car. In fact, I just bought a VW less than 1 month ago.

As company, we always are proud of hire smart people; then, why it is so hard to understand that smart people make smart decision, not blind pasionate non rational decisions.

I do have a Winmo since it came to the market the very first time. I has tryied iPhone and quickly returned back to WinMo. But that is me bacause I sort of geek and love to squeeze more from my phone, iPhone is very limmiting there./ Most of the phone consumers don't want to waste time getting the best from their devices, they just want to get it effort less. Unless we provide that, iPhone will continue stoling our market share. (BTW, my wife barely calls and browse, she had BlackBerry, Nokia, WinMo and iPhone, and she is staying with iPhone)

Hope Mr. Balmer finally decide to address the market needs and not just his own and the SLT dreams. If he is not able to do so, just step out, we the stockholders want you out since long time ago.

Anonymous said...

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10356805-56.html

Microsoft shareholders will get some input on exec pay.

Sure, they don't have to listen to us. But Steve will look like a bigger jackass next year if he accepts another raise after every non-MS exec shareholder votes against it.

Anonymous said...

No wonder Ballmer loves this company so much... apparently the "NO MERIT RAISES" policy doesn't apply to him.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Microsoft-CEO-Ballmers-salary-apf-3429781936.html?x=0&.v=3

Anonymous said...

"Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith said the move would encourage dialogue with shareholders on Microsoft's compensation approach, which he said was "designed to maximize shareholder value by attracting and retaining world-class leaders and aligning their financial rewards with the growth and success of the company."
What a shameless statement. But not surprising at all. This is the same club of rich-white-folks working for themselves, and protecting their behinds. The following statement is quite insulting: "encourage dialogue with shareholders...." -- Shame on you....You lie !

Anonymous said...

Be glad you don't work for France Telecom, read this article: http://tinyurl.com/mfo6xs

Anonymous said...

WTF - did we just *promote* Ballmer and co for their awesome performance?

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/microsoft/2009896852_microsoft19.html

Anonymous said...

No merit for no one... except SLT... nice way to prove that our values, including Honesty & Integriity are all arround the company. It seems that Lisa Brummel and the SLT does not live them... and they are not on to say the truth.

Nice way to ear LOYALTY from the employees, having to faces.

Anonymous said...

I presume there are a lot of people stuck in Seattle and it's pretty much a one company town as far as software dev jobs go.

Right, Seattle might as well be Oklahoma when it comes to technology.

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