Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Windows 7 and a Grab Bag of Microsoftness Before FY10Q1 Results

October 22nd 2009. Windows 7. The circle is now complete.

What is Windows 7? There's a lot that Windows 7 is (oh, it's faster, it has an improved task bar, peeking, snapping, homegroupin', stable drivers and some pretty freaky desktop pictures) but the big thing that it isn't is that Windows 7 is not Vista. It didn't suffer Vista's raging dysfunctional mismanagement and broken windows. It didn't require a reset. Sure, it wasn't perfect and there's a lot of improvements yet to be made in focus and team productivity, but the Windows team delivered. So toot that damn horn, because this here train is arriving on time.

With FY10Q1 announcements coming this week and along with Windows 7, I hope we have a lot of good things to talk about with the analysts. Google and Apple and Yahoo! certainly did. Usually we release our quarterly earnings on the appropriate Thursday afternoon, after closing. It is unfortunately disturbing that we've decided to release our FY10Q1 earning results instead on this Friday morning before trading. I say disturbing only because the last time we did this, a whole bunch of Microsofties were pulled into a layoff. Now... hopefully this earnings report is delayed so that we can have this Thursday the 22nd be all about Windows 7 and not our financials. And I can not imagine that we (and by "we" I mean the Microsoft Senior Leadership Team) would be so dumb as to release our flagship product on a Thursday and turn around and fire a bunch of people the next day.

So, anyway, what's in the mix as the financials come up this week?

Windows 7: check. Thank goodness for SteveSi. I certainly hope he gets paid a lot more than Robbie Bach this year.

Within the Windows 7 reviews, there's going to be a point-of-view that the operating system is dead, which is, ah, kinda dumb. Your web browser isn't going to bootstrap that Intel CPU on its own. What might be dead is rich applications, which is a fair argument and Microsoft is failing to provide much in the way of new rich applications. In fact, we are cutting them one by one (Money, Encarta... Streets, you best watch your back). Sure, there's a transformation to online replicated services and all, but we really need to convince our consumers that there is a strong worth in having a Windows 7 on your laptop so that it's not a fancy glowy brick when the internet is down.

Kindle? Wouldn't it be sweet if we had a nice ebook reader application? We could call it... mmm, Reader?

Windows Live is supposed to help with building value via rich applications. Live has been broken out of Windows to free it from the consent decree and all ('cept for sneaking a Win7 component out early, wink-wink). Messenger, Mail, Photos, Movies, and an awkward online service. And Live Writer (though rumored a dead-man walking per comments).

It's a fair start, and if I had my druthers OneNote would move out of Office and into Windows Live to be the essential authoring companion to the Windows experience. Windows Live Essentials is a good start, but to add some joy into owning a Windows machine, what we need just as urgently is Windows Live Non-Essentials.

Joy. There's a concept just asking for a planning pillar. How strangely would your coworkers look at you during spec reviews if you asked how joyful the feature happened to be?

Windows 8: speaking of planning! The Sinofskyfication of Windows continues, along with alignment around his good lieutenants.

Office: hey, hey, hey, there's a Beta on the way. The Office train lost its conductor but it mostly seems to be still on track. Though trust me: Office wants its Steven back. Bad.

Mobile: Holy. Crap. I don't think we have any unbruised skin left on our body to take any more lumps regarding our mobile strategy. The Microsoft Mismanagement theory is in full force as we throw any willing body into the Mobile effort. Something good has to come out of those typing monkeys, rights? Windows Mobile Phone 6.5 or whatever the hell it's called didn't win any "Wows" and I discovered 1:1 the worst question to ask is, "So, can I upgrade it to Windows Phone 7?"

Look. Let's talk about device loyalty. I first started with owning PocketPCs. An HP Jornada. I loved it. When upgrade time came, HP had bought Compaq and abandoned the Jornada for the iPAQ (what, they had the iThing first?). So, unable to upgrade to the next CE, I cursed a little and bought one of those iPAQs. But HP decided not to allow it to be upgraded. So I switched to Dell to get their latest Axim PocketPC. Dell would be a safe bet, right? And Dell gave up on the line. My latest act of company loyalty: getting a powerful HTC WinMo 6 device. It was cut-off the 6.5 train, and soon, I'm going to be buying a new phone.

And I'm going to buy an iPhone.

I hate it. I hate to think that I'll be installing Apple software on one of my computers because their PC software is so inelegant and buggy (check Watson). I hate that I've been so loyal to the PocketPC platform and Windows Mobile but I've finally had my chain yanked for the last time. I'm not buying a 6.5 device only to have it abandoned when 7 comes out. Microsoft is doing nothing to convince me that it's going to get any better. We suffer through rumors that Pink is imploding and issues with Sidekick data doing disappearing acts while our CEO has conniption fits over Microsofties sporting iPhones. Dude, this is why.

In this case, Microsoft is going to have to earn me back and convince that not only do they have a better experience and better quality phone but that they also won't kick me off to the side of the road when a new release comes along, spinning a sad tale that the carriers make all the decisions.

Dev Div: If I had to sit down tomorrow and write a casual application for the PC, my mind would fork itself in about five different directions. Native with ATL? WPF? Silverlight? An HTA? And what's up with XNA? If I want to write an app for the Zune (which Zune?) what do I do? And can it run on some future mobile device? And the PC? And Xbox?

And how do I share it? How do I sell it? And, ah, crap, you mean you just released a whole new version of C# / Silverlight / XNA that I have to go and relearn? Maybe those free Starbucks coffee dispensers wasn't a good idea...

If anything, I'd probably be pretty damn tempted to invest time learning Adobe AIR. And I'm thinking that while smack dab in the middle of the Microsoft bubble. There are a lot of Partners in Dev Div, and I'm not seeing any benefit from their concentration. The Windows client should be the premiere development platform. It's not. What am I missing?

Are We There Yet? Are the layoffs over? Has Microsoft stabilized? Of course, I'd be satisfied with another 10,000 or more positions being eliminated. But I want it done in one fell swoop, like all the conventional wisdom out there dictates, so that the remaining work force can align itself and get to work and not constantly worry if their group is next. If we're going to continue this quarterly rhythm of maybe-layoffs, maybe-not then morale is going to get seriously poisoned. Let's finish this round and call it done.

Ballmer: well, Mr. Ballmer, if you ever wanted to leave on a high-note, this is it. I'm frustrated because when you hear Steve 1:1 you know that he gets it. He knows some key strategies and things that need to get done. But then Yahoo! happens. Vista happens. Over-exuberant hiring happens. Layoffs happen to shed off the over-hiring. And a flat stock price happens. So something is seriously not connecting between (a) when you hear Steve talking and (b) when he makes major decisions. Hmm. Maybe it's something about guys named Steve having localized reality distortion fields.

This week, as we celebrate Windows 7, you do see an undercurrent of knife-sharpening while examining Mr. Ballmer.

The biggest question still out there: just who would you replace Ballmer with? If a shareholder revolt was to actually happen (shyeah, right) who would be the right choice to lead Microsoft? There is no heir apparent. And no obvious motivation to find one. But wait. Maybe, just maybe... you know, we'll have to wait and see and discover if Steven Sinofsky's upcoming book One Strategy! has a chapter on 'How To Become the CEO of a 100,000 Employee Company' (hopefully followed by the chapter 'More With Less - How To Transform a 100,000 Employee Company Into a 70,000 Employee Company').

Any fireworks you're expecting this week of Windows 7 and Quarterly results?


-- Comments

476 comments:

1 – 200 of 476   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

I'm thinking I should sell half of the options I have that are actually worth something. Personally may not have the time to wait out the return to $26 after disappointing earnings report.

Anonymous said...

Not that it changes any of your points, but I'm pretty sure the iPaq name wasn't used until after the iMac was introduced (1998). So no, they actually didn't have the iThing first...

Anonymous said...

No layoffs happening this week or on 11/4. I've asked people that are in the know (and were able to confirm/deny previous layoff rumors).

Anonymous said...

Wow, it must suck to work at Microsoft these days.

From the days of DOS 6 I use to build a new PC for the launch of every new Microsoft OS. Not any more. All PC's have been sold on Craigslist over the last two years and replaced with Mac's in my household. I hope for everyone at Microsoft's sake, that I'm in the minority but Apple earnings say I'm not the only one.

I'm still using XP at work which is laughably 10 year old technology and there's really no compelling reason for our organization to spend what would amount to an enormous sum in software and deployment costs to upgrade.

As for Balmer, he's an embarrassment. I can't imagine he has much time left.

Looking back to your post "Microsoft has turned the corner"... do you still stand by that?

Anonymous said...

Dear SteveB

It's time to abdicate.

You've tried, but let's be honest, you are way out of your depth, and have been for years.

At least let history record that you did this last one honorable thing. If you don't leave you're going to be remembered as the bungling buffoon that destroyed one of the most powerful companies in history.

Go now, and we'll remember the good times, and your early years; nobody can deny you those - we respect those and your passion - you did a good job. But now, come on, it's not your little toy, it's a company with millions of shareholders. You don't understand the technology, and you don't have a grasp on the economics of the company that has grown under you. You're like a caveman behind the controls of a 747. You might be an super intelligent caveman, but that's not going to help you land a plane when you have no concept of what the controls do or the what the dials mean.

In what universe would the Yahoo deal have made sense? Stop blaming "the economy" like it was the dog that ate your homework. You've had almost unlimited resources; billions and billions of dollars of cash, tens of thousands of the smartest people in the world, and the entire industry in a vice hold. You've missed every technology wave that has waltzed past your nose.

Who would have believed it would have been possible for a monopoly (look I said the word that would have been sinful to mention a dozen years ago) to be destroyed without assistance from any government agency.

Nobody was expecting you to be a God, but at least you should have surrounded yourself with a cabinet of competent upper staff that you empowered and trusted. Who are these people? I can't think of any noteworthy names.

If American Idol has taught us anything, it's that 190% enthusiasm does not make up for 10% talent. (It's also taught us that most of those 10% contestants are pathologically oblivious to their skill level - they are genuinely shocked when the judges ridicule them. I hope you're smarter than that. I hope deep down you know the truth.)

In the last ten years what would you say your greatest achievement has been? No, I can be a little kinder, and less personal, [Jeopardy Music] What has been Microsoft's greatest achievement in the last 10 years? [/Jeopardy Music] You know what, I'm stumped at an answer too! It's not obvious is it? Ask yourself the rhetorical question about Apple? Google? FaceBook?

I know you read this blog, so be a man, go enjoy some (well earned) family time, and put a pilot back behind the controls.

Best Wishes

NBGPH
(Ex-employee, but still shareholder)

Anonymous said...

AFAIK The HTC HD2 will be the only WM6.5 device potentialy upgradeable to WM7: http://www.mobiletechworld.com/2009/10/04/htc-hd2-leo-full-specs-list-windows-mobile-7-support/

Anonymous said...

here's my pick for the next ceo of msft: jeff raikes. ballmer had nowhere to go but up before leaving, except uncle fester occupying the throne who promised not to leave for several years. rather than going to a competitor, my theory is that billg made him president of the gates foundation to keep him on ice and ready to thaw as the next msft ceo.

Steve said...

As an HP Employee, I can't push the blame on windows mobile on MS alone. When it first came out, WinCE was pretty good, worked well for those PDAs that cost, what, $500? Nowadays that kind of cash buys you a netbook or a celeron laptop, and windows mobile has moved down to the phone. Where it does suck
* reminders come up two days later. Better to rely on google calendar to SMS you
* the "I've found a new wifi" dialog pops up while you are driving round entering a phone number
* bleeps you can't turn off
If it had been at apple the thing would not have shipped like this. Steve Jobs would have seen one of the dialogs, missed an appointment -and had the team that worked on that feature fired.
But for the windows mobile phone, the software came out of a corner of redmond, the phone hardware came from somewhere else, everyone knew that Ballmer wouldn't use it, there was no need to worry. They could just do something mediocre and not worry. So mediocre it is.

FWIW, I'm going for a "3" skypephone next: low cost, PAYG, unlimited skype over the 3G network and reasonable date -works as a modem for my linux laptop. No more wince for me.

Anyway, Congrats for Win7: every colleague who runs Vista as their physical OS has upgraded and is really happy. But then they didn't have to pay the ridiculous upgrade fees. HP and MS should say "sorry" to everyone who bought vista, "here is the OS we promised" and give them one, instead of asking for $120.

PeterI said...

On the mobile phone front I'm thinking really hard about the HTC HD2 and I keep thinking that I should try an android based phone before spending that much money (The Acer Liquid A1 might hit the spot) and I'd probably get an OS upgrade.

I can't help wondering if WinMo team has that outsourcing mentality of "feature done" where each item on a long shopping list is done indvidually rather than a holistic overview of the whole phone.

In part the bit of the Windows CE model that is broken is that as a consumer I can't replace my OS on these devices. I don't get a disk of drivers that means I can go and buy WinMo 7 and have it work with my old hardware, I end up relying on an unholy mix of xdadevelopers, carriers and OEMs (to be fair on the last two phones I've had there has eventually been an upgrade 5->6 and 6->6.1). Given quite how few hardware platforms there are for phones out there this shouldn't be impossible. This might fix the relationship at the moment it's one of MS -> OEM -> Carrier -> Me and I'm not sure that I'm being heard.

I'm surprising myself on quite how passionate I am about this. I suspect in part its down to Apples pricing and all round control freakery, Android leaving me worried that I'll spend all my life constantly upgrading to the latest version.

If WinMo 7 is as good as say PocketTwit then I'll be back in a flash but otherwise WinMo is not staying on my phone.

For WinMo7 generation get a team of devs producing a consumer installable version that will convert an Android phone to WinMo7 (or even better an iPhone just to watch Mr Jobs explode) price it at $25 without the office stuff, $50 with and see what happens.

Anonymous said...

+1 to another 10K being eliminated (hope I'm not one of the 10K). This company needs some focus. Partner-level-led randomization of people and priorities is just way too rampant at this company, and part of the culture that needs to be tamed back a bit. I don't see that happening, but shedding 10K+ people sure would help eliminate some people looking for a bee's nest to stir up.

Anonymous said...

He believes we are going to surface like we did in the past

http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/article6865045.ece

John C. Randolph said...

Mr. Ballmer, if you ever wanted to leave on a high-note, this is it.

This is what passes for a high note at Microsoft?

You shipped Windows seven today, and the stock rose by a penny. Eight cents after hours.

As someone in the last thread pointed out, AAPL's up to 75% of MSFT's market cap now. The analysts are calling 12-month targets between $230 and $300 for AAPL. The average target for MSFT is $29.

Ballmer got the big chair in 2000, when the stock price was $58. MSFT has lost forty five percent of its value since then. He has pissed away a hundred billion dollars of shareholders' equity. What's he going to do next, ask Obama to appoint him secretary of the treasury? How about CEO of GM? Where else could he destroy so much wealth in the next ten years?

I've been saying it for years, if MSFT wants anything more than continuing a slow decline, you've got to give Ballmer the sack, and find a technology leader to run the company.

-jcr

Anonymous said...

If you start a new rich desktop application, don't use Adobe Air, but take a look at Qt... Powerfull, fast, pretty, working on all platforms, I love it.

westech said...

Predictions:

Windows 7 will be a modest success, not a game changer. The market has become stagnant, and margins are shrinking.

Earnings announcement will be a downer.

If Mini buys an iPhone and installs iTunes he will no longer say the Apple software is inelegant and buggy.

Anonymous said...

Open source parts of Win Mo. That's the way to quickly attract developers. Learn from Android, Maemo and OSX.
There's got to be better text antialiasing in Win7 - as good as OSX's one. Why do you think I've installed Safari to surf our SharePoint intranet?
Make Powershell 2.0 final edition workable on older platforms (XP, 2000); we want to have ssh-like functionality for our existing assets. That's how you gain dev mindshare.
The basics, people!

TraderBots said...

Hey Mini! I am so bonkers excited about Windows 7. After Vista, well ... let's just say it was a dark period for Microsoft.

For some reason, it feels like Microsoft is entering a golden age and things are starting to work out again.

Only if that darn mobile strategy can shape up. Lots of crazy competition from Apple and now Google. Microsoft needs to stay relevant in this category.

Trader Bots

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Knowing that we are wary of more layoffs SLT, please clarify the reason for the earnings call moved to Friday morning?

I hope it would be to give Windows the full day of glory which may even help stock price if earnings are also good.

If there are layoffs, please tell us the plan and be open about it. If we have sneaky layoffs at random times everyone will be watching their backs and not be as effective as they should be.

Anonymous said...

oddly enought i too abandoned my faith in Windows Phone, er, Mobile, er CS... and bought an iPhone.

No regrets, other than waiting so long.

Anonymous said...

For the casual application for the PC go native with C++ and ATL/WTL. Nobody I know wants .NET or Java for their desktop apps. How I will hate Visual Studio 2010... Why did you have to go an use .NET/WPF? It's going to be the same slow memory hogging pain as Eclipse and Netbeans is.

Anonymous said...

My comment is on Windows 7. I really do like Windows 7 for some very basic reasons. It is very stable, it has very few incompatibility issues, and most all the features I use are easily found.

Although it is not a Win 3 to Win 95 transformation, it does have incrementally new and good features and it is secure. What I like most is that it WORKs and that I feel comfortable on it.

I took the training from roleguide and can confidently demo the seven cool highlight features. Assuming I still have a job next week, I will:).

mdi said...

Mini,

With your new iPhone, you could try developing applications using C# on the iPhone with what critics have been calling "The most amazing developer technology ever created by Man" -- MonoTouch.

Ok, no critic has said that, that is what I told my wife. But still, welcome to the world of the iPhone!

Miguel.

Anonymous said...

no official layoffs on Nov 4th but people losing jobs because of huge re-orgs is higly likely.

Anonymous said...

"who would be the right choice to lead Microsoft?"

Bob Herbold, with a mandate to restructure MSFT into a holding company, spinning off Windows+S&T, Office/Biz, Mobile, Live, and Xbox as separate operating companies.

mdi said...

Mini,

When you bring up the question of which platform to use, I think it is fair to say that ATL is out of the question.

Your choices for a desktop app from Microsoft are realistically: Winforms, WPF or Silverlight.

And depending on what kind of reach you want to achieve, you are going to have to pick your tool.

WPF and Winforms are desktop technologies and share the pain of every other desktop app today: most likely requires an installer, upgrading your users is a pain, adoption is slowed down by fear of installing random junk from the internet.

So Silverlight is really the only choice that Microsoft has left on the table, except you guys are artificially limiting its potential to avoid undermining WPF/Windows.

The Zune is for now a lost cause.

If you want to build games, do a lot of 3D, use physics and so on, Unity3D gives you cross-platform development, plug-in deployment and reach to the iPhone today.

Unity is what XNA should have been, and it is powered by Mono, the open source and cross platform .NET runtime so you can still use C# and .NET languages.

Samuel said...

yeah thats great, i agree to you all,might be we have to look more forward for this new OS,
you can also drop some of your ideas on my post http://battlegroundpcworld.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Mini, if you hate iTunes on Windows - why not get a Mac right away?
;-)
With Snow Leopard's Exchange Integration, the migration-pain shouldn't be that big.

Just never show up with it in a meeting with SB...

Anonymous said...

Sorry. Resubmitting because notepad destroyed line breaks on the previous version. If destroyed here then do not approve the comment.


My latest act of company loyalty: getting a powerful HTC WinMo 6 device. It was cut-off the 6.5 train, and soon, I'm going to be buying a new phone.

And I'm going to buy an iPhone.


Agreed.

Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I am not sleep-writing for this blog. I have very similar thoughts.

One of my biggest pain points is Mobile (the other being our leadership). I have went through a lot with CE/iPAQ and WinMo over the decade. I recently learned that my powerful HTC WM6 device, which was purchased earlier this year and runs 6.5 beautifully, was cut off the 6.5 train. I don't think they make a profanity strong enough to express what I thought at that very moment. It was conveyed in the most matter-of-fact way as if this was normal and acceptable practice. All loyalty to WinMo went out the window at that instant. Placing the blame on the carrier shows how little influence the WinMo team has on industry players. If that will continue to be the business model you follow then let me tell you that model does not work for me particularly in this economy. I am done with WinMo. Next device renewal window through my carrier comes about the time Apple announces their next generation iPhone (funny how they release SOFTWARE annually that largely runs on older devices!).

A comment on my other pain point: Leadership. One of our company values is to increase value to shareholders. When the MSPoll rolls around, please think very hard before answering the question which asks if the executive leadership team acts in accordance with company values. Here is a thought: Put a SOFTWARE ENGINEER in charge of a SOFTWARE COMPANY (Sinofsky? Ozzie?).

I do not know how leadership can keep a straight face when they make comments about employee use of competing devices. Where they not at the helm when our product offering decided to take a four year nap? Is this not their fault? Because it means they were either asleep at the wheel or snowed over by that product team.

BTW, on a more positive note, I love my Zune HD. Awesome device. Light, responsive. WinMo should take a big hint. Zune software is so much better to use then iTunes.

Anonymous said...

"He believes we are going to surface like we did in the past"

He thought iPhone wouldn't get any significant share too.

Anonymous said...

"Best Wishes

NBGPH
(Ex-employee, but still shareholder)"

+1, but worth +1000

Anonymous said...

"Ballmer got the big chair in 2000, when the stock price was $58. MSFT has lost forty five percent of its value since then. He has pissed away a hundred billion dollars of shareholders' equity."

55% and several hundered million in shareholder's equity, actually.

John Gordon said...

Sad to read that Live Writer is on the dead man walking list.

It's the only Windows app that makes me want to run Fusion on my Mac. There's absolutely nothing comparable on OS X, it shows why the Cloud still sucks for many tasks.

And yet it's been pretty obvious for some months that it's doomed.

It's a small thing compared to Vista, but the story of WLW is also a good sign of what's wrong with Microsoft. If Ballmer is replaced, maybe the next CEO can drill down into the WLW story and draw some real lessons.

Anonymous said...

"And I can not imagine that we (and by "we" I mean the Microsoft Senior Leadership Team) would be so dumb as to release our flagship product on a Thursday and turn around and fire a bunch of people the next day"

Well, they were dumb enough to schedule a flagship launch on the same day as an earnings report to begin with. But there probably isn't a mass layoff coming Friday. This looks like an attempt to let 7 have its launch without having to compete with another bad earnings report.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please update when MS WinMo will suspend the internal only hiring policy? What is the reason for doing this? Very frustrating ... lot of good jobs

Anonymous said...

For WinMo7 generation get a team of devs producing a consumer installable version that will convert an Android phone to WinMo7 (or even better an iPhone just to watch Mr Jobs explode) price it at $25 without the office stuff, $50 with and see what happens.

I'm still amazed at the delusions of grandeur at Microsoft. You guys still think you can reverse-engineer anything; make anything; improve anything...everyone else is inept and you guys are the geniuses.

You have to ignore a decade of catastrophic failure at exactly those tasks in order to still believe this. From a technical and an organizational standpoint, those days are long gone (if they even ever happened according to that fantastical, hubristic template).

If Steve Jobs offered "a team of devs" an opportunity to do exactly what you said, even with complete iPhone documentation, do you really think anything would result beyond delays, finger-pointing, scaled-back promises, combative meetings, and an embarrassing, buggy, slow product that you can't trust with mission-critical data?

Anonymous said...

Windows Phone 6.5 is leading more people to iPhone than keeping people loyal. Why those senior leader from Robbie's division are earning so much money and bonus (almost 10 years of my low IC income) and doing this really bad job.

Anonymous said...

mini declaring to buy iphone. ballmaer's hate towards iphone will double.

don't buy it mini or buy it but retract your announcement of buying it. who knows, ballmer may turn off the corpnet to iphones.

Anonymous said...

"Ballmer got the big chair in 2000, when the stock price was $58. MSFT has lost forty five percent of its value since then."

Also, the stock split 2:1 during Ballmer's watch. Another proof of his incompetence, right?

Anonymous said...

Any other managers out there that have been ask to stack rank? All the trio managers on our team just got asked and we have never been ask to do this outside annual review. I'm in OSD

Anonymous said...

I think I'm selling stock one way or the other tomorrow, either thanks to tiny spike from Win7 availability, or a last-minute ditch before the earnings report screws us.

Anonymous said...

Anyone ever think that the earnings call is early because Ballmer and others will be on the East coast for the launch event? It's possible they will still be there Friday and maybe want to get it done early so that they can come back early or something.

Allen said...

I recommend that folks respond to this blog.

http://cultbash.blogspot.com/

Most of you need to realize that Microsoft doesn't really matter. This will prove out more and more over time. The point is to dispell the false sense of importance and power - which is mostly perpetuated by the Microsofties themselves isolated in their own little world. So, I agree that we should all have a little fun and prove some points with the Windows 7 marketing blitz as Claire mentions in her post.

Anonymous said...

>> And I'm going to buy an iPhone.

And so it begins. Then you'll discover how much it kicks ass and buy a MacBook Pro, or if you're stingy with money, a Mac mini (no pun intended). Then, after the initial transition, you will realize that Win 7 is not as much of an epic win as it seems from within the Microsoft campus, and Apple hardware kicks ass so hard that anything less is not an option.

John C. Randolph said...

Open source parts of Win Mo. That's the way to quickly attract developers.

Publishing the source is wholly insufficient. It's not enough to be able to read and modify the code, the code has to be worth using in the first place. Plenty of open source projects have died on the vine for exactly that reason.

-jcr

John C. Randolph said...

Put a SOFTWARE ENGINEER in charge of a SOFTWARE COMPANY

with you so far...

(Sinofsky? Ozzie?).

...and then you go off into the weeds. Try someone who's done something worthwhile in this century.

-jcr

Anonymous said...

Mini - who is saying that Live Writer is dead man walking? The team was at the Seattle WordCamp a couple of weeks ago where they demonstrated some new plug-ins for Word Press. I thought they gave a great talk. The guys and gal that were there did not seem like they were going to lose their jobs anytime soon. Here is a link to the new plug-ins http://windowslivewire.spaces.live.com/Blog/cns!2F7EB29B42641D59!41603.entry

Anonymous said...

I too finally gave up the ghost of WinMo thsi summer and purchased an iPhone 3Gs when it came out. I don't think anyone was a stronger supporter of the WinMo platform than myself but it just became comical trying to explain why almost no innovation had happened on the platform and it was really only usable when you tacked on other people's front-ends and menu systems. Being an XDA regular, I had been running 6.5 for a while and could not believe that this was shown as an advance? Better that it was termed 6.01 and shot before birth. Alas, things like that don't happen in the hallowed halls of Redmond...instead we get leadership like Ballmer trashing the use of a clearly better platform. Perhaps he was afraid that Softie's would see the light and simply walk away from the company?

So, now that I have become an iPhone fanboy...I have to say it is almost without regret and there is little if any chance that I will ever switch back to the WinMo platform. Yes, there are a few things that I preferred on the WinMo platform (just the open nature to start) but nearly all of these issues have been dealt with by shelling out a few duckets to fellow devs like myself who have great ideas on how to advance the platform.

Time to give it up on WinMo MS...I bet you could unleash some great apps for that platform if you allowed the teams to do it.

BTW, love W7...so no Macs in sight.

Anonymous said...

$120 to $220 for an upgrade is high considering what a time sink Vista is.

If anything, Microsoft owes me money for the amount of time I've wasted with cut&paste support zombies trying to get software that works fine on Windows XP working on Vista (some of which still doesn't work).

Omega said...

Mini, it's never to offend, but I have to throw down the tunnel vision flag here.

Windows 7 is without even thinking waaay better than Vista. Faster HDD access times, slightly lower memory use, APIs are a bit zippier so applications run more smoothly...But it still stops there.

Microsoft is still forcing Vista down peoples' throats with the release of Windows 7 by making them only see it as compared to Vista.

When most are still content with and holding onto XP, the comparison falls flat on its face. Windows 7 clocks in at least three times the resource usage as XP.

Knowing that, explain to me the marketing strategy behind convincing people to pay (lots of!!) money to have a slower computer?

Anyway, I don't want this all to go in the garbage. A step in the right direction is exactly that and I would like to see it continue.

But you have to do something about that tunnel vision:

Microsoft continues to intentionally ignore their competition.
In case you've forgotten, there are many other things out there to boot my PC regardless of whether its x86, x64 or ARM.
If the web browser is your benchmark, chromium is running well on Linux and after a quick few boots either way, my "google street view" is way faster under a unix based system than an MS one.
(Cue the un-technical army of enthusiasts to pile up on the speed & performance defense, that never gets old!)

I want to see less desperate marketing from Microsoft and more honesty.

Windows 7 is good enough that I'll continue to use my copy of Ultimate from time to time to make sure I'm up to date and test on IE...

Anonymous said...

Is Windows NTE the next round of layoffs?

Anonymous said...

If Ballmer had a bit of honest self criticism in his body he would have left long ago. If the BOD wouldn't be hijacked by the notion of a "family business" in which Ballmer is the son, he would have been fired long ago. That graph on fake steve post comparing the market value of apple, google and ms in the last ten years is simply indisputable.
But the real question is to what extent is Ballmer solely responsible? I personally think MS has a cultural problem that goes way beyond Ballmer. I've been over 10 years in this company in many roles and products and I still haven't found a team with the clarity and focus to deliver competitive and innovative value on time. Many teams manage to deliver on time, but only very few (none if you take acquisitions out) actually bring innovation to the market place. Most just follow, matching competition features and value prop or in the best case, marginally improving. It takes a few months for the competition to tip back the scale.
The me too strategy after apple is painful to watch, at every level, OS features, distribution models (apps store, physical stores) mobile phones, music.....
Someone with a brain in the BOD has to wonder, what is the ROI of the multi billion annual research budget? Why companies like apple and google can completely outsmart MS in innovation with research budgets several orders of magnitude less?
I think all this goes beyond Ballmer, but there is not objective doubt possible, that Ballmer has probably been the worst CEO in corporate history.

Anonymous said...

I worked in DevDiv a couple of years back. We started with a team of 25 people working on a project. An year later we managed to build a couple of broken prototypes before the management raelised this is going nowhere and canned the whole project. Everyone was absorbed in different reams. What a waste of time and money.

Anonymous said...

"Windows Mobile Phone 6.5 or whatever the hell it's called didn't win any "Wows""

WinMo 6.5 is waste. Quality of these phones is poor beyond description. It reflects caliber of Test Managers in WinMo dedicated teams under tomgi, think they can fool management by sending Red-Green-Yellow status reports. I don't blame them for milking cash cows (Windows and Office), they are just making a living, direct managers of these Test managers should be held accountable because they have not been able to find out why quality is so bad despite these status reports for years. It's time to replace Senior test managers with fresh blood, think outside the box.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Let's hope Win 7 is successful. Having used it from the earliest Beta I consider the product head and shoulders above Vista. That said it is what Vista should have been 3 years ago. And AAPL share appreciation since 1996 has been 2500%, MSFT 500%. In the past 5 years APPL has hugely outperformed MSFT in that department. Of course none of that is Steve's fault or Robbie's fault. They are just tossed by external forces, poor unfortunate defenceless bastards that they are.

Apparently accoutability stops at the lower ranks. SteveB: do the honorable thing - quit. Now. While there is still a company left for you to love.

Who da'Punk said...

(Whoops, didn't mean to let that comment through. Cleaned up. I'm CRF'ing the 11/4 layoff rumors for now so you can go there - http://minimsftcrf.blogspot.com - to read those for now.)

Anonymous said...

you should start a thread about china. world's largest internet, pc user market.

Anonymous said...

>> Can someone please update when MS WinMo
>> will suspend the internal only hiring
>> policy? What is the reason for doing this?

Could this be a machiavellian plan to collect as many turds in a team as humanly possible and then fire the entire team?

Anonymous said...

"If Mini buys an iPhone and installs iTunes he will no longer say the Apple software is inelegant and buggy."

I *love* my iPhone, but iTunes on the PC is inelegant and buggy. I actually hate iTunes with a raging passion -- it's shit.

Apple has plenty of problems that are beginning to surface more and more as it expands its market share... for a long time it had the luxury of being a niche brand, but no longer.

Anonymous said...

"And so it begins. Then you'll discover how much it kicks ass and buy a MacBook Pro, or if you're stingy with money, a Mac mini (no pun intended). Then, after the initial transition, you will realize that Win 7 is not as much of an epic win as it seems from within the Microsoft campus, and Apple hardware kicks ass so hard that anything less is not an option.

Until your new fancy Mac that comes with Snow Leopard is totally hosed right out of the box because the OS is still a piece of shit, and then along with all of the other people having terrible experiences with SL you'll stand in line at the Genius Bar for 3 hours waiting to be told they have no idea what's wrong.

Anonymous said...

"It's time to replace Senior test managers with fresh blood, think outside the box."

Amen!

Managing up/sideways, sending useless status reports is primary function of these guys. It shows in quality of products shipped from this Org. Is anyone listening?

Anonymous said...

If we have a bad earnings announcement, and it kills the "Win7 is Wonderful" buzz, there will be a lot of people calling for Ballmer's head on a stick.

Anonymous said...

Okay, WM needs work, but there are far too many people throwing stones that don’t know jack about this ecosystem. WM is going to come around. Many things had to happen before MS could get away with the things they are doing now. When MS got in the mobile game, it was completely a device and operator controlled model. MS had no clout and was in no position to do anything except take orders from the OEMs and operator who thought they know something about building next gen phones. MS had to play nice to get their foot in the game. The only reason Apple broke the mold is because the ecosystem was in competitive meltdown with operators trying to get a foothold over each other… ATT sold their soul and gave up control NO operator ever dreamed about before to carry the iPhone. If Microsoft had tried to build their own phone and control app distribution, they would have been in court for the past 5 years and cut off by every device maker out there. It would have been game over. See ya. All this stuff had to happen for the ecosystem to warm up to the idea of Microsoft calling the shots to compete. Now that Apple changed the game, software makers have control that was unheard of before. Device makers are listening. This game is just heating up folks. You can’t upgrade your phone because device makers don’t make any money doing it. There is no incentive. Apple makes their money off the software and services. Mini – you have no clue. Go sell your soul and buy an iPhone… then let Apple dictate everything about how you use it, the apps you install, what you can and cannot do. You should at least understand the business before you start talking smack about it. Yes, WM should be better but what they are doing is WAY more complicated than what Apple did. Mobile and location services is a business goldmine. The global mobile footprint and sell-through potential is bigger than Windows itself. If anyone counts Microsoft out, they are being very short-sighted. This game is just getting good. There is a bigger move going on right before your eyes you are totally missing. The biggest mobile space right now is not controlled by Apple or Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

"Ballmer got the big chair in 2000, when the stock price was $58. MSFT has lost forty five percent of its value since then."

Also, the stock split 2:1 during Ballmer's watch. Another proof of his incompetence, right?


Look out, everyone: we've got a master of Socratic rhetoric in our midst. You're not going to win a debate with this luminary.

The stock has underperformed; it's irrefutable. You really think you're going to "demonstrate" that it didn't underperform because of the split?

Anonymous said...

Amazing comments. I always felt that I am the one who is feeling this is not the MS I joined 15 years ago. I left after 10 years for a great opportunity, did well and then came back lured by MS recruiting with a big signin bonus and 3 level jump(biggest mistake of my life). I should have smelled something wrong when they gave me the job with 3 interviews and everything I asked for and that too in a hurry. I had a much tougher intervirw 15 years ago when I came in at L59(old lvl 10)

Ever since I have been shaking my head at disbelief in the sheer incompetency of the leaders in my group and other groups in my division. All the GM's and PUMs live in a bubble. They should see the real world outside to see how businesses survive and compete.

What MS needs to do is start pruning all the people who have been in the company for more than 15 years and drawing big salaries.

Bottom line is that MS is too good a pay master for people above lvl 65. I can bet that no other company will pay $200K in salary/bonus to these lvl 66/67 for the work they do,so they wont leave until they are shown the door. What is happening is corporate welfare.

If you look at the RIF stats I can bet that less than 5% are > L64. So the top management and middle management stay, and the real guys who do the work are being laid off.

Anonymous said...

Managing up/sideways, sending useless status reports is primary function of these guys. It shows in quality of products shipped from this Org. Is anyone listening?

Management doesn't listen to testers.

Anonymous said...

What is happening is corporate welfare.

No, corporate welfare is what happens when corporations get handouts from the taxpayers. What you're describing is simply a corporation doing a poor job of setting compensation levels.

-jcr

Anonymous said...

http://gizmodo.com/5387238/ballmer-talks-natal-says-blu+ray-add+on-for-xbox-coming

Blu-ray drives coming for Xbox.

Guess we like Sony again.

Anonymous said...

"I hate to think that I'll be installing Apple software on one of my computers..."

http://www.doubletwist.com/dt/Home/Index.dt

Anonymous said...

Okay, WM needs work

If the current round of WM 6.5 devices is a result of MS "calling the shots", then there is definitely no more hope left for WinMo.

Anonymous said...

Managing up/sideways, sending useless status reports is primary function of these guys. It shows in quality of products shipped from this Org. Is anyone listening?

Is this a problem only in WinMo? I find it a problem in many test groups. In my group, the dev manager does provide meaningful feedback on design docs, does code review just to keep up to speed on the changes to system and is a efficient manager too. So are the dev leads who are good programmers and help IC's with design and are good leads. But not so in the test org. All they want to know is status. No useful feedback on test plans, no test code reviews and test case reviews other than we will cut P2 items if there is no time. And they get rewarded for their mediocore work.

Anonymous said...

If you look at the RIF stats I can bet that less than 5% are > L64. So the top management and middle management stay, and the real guys who do the work are being laid off.



You are spot on! I left MS several years ago and work for another tech company in the Seattle metro area. When the big layoff happened we saw some resumes come our way and the typical profile was IC with close to or above 10 years of seniority.

Our company regularly hires former MS employees and over the years I've noticed that while ICs almost always know their stuff, performance is a lot more random when it comes to managers. Some of those guys who were allowed to fail for years without repercussions at MS found out first hand that the outside world can be a very harsh and unforgiving place.

Anonymous said...

The layoffs is to let people aware of the close relationship between the financial report and your future.
If no layoffs happening this time, I don't think people have reason to be happy because this indicates a more frustrated waiting.
But one another thing is, people are afraid of layoffs, does that mean most of us are reluctant to leave the "Great" company?

Anonymous said...

Any other managers out there that have been ask to stack rank?

I've been in groups that do stacks quarterly.

Has there been a change in your upper management since last year and had someone come in from another org that brought this practice with them? Else, maybe HR is driving the stack.

Anonymous said...

"Also, the stock split 2:1 during Ballmer's watch. Another proof of his incompetence, right?"

Absolutely. That 2:1 was both unnecessary and unwise. But the total decline of 55% since Ballmer became CEO, failed split stunts inclusive, is the real proof.

Anonymous said...

you should start a thread about china. world's largest internet, pc user market.

Thread will be started when china starts paying for software.

Anonymous said...

Okay, WM needs work, but there are far too many people throwing stones that don’t know jack about this ecosystem. WM is going to come around. Many things had to happen before MS could get away with the things they are doing now. When MS got in the mobile game, it was completely a device and operator controlled model.

So many excuses. Why do Apple, Palm and Google have what it takes to get carriers to ship powerful mobile OSes but not Microsoft? How can a dead man walking company like Palm outdeliver Microsoft when it comes to modern phone OSes? We've gotten used to being out-innovated by Google and Apple, but Palm...freaking Palm?

Everyone in a management position in WinMo that has been there for more than three years should be shown the door. Clearly fresh blood is needed. what we really need is external hires who know how to deliver to fill the ranks. Not our current plan of pulling in rest and vesters from all over the company to overstaff the org.

Anonymous said...

But one another thing is, people are afraid of layoffs, does that mean most of us are reluctant to leave the "Great" company?


In this economy it is harder to find an alternate job. Once the economy will recover a large number of competent people will leave this great(!!??) company. A large number of incompetent people are blessed with promotion and overpayment because of the political environment. only those type of people will remain. Also in good old days most of the qualified fresh grads would dream to have a job interview with microsoft. But I hope Microsoft will not be blessed with this trend in future.

Anonymous said...

jcr: You are right regarding Ozzie. Sinofsky on the other hand is not too bad. In the future I will be more responsible when grabbing for names "in the moment."

10/21/09 9:13pm:
The only reason Apple broke the mold is because the ecosystem was in competitive meltdown with operators trying to get a foothold over each other… ATT sold their soul

No, sir. ATT sold their soul to get their hands on the most beautiful device and phone software on the planet. After all, VZW is crippling devices on their network left and right. I am a long-time WM user (still am) and the UI on the fruit phone is outstanding. In the years we led the market, we never brought anything like it to the carriers. Instead, I watched us debate why we made OS and SDK design choices with the developers at Mobile DevConnections or MEDC.

iTunes is a disaster on the PC. It makes me never want to use OSX.

Now that Apple changed the game, software makers have control that was unheard of before.

Again, we were in the market for awhile and unable to change the game. Why? Too busy spending the weekends on our Failboat (laurels, let me rest on them.) Face it, the WM team pulled a Netscape. Apple pulled an IE in response to our Netscape.

There is a bigger move going on right before your eyes you are totally missing.

Excuse me, sir, while I laugh my ass off. I will believe it when I see it. Nothing we have done in the past has ever delivered because we suffer from v1.0-itis. No one in product leadership has the balls to chart a master vision. We just throw a v1.0 to the masses and see if they bite. No cool features. Just a bunch of easy to implement stuff.

The biggest mobile space right now is not controlled by Apple or Microsoft.

Are we talking about the 700Mhz spectrum from Auction 73?

To All: A lot of comment about senior leadership. Captain Ahab needs a new Moby Dick every couple of years. Back in the day it was Sun and Java. Then IBM, Redhat, and Linux. Now it is search and devices. Leadership (not just Steve here) is suppose to have vision. Ability to look at the market and emerging trends and spot the product potential. We waste a lot of money in catch-up. Those days are long gone because everyone compares you to the market leader. Leadership team has not learned that yet.

Decreasing stock value. Poor vision. Sorry, not seeing SteveB as "the man" anymore.

And sorry, I am not seeing the results of $6B (annually!) of R&D. This year it will be $7B or $8B?

Signed,
- 10/21/09-1020am (aka Jedediah)

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous from Wednesday, October 21, 2009 9:13:00 PM
"You should at least understand the business before you start talking smack about it."

There are some good points in this post, but I want to point out that they're strictly from an executive/company perspective.

From a consumer's perspective, why should anybody need to understand the business before complaining about the actual *consumer marketplace* impact?

I don't really care if Microsoft had these disadvantages and that Apple was able to get away with it... As a consumer, I want a usable phone with a nice interface and useful software. Bottom line. And WM doesn't provide that (yet).

Anonymous said...

I sometimes wonder all these muscical chairs being run and the exec shuffle happen, the old boys club follow the exec as he goes around. I can pin point 4 partner level people just collecting pay checks.

I also see that many capable senior level guys, who have accomplished a lot in the good days, just being delegated to running daily triage or talking to one partner etc. You dont pay $200K in compensation to run daily triage.

This company needs to trim down in pay and benefits and make it at par with other companies in the area and then these middle and upper mgmt will leave and make room for the others to grow.

skc said...

I think it's pretty cool that everyone has already written Microsofts obituary. It'll be that much more hillarious to hear the backtracking when (yes, when) they steer the ship around.

FARfetched said...

Hi Mini, and welcome (shortly) to the world of iPhone. I don't know what to tell you about iTunes on a PC; I've installed it on an old XP box that I use as little as possible overall, so it doesn't get much of a workout. But I wonder if part of your frustration with iTunes is that it doesn't work the way you expect it to work. Mac users have had that experience for many years, having to deal with straight ports from Windows that break pretty much every guideline there is. Again, welcome to our world. (To be clear, I understand that most of this is not Microsoft's fault, and the MacBU seems to "get it" better than most software corps, but more on that shortly.)

Congrats to you and the rest of your co-workers on getting #7 out. Maybe it'll be your lucky number? :-) A couple co-workers of mine already have it on their work laptops, looks like we'll skip Vista entirely. The aforementioned XP box is an ancient Dell laptop, which ran OK with W2K but is a dog with XP. I think it'll get retired, which is OK with me. Maybe IT will give me a shiny new laptop with #7 on it… they hate me because I won't let go of my MacBook Pro, and maybe they can entice me over to the dark side? But you're dead right about making sure the thing works off-net. I don't trust the cloud for critical (i.e. paid) work, never did. I routinely violated corporate mandates in the past to "work directly off the server" because the network became a not-work quite often. Even now, when it's more reliable, the server is my backup and transfer point, nothing more.

Mobile… I actually believe those who say the carriers won't let users upgrade their phones. I work in the cable industry and those guys are pretty anal about upgrading stuff that generally works, too. OTOH, that doesn't completely let you guys off the hook — a stable and well thought-out OS wouldn't need to be upgraded often. I think one of the other commenters got it right; y'all need to look at how the whole thing works together instead of having walled-off groups focusing only on their own feature(s).

As for who should replace Ballmer, I'd stump for whoever it was that managed the Entourage development over in MacBU. I actually enjoy using Entourage, and I've never said that about any other Microsoft product. It does what it's supposed to, and does it without being obnoxious. I've written a couple scripts to manage my deadlines better, including auto-generating a status report email for my boss. All sorts of awesome. Naturally, it's going to get dumped in favor of a native Outlook client… here's hoping it doesn't break everything good about Entourage.

Anonymous said...

"Everyone in a management position in WinMo that has been there for more than three years should be shown the door. "

True.

This should have been done 3 years back, it is still true, if no action is taken, will be true after 4 years.

jon said...

Hey, how come everybody's ignoring this?

Joy. There's a concept just asking for a planning pillar. How strangely would your coworkers look at you during spec reviews if you asked how joyful the feature happened to be?

Well said.

Congrats to the Windows 7 team for a solid product that should remind people that Microsoft can do great operating systems. Now what?

Anonymous said...

>> If the current round of WM 6.5 devices is a result of MS "calling the shots", then there is definitely no more hope left for WinMo.
WM 6.5 is not v.next. It’s a stop gap designed to buy the platform some time without breaking everything that runs on it.

>> I don't really care if Microsoft had these disadvantages and that Apple was able to get away with it... As a consumer, I want a usable phone with a nice interface and useful software. Bottom line. And WM doesn't provide that (yet).
I think everyone would agree, but you can’t screw the same partners that are key to bigger win. Apple won the sprint, not the marathon. People complain about WM not doing what Apple did… screw the partners, build your own phone! That’s short term thinking. MCB is behind because what they are about is way more complex and takes time, not because it’s run by idiots. Look, iPhone is a great consumer device, but you can do it yourself or you can play with partners. Pick one.

>> No, sir. ATT sold their soul to get their hands on the most beautiful device and phone software on the planet.
I’m sure they tell themselves that every month as they pay for infrastructure to help their bogged down network and watch Apple collect their customer $$$. I wonder how they differentiate themselves when Apple expands the same device to competitive networks.

>> Excuse me, sir, while I laugh my ass off. I will believe it when I see it…Are we talking about the 700Mhz spectrum from Auction 73?
I’m saying mobile devices overall outnumber PCs 4 to 1. There is a revenue sell-through tied to a mobile device that is easier to tap than a PC. Do the math. WM and iPhones as they stand today are small fries. This is the pre-show. Let the games begin.

Anonymous said...

"This year it will be $7B or $8B?"

9B+.

Mikhail said...

I just posted the video of my presentation about Program Management at Microsoft, offering insights I gleaned from my years at the company.

http://bit.ly/1ZqZjh

Anonymous said...

"Ballmer got the big chair in 2000, when the stock price was $58. MSFT has lost forty five percent of its value since then."

Also, the stock split 2:1 during Ballmer's watch. Another proof of his incompetence, right?

Look out, everyone: we've got a master of Socratic rhetoric in our midst. You're not going to win a debate with this luminary.

The stock has underperformed; it's irrefutable. You really think you're going to "demonstrate" that it didn't underperform because of the split?

-----
If you adjust 58 for the 2:1 split it is 29, which is exactly the strike price I got when I joined back then.

Anonymous said...

But one another thing is, people are afraid of layoffs, does that mean most of us are reluctant to leave the "Great" company?


Microsoft was my dream company, but after performing few years in the company, I am still struggling for good rating and promotion (Even though I got many awards by the company......still not entitled for promotion or good rating....why different criteria for different people). I don’t know whom to blame - my manager, my dev manager, principal dev manager or someone from leadership or HR (Oops sorry HR is nothing in MS). Do Microsoft really understand and address WHI or MS Poll concerns ? I doubt.

They recruit college hire every year and I guess that’s how they are able to maintain good WHI and good MS Poll results. Sorry, I am not blaming the college hires as they don’t know the taste of outside world. College hire may not be able to raise the valid concerns as they are getting 10 l.p.a in their first job, enjoying Microsoft premises with low expectations in return from the company. I doubt that company also share the actual concerns raised by the employee in WHI or MS Poll.

Most of the promotions are happening based on politics, groupism, regional influences or given as a bribe to some non-deserving people so that they should support non-deserving higher level people directly or indirectly (thru better WHI or MS Poll results). I feel the leadership and HR is equally responsible for all these (HR, hehehee...heehee...eheh... the non-existing entity in the company). I don’t know what role they play ? This must be the first biggest company in the world where HR plays no role and things are driven by stupid Dev Managers or Principal Dev Managers.

No enquiry at all for any stupid things done by Managers, Dev Managers or Principal Dev Managers. These people hire talented people every year to rate them as 10% under-performer, so that their JUNK GROUP remain with the company for long run to support them in their success.


MICROSOFT, If you are really great, please do some scrutiny for all the actual contributions, ratings, promotions in last 3-4 years specially for MSIT(Hyderabad),India Office. You will get the real data, otherwise you will lose lots of talented people in near future.

Anonymous said...

Until your new fancy Mac that comes with Snow Leopard is totally hosed right out of the box because the OS is still a piece of shit, and then along with all of the other people having terrible experiences with SL you'll stand in line at the Genius Bar for 3 hours waiting to be told they have no idea what's wrong.

The percentage of people who have had problems with SL has been extremely small. There'd be a blogstorm of titanic proportions, if your story were representative of the norm.

For those wondering how delusional some people at Microsoft can be, I think your quote offers some interesting insight. I wonder how many decision-makers at Microsoft think this kind of thing, to convince themselves that they're still doing okay... and how many actually *believe* it?

Anonymous said...

Windows 7 is available today officially to (most of) the entire world, and after all the hoopla the stock goes up 0.01 for the day, no typo here, that is just ONE miserable cent (+0.04%).
Congratulations to all at MS, you guys really, and I mean really, as in literally, suck.
-- JAFMH (Just Another Frustrated Msft Shareholder)

Anonymous said...

"Okay, WM needs work, but there are far too many people throwing stones that don’t know jack about this ecosystem. WM is going to come around."

Without knowing the inside details, I've assumed that WM6.5 etal are pathetic because the real focus and effort are devoted toward WM7 with Silverlight 3, Bing everywhere, completely multitouch friendly UI, and a totally new shell.

Is this roughly correct? And if so, will WM6.5 native apps still be supported in this brave new world?

Anonymous said...

Windows 7 is without even thinking waaay better than Vista. Faster HDD access times, slightly lower memory use, APIs are a bit zippier so applications run more smoothly...But it still stops there.

You should run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor before deciding to spend money on an upgrade.

It says my HP laptop will not work with Windows 7.

Anonymous said...

Windows 7 must be pretty impressive if even Linus Torvalds is endorsing it:

http://russelljohn.net/journal/2009/10/windows-7-rocks/

Yup, that's him!

Anonymous said...

you're asking about CRF comments regarding the impending layoffs. Look at for example bldg 31, room 2147. It's been reserved from 11/3 to 11/5. That's a LONG meeting, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

you should start a thread about china. world's largest internet, pc user market.

Thread will be started when china starts paying for software.


Exactly the kind of penetrating analysis that we can expect out of Redmond lately. China software market is growing over 20% per year and according to IDC, our share there is the lowest of anywhere in the world.

You guys need to crawl out of your holes, this ain't 1995 anymore and while win7 is a great product, the world is a different place. NOBODY has a pure software business anymore except us and a couple of niche players.

Anonymous said...

conf room 5/2218 blocked off on 11/4 all day. Coincidence?

Anonymous said...

iPhone vs. WinMobile: I recently went through a month of "what WinMobile device should I buy?", and finally made the same decision as you. So I bought an iPhone 3Gs. And another for my wife. And told a coworker down the hall, who I saw later the same day carrying one herself, with the comment "why did I wait so long to buy this amazing device?" Yeah. We have lots of catching up to do.

Ballmer: I actualy voted against him on the stock proxy vote. Maybe other people will too. He's a big boy, he'll be fine in life, but when APPL had a 100%+ gain YoY, while MSFT only rose 20%, it's time for a shakeup. Even if it was a terrible year for the economy.

Win7: Speaking of stocks, the Vista Sidebar Stocks Widget doesn't work in Win7. WTF? Oh, but I get Bing on the Desktop? Really? I mean, REALLY? The docking bar floating thumbnails are nice, but I miss my locked quick launch icons, especially when I need to fire up multiple instances of the same app. Maybe there's a way to do this that I haven't figured out, but isn't this supposed to be the "easy and fun" OS? Oh yeah, and it locked up yesterday on my office desktop. Had to hard reboot.

Still... happy to be part of the Empire!

Anonymous said...

>>Until your new fancy Mac that comes with Snow Leopard is totally hosed right out of the box

In what way? I'm writing this from a Mac running Snow Leopard, and the upgrade could not be more smooth. And I got a few new features to what already was (for a consumer) a superior OS. Task based parallelism, working GPGPU API, a new, superior set of compilers (clang + llvm, read up on it), and it's faster, and it has Exchange support without having to buy Office. That's worth $30 IMO.

I'm not putting down Win7 in any way. _For Microsoft_ it's a fine release and I'll buy a few copies (from the company store, obviously) for my PCs. But given a choice, I will always pick Mac OS X. In fact I have a Win 7 partition on my MBP. Haven't booted it in months. It probably has three dozen updates in the queue already.

Anonymous said...

To the lunatic that says Apple *hardware* kicks ass, you have to be fully certifiable.

The OS is of course just UNIX now with some really nice work done in the shell and APIs, so thats solid.

But the HARDWARE? Which part of the EFI BIOS, Intel proc, Intel chipset, NVidia video card, standard USB ports, standard SATA ports, and unnecessarily expensive, but fully standard on Xeon systems, double buffered RAM "kicks ass so hard"?

Tell me you arent seriously not aware that the above describes EVERY PC.

"Apple hardware" on the desktop basically = a case. And yes, their case design is nice. The also havent changed it in like 10 years now. I have my G5 Mac dual sitting next to my Core i7 monster PC. The G5 Mac looks pretty much exactly the same as the absolute newest Mac Pro. So yeah, nice design, but not a lot of variety.

"Hardware excellence" is the WORST argument you can try to make in favor of Apple

Anonymous said...

Good day today, nice job on Windows 7.

Would love to see posters to the board relax and stop projecting their own individual insecurities in the form of "steve must go...blah blah"...sit back and enjoy a little perspective from a very successful, albeit imperfect, company.

Anonymous said...

Look at for example bldg 31, room 2147. It's been reserved from 11/3 to 11/5. That's a LONG meeting, don't you think?

That same room was also booked for an even longer continuous meeting, from 9:00 AM Monday October 12 through 9:00 PM Friday October 16...

Anonymous said...

conf room 5/2218 blocked off on 11/4 all day. Coincidence?

That particularroom has been marked "Blocking off Calendar" for as far as Outlook can see into the past, and as far as it can see into the future. Including Saturdays and Sundays.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of stocks, the Vista Sidebar Stocks Widget doesn't work in Win7. WTF?

There are legal reasons for this which I cannot go into for obvious reasons.

Anonymous said...

To the guys here that think OSX is shit and Apple Hardware is just a PC in a fancy case...

I think you're just highlighting one of the key issues with Microsoft... blind arrogance.

Apple provides a complete user experience that no PC manufacturer can - it's understandably difficult when you don't control the whole experience. Something as simple as the MacBook multi-touch track pad, perhaps one of the best innovations in mobile computing, just can't happen as easily in the PC world with one vendor supplying the software and another the HW. These same issues will prevent WinMo from every creating a killer phone.

Anonymous said...

Correct me if I am wrong, but the R&D argument for costs is a joke.

Our R&D costs boil down to ENGINEER salaries and rewards.

In other words, partner compensation.

What a nice place - could you imagine if Goldman Sachs could claim that their billions of dollars of compensation are 'R&D'?

$9B means we are overcompensating on the high end while screwing the majority of our non-partner employees.

Anonymous said...

People complaining about the stock... realize that Windows 7 doing OK is BUILT INTO THE STOCK PRICE.

Welcome to Wall Street. <= 27 forever under Ballmer looking forward.

We will only fail from here on out.

Anonymous said...

When MS got in the mobile game, it was completely a device and operator controlled model. MS had no clout and was in no position to do anything except take orders from the OEMs and operator who thought they know something about building next gen phones. MS had to play nice to get their foot in the game. The only reason Apple broke the mold is because the ecosystem was in competitive meltdown with operators trying to get a foothold over each other

What does a "competitive meltdown" even mean? Were the carriers not competing with e/o before Apple? Give me a break.

If Microsoft made the iPhone, we'd be calling the shots. But we didn't. We made the Stinker, excuse me, Stinger. And haven't improved on it much.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2002/11/21/sendo_junks_ms_smartphone_joins/

Anonymous said...

Stratigery:

There is a revenue sell-through tied to a mobile device that is easier to tap than a PC. Do the math. WM and iPhones as they stand today are small fries. This is the pre-show. Let the games begin.


When I worked at MS, I wondered about this: immediate profitable opportunities are constantly bypassed in favor of "unstoppable tsunami" time-deferred designs.

Had everything to do with career risk aversion, it seems. The immediate opportunities have short time-to-failure metric (=accountability), whereas the pie in the sky designs do not.

As schedule slipped, "tsunami" projects would merely inflate the expectations, until eventually being scrapped.

I remember sitting in an exec reviw where a VP for a crappy chat application (that never shipped) explained that the slipped schedule would enable him to make $500M in the 12 months following the RTM. Execs ate it up, nobody else did.

Anonymous said...

I'm stunned to be reading the celebratory stories this morning about how good Microsoft's earnings are.

If I'm reading things right, they reported more than 14% less income than the same quarter last year (that's more than $2 billion less this quarter) and they reported even less revenue this quarter (the back to school and Zune quarter) than last quarter.

"But the economy is rough," will likely be the explanation.

Then how do you explain that five years ago, Apple's quarterly revenue was only 25% of that of Microsoft's. This quarter it was 95%.

I think there's a good shot that Apple will begin surpassing Microsoft in revenue beginning this next quarter.

It seems the celebration is that Microsoft didn't do worse.

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking I should sell half of the options I have that are actually worth something. Personally may not have the time to wait out the return to $26 after disappointing earnings report.

HAHAHA -- I'm glad you sold your options, dummy. Up 9%! Hopefully you are a candidate for the next RIF since your prediction ability sucks.

Go stock go

Anonymous said...

Holy crap - sold my stock right away. Go baby go. Choke on THAT AAPL

Anonymous said...

I'm always stunned to see how many people don't know how to read financial results. The market doesn't wait to price in deferred earnings. Profits are up from $0.48 to $0.52 yoy.

Anonymous said...

I'm feeling blissfully and blindly arrogant this morning. :)

Working at Microsoft is like being an American overseas. They assume that either you're an arrogant bastard or the rare exception.

Anonymous said...

HOLY COW who here saw that earnings report coming? I was expecting the stock to dip another $.50 - $1... wow!!!

Anonymous said...

Check out building 122. 5 rooms have been blocked off as "creteam" from 11/3 to 11/5. Heads will roll on 11/4!

Anonymous said...

Look at for example bldg 31, room 2147. It's been reserved from 11/3 to 11/5. That's a LONG meeting, don't you think?

conf room 5/2218 blocked off on 11/4 all day. Coincidence?

That same room was also booked for an even longer continuous meeting, from 9:00 AM Monday October 12 through 9:00 PM Friday October 16...


...and...and...and... if I look around building 26 there's some conference rooms that are booked all day every day for the next month! ...because... um... there's people doing actual work and they need to meet regularly with the other people doing actual work....

Not every little conference room booking that happens to sync with an unsubstantiated rumored date is an OMGWTFBBQPONIES WE'RE GONNA LIVE IN CARDBOARD BOXES moment.

Anonymous said...

"you should start a thread about china. world's largest internet, pc user market."

Thread will be started when china starts paying for software. -

Simply awesome comment. Made we really laugh after a long time. Nothing against anyone or any country but this is very well put.

Anonymous said...

"If I'm reading things right, they reported more than 14% less income than the same quarter last year "

You are not reading it right. There was over $1.4B or $.12 (earnings) a share this quarter in deferred revenue. Revenue down a bit but margin expanding. Hense the positive reaction because it is a good bet with Microsoft's current products that the top line is going to pick up again.

Anonymous said...

"If Mini buys an iPhone and installs iTunes he will no longer say the Apple software is inelegant and buggy."

Actaully it is iTunes htat is inelegant and buggy. That is at least iTunes running on Windows.

Anonymous said...

Mini- I'm with you on the iPhone. I think WM 5.0 worked better on my PocketPC than anything I've had since, and that's pretty sad. I currently have an HTC device with WM 6.1 - and no upgrade available. It works some of the time. I hate it. And more than anything, I hate the blind loyalty of the WM fans who attack anyone with a legitimate gripe about their lousy OS. Talk about arrogance. I just want a phone. . . THAT WORKS. . Time to move on and let WM try to win me back.

Anonymous said...

Conference room blocks neither confirm nor deny impending layoffs.

Every org has its own reserved conference rooms meant for exec meetings. You cannot view the schedule for those rooms on your own, without the help of an admin assistant. In addition, layoff meetings are not that long.

I was laid off among the first 1400. The meeting with my skip-level and HR for the layoff discussion was a 30 minute meeting in a conference room that was typically reserved for exec presentations.

You do not need to book an entire day for layoff meetings. You also do not need to see a significant increase in conference room bookings before layoffs, because you are merely replacing slots in the schedule during which the same people would have been in some other ad-hoc one-off meeting anyway.

I knew months in advance that I would be laid off, but I did not trust my instinct, perhaps because we had never laid off anyone. My boss tried to find fault with me for exactly the same work for which I was praised by everyone else inside and outside my team. It was my boss' way of justifying (perhaps to themselves) that I need to be laid off. My skip-level began to avoid my requests for skip-level 1:1 meetings by postponing one month at a time for 4 months. One month before I was informed about my layoff, my skip-skip-level was praising me in front of everyone after reviewing my work, but immediately after that meeting my skip-level and skip-skip-level went into a hush-hush whisper conversation on the side, and made no eye contact with me thereafter. They looked very guilty of some crime, every time they saw me in the hallway.

Layoffs are planned in advance. Most senior managers knew about the impending layoffs as early as July-August 2008, although the numbers and details were not decided then. The managers of most people who got laid off knew at least 1 month in advance. Some of them leaked the news (go check up "rumors" which started November 2008 about impending MS layoffs which were finally announced January 22, 2009).

If you have been told during your recent review that you are under-performing, or if your boss has been told that his team has been under-performing, your job may not last long.

From your individual perspective, what matters is not whether 5000 or 8000 people will be laid off. I think what matters more is being treated well, not letting incompetent managers destroy your self-confidence, and finding a job in another company soon (I know how hard that is, especially after being laid off). Yes, layoffs seem personal, especially because you were chosen instead of your peers, but your layoff is not about you. Often, it is not even about the business or your past contribution or your future potential. It is about your boss or skip-level looking good in the eyes of their managers. Most managers will do whatever it takes to look good. Depending on their own psychology, your bosses may try to make you look extra bad before your layoff announcement, or they may publicly praise everyone except you, or they may be extra kind to you.

I understand the fear of layoffs. However, there is a life after layoffs. For some people, it is a much better life after being laid off. I am not sure yet how it will turn out for me, but I am much better off emotionally than I was for my last 6 months on my job. If you are laid off, get away from the area for a few days or weeks. Focus on the positives - you do not need to see those people again, you are free to restart, you are a beginner again. Then get back on track at your own pace. Remember, it is just business. Also, be sure that you make friends outside your workplace. Never let your best friend be someone in your company, definitely not in your own team. It is advice similar to "never buy your own company stock in your 401K account".

Best wishes to everyone!

Anonymous said...

Apple provides a complete user experience that no PC manufacturer can - it's understandably difficult when you don't control the whole experience. Something as simple as the MacBook multi-touch track pad, perhaps one of the best innovations in mobile computing, just can't happen as easily in the PC world with one vendor supplying the software and another the HW.

Boo hoo. If Microsoft wanted PC laptops to have awesome multi-touch trackpads, they could have done it. Make a reference design and give it away. Or sell it. Or partner with Synaptics to include it with their trackpads.

Now that half a dozen vendors are including crappy one-off solutions with their laptops, Microsoft had a great opportunity with Windows 7 to build support for it into the OS and make it good and consistent for everybody, but from what I've read, Windows 7 doesn't even do this.

It sickens me how Microsoft and its employees and devotees will b**** and moan about how things are bad because they're out of Microsoft's control when a small amount of ingenuity, creativity, or simply good engineering would fix almost any problem.

Let's see, Windows bluescreens all the time because of bad graphics drivers? Then run the drivers in user mode, like back in the NT 3.1 days. Windows 7 finally does this, and voila. But it took 10+ years.

Another classic: the Windows user experience is s*** because OEMs install crapware. Here's an idea, make it so the user has to explicitly agree to every program that wants to run on startup. That took me like 30 seconds to think of, but I guess it's more fun to b**** for 15 years.

Or the gem that IE is unstable because of 3rd party ActiveX stuff. Guess what, maybe IE shouldn't be running native code plug-ins in its process space. Either use something sandboxed like Flash or Java or run things in separate processes like Chrome. Come on, no other browser vendor has these ActiveX instability issues. If nothing else can we please just COPY what they're doing?

God, there is no shortage of woe-is-me conventional Microsoft wisdom, you'd think Microsoft was a startup working out of a garage and not a major multinational corporation full of supposed geniuses.

Anonymous said...


Windows 7 must be pretty impressive if even Linus Torvalds is endorsing it:

http://russelljohn.net/journal/2009/10/windows-7-rocks/

Yup, that's him!

For some context around the picture of Linus Torvalds, see
Chris Schlaeger's original annotation of his picture of Linus
.

Anonymous said...

"The docking bar floating thumbnails are nice, but I miss my locked quick launch icons, especially when I need to fire up multiple instances of the same app. Maybe there's a way to do this that I haven't figured out,"

Right-click on the icon on the taskbar.. towards the bottom will be the executable link that you can use to launch another instance.

Now its a two click job but you get the added benefit of the frequently used list, some even have a tasks list, ability to pin items to the list and close all windows.

Anonymous said...

Check out this rating of IT Vendors by CIOs based on their Value:

CIO's IT Vendor Value Rating

Some ratings of interest from above:

#1 Intel
#2 (tie) Google, Red Hat and Siemens
#6 (tie) Cisco and HP
#14 Dell
#17 Citrix and Verisign
#20 IBM
#22 Apple
#25 (tie) Microsoft, Verizon Wireless and Motorola
#29 Novell
#31 EMC
#35 Oracle

Anonymous said...

If you adjust 58 for the 2:1 split it is 29, which is exactly the strike price I got when I joined back then.

$58/share is directly comparable to today's price. $58/share is the Dec 1999 price after adjusting for the 2:1 split in 2003. The actual nominal price in 1999 was $116/share.

Anonymous said...

There's been a lot of talk about share prices. Let's set a few things straight:

The share price of a company reflects what investors are prepared to pay for their stake, and nothing else. It reflects what the market expects the future earning potential of the company to be. Without clouding the issue with dividends (which are factored in anyway, since this is a free market and people pay what they want), the true measure of a company is its P/E ratio (often called multiple), this tells you how much investors measure the future earnings (and growth of these). The P/E is a pretty simple calculation; you take the current share price and divided it by the earnings per share for the last year. Think about that for a second, and what it tells you is the multiple of current years earnings that people will pay to buy their stake.

You can compare absolute share prices, and share price growth until you are blue in the face, but it's not really going to help you compare Apples to Apples (pun intended). What you need to do is compare the P/E ratios of companies in same industry.

Even after the (very welcome) rise in MSFT price today, here are some P/E ratios for you. Spot the "odd-one out"

YHOO 181
GOOG 36
CSCO 23
INTC 48
AAPL 32
MSFT 17

(Though it's not quite the same industry, look at AMZN today with their announcement a P/E ratio of 77. That's right, people are willing to pay 77x the entire earnings of Amazon for the last 12 months, just to own a piece of the company. Call that crazy or not, but remember it's a free market, people pay what they want, and it millions of people have confidence that there is growth enough to speculate in paying that price to earn their stake).

MSFT's P/E ratio is pathetic. It reflects the fact that millions of investors (guided by the professional firms) have small confidence in much future potential of the company. If they had the same confidence in our earning potential as Apple or Google, our share price would be double what it is now.

Mr Balmer, when you took over the P/E ration of MSFT was in the 50-60 range. (Hands up here who would not like to wake up tomorrow and see the share price at $90?, which is where we would be at these multiples).

There are conservatively 3 times as many cellphones in the world than there are PCs, and this ratio is getting larger. These phones are only going to get "smarter" (hey, I know, lets call them "Smartphones"), and require more complex Operating Systems. For the vast majority of the planet, a smartphone might be the *only* computing device they ever own. This isn't rocket science. For the love of all things holy, why is our mobile offering so amazingly poor? Blame the hardware, blame the software, blame the economy, blame the fragmented market, say the dog ate your homework all you like ... maybe you pathologically believe it, but open your eyes and see that the investors don't believe you (hence the low P/E ratio).

You just don't get it do you? You can smash as many iPhones as you like and ridicule the people who buy them, but the investors have voted with their feet and they think there is at least twice the upside in what they are doing than what we are doing.

The recent Danger debacle was horrendous. I watched you on online dismiss it (without saying sorry). I might agree, taken in isolation, its a small set of customers, it's not the end of the world ... but the damage its done to the company, the loss of faith in the cloud, and the willingness for people to adopt our product is damaged more (and for the reasons mentioned above, it's multiplied).

If you don't get this, you should not be speaking in public. This is PR 101. Hire a tech savvy and interview savvy person to speak on your behalf. Every time you open your mouth our ratio is falling.

I'll back off from my extreme "abdicate" request posted earlier. You have a place in the company, and you can do good things, but put someone else in the big seat. Please?

NBGPH

Anonymous said...

For the guys calling out multi-day booked conference rooms the week of 11/2 - 11/6, be aware that most of what used to be WEX will be in the process of a multi-building move through that entire week. What's more likely? Layoffs happening that week, or these rooms being booked as touch-down locations for Windows employees without an office during the move but on teams that won't give them the entire week off? I'm going with the latter.

Anonymous said...

>>I miss my locked quick launch icons, especially when I need to fire up multiple instances of the same app. Maybe there's a way to do this that I haven't figured out

Pin your most-used apps to the taskbar and reorder them however you see fit. Then you can use the old quicklaunch-style win+[num] shortcuts to start the apps. You'll notice that if an app is already running win+[num] will just bring it into focus rather than start a new instance. If you do want a new instance, use win+shift+[num] instead.

Anonymous said...

If PC ships +/or attach continues its trend (39% drop yoy), Windows alone would need to cut nearly $500 M in 2Q10 to return to its 2Q09 margins.

Original poster here taking advantage of Mini's delay to correct the record.

MS sold $1.47 B more into the OEM channel which they will recognize later. It suggests sales dropped only 6% YoY (though real demand in Q1 was likely lower).

Regardless, they still need to cut $80 M of OPEX if revenues match the performance of the last Q2.

Anonymous said...

I was watching the streettalk. I found the typical middle management at microsoft. "Birgen Steen" who just went to the show to ki** liddell's. Typical example of people who talk different to people above and people below them. I hope they die because no-one is going to fire them.

Anonymous said...

Ballmer is hero. Give job. He rescues company. Bing comes back. Office comes. Server comes. Win7 comes.

Anonymous said...

UH OH!

Conf Room 1/2155 reserved by an HR person 11/4. Before and after are typical 1 hour fragments. Is Dublin getting whacked?

Anonymous said...

I am not sure yet how it will turn out for me, but I am much better off emotionally than I was for my last 6 months on my job.

+1. I was the next thing to God on my team one day, and yesterday's trash the next on manager whim despite no change in my performance or external stakeholders' satisfaction regarding it. That's a toxic environment to be in.

If you are laid off, get away from the area for a few days or weeks.

++1.

Also, be sure that you make friends outside your workplace. Never let your best friend be someone in your company, definitely not in your own team.

Can I give that one a +1000? Working nearly 80 hours a week for 3 years to satisfy ever-increasing demands from an abusive manager who knew how tight my golden handcuffs were, I didn't have time to maintain most of my pre-company relationships. I was lucky I at least still had 2 good friends on the outside, but more would have been nice. People, the above is great advice. Don't dismiss it because it might not be the most convenient or useful thing for you today.

Anonymous said...

For the guys calling out multi-day booked conference rooms the week of 11/2 - 11/6, be aware that most of what used to be WEX will be in the process of a multi-building move through that entire week.Why does it take them a week to move?

They have to have a few offsites first to plan it. Then a series of focus groups, followed by numerous management reviews. Then it's capped off with a 14 page blog post from Sinofsky.

No wonder IE sucks.

Anonymous said...

FYI: there are ghost layoffs happening at Microsoft every day. Microsoft forced management to place at least 10% of their workers in the "underperform" category (lower 10%). So, if the GM had 120 people in his org, there hadto be 12 fall guys in the U10 category. HAD TO BE. And in this environment, those 12 guys will be screwed. When the reorg musical chairs starts/ends, there won't be seats for them. They will be terminated (not laid off). There will be NO SEVERANCE. If you are in the U10 category, for godsakes, get your resume together and start interviewing so that you will be in your new job (outside of Microsoft) and not having to compete with as many of your ex coworkers who will be hitting the streets soon.

Why do I say this? I went through this process. I was U10, and I was terminated with no severance. I took 2 weeks off to get my head together and cool the burning rage I had at Microsoft for the unfair treatment (no severance? FU). And 3 weeks later, I was snapped up by a technology firm in Seattle.

One last thing: the U10 category holds many great performers. I know of at least two examples of 20+ year veterans landing in that category who had met their commitments. They were high performers. They got the job done. It was a political hack job. Our org took a hit when they were forced out. No one is safe at Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

free copy of win7 for employees? KT thinks that win7 can be a substitute for pay hike? what an insult to the employees.

employees will be given free software, free towels, free coffee, free soda while the morons at the top take home the millions. MS transformaion in to walmart is complete.

Westech said...

To put MS last Quarter earnings report in context, here are the quarterly y-o-y changes compared to some other companies:

Revenue Earnings

AMZN +26% +69%
AAPL +25% +47%
GOOG + 7% +27%
IBM - 7% + 4%
INTC - 8% - 8%
MSFT -14% -18%

HPQ and DELL have not yet reported. Their quarters end October 31.

(I hope I translated these numbers correctly).

One of MS's great 'strengths' is their ability to put a positive spin on their numbers and their PR.

Anonymous said...

As for the conference rooms, as some have mentioned, there is a massive office move for Windows people, and not just WEX. Teams are booking rooms left and right so people have somewhere to sit while it all happens - stuff is going to be in transit for a few days, if not a full week.

As for why SS didn't just give the entire week off to everybody given nothing is going to get done, you'd have to ask him (and read through the 2000 page blog post to get your answer).

Anonymous said...

+1. I was the next thing to God on my team one day, and yesterday's trash the next on manager whim despite no change in my performance or external stakeholders' satisfaction regarding it. That's a toxic environment to be in.

Yep. Same thing happened to me last year. I was naive and told my manager I wanted to change team and started interviewing (had been in the same role for more than 3 years).

Environment became toxic quick. Despite having worked for the same manager + skip level, getting a promotion the year before, all of a sudden, everything I was doing was bad.

Pressure increased, and since I was naive I kept bending backward to their increasing whacky last minute projects just to realize they were trying to make me fail.

Finally found a new position (it was during layoff season so it took a couple of months) and I am suddently told I can't go by my manager and skip because I have been apparently underperforming.

I called BS, documented everything, went to HR and it luckily worked out for me. Manager + skip had been too obvious at being jerks and left a paper trail of stupidity behind them.

I am now doing great in a new team but that experience was an eye opener.

My big mistake was to consider Microsoft like a family and being too naive about the corporate world.

Not anymore.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mini,

I went through the same iPaq love, which was turned to shame by the way my employer abandoned it. Then Windows Mobile like (not quite love), which was turned to dismay when corporate email could no longer be viewed with the craptastic browser when Outlook started using pop-ups (no active sync for me, thanks). Then finally got the iPhone and realized that Ballmer is a complete and total idiot. Ballmer actually taunted some guy in my work group for seeing an iPhone in his hand.

I've been trying to endure the lunacy at Microsoft for over 10 years. It went from a very nimble culture, that freely changed every few months, to a very, very slow moving train, which only allowed friends of friends to sit in the conductor's chair.

Having interacted with a variety of Fortune 500 companies during my tenure I can tell you that no one has such a vast number of unqualified managers that are free to fail and fail and fail (and then blame an IC for the problem and Kim him out the door).

If a Microsoft manager was assigned to run an ice cream truck the first thing he would do is rank all the popsicles based on which flavors he likes best. Then spend the rest of his tenure blaming the lime popsicle for tasting bad.

If there is any chance for Microsoft it will be in repairing and correcting the work load of managers. Each manager, at every level of the company, should be required to perform some IC work during the week. There is no other way to judge the output of these guys. There is a director in my division that comes up with ridiculous architecture, hands it over to the dev org, and then immediately starts blaming dev for the poor implementation of the architecture (which was crap from the get go, and every single dev knew it). If a guy like that had to code a prototype, it would limit his ability to blame others for the problems he creates.

Microsoft managers basically spend their time hiding what useless cogs they are (while at the same time shifting blame to the people that actually code/test/PM). The rare exceptions, those that care about product quality, are always overwhelmed by the badness that surrounds them.

The layoffs have shown that a "friends of friends" club cannot and will not remove the right people. So I must kindly suggest Mini that hoping for another 10,000-30,000 layoffs is something you need to closely examine. Who would make the layoff decisions? The high-performing ICs? Or the criminally negligent managers? You are ignoring the vast wasteland that is Microsoft management. Hirings and firing are not going to change the culture. Only changing the culture is going to change the culture.

Anonymous said...

Here are a few conference rooms that show up in outlook scheduling assistant as booked by HR people on 11/4 for ‘planning': 112/3005, 112/3209, 112/3379, 113/2001, 113/3001, 113/3377, 115/4381, 115/4009, 4/2229, Lincoln Square-14017, 17017, 19003, 20029, 22003, 23029, 23204, 25204, 27004, 36/3731…

Anonymous said...

Another classic: the Windows user experience is s*** because OEMs install crapware. Here's an idea, make it so the user has to explicitly agree to every program that wants to run on startup. That took me like 30 seconds to think of, but I guess it's more fun to b**** for 15 years.

Oh please. I'm no Microsoft fanboy but this is the same kind of overly annoying crap that caused Vista to get a black eye. 99% of PC users wouldn't know to answer yes or no to any given startup app. People would bitch about being asked to make a decision they are incapable of making.

Anonymous said...

Calling out Apple using commodity hardware has nothing to do with MSFT arrogance. Apple is using commodity hardware. Period. A Mac IS just a nice case.

OSX is nice, but any gap between OSX and Windows is insanely exaggerated by the mooning fanboys.

Where Jobs deserves credit is in creating a POWERFUL BRAND. This is Ballmers big failure.

The rest is bullshit. Multi-touch trackpad one of the greatest innovations in mobile computing?! Yeah ok bud.

The smartest thing about Apple is that they genuinely convince people that choosing to use their big heavy brick, vs someone elses big heavy brick, is somehow a life affirming decision. LOL...

The rest really IS minutiae and bullshit. MSFT blew the image game... Thats IT really.

Apple does a lot well in terms of user experience and integration, but it certainly isnt some GIGANTIC difference. Ive been using Macs, PCs and UNIX/XENIX/Linux/BSD side by side since 1988. Get real.

Anonymous said...

Mini, welcome to iPhone ownership!

Apple also addresses another pain point you mention, namely, which development "technology" to use. To develop software for the Mac or iPhone, you use one set of APIs which has basically been the same for the last 10 years. And the tool chain is all standard, straightforward open source--gcc, gdb, etc.

Apple doesn't have Microsoft's schizophrenia re: how people are supposed to develop software, and it's very relaxing.

Anonymous said...

Why Microsoft will never beat the Mac by being Cheap.
------------------------

Right now, I'm looking at my two favorite laptops. I priced them last night - $1999 for either the MacBook Pro, or the Sony Vaio.

Yea, I know what you're thinking, no sane person would spend $2000 for a laptop.

Now let's think about that. As an enterprise diagnostician dealing with high-end business and database servers, I make @$200/hr. And I used to work for Microsoft, which is where I learned to be this distrusting, and how to do this math. When I am out on the road, I depend on the laptops to hold and access the data I need to do my job - they can't fail.

Over the years, MS sent me on the road with one of every new laptop ever built by a "technology" company. I learned to respect the old Compaq Armadas - we used them as hand-carry back-up machines for everything from big events, to server replacements. They more than passed the never-fail test - but at 20lbs apiece, they were "luggables" not "laptops". Never mind that they were >$7000 apiece.

For personal use, I got all the newest "excitingly cheap" machines from other technology partners - and this is where I really learned my lessons about cheap PC's and laptops. A lot of people had warned me about a certain "high-performance"/"low-price" vendor, and when one of their machines failed on me at the least convenient of times, I angrily tore it apart and found an obviously bad board that had been jumpered, soldered and resold as new. Dissecting a handful more out of one of the lab "boneyards" turned up that there was no such thing as an "identical" machine from this vendor - which means, there was no way they could ever really test. The old saying is true, you get what you pay for.

So how do you get a "Mac" experience from a PC? Do the homework and pay the price. Buy it like a Mac and treat it like a Mac. Buy top-quality hardware from a reliable consumer-products vendor, someone who produces OTHER consumer products that "just work". Like Sony and Apple. Buy it pre-built, pre-configured, and pre-installed with Windows, and test it before carefully adding only the applications that you actually need. Then put on the absolute best virus software you can afford, and when it tells you not to do something - don't do that.

But that's expensive, restrictive and not at all what PC users want, so never mind.

Anonymous said...

Here is a fun experiment...

Go to any day Nov 4th - Nov 13th... Create a meeting request and add all conf rooms for your geography... Look for suspicious bookings... ;-)

I can tell you what I found... signs of big trouble on 11/13 in our neck of the woods... all rooms booked... "all hands"... so welcome to round 2

My guess is regular layoffs are now part of MSFT culture (Im sure they're addicted to the "free" cost recover now since they have no ability to actually fix the biz model)

What a miserable place to be... first thing that comes up, its time to move on (which is what they want)... let this ship sink...

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking I should sell half of the options I have that are actually worth something. Personally may not have the time to wait out the return to $26 after disappointing earnings report.

HAHAHA -- I'm glad you sold your options, dummy. Up 9%! Hopefully you are a candidate for the next RIF since your prediction ability sucks.

Go stock go


Bwahaha learn to read pinhead... thinking I should sell half . I didn't sell a single option. I'm sure you're a regular Karnak when it comes to investing and as such won't be working here long yourself with the killing you're gonna make in the market with your investment insight.

@Friday, October 23, 2009 3:46:00 PM you obviously get it.

Anonymous said...

free copy of win7 for employees? KT thinks that win7 can be a substitute for pay hike? what an insult to the employees.

You are an idiot if you think it's a substitute for a pay hike.

It's a normal part of Windows releases. I know they've done this with Office as well, though I don't think they do it for every release. Windows is the flagship product and they want every MS employee showing it off.

They don't do this with any other software. And the hardware discounts are shit (Windows Mobile could work on that, but they are not interested in feedback from other MS users).

Anonymous said...

The rest is bullshit. Multi-touch trackpad one of the greatest innovations in mobile computing?! Yeah ok bud.

LOL... Ok, let's think of some other features that have positively impacted enhanced mobile computing in recent years...

- 7hr battery life (Apple)
- LED backlit displays (Apple)
- Unibody chasis (Apple)
- Automatically cloud sync your contacts, calendar, files, bookmarks, keychain, etc. with other computers you own (Apple)
- A browser that's actually usable on a hand-held device (Apple)

WTF has Microsoft done for mobile computing lately except burden their hardware partners with software that sucks battery life, memory, and resources like everyone has a dual socket server to work with? Where's the benefits to the user? Aero (that didn't run on most laptops at time of introduction)? LOL. Does Microsoft even know what the word customer means anymore?

You were right, Microsoft's brand has suffered damage... not because Ballmer sucks at building brand, but because Microsoft products are all mediocre at best... 2nd and 3rd rate products will not earn you top shelf brand status.

Microsoft employees should all be given a Mac and an iPhone for free. Maybe then you might get a clue as to why Apple is racing uphill while Microsoft is tumbling down.

Anonymous said...

Oh please. I'm no Microsoft fanboy but this is the same kind of overly annoying crap that caused Vista to get a black eye. 99% of PC users wouldn't know to answer yes or no to any given startup app. People would bitch about being asked to make a decision they are incapable of making.

This is pure intellectual laziness of the sort that's all too common at Microsoft.

Vista had dialog boxes, users hated the dialog boxes, therefore all dialog boxes are bad.

WTF??

The reason nobody likes these security dialog boxes is because they ask you to make a decision without giving you ANY useful information. They are the world's worst dialog boxes. "If you started this action, continue... foo.exe" WHAT THE F***? What action? What is foo.exe? What will happen if I click the buttons??!!

What if you went up to a person on the street, said some gibberish, and asked them "yes or no"? Of course they'll be pissed at you. And your conclusion from that is NOT that the question is bad, it's that that people don't like to be asked any questions at all.

Of course what I would like to see is some sort of manifest or database describing the startup program and explaining the decision to the user... "Program ABC is supposed to give you XYZ benefits. You should know that adding startup programs may decrease your computer's performance. Here's how to turn it off if you decide you don't want to use it later." etc. Tell me users are going to hate that, because I'll bet you a million dollars they'd LOVE it.

Anonymous said...

If a Microsoft manager was assigned to run an ice cream truck the first thing he would do is rank all the popsicles based on which flavors he likes best. Then spend the rest of his tenure blaming the lime popsicle for tasting bad.

Oh? And here I thought he'd focus on loudly and repeatedly blaming the lime popsicle for that case of food poisoning his manager got, to take the attention off the not-fully-cooked chicken he brought to work the same day and shared with his manager.

Anonymous said...

After reading this article Mini will take a leave to spend a day on a beach thinking on the raison d'ĂȘtre :)

http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Microsoft-verspricht-weltweit-4000-neue-Jobs-838542.html

Anonymous said...

I called BS, documented everything, went to HR and it luckily worked out for me. Manager + skip had been too obvious at being jerks and left a paper trail of stupidity behind them.

OP here. Good for you. Sincerely. It's nice to hear of wins. I did the same, but HR dragged their feet on demanding my release for months until the freeze last fall, ensuring I couldn't get out before being RIF'd AND that I'd carry a 10% to my next team in the unlikely event that I did get out. I heard that that manager had used bogus performance detentions on others before and had not, to my knowledge, ever been held accountable for it. That manager is still employed, and a number of good IC's aren't.

One cautionary hint for those who decide to call out their management for bogus performance-related detentions: contact HR well before review season and push HR for freedom well before August so that you can be safely somewhere else by the time current management has their way with you on the annual review. I was given permission to transfer out and a new manager on my current team immediately, which is probably as close as MS ever gets to admitting someone f'd up. But that didn't prevent my old manager from doing their best to scrub the floor with me on the review.

Regarding this review, a veteran MS manager still took what an ordinary person would consider the huge risk of (unsuccessfully) challenging, in writing, the veracity of one of my quantitative review comments. That's all you need to know, to know that conventional wisdom among MS managers is that they won't be held accountable for their actions.

People often do questionable things when they know they won't be caught and held accountable. BitTorrent anyone? Speeding? When enough people don't get caught and held accountable, violating the rule becomes the culture.

An acquaintance told me that HR at the highest levels is aware that these bogus detentions do happen. Those of you still inside the company who care about this could probably do worse than expressing your concerns to HR leadership and asking what steps are being taken to correct the problem. Pre-emptive action today might keep you from being on the wrong side of one of these a year or two from now, because it can happen to anyone.

Anonymous said...

Here are a few conference rooms that show up in outlook scheduling assistant as booked by HR people on 11/4 for ‘planning': 112/3005, 112/3209, 112/3379, 113/2001, 113/3001, 113/3377, 115/4381, 115/4009, 4/2229, Lincoln Square-14017, 17017, 19003, 20029, 22003, 23029, 23204, 25204, 27004, 36/3731…

>>>passes sanity check for layoffs. money losing buildigs, sales buildings. usually where layoffs are targeted

Anonymous said...

"Then put on the absolute best virus software you can afford, and when it tells you not to do something - don't do that."

Any "enterprise diagnostician" who needs anti-virus software isn't the sort of person I'd let near any machine of mine.

Anonymous said...

You're really going to buy an iPhone... or wait a little while and check out all the Linux/Android-based ones that are just about to appear, or the Linux/Maemo ones from Nokia, or the Linux/WebOS ones from Palm. Or even a Linux/Moblin one from Intel (you might have to wait a little longer for one of those).

Apparently the Nokia N900 is the ultimate - check out the youtube videos of it playing quake on big TVs.

In any case, the message is simple here - no matter which phone or mobile device you want, it isn't Microsoft-powered, and that's an issue as even MS leadership thinks the next big thing is 'cloud' computing with mobile devices... and they're not really even trying to play in this market.

Anonymous said...

Calling out Apple using commodity hardware has nothing to do with MSFT arrogance. Apple is using commodity hardware. Period. A Mac IS just a nice case.

If the tower was the Mac that people bought most, that comment would have some substance. Have a look at the following teardown and you'll see why the comment is so fundamentally flawed.

http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iMac-Intel-27-Inch/1236/1

Apple put a lot of effort into engineering R&D. You can see that in this teardown, and while you may disagree with some design decisions, you can't just call it commodity parts in a branded case.

Writing off competitors in a few sentences must lead to the question: "Why are they doing so well?"

The answers can only be that either their customers are all missing the obvious points that you perceive, or that you're missing the points that they perceive.

Apple is doing a lot of things right, and dismissing it as marketing means you'll never invest the brainpower to understand what those things are.

Anonymous said...

The real threat to windows mobile is Android not the iPhone. Google has the same OEM strategy with a better product and a better price, free. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/26/technology/26android.html?_r=1&partner=yahoofinance

Anonymous said...

>> It's a normal part of Windows releases.

Um, no. Vista wasn't given out for free to everyone. XP was, though. I worked at MSFT long enough to remember that. I also remember that back in the day we were given a copy of Office for free. Office 2007? Not so much - go the the company store and buy a copy. Frankly, I think that not giving _Windows_ to employees is simply retarded, particularly when a Company Store copy is $10 more than Snow Leopard. :-)

Anonymous said...

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.

Hypothetical question: If everyone who works at MSFT was given a free iPhone, do you think our future produced products would be better?

Balmer, jump up and down all you like. You should be thankful that people are smart enough to be selecting the best tools out there, not making fun of them. You should be glad that your are employing people who researched enough to buy the best products.

NBGPH

Anonymous said...

Why was Money cancelled? I switched to Quicken today and it isn't a better product. Why can't Microsoft figure out how to make money from niche apps?

Anonymous said...

If there is any chance for Microsoft it will be in repairing and correcting the work load of managers. Each manager, at every level of the company, should be required to perform some IC work during the week. There is no other way to judge the output of these guys. There is a director in my division that comes up with ridiculous architecture, hands it over to the dev org, and then immediately starts blaming dev for the poor implementation of the architecture (which was crap from the get go, and every single dev knew it). If a guy like that had to code a prototype, it would limit his ability to blame others for the problems he creates.

Microsoft managers basically spend their time hiding what useless cogs they are (while at the same time shifting blame to the people that actually code/test/PM). The rare exceptions, those that care about product quality, are always overwhelmed by the badness that surrounds them.

The layoffs have shown that a "friends of friends" club cannot and will not remove the right people. So I must kindly suggest Mini that hoping for another 10,000-30,000 layoffs is something you need to closely examine. Who would make the layoff decisions? The high-performing ICs? Or the criminally negligent managers? You are ignoring the vast wasteland that is Microsoft management. Hirings and firing are not going to change the culture. Only changing the culture is going to change the culture.

Saturday, October 24, 2009 12:39:00 PM

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

Your post is right on. I could not have said it better. Change roles and titles and this is exactly the case in my organization, even if not a bit worse.

I will come back and post my experience later. The situation in my group is bad and for my sanity I have to find another opportunity on some other team or outside the company.

Anonymous said...

to @Sunday, October 25, 2009 12:20:00 AM

we got free copies of win2k and xp, but not vista. i have the free copies of office 2003, but not office 2007. i bet we will get office 2010 as well next year.

freebies are obviously an attempt to placate the employees and turn the attention away from bad SLT performance.

Anonymous said...

To all of the trolls:

Your mamas are laying people off the 3rd week of December.

Stop posting this BS.

Anonymous said...

Mini - I'm surprised at your comments for devdiv. I'm a .Net developer and I don't work in devdiv (I'm in tonysco's org). In my view devdiv is the only division in MS that has continuously and consistently produced awesome releases packed with staggering amount of new features over a decade. As a developer I love all the new features coming in and I'm thankful to make my life easier with all these new powerful features.

I can understand lot of developers out there constantly feeling pressure to learn new stuff and they are getting frustrated but if they don't want to learn and keep upgrading their skills then they have no business to be a developer! In that case they can go to Java world or code in COBOL where there is nothing new going on. I would hate to see we stop innovations just so all these lazy asses don't have to learn anything new anymore. In my opinion very definition of being developer includes constant improvements and staying on the edge.

On blogs etc I often see smugs who looks down on C# or VS but these people themselves have little skills as developers to give opinion on such matters. Generics, functional features etc are just awesome and way ahead of any competition. Beauty is that you can still write code in C# 1.0 if you want to. If anyone has seen historical debugging and other features in VS2010 they won't even find Eclipse to worth pissing on. Tell me about another div in MS who has produced such feature rich releases every two years.

Now all these is not to say devdiv is best what it could be. I actually hate WPF and WCF. I believe they are over architected to fit every seemingly extension and scenario and not really elegant. There is lot of craze in devdiv to make everything declarative and I think it's fundamentally wrong direction. Declarative programs are hard to debug, step in to and so on. Anyone who has worked with uglyness of WPF data bindings in XAML can attest to this. There is lot of push in devdiv for modelling tools which I also thing pure waste of time that was initiated by billg.

I'm looking for new openings and I was deciding where to go next. From the people I've met I can tell for sure that devdiv is certainly the hands down best div to work at MS.

A side note: Mini - your dreams of 10K layoff is going to remain just that. After good results LisaB is out in full force again. MS is hiring and hiring in truck loads. Look headtrax for open positions everywhere. I believe we would have already filled up more than 4K that we had lost during layoffs in next 6 months. I won't be surprised to see FY11 headcount at 95K.

Anonymous said...

"And I can not imagine that we (and by "we" I mean the Microsoft Senior Leadership Team) would be so dumb as to release our flagship product on a Thursday and turn around and fire a bunch of people the next day."
I don't know about you but I received 2 of those farewell e-mails on Friday.

Anonymous said...

RE: Layoffs

http://blogs.barrons.com/techtraderdaily/2009/10/23/microsoft-crushes-q3-estimates-revs-129b-eps-40-cents/?mod=yahoobarrons

Read the third paragraph from the bottom up.

*************

"...Bill Koefoed, Microsoft’s general manager of investor relations...

...On headcount, he noted that Microsoft has has about 91,000 employees, down about 3,500 from a year ago. He noted that the headcount reduction plan announced in January is now :”substantially complete.”

*************

If layoffs are happening in Nov (and it looks like they are), how low can these people go?

Anonymous said...

I noticed with the earnings report that Microsoft cut its full-year operating expense outlook by $400 million.

My guess is that this will come by way of layoffs. We have already cut back as much as we could in other ways, e.g. travel...

Any other ideas where this savings would come from?

Anonymous said...

Any other ideas where this savings would come from?

Canceling the budget for hanging marketing banners from campus buildings? : )

Anonymous said...

The real threat to windows mobile is Android not the iPhone. Google has the same OEM strategy with a better product and a better price, free. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/26/technology/26android.html?_r=1&partner=yahoofinance


I used to work at Microsoft and left several years ago. Although not in a strategic planning position, I used to always tell everyone we're focusing on Google when we should be focusing on Apple.

And there you are, a dozen years after my argument and just look at Apple's stock vs. Microsoft's. And Google is still just a "search" engine with some promising cloud solutions.

Look at how Apple is positioned with iPhone/iTunes vs. Google. Google's Android will suffer from the same problems the Microsoft "phone" does - no coherent platform, no concentration of effort, etc.

For those that doubt this, I say go out and buy an iPhone and use for 3 months. Download some of the top rated apps. It's a game changer in so many ways. Add to this the impending 'slate' or tablet release Apple is about to announce, the solid profitability of the Apple Stores (Microsoft just opened it's first, and it's tried and failed at this previously) - and the problem becomes clear. Apple is about 3-5 years from reaching a tipping point where consumer use of it's products really start driving more corporate use. Mark my words, this will be reality. My company supports the iPhone and I see new companies support iPhone everyday. I also see tons of mentions of the iPhone on the news, TV sitcoms, etc. Google, Microsoft - nothing. You cannot ignore this. The lack of innovation from Microsoft, horrible marketing, and SteveB will continue to erode Microsoft market value and you'll hear less about Microsoft and more about Apple in years to come.

This is after I spent 10 years working for Microsoft - good years. I wish the environment there was and is different - but all indications are there's a downhill slide that Windows 7 *might* help reverse a bit. But in my experience, it's going to take a huge blow to change things and it won't likely occur for 3-5 years. All while Apple builds it's consumer base, simplifies it's products and thus improve their quality, and starts to introduce corporate solutions.

Anonymous said...

"Here are a few conference rooms that show up in outlook scheduling assistant as booked by HR people on 11/4 for ‘planning': 112/3005, 112/3209, 112/3379, 113/2001, 113/3001, 113/3377, 115/4381, 115/4009, 4/2229, Lincoln Square-14017, 17017, 19003, 20029, 22003, 23029, 23204, 25204, 27004, 36/3731…"

You have way too much time on your hand buddy - you should definately get a S+.

Anonymous said...

I noticed with the earnings report that Microsoft cut its full-year operating expense outlook by $400 million.
My guess is that this will come by way of layoffs. [...] Any other ideas where this savings would come from?



In the next few days Steveb will be sending a company-wide email about a paper clip reutilization initiative that will yield substantial savings for the Company. You'll be blown away. Personally I'm super excited.

Anonymous said...

"I noticed with the earnings report that Microsoft cut its full-year operating expense outlook by $400 million.

My guess is that this will come by way of layoffs. We have already cut back as much as we could in other ways, e.g. travel...

Any other ideas where this savings would come from?"



I suggest watching Chris Liddell's internal post-call Q&A where he discusses ways we're going to continue shaving costs.

Please stop with the layoff panic, for the love of christ.

Anonymous said...

Sunday, October 25, 7:29AM.

What are "detentions"? Sorry if I'm missing something, please explain what you mean. Your case sounds familiar and I just want to make sure I understand your words to better know how your situation may apply.

"I heard that that manager had used bogus performance detentions on others before and had not, to my knowledge, ever been held accountable for it. That manager is still employed, and a number of good IC's aren't.

Anonymous said...

To the recent poster about awesome products from Devdiv:

Our language implementations are good. Our user interface tools are AWFUL.

Tried the new VS2010 beta yet? Still installing at the speed of mud. Still spraying tens (hundreds?) of thousands of files all over the place. Still several seconds to switch back to a form view after editing. Still seconds to select a single control. And now we've added MORE crap with lousy font rendering (blame WPF?) ... and if you're using Win7 and want a WTF moment, go select the FULL SCREEN mode.

Yup, still delighting someone, just not the end user.

Anonymous said...

>> There is lot of craze in devdiv to
>> make everything declarative and I
>> think it's fundamentally wrong
>> direction

+ one million on this one. WPF and WCF are abortions, they need to be rearchitected from scratch. Everything else from DevDiv brutally kicks ass.

Anonymous said...

"I noticed with the earnings report that Microsoft cut its full-year operating expense outlook by $400 million.
My guess is that this will come by way of layoffs. We have already cut back as much as we could in other ways, e.g. travel...
Any other ideas where this savings would come from?"

Yes, trash MSSOLVE! This Premier tool and the cogs that are driving it are worthless. The GPSO org. has already cost MS 10s of millions due to poor design, sloppy deer-in-the-headlights management and travel expensives second to none.

Anonymous said...

In that case they can go to Java world or code in COBOL where there is nothing new going on. I would hate to see we stop innovations just so all these lazy asses don't have to learn anything new anymore. In my opinion very definition of being developer includes constant improvements and staying on the edge.

You're like one of those gits who says he's into photography but is more concerned with having the fanciest DSLR camera and image stabilized lenses rather than taking good pictures. If you ever met Donald Knuth, you'd probably make fun of him for not knowing how to use lambda notation in C#.

freebeer said...

Actually, I am hoping that there is a layoff in November and I get tagged. I'm already planning on leaving by the end of the year but the severance would make a nice little parting gift.

Anonymous said...


I don't know about you but I received 2 of those farewell e-mails on Friday.


They keep coming. Not sure if they are voluntary or not, however.

Just got the one I've been waiting for a long time, the good-bye e-mail from BVV. Now, that is addition by subtraction, for sure.

Anonymous said...

>>Why was Money cancelled?

Because Mint.com was getting everyone's money. After Mint was acquired by Intuit, Microsoft and Citibank announced a plan to create a Mint clone.

http://blog.seattlepi.com/microsoft/archives/180690.asp

I'm not holding my breath for this.

Anonymous said...

"We suffer through rumors that Pink is imploding and issues with Sidekick data doing disappearing acts while our CEO has conniption fits over Microsofties sporting iPhones. Dude, this is why."

Balmer is a moron and in my opinion should be fired. I vote him out every share holder meeting. Putting someone who loves technology - or even just understands technology - in charge would do leaps and bounds for MS.

Anonymous said...

"Just got the one I've been waiting for a long time, the good-bye e-mail from ..."

Mini had a wide grin on his face as he let that one through.

Anonymous said...

If WinMO is screwed up, why does MS still insist on internal only hiring policy? Doesn't the management foresee a call of action - need to inject fresh blood to kick some serious ASS.

Messed up!!!

Anonymous said...

I decided to search for "how to announce a layoff."

Here is a sample that our management could learn from:

(SAMPLE, not a real layoff notice)
"We are sorry to inform you that Doe will be reducing staff by 20% over the next month due to decreased demand for our product. We will notify the affected employees with their next paychecks. Laid-off employees will receive one month’s severance pay.

On Friday, November 29, at 2:30 p.m., a meeting for affected employees will be held in the large conference room on the second floor. We will discuss severance benefits, including health insurance, retirement plan distributions, and unemployment benefits. We urge all interested to attend.

We truly appreciate your years of service to Doe Corporation. Unfortunately, this layoff was unavoidable. We wish you success in your future endeavors."

The reduction plans are announced, the employees are given dates and information, and all of this is well ahead of a post on mini. It'd be nice to be reading this right now, rather than worry. The InsideMS blog is a great place to take the layoff commentary where the public can't see it (perhaps serving an intended purpose).

One more surprise layoff and I'll help expense trimming efforts by voting with my feet. The method used so far to announce layoffs just makes for a toxic environment. The employees feel that they are easily expendable, and as if their trustworthiness is questionable.

If layoffs continue to be a surprise, employees who see Microsoft as just a company and layoffs as everyday business are going to eventually be the majority at this company.

They're of the sort who'd rather spend more time carefully crafting the value that others perceive in them than actually working on the products we sell.

I think it's obvious that if you take enough heart out of creating a product it won't do well. That's just business, right?

Anonymous said...

What are "detentions"? Sorry if I'm missing something, please explain what you mean.

From context the comment probably referred to being detained on your team when another manager wants you to leave it and come join their team, and you would like to go.

I watched one of these corporate soap opera plots unfold from close range, and have heard of four or five others. A valuable IC was shafted in the process. Some managers who see an employee's transfer out as detrimental to that manager's own career for any reason will still do whatever it takes to keep that employee where they are. This extends to damaging the employee's future prospects if that's what it takes.

Anonymous said...

good-bye e-mail from BVV. Now, that is addition by subtraction, for sure.

While seeing that pompous brahmin leave is a good thing, he's not the problem. The legions of deadwood themselves are not so much the problem, it's their managers who are at fault. Whether the manager just wants to build an empire and cares only about headcount, or is too heads down in the code to notice, it's the people who let the deadwood fester who need to be shown the door.

I knew a guy who had a BVV lite on his team - he managed him out because it was the right thing for the shareholders. Get better managers, you won't have BVVs (who at least used his keyboard, many of the others just do absolutely nothing).

Anonymous said...

Google's Android will suffer from the same problems the Microsoft "phone" does - no coherent platform, no concentration of effort, etc.

Whatever problems Android might suffer from, almost EVERY phone manufacturer is lining up with a quickness to make Android phones. Motorola dropped Windows Mobile like a hot turd in favor of Android and it looks like Sony will do the same. In a few months there will be more Android phones and more Android manufacturer support than Windows Mobile has ever seen in its ~7 year existence. I think Microsoft would kill to have those "problems" now.

Anonymous said...

What are "detentions"? Sorry if I'm missing something, please explain what you mean. Your case sounds familiar and I just want to make sure I understand your words to better know how your situation may apply.

"I heard that that manager had used bogus performance detentions on others before and had not, to my knowledge, ever been held accountable for it. That manager is still employed, and a number of good IC's aren't.


Manager learns one day you want to leave his team. If it is close to mid-year or annual review, he ensures you get bottom of the stack and complains about:
you pick one
* Your communication issues (During a 30mn presentation, you paused for 3 seconds instead of 4 and almost caused the entire org to lose confident in the product)
* Lack of attention of details (you forgot to update product studio correctly for one bug in product studio in the last 6 months and almost caused the release to slip)
* Team has been complaining about you (your buddy mentioned to your boss you were 5mn late for lunch one day)

Then your manager goes cry to HR and skip level and whoever wants to hear him that you are not performing well and that he cannot guarrantee that you will be succesfull in another team.

You are stuck in his team.

But not to worry, he will work with you to improve your performance.

In reality he ignores you, or set you up to fail or continues to being an a*hole.

You leave the company with a huge hatred toward Microsoft or get laid off and join the competition motivated to destroy Microsoft.

Your ex-manager gets rewarded for being tough, knowing how to make the tough calls.

In reality, Microsoft has protected a shitty manager who has been running all the good IC off his team to the competition. He surrounds himself with yes-man ICs with low skills.

This type of manager is cancer at any company. They typically thrive in large orgs that have little competition. They reproduce fast and soon, an entire org is infected. All the good employees are gone or demoralized.

Just think how did we fail with Vista and WinMo? Bad ICs? Of course...

Anonymous said...

Any other ideas where this savings would come from?

Ditto on the stupid posters on the wall and the dumb mktg crap that gets dumped in our mail slots. Of course, if I didn't get those, I'd get nothing in my mail slot.

Anonymous said...

I also remember that back in the day we were given a copy of Office for free. Office 2007

Umm - you can go to the external site and download a copy of Office 2007 for your home use. They just want us tethered 24x7 my friend. But yeah, no free copy of Vista. But we do get to download Win 7.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous @Tuesday, October 27, 2009 2:47:00 AM that wrote:
Manager learns one day you want to leave his team. If it is close to mid-year or annual review, he ensures you get bottom of the stack and complains about....
No one else could've said it better. It is indeed the cancer that's propagating at MS for years and years, has reached epidemic proportions. I've witnessed it , experienced it and assisted others that have gone through this hell of an experience.

Anonymous said...

layoff for 11/4 are more or less confirmed. thanks to the lady who asked the last question.

Anonymous said...

"I watched one of these corporate soap opera plots unfold from close range, and have heard of four or five others. A valuable IC was shafted in the process. Some managers who see an employee's transfer out as detrimental to that manager's own career for any reason will still do whatever it takes to keep that employee where they are. This extends to damaging the employee's future prospects if that's what it takes."

Speaking as a manager who has just "detained" a low-performing IC who would does not have the skills to succeed elsewhere in the company, I'd like to offer another perspective for balance.

There are *plenty* of managers who, instead of doing the right thing and managing bad employees out of the company, will try to shove their problems off to different teams -- it's far, far easier to let your bad employee interview and go somewhere else than it is to "detain" them and manage them out of the company. Seriously -- it takes a lot of focused effort over months to fire someone, but it's just a smile and nod to throw your dead weight over to another team.

Also, refusing permission to interview involves a whole bunch of people including HR -- it's not an arbitrary decision made in a vaccuum. Although I'm sure there are abuses, the majority of cases I've seen have been taken very seriously by everyone involved with considerable debate and discussion about the potential for the employee to be successful on another team vs. not being a fit for Microsoft.

I've seen a few cases where I thought the "detained" employee was getting the short end of the stick, but by far the majority of these cases have been people who really weren't a good fit for the company. Of course, if you're on the receiving end of being "detained" the chances are rather good that you're going to feel like it isn't justified... even when it clearly is.

Anonymous said...

Hm. The 11/4 rumors just got a lot more credence.

SteveB actually answered a layoff questions more directly than I've ever heard him, at the town hall meeting today. (Being very careful to phrase it in a way that gives him legal cover later, e.g. by never actually saying "layoff".)

The very last question of the meeting was someone asking, basically, "when will layoffs be done so we don't have this hanging over us?"

SteveB confirmed that a) there's still remaining layoffs to go from the original plan started in January, and very importantly b) that it will be concluded by end of calendar year. He also included a lot of predictable and understandable reminders about how positions get re-evaluated and reassigned or removed all the time (see previous point about legal cover).

I really hope that this confirms 11/4, not only for peace of mind to be back to business as usual, but also because the closer the layoffs are to the holidays, the crueler it is...

Anonymous said...

Microsoft India R & D is a worst place to work for. People are now ready to accept the layoffs happily. This company has all the JUNK fellows inside and their apps are pathetic.

Most political Org I ever seen in my entire experience and Most junk profiles are extremely successful here.

Anonymous said...

Curious timing: commenting on the mostly-dead LisaB blog has been disabled, to be re-enabled next week.

Stated reason is because they're upgrading to Sharepoint 2010 Beta 2, and I believe that that's the reason with no conspiracy theory behind it.

But still. Great timing, if an axe is gonna fall in the next week or so...

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