Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Microsoft Layoff 2009 Completes Last Milestone and Ships!

With today's 800 Microsoft layoffs, Microsoft Layoff 2009 has reached its final milestone and shipped, exceeded expectations of 5,000 with 5,800 reduced positions.

Err... yay?

Last week during the Town Hall Mr. Ballmer confirmed there would be one more iteration on the layoffs. And after that? Who knows. More to come? Maybe. Booga booga!

You know, we have people working for Microsoft (or, at least did, I don't know, maybe no longer) responsible for driving executive leadership education and growth at Microsoft. This is their friggin' job. Develop Microsoft Leadership at the executive and L68+ levels. So, has anyone hemmed and hawed in-front of Mr. Ballmer and mentioned that this nickel and diming layoff approach is at the worst case end of the layoff management scale?

The looming threat of continuing RIFs and layoffs indicates that Microsoft is just too big for its leadership. It is beyond their capabilities to wrap their minds around everything Microsoft is doing. It has gotten away from them. What needs to go? Hell, I don't know even what all these people do, and you want to decide who stays and goes?

Yes.

Cut deep. Cut once. Get on with it and say, "We're done. We have aligned our company to be efficient and effective within this new global economic climate and are ready to focus on returning to profits and market share growth."

Done.

Coverage I've noticed today on the outside:

On Don Dodge:

And, bummers for me given that she interviewed me for Microspotting, Ms. Ariel Stallings tweet about being caught up in this layoff round.

Coverage from the inside? No email. Quiet. Quite dysfunctional. There was something linked off of the MSW site and it also had a FAQ document that had to be one of the worse FAQs I've ever read. There is an "A" portion to an FAQ and in this case some of the questions were great but the answers looked like they were generated from some sort of English obfuscation Perl script 3rd place prize winner.

So, I'm going through about sixty comments now on the older post. I think it was necessary for Microsoft to have layoffs due to the mismanaged growth and lack of focus and direction our Senior Leadership Team has given us. But it should have been twice as much, done all at once. Now we dither.

Were you affected by the layoff or know someone who was? I'd be interested in knowing which groups and organizations are affected.


-- Comments

911 comments:

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Anonymous said...

The economy is a red herring in this case and simply a convenient cloke for MS to hide behind. For example, the colossol vista disaster played itself out for half a decade before this recession. MS has been past it's prime for nearly a decade now when it was dubbed an illegal monopoly. And, if you think BillG is going to ride back in like a white knight and save MS as Steve Jobs did with Apple consider this: BillG's fingerprints are all over the vista disaster. Kudos to SteveSi for the miraculous recovery, but it's a day late and a dollar short.

This is capitalism's creative destruction at work and MS is being creatively destroyed by it's competition which is merely hastened by this recession. MS is at that stage IBM was at in the late 80's when they cut half of their entire work force in a constant stream of layoffs that lasted for years. Layoffs will be a constant part of the landscape at MS for probably the next decade or so. If you're short timing then staying at MS might be the cost effective option if you believe you can avoid the grim reaper. But if you're looking for a long, successful career in a growing company then rather than sitting around waiting for the economy to recover it's time to read the writing on the wall, pick up your marbles, and find another game to play.

MS will never be the same again after we emerge from this recession. It is in the midst of a slow, painful march towards obscurity.

Anonymous said...

So are the layoffs (for this round, anyway) complete? Nobody's in my org has heard a peep from our mgmt chain all of the way up to Ballmer.

Anonymous said...

I thought it actually detracted greatly from an otherwise classy goodbye. It was a cheap shot at the company, and called into question his conviction in what he was promoting as recently as the day prior.

--

i would not assume it was intentional. It may have but we dont know what is in the mind of someone else, especially given circumstances it is easy to fall to the dark side luke

Anonymous said...

I lost more respect for Ballmer when he didn't even send an email on this latest round of layoffs. That's not leadership, it's cowardice. This entire process, like too many other things during Steve's tenure, has been a study in how not to do something properly.

Shareholders may be responding somewhat favorably now, but they shouldn't forget whose decade of failed strategies and years of over hiring led to this sad and embarassing requirement. Nor should they ignore how companies such as Apple and Google, who performed better than MS every year for nearly a decade during good times, also proved much more resilient during this recession. After nine years of Steve "investing for the future", both these competitors have developed superior business models and stronger overall businesses. So strong in fact that where they intersect with MS, Apple and Google are the ones gaining or holding share and it's MS's future people are worried about. That's the ultimate indictment of the job he has done.

Anonymous said...

If this blog has really become the uncensored (mostly) voice of current and formers softies, then why not call out those managers here?

===================================

My guess is that many of the people who have worked for one of these bad managers have tried to report them. Unfortunately, HR does nothing about it and then the person that reported them is targeted. Worse, that manager may have been hand picked by the GM level manager and the GM in this case would never admit they picked a bad choice and side with the bad manager.

===================================
Hence, why naming these managers here along specific behaviors which are readily discoverable - might make some further up take notice and look for themselves, or even give those protecting this person a moment of pause.

In the current system, its very much like going to traffic court without a lawyer. The GM and above are the judge, and they will take the "cop" (manager) over your word.

All based on the assumption that cop has "no reason" to lie, and you do as are facing poor review or termination.

However, that is all predicated on "cop" being honest rationale actor with honorable intentions and some degree of competence.

This is apparently not the case in many places.

The threat of public scrutiny has way of improving behavior.

Yes there will also be thouse disgrunted rightlful U110 or terminated employees. However, where there is smoke there if fire.

You get enough entries about the same person or same behavior, its worth a look.

Today employee's only option is "internal affairs" to continue to police metaphor.

The blog could give you the option of calling the press.

MS expotential growth in metrics many with subjective measurements, and the catch-all ms/values and "how of your results" give managers enormous discretion to personal personal or political agendas.

Furthermore, this discretion along with very little real accountability appears to be attracting sociopaths.

Anonymous said...

"surprised why SE was not impacted"
Totally agree with this comment. I am very surprised too.

Anonymous said...

I thought it actually detracted greatly from an otherwise classy goodbye. It was a cheap shot at the company, and called into question his conviction in what he was promoting as recently as the day prior.

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

EVERY MS employee should have a private email account not owned by MS, and internet access not owned by MS. Read the fine print in your contracts.

Ex-employees should immediately remove all communication from media owned by MS. Read the fine print in your contracts.

Choosing anything but MSN or Hotmail isn't "poor form" - it's common sense.

Anonymous said...

This layoff clearly shows years of not-work from MS managers ..those slacker and duffos ppl

Anonymous said...

Hopefully those who were let go at least remembered to respond to their GMs endless pandering for Giving Campaign contributions.

It's important to take place in the community and these corporate giving efforts, especially given this economy.

Anonymous said...

For once Mini, I pretty much agree with you. We have lots of money, lots of smart people. We should break ourselves up into more independant businesses so management doesn't have to understand it ALL. Focus on what you do. Hire smart people, give them goals, get out of the way. Ten years ago we were still operating as small independant teams who were not tied down by process and legal. The old MS culture is almost dead. We have to find that again. What is the point of having employees you hired to think outside the box and then sticking them in a box?

Anonymous said...

I received notice that my job was eliminated (SSP in Atlanta) it felt like a reduction of 10% U/P. The last 6 months were full of managements gender & racial biases.

Anonymous said...

The dumbasses and trouble-makers in my group (PCHW) still survived.

westech said...

Will Microsoft become the General Motors of software?

http://brainstormtech.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2009/11/06/will-microsoft-become-the-general-motors-of-software/?source=yahoo_quote

Anonymous said...

So is AlexGo fired from Microsoft or he is just moving to another division?

Anonymous said...

I was notified of some cuts in MSUS (which I'm still not 100% sure what acronym means, but apparently I'm somehow related to or maybe in that organization). It’s easy to stay focused amid indefinitely continuing RIFs, just remain oblivious to the enormity of MS and do your job to the best of your ability. Heck, in my 3.5 years my division has been re-orged to the point where I can no longer tell what my reporting structure is. Does it impede my ability to service my customers? No. Would it be nice if we didn’t need an acronym dictionary to work here? Yes.

Anonymous said...

"Focus on what you do. Hire smart people, give them goals, get out of the way. Ten years ago we were still operating as small independant teams who were not tied down by process and legal."

Ten years ago we most certainly were not operating as small, independent teams... we were well on the road to the bloated behemoth we are today. In fact, we were well on that road 15 years ago when I started.

Ten years ago the BillG reviews had become a time-sucking and life-draining joke, and the "better together" asinine mandates for everything to integrate with everything were sucking the innovation out of everything we did.

Anonymous said...

Everything must be done by concensus, we're totally reactive and utterly lacking in actionable strategic leadership from above. It's the epitomy of the "kiss up kick down" organization - management is predominantly focused in the upward direction ("Everything's lovely - all indicators are green!!"), while on the ground its a constant mad panic to make reality align with the status given to the senior leaders.

You have described my org perfectly!

Anonymous said...

"i would not assume it was intentional. It may have but we dont know what is in the mind of someone else, especially given circumstances it is easy to fall to the dark side luke"

Would you put a gmail address in your parting MS post by accident? Right. Neither would anyone else.

Anonymous said...

Regarding problematic managers, Anonymous wrote:

Worse, that manager may have been hand picked by the GM level manager and the GM in this case would never admit they picked a bad choice and side with the bad manager.

+1. I strongly urge people to consider this before they report a manager to their skip-level or GM. I did not consider this potential vulnerability in the chain of command, and it was a fatal mistake for me.

What I am not saying: "Don't escalate at all."

What I mean: "IF you choose to escalate, frame the discussion in a manner that helps the GM avoid the appearance of failure, or ideally helps them get more success."

I do not know for sure if it's possible to successfully frame such a discussion, but I suspect it is. It likely takes a lot of careful thought and even more careful speech.

Even something as blatant as, "I'd really like to give a rave review to (so and so new hire by GM) on the upcoming (whatever, if next year MS asks for manager feedback), because I like to really support my management whenever I have the chance to help them. But there are a couple factors that are preventing me from doing so right now. And I'm concerned that some of these thoughts might be shared by other team members as well," might open the conversation without raising the defenses too much.

What hopefully goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway: If you strike such a bargain, keep up your end of it. If the manager does improve, praise them when it counts.

Anonymous said...

"Hotmail is an eyesore, it's unreliable, its spam filter is horrible, and it just started doing POP3 when GMail has been doing IMAP since 2007. I mean, come on. Do you think any technical person will take you seriously if you have a Hotmail address?"

LOL, wrong on just about every point. But this wasn't about the technical merits of Hotmail versus Gmail. It was about listing a gmail id in your goodbye MS message.

Anonymous said...

>>So are the layoffs (for this round, anyway) complete? Nobody's in my org has heard a peep from our mgmt chain all of the way up to Ballmer.

Most middle managers can't make any statements here; in fact they are coached by HR to not make clear statements. This really comes from Ballmer and he needs to see if customers (enterprise & consumers) still care about the stuff he's peddling.

Anonymous said...

So, if you get laid off, you get a severance package. But, if you are "fired for cause" ... that is, too many reviews, etc. at 10%, or, don't live up to a performance plan, or ??? then you get ZERO severance?

That's how it normally works. That's how it's always worked at MSFT, way before layoffs were ever mentioned. That's how it works at most companies. You may want to re-read the portions of your employee agreement defining what "at-will employment" means.

And, what about medical insurance? Does that get cut off immediately in either layoff or fire situation? How long does Cobra last? How much does Cobra cost?

When you're fired, insurance stops when your employment stops. As with any other job in any other industry anywhere.

As for the rest, all of this is spelled out in the HR websites about how the layoffs work. You don't have to ask around here.

Anonymous said...

"surprised why SE was not impacted"
Totally agree with this comment. I am very surprised too.


Why?

Anonymous said...

No - the truth is that the bloom is off the rose for Microsoft, and even in this economy, folks are starting to jusmp ship.

People aren't joining the ship much now either. Got a call today from a recruiter wanting me to join the Windows Mobile team as a contractor and found out it doesn't pay worth a damn.


Proven C++/ATL and UI dev skills on dozens of shipping products cost money. Cross-platform mobile dev skills cost money. Mobile operators happily pay. No thanks, Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

Balmer should be made a CEO2 or Senior CEO for the good work he has been doing so far. Or may be Partner CEO :-)

Anonymous said...

" Do you think any technical person will take you seriously if you have a Hotmail address?"

This is a very good point. I mean seriously, a hotmail or MSN address screams, "I don't know how to use the internet".

Anonymous said...


I thought it actually detracted greatly from an otherwise classy goodbye. It was a cheap shot at the company, and called into question his conviction in what he was promoting as recently as the day prior.

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

EVERY MS employee should have a private email account not owned by MS, and internet access not owned by MS. Read the fine print in your contracts.


Even better, take your time to choose nice domain name and create Google Apps account for it -- you can create 50 e-mail accounts under it for free, gmail interface is great and you can do crazy things with filters, catch-all addresses, aliases, etc.

Also, you get Google Docs, Calendar, all integrated nicely...

btraven said...

From me, a former contractor and FTE (left for greener pastures - not laid off).

1. Microsoft leadership, beyond being some of the most arrogant people in the world, is focused on money rather than building good products and providing good support. This is, in part, a hazard of monopolistic organizations. (Fortunately, that monopolistic market-share is slowly changing - at an accelerating pace.) From my perspective, Microsoft's leadership (while rich) demonstrates moral bankruptcy.

2. Microsoft is a marketing machine, and virtually nothing else. Check out BizSpark. What a joke. There are many of these covert marketing ploys.

3. Microsoft adds insane complexity to everything. Google and Apple "get it" and can execute. Microsoft doesn't "get it" and can't execute. It's actually amusing from my vantage point. Ex: Licensing. Ex: SharePoint (Is there anyone who runs it out of the box? Has there ever been a successful - really successful - implementation?) Ex: Office 2007 (People still complain to me that the menus are gone. Instead we are left with the Ribbon and features hidden away. And the woman who lobbied for ommision of menus got an award. Geesh.)

3. Microsoft has no idea how people outside their ranks use software. THIS is incredibly amusing.

4. Microsoft has some of the worst customer service I've ever experienced. Even as an internal person, you get shipped to India for support. LOL.

5. HR (think Lisa) cares more about the natural environment than the well-being of employees. They should change the name of her org to NR (Natural Resources). Microsoft treats employees more like natural resources (to be harvested, used up, bought and sold) than humans.

.....

If Microsoft intends to not go the way of Dinosaurs, then they should get some new leadership - that actually cares about making a positive difference, not just around the globe, but in the next office/cubicle.

.....

Loving Apple!
Loving FOSS!
Loving Google!

Ciao

Anonymous said...

Hence, why naming these managers here along specific behaviors which are readily discoverable - might make some further up take notice and look for themselves, or even give those protecting this person a moment of pause.
===================================

I completely agree with you and as soon as I find another job on another team or leave the company I will most assuredly post the name and details of my bad manager.

I am not worried about making her mad or suffering retribution, that has already happened. Instead, my concern is the GM level mgr not backing me and then I have to leave in a hurry or be fired. I would rather leave on my own terms and can then come back to post the details.

Also, as best I can tell there is no internal affairs to go to. HR is here to back the bad managers and the company. I know because I have reported my issue(s) and nothing was done.

westech said...

Microsoft has a lot going for it: huge sales, high profit margins, excellent cash flow, and an enviable, dominant, almost monopolistic market share. It has concentrated its efforts, pretty successfully, on protecting this position.

On the negative side, it has not kept up with market changes which tend to marginalize its major products and has been unable to develop new products which excite the marketplace, allowing Apple and Google to grow rapidly.

Why? As an outsider but a student of business success, here is my viewpoint.

Success begins at the top. Great leaders have vision, resist the urge to maximize short term profits at the expense of long term success, hire people with outstanding abilities at all levels and create an environment which encourages creativity and strives for excellence. Above all, good enough is never good enough.

Some specific criticisms:

Win Mobile, initial product good for its time and then allowed to languish.

Internet Explorer, used muscle to supplant Netscape Navigator and then allowed to languish.

Vista, a bloated disaster not ready for prime time when released.

Zune, a clunky continuation of trying to make subscription reliance to generate a continuing source of income when the market has clearly shown that it doesn’t buy it. Remember Play For Sure?

XBox 360. Terrible execution of a product that should have been a great success, causing it to lose momentum and now an also ran.

Managers tend to hire in their own images. It’s easier to hire a golfing buddy who you like than to hire real competence that will challenge you. Human Resource departments aid and abet this tendency. They have no creativity because they spend their time filling slots defined by position descriptions that are too constrictive to allow thinking outside the box, making sure that they don’t put square pegs in round holes.

Microsoft’s R & D organization is extremely bureaucratic, has too many levels of management, over-structures job definitions, punishes creativity and encourages conformism. It is a reflection of the company’s management.

Anonymous said...

I was let go in an earlier round of layoffs, and the news of the shooting in Orlando is stuck in my head.

Suspected Orlando mass shooter Jason Rodriguez is believed to be a former employee of Reynolds Smith & Hills, the architectural engineering firm where the shooting took place."

"They left me to rot," he told TV reporters after he was arrested.

Rodriguez was laid off about a year and a half ago from his job at RS&H. The layoff was part of firm cutbacks.

Records show he filed for bankruptcy in Orlando in September.


By no means do I condone what Rodriguez has done, but I plead with the SLT to stop the indiscriminate hiring that continues still today. Learn from the mistakes that brought the company to this point.

Realize that many of the people affected are unable to bounce back quickly because of the current economic situation. Unemployment is above 10 percent; there are few jobs to be had, and projections are that it will get worse.

Not only did the people let go lose the golden handcuffs that made it almost impossible for them to leave on their own terms (and you clearly targeted many of those with a lot of vesting "awards" to lose), but they stand to lose much more. Some will lose their homes. Some will see their marriages fall apart and their families split up because of the emotional and financial fallout. Your crappy leadership and fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants management decisions do have consequences, even if you can't feel them from the comfortable confines of the plush homes that you're still easily able to pay for.

If you need to get down to a particular headcount, just do it in one final fell swoop -- and STOP THE HIRING BINGE!

Best wishes to those who are just re-entering an absolutely dismal job market.

Anonymous said...

"It was a cheap shot at the company, and called into question his conviction in what he was promoting as recently as the day prior"

a cheap shot?!!? Are you really suggesting he should maintain loyalty to a company that just mugged him like that?

Anonymous said...

The big cheeses have confirmed, once again, that we employeefolk are indeed 'at-will' employees. So much for the notion that "...our greatest asset is our employees..."

As long as everyone knows that they are basically temps, just salaried with good benefits, I guess that's okay.
=========================

The key message to all employees:
- Re-read your contracts. You have an "at will" employment
- "I love this Co" is an appropriate slogan only in Co meetings, when uttered by you-know-who
- Do your part and add value to your products and make them succeed
- The layoffs will continue until the stock price doesn't improve (a take on similar phrase about floggin's and morale).

Anonymous said...

It's really quite sad - not sure how it all went down but we lost a great PM and retain other 'employees' who consider 30hrs a week to be working full time. I miss the old days - folks working their tails off here because they loved what they were doing, and cared about quality. Still far too much dead weight if you ask me, and cuts coming to the wrong teams and people.

Anonymous said...

So strong in fact that where they intersect with MS, Apple and Google are the ones gaining or holding share and it's MS's future people are worried about. That's the ultimate indictment of the job he has done.
===========

If you are a shareholder then you ought to exercise your vote in this year's shareholder election and vote against SteveB. Yup - a symbolic vote, nevertheless.

Anonymous said...

Bad managers.
There are a bunch of reasons why bad management continues to go unchecked at MS. Lots of people have posted some of these reasons already:

- HR is on the side of the manager not the IC (they are there to protect the company, not the employee).
- The manager's manager hired them so feels some sort of loyalty for fear they will look bad if the manager is found to be poor.
- etc.

But I see two other reasons that no one has mentioned:

- Fear. Managers control the employee's review - ranking, rating, bonus, stock allocation(may happen above manager's head depending on the number in the team and their level), salary increase (if there is any budget) and potential to move for other career opportunities(or detain them). Employees are afraid to challenge the manager directly or to hold them accountable. It's a perfectly natural thing and the manager knows they are in a position of power when confronted by an unhappy direct report. If they are particularly sick/evil they turn the complaint/feedback around and start a campaign of misrepresentation on the strengths and areas for development of the direct. I have seen this happen for as long as I have been at MS (> 14yrs).
- The manager's manager(let's call her a lead for this example) is not located at the same site as the lead, they are managed remotely. They do not get to see how that lead operates on a day to day basis. All they see are emails and two phone calls a week, a 1-1 and a leads meeting. These meetings are usually preceded by a status update from the leads IC where the lead has gathered all the work of the ICs and presented it up as their own. When asked any difficult questions it's a simple matter of saying "I'll get back to you on that" and chasing the ICs for the answer. I have seen leads survive like this for years. The higher level manager probably has their own team locally to manage as well as the remote one and so its a burden to have to dig too deeply into what is happening in the remote team.

"So fill in the manager feedback form" I hear you say. Well that is about as useful as asking HR to intercede on your behalf. Mgr feedback forms can and are ignored as easily as claims to a skip level that a lead/manager is incompetent or in over their head. It all falls on deaf ears. The IC is basically screwed, the only way is out. No point complaining, no one will listen. So they spend months/years treading on eggshells playing the political game of pretending to like their manager when inside they are filled with loathing. They wait in the hope of a reorg or a position opening in another team. And then a layoff is announced, 5000 people are to lose their jobs, they hope and pray the lead is one of those 5000, but in the end the lead is safe. And then HR call them into a room "We regret to inform you..."

Life isnt fair....MS isnt fair.

Anonymous said...

The PM leadership at the L2 layer in MSN is terrible. The partner PM Trudy Anthony-Hoppe takes vacation once every 4 weeks and is a bottleneck since many decisions cannot be made when she is on vacation to Hawaii. She is using partner benifits which i heard were recently revoked and her boss another under performer by the name of John Skovron couldn't care less of his directs. There is absolutely no accountability in the PM team under Trudy. One very respected Lead who was heading the App Bar team recently left due to the underperforming PM and Test team headed by Praveen Arjunan. At the beginning of most sprints in the App bar team, PM's would keep promising ok completing their specs and this went on for 6 or more months. The GPM of the project Klaus Diaconu lost all credibility and the fact that most of the PM deliverables at the L2 level were in the Red didn't seem to bother him.

Anonymous said...

I feel really sorry for the Microsoft employees on this thread who think they are hot s**t. If they are as good as they think they are, why are they working at MSFT? Microsoft stopped being a cool company to work for ten years ago. It seems the chief talent among softies these days is deeming their peers worthy of dismissal. Sad.

Yes, your useless comment really is sad. "Geniuses" like you always come around (like vultures) with these broad, sweeping comments - "MSFT hasnt been worth anything in (insert arbitrary number picked out of hat by know-it-all moron) years" or "MSFT is DEAD - give it (arbitrary number picked out of hat by know-it-all moron) years"

Comments like this say a lot more about the poster than anything else. Anyone who thinks that MSFT consists of 91,000 idiots who are incapable of getting a job anywhere else, or that MSFT is just a wasteland where nothing innovative has ever happened and no future exists, is just displaying either their incredible bias, or massive ignorance.

The reality is that MSFT has enormous problems and is being systematically destroyed by an increasingly corrupt and dysfunctional management org, as well as an unsettling narrowing of vision. It is also true that MSFT was always really a monopoly and never had to function as an actual company.

That DOES NOT mean (for you idiots reading), that no good work was ever done there, that the drooling psychopath "ABMers" were "right all along", that there isnt AMAZING work happening right now, and that everyone walking the halls is a moron.

I talk to Cx level folks all the time. What I hear the most is "let us know if you ever leave there". Not "wow.. my IT and tech guys are such geniuses.. we really dont need any help... MSFT doesnt know anything or do anything useful so you really have no credibility... please leave"

There are a LOT of *great* people at MSFT. MANY of them are NOT "Koolaiders" and understand both the industry AND business/consumer application of technology better than MOST. They also understand where MSFT is wrong and where it is right. Where Google is better and where Google is slipping. Where Apple is fantastic and where they are limited. Mosf of YOU (the idiots with the "MSFT SUX!!! LOLZ!") comments, really seem to have ZERO vision or value.

The problem with MSFT is the voices of the *great* people are NOT being heard and the company is increasingly run by archaic policy that only "worked" under a monopoly and bean counters with their "scorecards".

Anonymous said...

>>"surprised why SE was not impacted"
>>Totally agree with this comment. I am very surprised too.

Why? The team didn't grow larger and added Windows 7 servicing to the mix. Note that other releases, including XP, are still supported.

Now that the work was moved under the India Development Center GM, expect things to fall apart fairly quickly. At minimum, head count bloat, increased lab spend, and dropped operating systems. Next round, there will likely be cuts from SE.

Anonymous said...

@LisaB - I thought it was a nice touch to post your smiling photo next to the layoff notice posted on MSW. Very classy.

Anonymous said...

"@LisaB - I thought it was a nice touch to post your smiling photo next to the layoff notice posted on MSW. Very classy."


Someone really ought to take that down. Very offensive.

Anonymous said...

The PM leadership at the L2 layer in MSN is terrible.

Agree. But who cares MSN nowdays?

Anonymous said...

I see one great quality of satyan. He has a great love for his home country. you will see most of the top development manager in his org are from India.

To be able to offshore software development to India, Microsoft's management most likely wants to get as large as possible number of people from India experience shipping real products as quickly as possible.

You're training the "new guy" to do your current job.


Microsoft saves money by moving software development offshore if they are successful in training software developers from India and China to ship new products consistently.

Microsoft already licenses their software out of Nevada to avoid the B&O tax in Washington state. Tough luck for Washington state and their budget deficit but good luck for Microsoft shareholders.


Bar Funds for China-Backed Wind Farm, Senator Says (Update1)

Nov. 6 (Bloomberg) -- The Obama administration should bar a $1.5 billion wind-farm project in Texas from receiving U.S. government stimulus funds because most of the power turbines would be made in China, Senator Charles Schumer said.

U.S. Renewable Energy Group and Cielo Wind Power LP save money on wind turbines by buying them from China but the U.S. loses out on jobs from building wind turbines.

‘Chimerica’ is Headed for Divorce

""Back in early 2007, it seemed as if China and America were so intertwined they'd become one economy: I called it "Chimerica." The Chinese did the saving, the Americans the spending. The Chinese did the exporting, the Americans the importing. The Chinese did the lending, the Americans the borrowing.""

"And now the official line from Prime Minister Wen Jiabao is to "hasten the implementation of our 'going out' strategy and combine the utilization of foreign exchange reserves with the 'going out' of our enterprises." That sounds like a Chinese campaign to buy up foreign assets—exchanging dodgy dollars for copper mines."


Yes We Can (Pass Climate Change Legislation)

We know that sending nearly $800 million a day to sometimes-hostile oil-producing countries threatens our security.

The companies, like Wal-mart, selling merchandise got cheap products and improved profits by the U.S. running a huge trade deficit with China and money borrowed ($800 million per day) from China to buy foreign oil.

However, the U.S.'s deep debt left it in a vulnerable position when the economies of the world crashed.


What makes sense for a company isn't always the best choice for the people where the company is located.


Drinking the company Koolaid and focusing on making Microsoft better and more profitable isn't necessarily the best choice for the people in your state or your country.

Anonymous said...

I got the RIF notice Wed, but given that my role was truly unnecessary and I was already actively searching for another job, I was not at all surprised. I do not think my RIF was political, or that I was targeted because of my level, review history, gender, etc. The job just wasn't needed. In some cases a RIF is just a RIF. Our group was truly fat. I'm surprised they didn't get rid of more.

Despite what people are saying here about it all being ICs, I know of at least 3 GMs in another org that got booted. One was a terrible manager who had been tormenting people for years. The others were nice people but not very effective.

Oh, and BTW, I already have another job. Hard to be mad at anyone since I landed in a much better place. But it was hard on my peers, who were shocked, and it is hard on me that some of my friends were also RIF'd.

Anonymous said...

- Fear. Managers control the employee's review - ranking, rating, bonus, stock allocation(may happen above manager's head depending on the number in the team and their level), salary increase (if there is any budget) and potential to move for other career opportunities(or detain them). Employees are afraid to challenge the manager directly or to hold them accountable. It's a perfectly natural thing and the manager knows they are in a position of power when confronted by an unhappy direct report. If they are particularly sick/evil they turn the complaint/feedback around and start a campaign of misrepresentation on the strengths and areas for development of the direct. I have seen this happen for as long as I have been at MS (> 14yrs).


======

This happened to me pretty much, but in reply to my desire to leave after 9 months after coming to a team in STB->MSD. The manager basically started his campaign last years review period and detention began before i got out.

The GPM (my skip) basically supported this person through out and the two blindly gave mis-information to our director who is a smart person and one i respect but who was given mis-information.

They spent more time setting up to fail then a) working professionally or respectfully, b) spening more time making assumptions than working with facts, c) not dealing constructive confrontation and d) making it tough for HR (albeit they are not worth a damn) to not support their efforts.

I truly want these two to fail for the following reasons:

a) they are both under-qualified to lead a key area of business or own significant areas of technology
b) the manager is passive aggressivem, the skip is simply passive
c) combined they spend more time in reactive "so sorry" mode and do not boost people well whom have more potential.
d) the manager is a "bully" in every sense of the word and will play patsy upstream to stay on the good side.
e) the manager is ineffective/pass through driving anything which requires acocuntability or balls to do their "designated" job.
f) want C and D types to work for them
g) they do not delicagate
h) blame others and do not represnt a culture at Microsoft which is needed or desired.

If anyone in SLT want to know who they are feel free to send me mail.

jack.hoff.9999@gmail.com



The guy is truly in the leage

Anonymous said...

The GPM of the project Klaus Diaconu lost all credibility and the fact that most of the PM deliverables at the L2 level were in the Red didn't seem to bother him.

---------

theres your problem, Klaus was previously a test manage for a pretty dysfunctional COSD test org. He is not the type you need for a GPM driving the project but he can be useful if you provide what is needed.

Who from the respective team or stakeholders were reaching out drive concerns up ? Or are you suggesting you did that and no actions resulted.

This characteristic is also present in the COSD driver experience team, the guys who do the drivers on the update site. Shriram + Jason are pretty useless and have no strategy to fix the OEM problem on that front.

Superglad we have driver metadata flowing down to pretty much crappy update drivers.

Anonymous said...

“It's the epitomy of the "kiss up kick down" organization - management is predominantly focused in the upward direction ("Everything's lovely - all indicators are green!!"), while on the ground its a constant mad panic to make reality align with the status given to the senior leaders."
• Very well said and applies well to MSIT & MGSI in Hyderabad, india. Here its a constant mad panic to make reality align with the status given to the senior leaders and MCS, Customer.


“Worse, that manager may have been hand picked by the GM level manager and the GM in this case would never admit they picked a bad choice and side with the bad manager....
HR is here to back the bad managers.. “
• Very true for MGSI, Hyderabad. We have terrible experience with our Quality and Dx Leads. They add no value but put their fingers in everything from DRB, Proposals & estimation, Project, delivery Reviews, and our learning & training too. One of them also handles WFP and interferes lot in our onsite travel and utilization and vacations. We just don’t complain, as both were hired by the GM and they have GM and HR Support. Even our PDs don’t complain about them

Some experiences seem similar whether in US or India...

Anonymous said...

Also, as best I can tell there is no internal affairs to go to. HR is here to back the bad managers and the company. I know because I have reported my issue(s) and nothing was done.

MEMORANDUM

To: All of you who haven't gotten results from HR
From: Mini reader who's been there
Re: A little help from a friend

From having been there, I know that there is nothing so frustrating as feeling that you've used up your options and the only way out is to leave the company. Maybe I can help at least one person out there by bringing up some options he or she might not have tried yet.

There are two places you can go if HR doesn't resolve your situation or seems to be blocking you.

1. ERIT. The Employee Relations Investigation Team, I think is the full expansion of this YAMA (yet another Microsoft acronym). Somewhere on msweb, they say that these are the people you escalate to if your official HR channels were unable to help.

2. Whatever the confidential corporate whistleblower hotline is, if you suspect serious malfeasance or unlawful behavior like discrimination. There WAS something useful in that Compliance training after all! Who'da punk it?

Contact information for both of these is on msweb, somewhere, if you know to look for it.

I'd never heard of ERIT when it was mentioned to me by a former employee who'd had to resort to them and was successful, although he left a couple years later.

I had heard of the whistleblower hotline but never thought of using it for an internal affairs issue. Nevertheless apparently at least one person I know claims that he did, and also claims that he was successful at gaining whistleblower protection for his employment. (It's not me, I'm taking that FTE at their word).

Oopps, there is also a third avenue, to be used probably only if you WANT to be in the next round of cuts. I know some people do, so this could help you. Go straight to the top, email LisaB and/or some of her lieutenants, explaining that you'd tried to resolve this through normal channels of management and HR but the problem still continues.

Will strategy #3 succeed? Maybe, maybe not. Will your manager and his skip-level have their buns at least exposed to the hot seat for a bit and have to be on their very best behavior for a while afterward? Also yes. Your buns will be, too, but if you're genuinely innocently caught in something, it just became more difficult for your manager to try to pin anything on you. It can buy you a more pleasant time at work while looking elsewhere or waiting for the next layoff round, while you inwardly smile at how much it's annoying your management to have to treat you reasonably. It is likely not a long term success play. It has the useful side effect of "naming names" at a high level, but politely keeping it internal. If they eventually hear the same manager's name too many more times from other directions, it's possible that they could decide that the person is no longer worth the trouble/risk.

The channels above are not for venting frustration and other emotional outbursts. They are for concisely and specifically articulating your case in a factual manner that allows Microsoft to see the potential risks of leaving it unaddressed. Don't state the risks yourself (threats are bad business, don't do it). Let them consider where this might go if they don't fix it.

Good luck.

Tony said...

Would you put a gmail address in your parting MS post by accident? Right. Neither would anyone else.

---

Yeah, I joined Microsoft 5 years ago. Even when I was hired, GMail was supreme, Hotmail was a joke.

A majority of my serf co-workers know my GMail address.

Whoever made this comment is obviously one of those people that thinks that I should use Windows Mobile (crap version) instead of iPhone.

My actual Microsoft business card *has MY GMAIL* address on it... and I am still gainfully employed.

Anonymous said...

Long time employee, first time poster. This is sad and sick. I did not see any announcement internally, had to read about it in the news like everyone else. That is just a complete lack of respect. Does our leadership team feel so removed from the process that we do not deserve at least the decency of some warning? It's embaressing to have to explain to friends and family. Microsoft was once a wonderful place to work. Now it's just another ball of corporate beaurocratic bull. Our company has become what Bill loathed when he started this company. We used to celebrate the creative crazy individuals who were so brilliant and served this company so well. Now we're just another overstuffed, artery clogged, inovation repressive Big Brother. It sucks now and I miss the good old days. Frankly all the "new" blood managers and execs we have hired in the last few years are killing this company. My loyalty is shaken. That we cut off people's careers and income but still bleed money makes me sick at heart. It's stupid and it pleases the Street. Yada yada yada.

Anonymous said...

Got a call today from a recruiter wanting me to join the Windows Mobile team as a contractor and found out it doesn't pay worth a damn.

I guess the really good ones are not joining the mother ship as contractors, but who's to say about others? I passed on a few of these myself. I'd rather roll the dice on a startup of my own than take a 55pct cut in pay from the people who laid me off.

But somebody has to be taking these jobs, or they'd never fill them. That makes me wonder about the quality of the staff Microsoft is getting to do these jobs, and what the resulting product quality is.

I am also curious whether any of these contracts get shifted to Wipro and their ilk after an effort to fill them with conventional agencies.

Some of the rates quoted me amount to just between the King County median income for 2 and 3 person households. Not median software industry income. This number is below the annual income required ($82K) for a "typical family" to afford the median-priced home ($387K) in King County. It's also more than 30% below the 2007 $114K average wage for workers in the information industry, cited in a King County 2008 annual growth report document.

At least it's not Wal-Mart. Yet.

Anonymous said...

"This is a very good point. I mean seriously, a hotmail or MSN address screams, "I don't know how to use the internet"."

That's crap. It's an e-mail address for crying out loud and there is nothing technical about it. In my case, I've had my hotmail address since the 1990s, before G-Mail even existed.

Anonymous said...

I was watching a tech program on BBC, it named all the tech companies Sony, Apple, Nintendo, Google etc in it's program because these companies were working on some exciting new technologies or porducts. MS was not mentioned once simply because they have nothing. Writing is on the wall. This is the begining of an end.

Anonymous said...


Life isnt fair....MS isnt fair


An ex-msftie fired 6 months ago. Before joining msft I had made lots of personal sacrifice for this job. I had lots of school mates in MSFT who always praised my skills and expertise. I had lots of colleagues in my team who were grateful to me for many of my technical contribution to their projects and tasks. But what happened to me I was just managed out by a manager who was utmost incompetent and liar. Now i can not talk with my ex-friends and ex-coworker in Microsoft community from my embarrassment of the firing thing. I just consider my friends are lucky and i was handled unfairly by MSFT. (No offence but it is very hard to bear when i see some less competent people are flourishing here and where i was terminated unfairly). Apparently it will take some years to repair this significant damage that MSFT has done to my career. For last six months I had to undergo lots of painful events because of this MSFT accident. I will have great hatred towards Microsoft because of those painful and embarrassing situation. I know readers of this blog will find it just childish. As I have seen everybody moves on their life after losing job from MSFT. But I could not. Actually it is very hard to forget those insulting incidents of my firing process. I have not yet deleted my RSS feeds for this blog. Because I still have great hatred for this company and I am being entertained with all the negative news of MSFT.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft India saw almost 12 job cuts in EPG. Why was EPG singled out because the current GM believes its overstaffed,then why not fire those responsible for the overstaffing first? In the process the folks who got the boot are mostly the ones without powerful godfathers.

Complete Jokers of managers are promoted to directors and they keep promoting mediocre ICs as superstars and Goldstars while laying off or otherwise putting down true potential just because the person in question wouldn't lick their fat and rotten hinney.

As the job market improves expect mass exodus of high performers and high potential employees from MS India (most may go to other countries and several will part ways with MS india).

Anonymous said...

Boo hoo. Capitalism is so not fun.

Anonymous said...

I was notified of some cuts in MSUS (which I'm still not 100% sure what acronym means, but apparently I'm somehow related to or maybe in that organization).

LOL. I've been at MS more than 10 years and realized after reading the above that I'm not quite sure what org I'm in either.

Anonymous said...

Well, looks like BVV is fired. Kid, in a few years you will look back on this and realize how immature those posts were. It's not about the millenial generation, or management, or whatever. It's about you and your set of problems too numerous to list. I'm mean wow.

Wow.

Now, you're an energetic, enthusiastic guy - obviously completely clueless - but I hope you find success elsewhere. (And I'd suggest staying off the message boards for at least 2 years.)

Anonymous said...

"Hotmail is an eyesore, it's unreliable, its spam filter is horrible, and it just started doing POP3 when GMail has been doing IMAP since 2007. ..."

LOL, wrong on just about every point. But this wasn't about the technical merits of Hotmail versus Gmail. It was about listing a gmail id in your goodbye MS message.


Almost all technically inclined people I know use GMail for technical reasons. In fact, almost everybody I know at Microsoft uses GMail for their personal email. So this guy probably just posted his email address so people could contact him, not a GMail address to stick it to Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

So, if you get laid off, you get a severance package. But, if you are "fired for cause" ... that is, too many reviews, etc. at 10%, or, don't live up to a performance plan, or ??? then you get ZERO severance? And, what about medical insurance? Does that get cut off immediately in either layoff or fire situation? How long does Cobra last? How much does Cobra cost?



I was called into a conference room by my manager. HR was sitting there and I was informed that I was terminated on the spot. Security was waiting to escort me to the door, and here was a taxi voucher. End of story. No severance whatsoever. The story about being shoved into the U10 category can be summed up by a colleague of mine: "someone in this room will be screwed by the review system because someone has to occupy the U10 bucket."

I have already interviewed and found a job from that interview. Nice to be wanted. Goodbye Microsoft - hello world. Hello Google chrome. CYA later MSN crap home page which brought a "National Enquirer" approach to the web. GOOD BYE WINMO/Sprint (choke). Hello iPhone!

As for the questions anon asked above:

1) No severance. None. Zip. Strong recommendation - if you are in the U10 category and/or on a PiP, then for godsakes, get your resume updated and start interviewing. My experience says you will be terminated. The risk is too high...you will not make it off of the PiP. It just doesn't happen. The crosshairs are on you and it's time to set sail.

2) COBRA for my family costs $1300 per month. Dental an additional $50 per month (separate). There is a 65% subsidy courtesy of the Obama administration for the first 6 months so the cost to me is around $450 per month, or some such.

3) The decision to take Cobra is yours for 60 days. If you don't formally notify them within that 60 days that you want Cobra, then it's gone forever. Once you notify them, you have another 45 days to make the payment. If you miss the payment by 1 day, then its gone forever. But Cobra is a good thing, if expensive and you basically can postpone making a payment for around 100 days. So get a job in that intervening time, avoid huge medical expenses if you can, and take the health from the other company if it has it.

4) Unemployment - BE SURE to say that you were "laid off - lack of work" when filing for unemployment. Microsoft does not challenge unemployment filings. If you say you were "fired for cause", you will not get unemployment or you will have a hell of a fight on your hands to get it.

To summarize though, if you are in the U10 category, its so time to leave Microsoft on your own terms. Why wait? You have everything to lose and nothing to gain.

Anonymous said...

One thing we hear is that MSFT is still hiring while doing the layoff business. My buddy works in E&D's Operation Quality Group (remember the $1 billion worth Xbox Red-ring-of-death). They hired a GM from AMD, whose job is rumored to be dealing with SLTs(let's see whose head rolls next time XBox shows non-green color).

Accomplishment so far: He hires and hires (read: empire need foundation), but unfortunately these guys are generally inexperienced and can't close the real deal including his AMD buddies joining him in the new land of opportunity. Nevertheless, he names a number of his recently-out-of-college AMD buddies "Principal-level" Engineer and start wasting more MSFT dollars commuting between California and Redmond...Nobody in the group is quite sure what he is up to these days nor why there is more pressure despite the new hires...the NEW Microsoft?

Steve JJ said...

Stop complaining all the time. Every company in the world has problems. I heard about exact same compaints about Google managment chain. People used to disalike IBM, but they are the king of profits in this industry. People like Apple, but they were an underdog for a very long time until SteveJ came back. People flee to Facebook for a better life, but do they really trust the kid who is running the company?

Be realistic, among 100 managers in side microsoft, there are probably 30 very good ones, 50 so so and 20 underperforming. It's the human nature.

If you happen to have a bad manager, try to move to a different group. If you are lucky, you might get a good manager and get promoted in a faster pace. This is equally true if you work for a different company.

If you are still unhappy, create your own company.

Anonymous said...

When you're fired, insurance stops when your employment stops. As with any other job in any other industry anywhere.

I think health insurance stops at the end of the calendar month within which your employment stops.

That's the way it worked for me when I left my last two employers. It's worth timing it, if you can. Don't quit on the 29th ...

Anonymous said...

>>The problem with MSFT is the voices of the *great* people are NOT being heard and the company is increasingly run by archaic policy that only "worked" under a monopoly and bean counters with their "scorecards".

The majority of those that contributed towards Microsoft's value today did so long ago, and left long ago. Most people with the company today have been here <= 3.5 years. That's not to say they're not great people, but they didn't join this company during the time when (some) innovation was still happening. Back then, to a larger degree, individuals were truly empowered to succeed, even if that meant the possibility of having to say "this is all crap - here's why, and here's what we could do instead."

Like any other big company, we've accreted a layer of corporate barnacles who make a living through the appearance of activity, and those that measure their worth don't differentiate between this activity and actual results . A few of these are the remnants of original Microsoft hires, but many came from other companies where they made a living by adding similar amounts of non-value. In some cases, it's been a long time since they've actually made a tangible contribution to the bottom line. Oh, but they talk a GREAT game, and know how to soothe the bewildered and stressed VP/GM/CEO.

The biggest threat to these people is folks that are results oriented, and immediately see them for what they are (or aren't, according to viewpoint). The folks that do know how to get things done appear to be leaving in increasing numbers for places where results and technical acumen is prized more highly than great hair and a jutting jawline.

If my division's SLT is anything to go by, the company's SLT has a wildly different picture of "where we're at" than where we're actually at.

I'd LOVE to see senior leaders stalking the hallways, dropping in on folks to chat and holding regular divisional town halls to gauge the correlation between what individuals on engineering teams are experiencing, and what their generals are reporting.

Of course, this would be pointless without accountability for any spin/outright lies being uncovered, something that traditionally just doesn't happen in corporations ("We have all these negative individuals, troublemakers, ya see...").

Now lets factor in the new world in which the specter of layoffs is looming, as at many other companies. Add THAT to the above, and the value prop of coming to and staying at Microsoft has been reduced by a significant additional margin. The fact that a good chunk of those laid off could have been transferred to meet hiring needs elsewhere makes the layoffs look increasingly like a sop to Wall Street. And hey, that's a strategy.

It would take truly remarkable senior leadership to dig into why we have so many great folks, but struggle increasingly to execute. Remarkable senior leaders - please do your stuff. Anyone?

Anonymous said...

>>Agree. But who cares MSN nowdays?

Duh! The L2s, of course. MSN keeps a lot these folks - many partners - in a job. I'm sure they work tirelessly on our behalf to keep those pesky L1s and VPs off our backs with constant reassurances that all is well.

Anonymous said...

1. ERIT. The Employee Relations Investigation Team, I think is the full expansion of this YAMA (yet another Microsoft acronym). Somewhere on msweb, they say that these are the people you escalate to if your official HR channels were unable to help.


--

is this available externally for those displaced?

Anonymous said...

"Unemployment - BE SURE to say that you were "laid off - lack of work" when filing for unemployment. Microsoft does not challenge unemployment filings. If you say you were "fired for cause", you will not get unemployment or you will have a hell of a fight on your hands to get it."

Wow, unethical much? I think I'll be forwarding this posting to HR. It's pretty easy to compare two the lists of names terminated for cause with the list of people getting unemployment.

I know readers of this blog will find it just childish....Because I still have great hatred for this company and I am being entertained with all the negative news of MSFT.

I agree with you: you're definitely childish. Good to see that you recognize your own weaknesses.

Anonymous said...

So--Microsoft is dysfunctional. We're talking on the level of DEC, and pre-Gerstner IBM.

An interesting question is, how will the downward spiral play out?

Microsoft is in an interesting position where it basically doesn't have any competition fighting for its core markets. Apple makes a superior operating system but has no interest in selling it on non-Apple hardware. As long as there are other hardware manufacturers, there will be a need for a non-Apple operating system. Linux is free, and works well enough for e-mail and web browsing, but has usability problems that prevent it from being widely adopted. (Almost all netbooks ship with Windows due to customer demand.) Office doesn't have much competition either. OpenOffice is a good effort and works okay for light office work but has performance, stability, and compatibility problems. Google Docs, being web based, will not match the richness of the Office client apps, and companies will not allow their sensitive documents to be stored in the Google cloud.

(It is wrong to think that Microsoft has competition for other markets--more like, Microsoft is attempting to compete in those markets. If Bing, Zune, Windows Mobile, etc. disappeared, I doubt their competitors would really notice or care. Microsoft would likely save money and benefit from canceling these products. XBox might be the lone exception here since it seems to be doing a fairly solid job competing with the PS3, albeit not the Wii.)

So, absent meaningful competition, Microsoft looks set to make billions of dollars per year indefinitely despite being a dysfunctional mess. Not very exciting and not satisfying to people who want to see Microsoft either succeed or fail, i.e., not stay in limbo for decades on end.

It would be nice if somebody took Linux and built a GUI stack on top of it to rival OS X. That would be a nail in Microsoft's coffin and I could see the company completely failing shortly thereafter. But nobody seems to be trying. Ubuntu seems focused on simply making usability tweaks to existing FOSS software which is an approach that hasn't worked for them since inception.

Anonymous said...

@ November 05, 2009 10:12:00 AM:
"Why do they need A- and V- and I Am sure most of the vendors are stealing money from MS with a bunch of duds working for them."
=========
Because they need somebody to do actual work while you blues are navel gazing and playing politics?

Oh and you can't find good contractors? What did you think you'd find when you retroactively slash someone's wages? When you demand they work on campus, then charge them "rent" on their office space?

Anonymous said...

Regarding working as a contractor for MS:
Does the majority of contractors who were fte's before (Lvl61-62..) take a 30%+ paycut to work as a contractor?

Anonymous said...

I think health insurance stops at the end of the calendar month within which your employment stops.


having done this once, insurance stops the day of your last day with microsoft.

Anonymous said...

>>Be realistic, among 100 managers in side microsoft, there are probably 30 very good ones, 50 so so and 20 underperforming. It's the human nature.

In a matrixed company like Microsoft, one bad manager undoes the work of at least 5 other managers. Additionally, managers under a bad manager get screwed - they end up working on the wrong things or learn to be bad managers themselves. In your example, those 20 under-performing managers screw up the whole group of 100.

Anonymous said...

I am the original "finance grapevine" poster back so many months ago that set off this whole firestorm/mess. I took no pleasure in doing it, as I had in-laws at the company who got laid off.

I am back again to tell you that Ballmer is full of crap, and there will be more layoffs in December, and he will get away with lying because it's STILL CY 2009, FOLKS. They are NOT DONE and the layoffs will once again (as I said previously), be substantial. Yes, you should be worried. I am sorry to bring more bad news to you, but I don't want SLT lulling you into a false sense of security. That's about all I can say without jeopardizing my job. My wife and kids come first, but I will take this risk.

Hopefully my IP adddress is still the same (or at least same subnet) and Mini can vouch for me.

- grapevine guy

Anonymous said...

Questions about getting laid off/fired:

- Even w/o severance, you still receive whatever vacation time you haven't used, correct? Plus the two-week backlog on your regular pay ... right?

- If you are in a "protected class" can MS still fire you or lay you off? What can a person do who is in a protected class do to apply that protection?

Thanks much, in advance.

Anonymous said...

To the U/10 guy what were your review scores your past reviews and how log were you in level? Did you see it coming at all?

Anonymous said...

Regarding working as a contractor for MS:
Does the majority of contractors who were fte's before (Lvl61-62..) take a 30%+ paycut to work as a contractor?

I can vouch for that,yes its at least 20-30% pay cut including bonus+stock options, vacation without counting the great benefits. Roughly equal to base salary of 60-61 for whatever *3 roles (SDET3 or PM3) after tons of negotiation.

I remember it used to pay almost the same or little more for 61 to be a contractor 3-4 years back.

Anonymous said...

Whatever the confidential corporate whistleblower hotline is, if you suspect serious malfeasance or unlawful behavior like discrimination.

Has anyone called it yet, to ask why the WARN site's numbers don't seem to match the number of layoffs that happened this month?

Anonymous said...

They are NOT DONE and the layoffs will once again (as I said previously), be substantial.

Substantial as in 800 overall but only 200 in WA? Or substantial as in the original 1500?

Layoff rumors without specific numbers, locations and dates are really not interesting. The number of people confirming 11/4 was good. An ominous "more are coming!" isn't.

Which groups? How many? WA, India or somewhere else?

Anonymous said...

1. ERIT. The Employee Relations Investigation Team,
--

is this available externally for those displaced?


I'm the poster of the list of channels. I don't know if displaced employees can make use of ERIT, but I doubt it since even regular HR is difficult (impossible?) to reach post-layoff. Anyone on the inside got contact information for them?

Anonymous said...

Wow, unethical much? I think I'll be forwarding this posting to HR. It's pretty easy to compare two the lists of names terminated for cause with the list of people getting unemployment.

I agree with you: you're definitely childish. Good to see that you recognize your own weaknesses.


I must have missed the memo when tattling became the height of sophistication.

Anonymous said...

- Even w/o severance, you still receive whatever vacation time you haven't used, correct? Plus the two-week backlog on your regular pay ... right?

Yes, you vacation pay is considered earned pay and it plus any pay owed for hours already worked must be paid. Holiday and sick time will not be.

- If you are in a "protected class" can MS still fire you or lay you off? What can a person do who is in a protected class do to apply that protection?

You would basically have to be able to prove discrimination against you because of your protected class. A protected class does NOT make you immune from being fired or laid off. If you think you can prove discrimination, hire a lawyer.

Anonymous said...

Does the majority of contractors who were fte's before (Lvl61-62..) take a 30%+ paycut to work as a contractor?

Level 60 when I was laid off. I came back as a contractor for about a 10% cut in pay.

Anonymous said...

>If you are in a "protected class" can MS still fire you or lay you off? What can a person do who is in a protected class do to apply that protection?

You apply that protection by suing and paying your lawyers out of pocket for the case. And, unless you have ironclad proof that you were discriminated against, you lose. People try it all the time so HR goes to a lot of effort to document that there is no discrimination.

(I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.)

Anonymous said...

Regarding working as a contractor for MS:
Does the majority of contractors who were fte's before (Lvl61-62..) take a 30%+ paycut to work as a contractor?

I didn't care. My life is so much better now, that it's impossible to put a dollar value on peace, tranquility, and a stress-free life and these are more important to me than a % reduction in paycut. My advise to you is find a salary you feel comfortable with and that you believe is fair to YOU, don't compare it with others or you will be miserable, whether you end up contracting at microsoft or working for another company. Good luck to you.

Anonymous said...

I am back again to tell you that Ballmer is full of crap, and there will be more layoffs in December, and he will get away with lying because it's STILL CY 2009, FOLKS.
I don't think there was ever a statement made by Steve that layoffs would be complete within CY2009, was there? If you are referring to the townhall, what I heard was that it is going to be 'end of year'. Personally, I took that in as "end of FY10".

-

Has anyone else attended the women's conference a couple of weeks ago? The Q&A with Steve and Lisa was quite interesting and on topic with what is being discussed in this forum. There is a recording (exec comms by Lisa) if anyone is interested. Whether or not you like the message, you can't say that they aren't transparent about it.

Anonymous said...

While there are lots of frustrations on how the most recent layoff was handled, we should know, there is no happier way of doing this. Weather SB/Lisa send email or not or whether layoff is going to be part of MS culture the fact remains that MS still got way too many people invested in products and processes that will continue to need optimizations. Not just financially but also to be internally efficient thus provide a positive atmosphere at work. May be SteveB cares about people, otherwise he could have cut 8K instead of 800. Please keep in mind, MS can still cut 10% of the population any day and without having any major business impact, that is of course if the right cut happens at the right place.

Anonymous said...

Wow, unethical much? I think I'll be forwarding this posting to HR. It's pretty easy to compare two the lists of names terminated for cause with the list of people getting unemployment.



Unethical? Did you insinuate I was unethical? My coworkers were stunned when I was fired. The outcome of my review was patently unfair. To terminate me with no notice, no severance, was unethical. Microsoft jeopardized my family. If Microsoft wanted to get rid of me or anyone, SEVERANCE should be required (short of complete malfeasance or fraud on my part - which was not the case).

There are many ex-Microsoft employees that were terminated including me with an undying hatred for how we were treated given our contribution to the company over the years. I reveled in the fact that I found a job on my first interview in less than a month after leaving.

And I have no regret at all to saying that the reason I didn't have a job at Microsoft was due to a "lack of work". That was definitely the case although Microsoft's real reason for getting rid of me was that someone had to occupy the U10 category and that poor bastard was me.

Anonymous said...

I am a shareholder and I hope that after all these layoffs the company has trimmed all the unwanted fat at all levels and where it matters.

Anonymous said...

Does the majority of contractors who were fte's before (Lvl61-62..) take a 30%+ paycut to work as a contractor?

There is no clear answer. It can be 60% to 0%. Agencies are not MSFT. they do not follow defined processes. They negotiate depending upon their options, time, your skill set etc.

Do not think contracting interviews are like easy to ace. You are treated like junk right from beginning. It is very clear right from beginning, you are not here for value creation but to get a piece of work done and then leave. Refer the meaning of "contractor" in dictionary

Anonymous said...

I was watching a tech program on BBC, it named all the tech companies Sony, Apple, Nintendo, Google etc in it's program because these companies were working on some exciting new technologies or porducts. MS was not mentioned once simply because they have nothing. Writing is on the wall. This is the begining of an end.

Oh COME ON already. This is just assinine. IF that is even true, its because the producers of the program have the same irrational and myopic bias you do.

Microsoft isn't working on ANYTHING even worth *mentioning* in a technology showcase show where SONY gets mentioned?

If you believe this than sorry, you're an idiot.

There's no point in me making a list of the PILE of crap that would be worth mentioning on a silly TV show (where how well you end up executing is pointless and all that matters is "gee whiz" factor), but your brain is so locked in on your myopic view it would have no effect. You'd say "those are NOTHING next to PS Home, Wii Mote 2.0, Gmail and iPhone"

Seriously... This INSANE anti-MSFT crap just makes you look like either an idiot who knows ZERO about the industry, or like a deranged zealot holy warrior on a crusade.

I can write NOVELS on what is wrong at MSFT, but this is just ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

"Unemployment - BE SURE to say that you were "laid off - lack of "work" when filing for unemployment. Microsoft does not challenge unemployment filings. If you say you were "fired for cause", you will not get unemployment or you will have a hell of a fight on your hands to get it." The NEXT POST responding said: “Wow, unethical much? I think I'll be forwarding this posting to HR." […]

I respectfully don't agree with the critique of the original poster. The original poster was just stating facts as he knows them, and his opinion on the unemployment process. HR _will_ be duly notified when any former MS'r files for unemployment, and MS has the right to challenge anyone's unemployment, but I also understand MS choses not to. The original poster, though he says he was a "10%", and rudely shown the door, probably was let go "officially" through the RIF process, so he is entitled to those benefits. It doesn't matter how MS may have "internally" justified their reason to cut him (her?), and not award other benefits like severance, etc. So, the original poster is correct to stay consistent with MS’s official reason to the State, or it just confuses the process and provides the State a reason to deny benefits - which they commonly do - despite HR putting you on the RIF list, and therefore allowing the benefit to go through.

Unless MS has substantially documented reasons that s/he was cut for ‘cause’ - (U10 reviews, created by the company are self-serving, and do not legally constitute 'cause'), and MS legally feels they should spend resources to fight you in this open forum, their only other real choice is to allow you to go with your side of the story. For MS to dispute your claim, they would have the burden of proof to show dismissal for cause with a good deal of documentation (and witnesses) - not just U10 reviews that say "his feedback was not actionable" and "He's not a thought leader..." - That could expose MS to further lawsuits, costs in defending witness employees, and EEOC scrutiny for retaliation. If an MS employee/witness were to say the wrong thing while MS was disputing your UE claim, MS would be liable. So, they ‘do nothing’ in most cases. From what I understand it’s strictly a cost-benefit analysis and blanket approach to unemployment.

Where I believe MS loses sight down the road... the original poster is correct that if you state another reason for leaving besides RIF the State of Washington will most likely deny benefits, and they probably hope you will go away from their burdensome process to appeal, and live on your Microsoft millions (right?)… is the next step in unemployment exposes MS to bad press and lawsuit scrutiny. As someone who has followed the employment law process during all of these layoffs, I’ve seen the unemployment agency decide most questioned (non RIF) claims as not being entitled to benefits, even when MS doesn't dispute your claim! This is just great for Microsoft, the State deciding in their favor without their having to do anything, but bad news in the long term. This chain of events can force the unemployment claimer to next file a lawsuit against the State, where MS is still an interested party, duly notified, and served, in this public forum (see unemploymentlawproject.org). The claimant can support their lawsuit with publicly available statements, and documents that potentially further expose Microsoft's business strategy and Partners’ good names to bad press and legal action, all in order to vigorously defend their right to benefits. EEOC is possibly the next stop to support the claimant’s Civil Rights, and MS hasn’t been too lucky with the Federal Gov’t. Meanwhile that unemployment claimer may also subpoena internal documents from Microsoft, Partner emails, etc., into this public legal forum. Microsoft is now on document retention to keep all those management and HR emails, and if you recall it was MS internal email that helped the Federal Gov’t (DOJ) prove its case against MS.

Anonymous said...

I am a shareholder and I hope that after all these layoffs the company has trimmed all the unwanted fat at all levels and where it matters.

=======================

It is because of optimistic idiots like you and the wall street . .that the company is laying off employees. I am sure you are quite content.

But get this ..

If you overtax the machinery or employ cheaper one to get your widgets done .. the quality of widgets suffer and the manufacturer looses market .. this happens everywhere.

Anonymous said...

"I am a shareholder and I hope that after all these layoffs the company has trimmed all the unwanted fat at all levels and where it matters."

Not just fat that's being trimmed, dear shareholder. But also muscle. And once muscles are lost or weakened, then the decline becomes more rapid.

Add to that the fact that the people left behind are either slowly losing focus and momentum, or don't really care and are going about the motions of work. This is especially true for those who have been with the company for many years and are aghast at what is going on. The ones with the battle-won wisdom and experience, the ones who once worked their butts off on stuff that changed the world.

No amount of newly injected blood is going to resuscitate the company. Because the newly hired now have different priorities. It's no longer about changing the world. It's no longer about doing work for the sake of doing great work.

The damage has been done. Not done in by the competition, but self inflicted.

Anybody wanna bet that SLT's next move is a Stage 4 undertaking: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/09_21/b4132026786379_page_4.htm

STAGE 4: GRASPING FOR SALVATION
The cumulative peril and/or risks gone bad of Stage 3 assert themselves, throwing the enterprise into a sharp decline visible to all. The critical question is: How does its leadership respond? By lurching for a quick salvation or by getting back to the disciplines that brought about greatness in the first place? Those who grasp for salvation have fallen into Stage 4. Common "saviors" include a charismatic visionary leader, a bold but untested strategy, a radical transformation, a dramatic cultural revolution, a hoped-for blockbuster product, a "game-changing" acquisition, or any number of other silver-bullet solutions. Initial results from taking dramatic action may appear positive, but they do not last.


Maybe that was Win7?

Anonymous said...

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-10392926-64.html?tag=newsEditorsPicksArea.0
First iPhone, now Droid. Who needs Windows?

I hope the Windows Mobile team has some magic up their sleeves. A bug fixed version of WM6.5 which doesn't address the basics like having a high quality OS, sexy UI, and a rich application platform that lets me write apps that look and feel like the built in phone UI will be a business failure.

Anonymous said...

Is not an anonymous external blog for free and frank discussion a Microsoft innovation?

Is not employees asking for layoffs and succeeding an example of Microsoft innovation?

So people who says Microsoft does not innovate well or execute well, should see this blog itself. It is both a great innovation and almost perfect execution.

Anonymous said...

Seriously... This INSANE anti-MSFT crap just makes you look like either an idiot who knows ZERO about the industry, or like a deranged zealot holy warrior on a crusade.

I can write NOVELS on what is wrong at MSFT, but this is just ridiculous.


You realize a novel is FICTION right?

Anonymous said...

RE: Unemployment Insurance

All U10/A10 (and others) listen up ....Firing for performance reasons <> firing for cause

If you are let go, due to not meeting performance expectations this is NOT firing for cause. For cause involves breaking a policy ( i.e. fraudulent behavior).

Ask HR directly in the exit meeting - if you are "rehirable". If so, then MS is firing without cause under the "at will" employment and no longer has work for you based on your performance. MS documents performance info for reference/evidence in case of a wrongful termination suit being filed.

Anonymous said...

I am back again to tell you that Ballmer is full of crap, and there will be more layoffs in December, and he will get away with lying because it's STILL CY 2009, FOLKS. They are NOT DONE and the layoffs will once again (as I said previously), be substantial. Yes, you should be worried. I am sorry to bring more bad news to you, but I don't want SLT lulling you into a false sense of security. That's about all I can say without jeopardizing my job. My wife and kids come first, but I will take this risk.

Hopefully my IP adddress is still the same (or at least same subnet) and Mini can vouch for me.

- grapevine guy

===================================

I believe you on this and I was actually thinking it might be sooner like two waves right together. Things are still unsettled in my organization from the last wave and I believe we will have more cuts.

Do you have sense how many will be in the next wave? Locally or total?

Anonymous said...

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-10392926-64.html?tag=newsEditorsPicksArea.0
First iPhone, now Droid. Who needs Windows?


Are you guys sure there isn't some secret team somewhere within the company, putting the finishing touches on an amazing new smartphone that will level the playing field? (Or, at least, reduce the playing field from its current 80-degree incline?)

I mean, my God.

Anonymous said...

Does the majority of contractors who were fte's before (Lvl61-62..) take a 30%+ paycut to work as a contractor?

Level 60 when I was laid off. I came back as a contractor for about a 10% cut in pay.


Level 57 (STE) when I was laid off back in 2006. I came back as a contractor three months later with about 23% pay INCREASE (taking into account I now had to pay for insurance and the 401K didn't have any matching). I should note that I was KIMMED (got consitently average reviews working my ass off) the last 3 of the 6 years I was FTE, thus recieving no raises during that period.

Also note that 2009 is noway like 2006 where contracts were plentiful and it was easy to negotiate higher rates.

Anonymous said...

So people who says Microsoft does not innovate well or execute well, should see this blog itself. It is both a great innovation and almost perfect execution.

I don't know what you're smoking, but isn't blogger.com owned by Google?

http://www.blogger.com/about

Anonymous said...

Layoff $ components:

Paid out: all earned income to date (days of work prior to RIF), If you receive 60 days notice under WARN act, these days are also paid out. Vacation earned is paid out. Personal days and Sick leave are not paid out (take those personal leave days first, not vacation).

In the 1400, cold matter-of-fact HR guy said that insurance ended at 3/23. Insurance was actually paid through end of April, but didn't know that due to misinformation, and waited to see the doctor until after COBRA effective - paperwork for this took weeks to arrive - didn't want to embarrass myself asking my doctor to hold off on billing, which is what the HR guy suggested we do. Would have gone for emergency care, but regular stuff went on hold for us while we waited for COBRA process to be completed.

COBRA coverage can go as long as 18 months after last day, for the employye and for dependents. COBRA federal tax credit reducing premium cost to 35%, with employer picking up 65% and using it as a credit for federal tax purposes. This is for a maximum of 9 months (not six, as stated), and reverts to full premium cost plus 2% admin cost, for any of the remaining 18 months of eligible coverage. There is an annual income max for this COBRA reduction, but depending on salary level and when RIF'd, this is likely not an issue.

Contract work is often 55% - 60% of prior hourly base wage. Maybe 75% if you were underpaid as an employee. Commonly no insurance or other benefits (vacation, sick leave, life insurance, short/long-term disability, perks like health club (total luxury now) or discounts like PRIME card and MSFT store). Taking lost bonus and stock grants into account, plus no paid vacation, contract work per hour as % of prior pay is about 51%. I agree, that some years back, contract work paid more on an hourly basis than some blue jobs, to make up for the loss of insurance, bonus, 401K match, etc. Now it's just less all around, but it's way more than unemployment. Not so scary to be a contractor, either, since blue badge jobs are obviously not secure, either, at least it wasn't for me. Took months to find anything at all, so money coming in instead of only going out - that's an improvement. Impressed that some are able to find work so quickly, as it was not the case for me.

Anonymous said...

CEO of the decade

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30501433/vp/33683633#33694800

what is funny is Bernie MAdoff is on there .. but SteveB is not.

Anonymous said...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30501433/vp/33683633#33619505

this guy doesn't need to be speaking :)

Anonymous said...

Any idea why WARN is not yet updated to reflect the November 4th layoff, http://www.esd.wa.gov/newsandinformation/warn/index.php?

The only thing I can think of is that not everyone is accounted for yet to accurately affect it.

Anonymous said...

I beliece WARN is not strictly necessary because MSFT are giving 2 months "administrative leave" for all those made redundant. If they did not, they would be liable for up to 2 months pay for all protected classes, but since they do for everyone anyway, it's moot.

Sure, they'll probably update it as a matter of good cause, but they are legally covered. The purpose of WARN is to give a buffer to those protected classes to ease the stress with large scale lay-offs. MSFT are doing that.

(All bets are off if you are fired because of documentated poor performance or disciplinary action - then they don't need the 2 months).

Anonymous said...

Add to that the fact that the people left behind are either slowly losing focus and momentum, or don't really care and are going about the motions of work. This is especially true for those who have been with the company for many years and are aghast at what is going on. The ones with the battle-won wisdom and experience, the ones who once worked their butts off on stuff that changed the world.

Truer words could not have been typed. I am a 15+ year veteran, and "aghast" doesn't begin to describe my feelings about how the SLT has so totally ruined my company. Yes, I typed "my company" That's how I used to think of my employer. I had pride. I wore the shirts. I dropped the name Microsoft into conversations where it didn't have any business being, just because I wanted people to know where I worked. I considered my co-workers my friends.

Now, we're just another big, souless corporate conglomerate run by heartless bureaucrats (hello KT) who have no concept of such qauint, old-fashioned notions as trust, loyalty, respect, or morality.

Damn, that depresses me.

Anonymous said...

COBRA is max out at 18 months - I think some guy mentioned that was $1300/month for a family.

It's not cheap but at least you are able to buy some health insurance.

Don't try to go without health insurance - I know of a couple of people who caugh cancer in their
20's. You are going to died if you don't have insurance.

Anonymous said...

The communication around the layoffs is handled as messy as the corp in general. They're trying to do laser surgery, precision strikes were needed, needle pricks here and there, destroying morale on the way. Jack Welch said it well: cut deep and hard, then heal, build up a person's self respect after delivery of the bad message, people exiting are your potential new customers or ambassadors. I guess that chance is ruined with the affected group of this year.... plus all the bad publicity around this selfish behavior.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what you're smoking, but isn't blogger.com owned by Google?

You have trouble understanding English. Nobody is talking about blogger.com.

Anonymous said...

This will probably get me laughed at for wasting any mental energy on a futile attempt:

Has anyone affected by the layoffs this year gone the EEOC route yet?

It would probably be futile because Microsoft is such a big name. But maybe with these layoffs costing the state unemployment dollars, the government could be starting to look at the company less favorably.

In the larger scheme of things, my report could help the next person abused out of their job by my management team to get results from the EEOC. "Abused out of" was a phrase coined by a coworker observing management's treatment of me; it wasn't nearly invisible, it was pretty blatant. Others have been affected by them in prior years, but no one's reported them externally. Internally yes but even IF you're persistent enough that they grudgingly take a written complaint and check it out, you know how that goes. Additionally, knowing that he's been flagged might make the man step back a bit on his so-called "management" practices.

I do not have anything obvious like "he pulled me off a project I'd owned for 15 months because I wouldn't go out with him". Still, my career was damaged in multiple ways by his actions including the infamous U10. Subsequent to finally taking a complaint by me seriously months after I'd first tried to lodge it, MS did take significant actions I won't talk about here, although in their words no fault was found. Total time taken to address my complaint, even that minimally, neared one calendar year, enough time for the situation to take further toll on me.

Anonymous said...

people exiting are your potential new customers or ambassadors. I guess that chance is ruined with the affected group of this year....

At least for me, consider it ruined.

I'm joining a leading competitor.

Because I'm a capable engineer, I was felt out regarding another blue badge job and a gazillion of contracts, but MS lost me the day they delivered the news. Why would someone help a company for whom they'd done over a quarter million dollars of unpaid overtime in less than 3 years, by management demand rather than by their choice, who then turned around and sacked them as a reward for damn good, better than team average, results?

I do think that there are some who appreciated the 6-10 months of paid vacation that some got, and are just on to their next endeavor now, whether that's another blue badge position or something else. They haven't lost those people.

I look forward to news of the next $100MM startup launched by some of those laid off in 2009.

Anonymous said...

Sure, they'll probably update it as a matter of good cause, but they are legally covered. The purpose of WARN is to give a buffer to those protected classes to ease the stress with large scale lay-offs. MSFT are doing that.

(All bets are off if you are fired because of documentated poor performance or disciplinary action - then they don't need the 2 months).

===

and it is likely that they FIRED (using the usual tactics) those in protected classes so they did not have to WARN them

Anonymous said...

Add to that the fact that the people left behind are either slowly losing focus and momentum, or don't really care and are going about the motions of work.

Doesn't matter. Management at Microsoft is so f'ed up that no matter how smart you are or how hard you work, it will be for naught.

Depending on the vision you get from the top, you can be an average employee and put in 40 hours a week and deliver a product like the iPhone, or you can be a genius employee and work 100 hours/week and deliver a slightly shinier turd like Windows Mobile 6.5.

All the anger at Microsoft's U10 class is misdirected.

Anonymous said...

Are you guys sure there isn't some secret team somewhere within the company, putting the finishing touches on an amazing new smartphone that will level the playing field? (Or, at least, reduce the playing field from its current 80-degree incline?)

Conventional wisdom is that it took Apple, Google, and Palm roughly 2 years each to make the iPhone OS, Android, and webOS, respectively.

The iPhone came out 2.5 years ago. If Microsoft started copying it when it was released, and did a competent job, we should now be able to buy a Microsoft iPhone-killer. And yet, here we are.

Anonymous said...

I was 1 of the lucky and recent folks who lost their job. I was in field sales in the South for around 5 years.

I can tell you straight from the front lines that things are bad and getting worse. The Windows/Office business is under heavy attack by competitors and customers that are willing to live with older version of the products.

I have enjoyed my time at Microsoft and I believe the severance package provided is very fair. The economy is not the main reason Microsoft is suffering, its 10yr+ sales processes that worked well when Microsoft was a monopoly, but now, under heavy competition, are slowly killing the company.

Unfortunately, for the many employees that remain, I would prepare for more layoffs. I really wish Ballmer would hire a real salesman to run the sales org instead of KT. That "thank you for all you do" crap is acclerating the shrinkage of a great company.

Anonymous said...

Guys - With all due respect.. I want to ask how would you react to this economic climate if you were owning this company? We all know that this innovative company is bloated. I totally agree with you all that higher management did not make the best choices and thats why we are in such a mess but it does not mean that we would never wake up.

Have you seen that we are down by almost 5,800 but we are still operating and operating more effectively. I feel that resources are more competative now and thinking outside the box to prove themselves. We can rant and rant all day long but it is about time to cut the fat and that start with bottom 10%.

You ask any 10%er and he would say that his manager was bad and was not seeing his work. That is bullshit....You own your own career and you should work with your manager or your skip manager to understand the organization priorties but you did not care at that time.If they can't make you understand your role, you escalate it.

Come one guys - let's face it. We are in more copetative world now where we would have to bet money on emerging market and we would also have to at least try to win. Rather then ranting, provide your suggestions - how can we make this company succeed.

I am not Steve or Lisa's fan but guys come on - lets make a change at our level first and give our best.

Anonymous said...

I have been part of AdCenter from past many years and I have been promoted to many levels in those years. I have to agree that this is most dysfunctional org I have seen in my 15 yrs career but I have to be honest here that I never complained about it because they were giving me level increase every year. You know easy money and easy corporate ladder.

First of all you should understand that we have more CVPs and Partners in this org than anywhere else in Microsoft. This org is part of that huge org (MSN) that is taking few billion loss every year. Why would we not take that loss…..each partner level person cost more than half a million to Microsoft and their contribution is almost nill.

Let's talk about the leadership here:

AlexGo:
I don't have to say anything more about him because he is already been discussed in greater detail here. He took this org two year behind with all the initiative he started. I would say that he is a great visionary but his execution is/was very poor.

Rebecca Norlander:
AlexGo biggest mistake was to hire her to run the PM org. She could not handle the dynamic world of the online services and she was 100% incapable of running the show. She could never impress anyone and was always busy showing off her Ferrari and her taste in fashion world. Her org is still in limbo in terms of what and how they support the business. He contribution was zero during her stay in this org.

Sachin Dhawan:
Some people got things little too early and easily in their career and he is one of them. I could never understand what did Tarek saw in him to bring him at this level but he got best advantage of being his favorite guy. But let's face it, he is not only ineffective but also most disconnected leader from his team. No one knows what does he do? He is just an immature leader who was not capable of running such a big org. He could be good as an IC (DBA) but seems like he again got a portfolio. Some people are just lucky...

Raxit Kagalwala:
They almost threw him away but I say one thing to everyone. If you have spend some time in adCenter you can’t make in outside world. He tried to search a new job but who would take an immature and ineffective manager so he took IDC and became a dead weight on adCenter and Microsoft. He is also considered Tarek’s product…I guess favorite no 2.

Mike Toutonghi:
He is a smart guy and I really like him. The only thing he could improve is his execution and impact on wider organization.

Sean McGarth:
Thank god he is no longer with the Microsoft. He was another pain and I still don't not understand why did adCenter management tolerated him so much.

Munil Shah:
Well let's face it. You don't have to be super smart to succeed. The only thing, you need is a CVP buddy. Satya bought him in and he is on his way to the top. Someone should ask - what have he done so far to reach there. He has been here more than a year but he still don't understand the online business. As said - you don't have to be smart to succeed in MS.

Let's have a look on new leadership:

Rajat Taneja:
I have heard only good things about him. He is hard ass... and his execution is considered unparallel and he is famous for that. That's what we need right now in adCenter. Someone has to clean the fat from adCenter and make everyone focussed.

Don Gaggne:
A very detail oriented and up front leadership style. He is compared with Steven Sinofsky and off course both of them come from office. It is nice to see that leadership is spreading the office culture everywhere. We are hoping that he would bring the positive change to this organization and would help in making this organization flat.

Munil:
We find him most weak link in this chain but let's see how does Satya make him work.

Also you should observe how many partners/Principal resources we have in this org. That number is amazing and ratio is just out of the whack. But again – Microsoft give them easy money and they happily take … tell me who would not? 

Anonymous said...

To

It’s easy to stay focused amid indefinitely continuing RIFs, just remain oblivious to the enormity of MS and do your job to the best of your ability. Heck, in my 3.5 years my division has been re-orged to the point where I can no longer tell what my reporting structure is. Does it impede my ability to service my customers? No.


I had the same mindset a few years ago. I believe, all good college hires do come with the same thought processes - "If I am good at what I do, if I fulfill objectives (mine, the teams', our customers') I will be valuable"
But alas it plays out that way, only rarely. If you are surrounded by (peers, managers) whose priorities in life (technicals, projects, customers) are different than yours, they end up resenting and worrying about you "focus in life - which is customer service as you said". That resentment then leads to backbiting on you and exaggerations on their part. Your manager needs to service his, for his growth. And for that he needs you foremost to service him - the customer usually comes 2nd or much further behind - "partner team leads and their managers come 3rd and 2nd". If you continue to have the "I can no longer tell what my reporting structure is. Does it impede my ability to service my customers?" "workethic", you will be unable to "service" your management chain. That is going to lead to "communication problems, not-a-fit and missed objectives" on your review. Stay on that ethic for another year and you would be on your PIP at the year end. Agreed, this has not yet happened to you . You may have not seen this happening to people around you. You are lucky - for now.

Will the next reorg in your division bring in a benevolent customer-focused manager - who sees his success in his team's success and in the success of his customers - or will you get a manager who asks you to deliver a subobtimal solution to your customer in 7 days (the metric that makes him lok good to his mgr)- instead of the 15 days that is needed to deliver wow to the customer using techniques you have invested the last 2 months mastering - having had the foresight to anticipate such customer needs - having attended PM meetings with customers which of course your manager never bothered to attend because "that is the PM's job". You do deserve a "does not understand role" comment in your review, dont you?

With all this yet to happen to you, do you think you are lucky enough to remain lucky?

Anonymous said...

Truer words could not have been typed. I am a 15+ year veteran, and "aghast" doesn't begin to describe my feelings about how the SLT has so totally ruined my company. Yes, I typed "my company" That's how I used to think of my employer. I had pride. I wore the shirts. I dropped the name Microsoft into conversations where it didn't have any business being, just because I wanted people to know where I worked. I considered my co-workers my friends.

Now, we're just another big, souless corporate conglomerate run by heartless bureaucrats (hello KT) who have no concept of such qauint, old-fashioned notions as trust, loyalty, respect, or morality.

Damn, that depresses me.
===================================

+1

Like you my morale and passion are shot. This used to be "my company" to and I was proud to work here. I remember when managers were about removing road blocks and ensuring we had the right training, hardware, and everything to be successful. They recognized we were skilled and passionate and got out of the way for us to work. When we did great things they championed the cause with recognition and rewards.

Now we have the review process that is complicated and easily manipulated. Literally, I have seen a major accomplishment written to severly undermine it because the review score came back much lower than what was represented. WTF?

If you want an award these days you practically have to nominate yourself or plead with your manager to get off their ass and do something about it. I am a super star and I cannot remember the last time my management recognized my achievements. My peers and other cross group coworkers do though.

This once great opportunity to work at Microsoft to do great things for our customers has now turned into a dreaded job with a pay check. That is not what I came here for.

SLT, if you are listening, coming to work here now is very stifiling. Maybe you see it to. The spirit and passion that once made us great have been squelched.

For now, I need my job to bring home a pay check but sometime soon I will break away and go somewhere else. I would rather Microsoft fix the problems and bring back the things that once made us great.

I now feel like I work at the company in the movie "Office space". Lumberg is my manager and like the movie I feel like I work for several different managers who nag me about TPS reports. Hell, we even have the Bob's here do do the layoffs. You get what I am saying? Microsoft is not supposed to be like "Office space" and that I can exactly relate to the movie, I know we have become any other company.

Anonymous said...

For those holding out for pink to save our butts in the mobile space looks like it won't

http://www.mobilecrunch.com/2009/10/05/microsofts-project-pink-might-be-dead-in-the-water/

Anonymous said...

First of all you should understand that we have more CVPs and Partners in this org than anywhere else in Microsoft.

=================

Totally agree..

However look at the damage these CVPs and Partners can do to MSFT if they get employed by the competition, not for their great leadership, but due to their vantage point they get enough information .. 1 to 5 years of advance plans and timelines , inventions etc, that can change the balance in favor of the competitor. It does not even matter if they get employed in a different group and are not in direct competition with what adCenter is doing now.

So for the sake of Competitive Intelligence.. you have to bear with the leadership and expect the best.. Good Luck !!

Anonymous said...

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation should soon start focusing on Microsoft before the company collapses under the leadership of Steve Ballmer.

Anonymous said...

I am a super star and I cannot remember the last time my management recognized my achievements. My peers and other cross group coworkers do though.

I have to take you at your word, because I have no reason to disbelieve you.

But it's odd that almost all the disgruntled people here, or that you hear of, were always misunderstood superstars. Hardly anyone who gets fired or gets poor reviews ever thinks they deserve it.

Anonymous said...

Guys - With all due respect.. I want to ask how would you react to this economic climate if you were owning this company?


First of all MSFT is a public company. The ownership does include but is not limited to the SLT.

This economic climate is actually the perfect opportunity to steal business away from your weaker competitors... but of course that implies that you're not part of the weak, which at this point MSFT is. There's an old saying poker players have: "If you look around the table and can't find the chump, then you're it". Well, look at your competition: Google, Apple, Oracle,... I don't see any chumps there.

We all know that this innovative company is bloated. I totally agree with you all that higher management did not make the best choices and thats why we are in such a mess but it does not mean that we would never wake up.


You must be new. Senior leadership has had countless opportunities to fix the current problems. They've been told about them numerous times from employees at all levels. I actually recall a specific incident in 03 or 04 (can't remember exactly, back when I worked for MSFT nothing looked more like the current year than the previous or the next one). Steveb had decided he was going to address morale issues by holding employee focus groups. I was selected to participate in one of those. They had transcribers to capture the whole conversation and we were told those transcripts would be given to the SLT unedited. The first thing that was said in that meeting was "I feel like I'm working for IBM, not Microsoft". Every single problem that is debated ad nauseam here was mentioned: excessive headcount, bureaucracy and process creep, looming irrelevance due to faster and more nimble competitors. You name it, somebody brought it up. That was FIVE if not SIX years ago. What is Steveb going to do in the next five years that he wasn't able or willing to do in the last five? You tell me smart guy.

Have you seen that we are down by almost 5,800 but we are still operating and operating more effectively.


Really? And what metrics did you use to reach that conclusion?


Come one guys - let's face it. We are in more copetative world now where we would have to bet money on emerging market and we would also have to at least try to win.


The only reason why it fells like it's a more competitive (I assume that's what you meant) world out there is because you're struggling. Having left years ago for a company that is growing by leaps and bounds this recession is a godsend to us. Our weaker competitors are dying left and right.

Rather then ranting, provide your suggestions - how can we make this company succeed.


Again, are you new? This blog was started in July 2004. Go back and read the dozens of posts and the thousands of comments and you'll see that many people provided extremely useful suggestions. You'll also see that MSFT's current problems were 100% foreseeable.

I am not Steve or Lisa's fan but guys come on - lets make a change at our level first and give our best.


Been there done that. It didn't make a difference for me or for the company. I packed my toys and went somewhere else years ago.
Don't worry, you'll get there too, either of your own free will... or not.

Anonymous said...

http : // valleywag.gawker.com /5014618/ microsoft-buys-another-distinguished-alum-award-from-boston-university


Congrats .. you deserved /grin/

Anonymous said...

To:

Guys - With all due respect.. I want to ask how would you react to this economic climate if you were owning this company?
[...]

I would do what every management book on the planet says is the right thing: I would tell everyone that layoffs were coming and tell my people when; I would inventory the entire company's staff; then I would lay off the selected people; finally, I would reorganize the remaining staff and reassure them that the layoffs were done.

This is how you show respect for people who bust their butts on a regular basis.

Have you seen that we are down by almost 5,800 but we are still operating and operating more effectively.
[...]

It's far too soon to claim that the impact of the first round(s) of layoffs has propagated through the system. For example, in Windows there's no more release management function; it's all "do it yourself and pray." The impact won't be obvious until we hit the coding work for Win Next.

You own your own career [...]

No, you don't. Your ratings and career success depend on politics that run all the way from your manager right up to the top of the tree in your organization. The idea that your career success depends on the quality of your work is a fiction that's fed to new hires to keep them working overtime.

I am not Steve or Lisa's fan but guys come on - lets make a change at our level first and give our best.

In George Orwell's "Animal Farm," there's a horse named Boxer -- a true believer in the ideals represented by the farm. He works harder than anyone else, never complains, and is constantly telling himself, "I will work harder."

For all his loyalty and dedication, the pigs managing the farm eventually ship Boxer off to the glue factory...

Anonymous said...

"I am back again to tell you that Ballmer is full of crap, and there will be more layoffs in December, and he will get away with lying because it's STILL CY 2009, FOLKS."

Is that surprising? The initial layoff should have been 10% at least, and MS's main competitors (Apple and Google) have only gotten stronger in the interim. Steve won't do more layoffs before the shareholder's meeting (too many layoffs and you go from encouraging investors to alarming them). But after that it's the logical conclusion for a business that is no longer growing and facing increased competition from those who are.

This isn't primarily about the recession. It's about the failure of every one of Steve's expensive growth strategies this decade. Unfortunately, there's no quick fix now. It's going to be painful, and the people least responsible for the mistakes (employees) are going to bear the brunt of the sacrifice.

Anonymous said...

I (unfortunately) wasn't laid of in the last round, so I am contemplating quitting. Does anybody know if I can get unemployment if I quit Microsoft? Has anybody here done it?

Anonymous said...

I think that what is most troubling about the recent round of layoffs is what is happening to the Industry Units. Some time ago, Microsoft made a commitment to hire industry experts from outside the company in an effort to gain knowledge about their customer base and change the way it sells. This was supposed to be part of their “World Class Selling”. Well, they gave those industry people almost no resources, handed them a VP that was a useless relic from a bygone era that liked to put on “shows” and do “story telling”, and as such many of those great assets are either leaving the company, or getting RIFFED. I’ve worked with many people on the industry teams and they’re much more capable of working with senior business leaders than the typical field sales force, most of whom are too used to picking fruit up off the ground to be able to really learn how to sell.

Anonymous said...

You ask any 10%er and he would say that his manager was bad and was not seeing his work. That is bullshit....You own your own career and you should work with your manager or your skip manager to understand the organization priorties but you did not care at that time.If they can't make you understand your role, you escalate it.

Hafta object here.

I owned my career, and did what the "own your own career" people say was an astounding job of trying to steer things, starting from giving my skip a heads-up as soon as the manager was appointed, that he hadn't dealt too reasonably with me before and that I was concerned. I escalated it all the way up to the VP as things worsened. I used up all of my ideas, the ideas of a few current and ex-directors and GM's I know, the ideas of a couple GPM's, the ideas of a couple of principal-level engineers, the ideas of a couple of former managers, and the ideas of my internal mentor. It ain't like I didn't apply myself to the task at hand, buddy. As the months wore on, I looked further and further afield for possible solutions in a widening circle of senior acquaintances.

But I was in one of those situations where a newly appointed affirmative action manager wasn't allowed to be seen as failing at something as simple as managing an IC with a multi-year rock star history. Effectively, the beatings would continue until the spectre of possible failure no longer hung over the manager, because the IC had themselves been "demonstrated" (coincidentally by that manager) to be a failure himself.

Funny mention of priorities. One of the issues was that the priorities my manager had for me, and the priorities my org and therefore commitments had for me, were different enough that they were two full time jobs. I could not satisfy both due to lack of time. My manager refused to let me update my commitments to reflect what he was demanding of me, because he didn't want to own the amount of overhead he'd thrown into my getting my job done. IMHO, if it really is such an important part of my work, why be afraid to have it in writing? Maybe next year a new skip level with no skin in the game of appointing my manager would read it and posit, "Who was this guy dumping makework on one of the team's rock stars?" and "Why single out this IC and let all the others be?".

I'd even asked for a PIP, since the real underachievers on the team had been put on them, and from what I understand those PIPs had achievable goals. But they knew better than to give one to me because they knew that their goose would be cooked on "targeting" if it looked a lot different than the ones for my peers. Thus the usual tactic of using a no-win PIP to get rid of me was not implementable. And they knew that if it looked too similar, I'd not only meet it but blast it to oblivion, barely lifting a finger, which was the last outcome they wanted to see.

Rather than embarrass the affirmative action manager who appointed the affirmative action manager who was my manager, the company backed them.

The company eventually took corrective action to protect me when things degenerated to a incredible point that was possibly illegal. Unfortunately not until after my manager did the U10 deed.

The right thing doesn't always happen no matter what the IC does. Drop the kool-aid drip for a while.

I'll never look at U10's the same way that I used to, nor will a bunch of other people who know me, who also knew the teammates who deserved but didn't get the U10 for incompetence or laziness.

Oh, and if you use a real browser next time, the edit text box control will point out typos for you. :-)

Anonymous said...

It's harsh, but I think the finger pointing may actually have some strange value...not sure what yet, but perhaps it's merely therapeutic.

I have to say I'm surprised that nobody has thrown Eng. Excellence under the bus yet. Is there anyone in that org that does _anything_ excellent? I'm not even sure exactly what the org does. Anyone have a different experience?

Anonymous said...

I worked in and around AdCenter for 3 years. Several interesting tidbits to share.

1. One of Blake's old VPs once mention that Alex reminded him of a young 2nd Lieutenant fresh from training that was likely to lead his troops into an ambush. I see that prediction being pretty accurate.

2. Ying Li is yet another one of the AdCenter PARTNER ENGINEERING MANAGERs who is questionably promoted. Having seen her in action, her biases are obvious (towards Chinese) and her impact is neglible.

Anonymous said...

when do we layoff some researchers? many of them are full of crap. show total ignorance of our product lines. some are actually good. but they act as if they are doing a favor instead of earning their paychecks.

Anonymous said...

I (unfortunately) wasn't laid of in the last round, so I am contemplating quitting. Does anybody know if I can get unemployment if I quit Microsoft? Has anybody here done it?

--

No you can not claim unemployment, you quit your on your own

Anonymous said...

I was part of an earlier wave of RIF’s. Now I am officially unemployed and looking for gainful employment. Thus, I was on campus today for an informational, and saw something completely deflating: one of the Microsoft minibuses driving around filled with people and a temporary sticker on the side that proudly proclaimed “RECRUITS”

As a person hopeful to just get back in and apply my knowledge to a company that I toiled to learn and got kicked to the curb, that sight was highly deflating. What it tells me is that the company has not learned its lesson. It continues to recruit new blood, which likely means continued spending to train the new MACH hires, instead of just allowing existing employees who has the experience and the capabilities already to do the job transition over.

More than that, it confirms to me that the layoffs were a simple ploy by the executive team to convince Wall Street that MSFT is cutting costs. Mark my words, headcount will be back up to its old level in less than 12 months.

Mini, I think that your dream of the SLT getting it and actually returning this company to a lean, mean fighting machine is just that – a dream. And a pipe dream at that…

Anonymous said...

Anonymouses wrote:
Does anybody know if I can get unemployment if I quit Microsoft? Has anybody here done it?

--

No you can not claim unemployment, you quit your on your own
(end quote)

Review your situation with your attorney. Don't take the word of Mini posters on something so important! Mine told me some years ago that likely an unemployment hearing would go in my favor due to constructive dismissal actions against me. Factors at work that negatively affect your health can count as well. In a garden variety case, the first poster is probably on his own. But Microsoft has its share of non-garden-variety scenarios too. It might be worth asking your attorney if you fall into one of them.

Anonymous said...

"The iPhone came out 2.5 years ago. If Microsoft started copying it when it was released, and did a competent job, we should now be able to buy a Microsoft iPhone-killer. And yet, here we are."

And yet here we are in this "did not invent it ourselves" hobby farm with infinite budgets and resources.... A next VP will do an awesome salesjob to the top, great gabbers and golfers, old IBM style, and fail again or come out with an Iphone 1.0 style product, 3 years behind the competition at least.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, not laying off any researcher has made them further arrogant.

Anonymous said...

"Guys - With all due respect.. I want to ask how would you react to this economic climate if you were owning this company?"

That's scary, if the company mainly reacts to a bad economy, but it wouldn't be the first time: bad economic times forcing a sanity check re redundance, investments etc. Macro economic cycles are nothing new, the financial crisis however was. Some tech companies experienced a growth pause, MS got bruised. What does this mean? Are we so vulnerable or just disguising a general decline behind economic trends? That wouldn't be new either btw.

Anonymous said...

More than that, it confirms to me that the layoffs were a simple ploy by the executive team to convince Wall Street that MSFT is cutting costs. Mark my words, headcount will be back up to its old level in less than 12 months.


--- yep

you were sent to the glue factory like alot of us.

you get 3, 4 or 5 RCGs or visa folks for the cost of you ..

Anonymous said...

I posted some harsh comments when the MS ad folks decided to drop their sponsorship of the Family Guy-related "Seth & Alex: Almost Live" this past weekend. I am personally a fan of Family Guy, but we should've recognized up front that this is NOT a good show to use to promote something like Windows.

After seeing the show, I am SO glad that we dropped our sponsorship. Not only was it more offensive than Family Guy usually is, but it wasn't even funny. It was really just awful.

I can only assume that Seth McFarland has naked pictures of Rupert Murdoch. That's the only reasonable explanation for the amount of time and money they are spending on this guy and his projects.

Anonymous said...

Mini, if you don't stop/moderate this idiotic idea of calling out "bad managers" by name, this site is going to turn into a childish vendetta and a lot of people will be hurt unfairly. There is already too much entitlement, and "I'm a superstar" attitude in this blog, it would be a shame to have it degrade even more.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote:
when do we layoff some researchers? many of them are full of crap. show total ignorance of our product lines. some are actually good. but they act as if they are doing a favor instead of earning their paychecks.
(end quote)

This never ending ragging on Research is a puzzle to me. Where does everyone get to interact with all of these supposedly "useless" researchers, besides the annual Fair, in order to determine what they do and do not contribute to the company?

#include "IamNotExMSR_disclaimer.h"

The few early MSR hires I worked with left me impressed with their skill and their desire to contribute to the company. They didn't leave the impression that they were doing MS a favor by their presence. If anything, they knew they had a good gig going and were cautious not to throw it in anyone's face. Working with them was refreshing.

Bonus: they were less political by orders of magnitude than equivalent level people in product groups. This says something awful about MS politics given that Research is bound to have the dreaded Academic Politics. Based on huge thanks received for incorporating research output in an internal project, at least some are very aware of the "do research that your employer can use somehow" angle and are glad to find opportunities to make that happen.

Maybe that description is unique to the old guard, and the new people are just in it for a paycheck and the papers they can generate, and are more political. But it fairly describes the small but diverse MSR sample set I was exposed to 5 years ago.

Not all of the researchers work on things I'd choose to fund if it were my choice, it goes without saying. Some of the research being done in languages, OS and networking is very interesting indeed though. If you're stagnant at work and in need of a technical challenge after hours, you could probably do worse than bug someone in MSR and see if they need some grunt coding or data analysis done, and collect mention in the inevitable paper to add to your resume. If my job had ever slowed down, I would have done just that myself.

As far as research being ignorant about MS product lines, MS is a large company. I never knew anything about XBox 360 development, or Automotive, or Home Server, or adCenter, or the list goes on. But I could still do my job.

As an example, if my job was to do pure OS research, doing it right means a fresh project like Midori, not a project like Windows, because of the need for backward compatibility, all of the hacks shoehorned into it over the years, politics and market pressures. I wouldn't necessarily need to be an expert in Windows or Dynamics to do the job well, although it might be useful to know the top 10 cool things and top 10 uncool things about Windows before embarking on an alternative OS. Keep the successes, engineer better solutions for the weak points. On the other hand, Windows would be fertile ground for performance work (paging anyone? startup tasks? very small devices? ReadyBoost v2?), so if OS perf was one's research focus, I would hope that at least some time would be spent working on Windows.

MSR must hold some duds, like any org in a big company. Most of us have been to school. So we've seen the full professors who knew nothing useful, but managed to get a bunch of stuff published and LOOKED impressive. Some of those must have found their way into MSR, just from probability theory.

But to tar all or even most of MSR with that brush isn't fair to them any more than it is to say Windows Mobile contains mostly worthless employees (which I don't believe is the case: I think it's Mobile's leadership, plus any bad hiring decisions made by that leadership). It's very unlikely that an org requiring real technical and intellectual horsepower hired that many people incapable of contributing effectively.

Anonymous said...

when do we layoff some researchers? many of them are full of crap. show total ignorance of our product lines. some are actually good. but they act as if they are doing a favor instead of earning their paychecks.




just see the following samples.
http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/groups/biology/
http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/groups/msratheory/
http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/groups/theory/
http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/groups/arg/

Can anybody from MSR explain how do these groups help the microsoft business. may be i am a lower-level IC so i am not that much intellect. I have really hard time to understand in which project we are applying computational biology and so on.

Anonymous said...

This was supposed to be part of their “World Class Selling”.

Ah...but that would be in a SANE company.

KT's value prop to the board was clearly that he can "return MSFT to dominance" b/c he recognizes that the product "sells itself" and that the trouble was that cost of sale was too high.


Now remember, these guys *dont* fail. They simply "course correct". So years on, with the stock flat, revenues shrinking, morale in toilet, and layoffs common, Im sure the question was asked of him "what happened??"

The answer was likely that the ICs are the problem. That the front line is too fat and happy. That this stuff needs to be "coin operated" (like a WALMART!) and that the cost of sale is STILL too high.

And of course it IS too high! But *why* is it too high? Because we have $1B in partners on the dole. Also because we have 50 layers of (mis)management. And also because we have TEAMS whose job it is to write process that surrounds process which was built on top of process that produces spreadsheets in a silo.

The "scorecards" are about arming managers with a way to EASILY clean anyone out.

If you are 65+, DONT get comfortable. You're not wanted. What IS wanted is that BUSLOAD of "new recruits" the other poster mentioned.

KTs vision is an assembly line of college hires reading from "the playbook" and the stuff "selling itself". It's the only explanation for his pattern of behavior.

So no... There is NO room for ANY kind of "expertise" at MSFT. Nor depth and breadth of vision. Expect more and deeper cuts along the same theme.

MSFT is now a body shop. In sales, they want the GREENEST grinning idiot possible reading from their moron playbook cooked up in the "braintrust" back at corporate. In development, they want ARMIES of offshore coders.

End result will be that MSFT is destroyed in the cloud by AMZN and GOOG, destroyed in the consumer space by Apple, and massacred in the data center by IBM and HP (who will start pushing Linux HUGELY once they smell the blood in the water b/c it gives them AWESOME and *independent* services tie in) And on the desktop? Bzzzt... trick question. The desktop is ALREADY irrelevant. See some of us actually UNDERSTAND the *meaning* behind the capabilities models and strategies which they try to turn into "webinars" (LOL... as if you can "teach" wisdom, experience and vision) and so RECOGNIZE that the desktop is a commodity that means very little. MSFT can own it, or not. No one will really care. The action wont be happening there and Apple is already an example of how you can be larger, sexier, more profitable and have higher P/E all without DENTING that installed base (and yes, AAPL market cap IS on target to actually pass MSFT - surely something that SHOULD be on SB's "scorecard")

The sad thing is... The partners really dont give a shit nor do they have to. They can ride this boat to the bottom of the ocean and come out with MILLIONS. ACTUAL talent isnt even REMOTELY a hiring criteria at their level, so dont expect that most of them are even able to come CLOSE to seeing this much less "getting it" or... heaven forbid... trying to ACTUALLY fix it.

Anonymous said...

owned my career, and did what the "own your own career" people say was an astounding job of trying to steer things, starting from giving my skip a heads-up as soon as the manager was appointed, that he hadn't dealt too reasonably with me before and that I was concerned. I escalated it all the way up to the VP as things worsened. I used up all of my ideas, the ideas of a few current and ex-directors and GM's I know, the ideas of a couple GPM's, the ideas of a couple of principal-level engineers, the ideas of a couple of former managers, and the ideas of my internal mentor. It ain't like I didn't apply myself to the task at hand, buddy.

When in all of that did you find time to do any work? Sounds like you were too busy trying to cover your ass or talk your way out of a bad review when you should have just been doing your job.

If you were that much of a rock star, you could have easily picked up and moved to another group.

Half the people who complain so much about the internal politics, are part of the problem themselves.

If you're sick of politics or bad managers, change groups or leave the company. Eventually the only people left will be the completely political or ineffective people, and the company will collapse under its own weight.

Anonymous said...

>>I have to say I'm surprised that nobody has thrown Eng. Excellence under the bus yet. Is there anyone in that org that does _anything_ excellent? I'm not even sure exactly what the org does. Anyone have a different experience?

It would certainly help to know what the EE team's goals actually are, how those goals were determined, and to what degree our engineering has benefitted as a result.

To be fair, it probably has to some degree, but can feel like the team really doesn't get how Microsoft has changed since the mid nineties.

Sadly, its probably a cargo cult engineering initiative originally put in place by senior leaders who liked the sound of it. Well who wouldn't: Engineering Excellence! Let's sprinkle that about liberally! (Good commitment fodder too - "did Engineering Excellence". 20/Exceeded)

Perhaps by osmosis we're all actually more excellent as a result, but just don't know it...

In short, "no".

Anonymous said...

>>More than that, it confirms to me that the layoffs were a simple ploy by the executive team to convince Wall Street that MSFT is cutting costs. Mark my words, headcount will be back up to its old level in less than 12 months.

It's not the number of heads that's the problem: it's the cost of those heads. Perhaps the new folks will be more economical to run.

Anonymous said...

Whats happening to Bill Veghte? He should have been laid off for squandering $300 million on Windows advertising.

Anonymous said...

What do you guys think of Sinofsky? From internal blogs, he sounds like a moderate guy. But he's taken some extreme measures - a massive reorg, one of the biggest office moves, getting rid of most architects in Windows, etc.

Anonymous said...

I recently left Microsoft. After losing the Exchange teat, I needed a new way to keep email, calendar, and address book synced on my desktop and phone. So I went looking around Live.

Squat.

We *suck* at this collaboration thing outside Exchange. MSN Calendar doesn't sync; Hotmail needs an "Outlook connector" to sync with Outlook, and a third-party app to sync with a mobile device. Contacts suck in Hotmail, and don't sync. And you have to wander all over multiple sites to figure this out.

apps.google.com - $50/year and voila - just like Exchange.

Microsoft sucks at messaging. Microsoft doesn't advertise (The "I'm a Mac" ads have been running for what, five years? MSFT ran "I'm a PC" for about six months. Then the "Choose a cheap laptop" ads ran for about two months - they were so effective that Apple called KT to ask MS to take them off the air. Apparently we did, while the latest round of "I'm a Mac" ads are FUDlicious)

The company has no vision and it's adrift. Legions of VPs care about nothing but keeping Kevin Turner's scorecard green.

The only thing that could save Microsoft right now would be for Steve Ballmer to decide to spend more time with his family, Kevin Turner to get fired, and put Sinofsky in charge (if he even wants it)

Anonymous said...

"I (unfortunately) wasn't laid of in the last round, so I am contemplating quitting. Does anybody know if I can get unemployment if I quit Microsoft? Has anybody here done it?"

If you will need unemployment to sustain yourself and any possible family members, you'd be a fool to quit. If you're contemplating quitting, you'd best have amassed at least a year's worth of funds to pay the bills, as jobs aren't easy to come by in this economic climate.

Yes, it sucks that you have to stay somewhere you don't want to be, but at least you have a job. That's more than a lot of former MSFTers can say right now -- and trust me, the grass ain't that green on the jobless landscape.

Anonymous said...

"This will probably get me laughed at [...] anyone affected by the layoffs [...] gone the EEOC route"

Not laughing. Good question. I was not affected by the layoffs, but had a similar result and timing: I'm gone despite strong performance and excellent track record with the Company, having been hired cross org. by a Partner with a long ‘history’ at the company, and not knowing how bad the situation would get when I took the role. Many EEOC complaints are now in investigation. This Partner for whom I worked, appears to have had a string of 6+ protected classes quit their jobs in short order, in order to move out from under this Partner, which interests the EEOC. It seems HR never noticed this series of exiting employees from their role supporting him, engineered? LisaB knows this person. It appears he was ‘taken out’ of his last role, and given ~year to find a new role, even after poor results.

I understand companies know about the risk of these problem managers, but their cost-benefit analysis tells them that many IC folks won’t make that trip to the EEOC to find out how their rights may have been violated, so little risk to them. Even if one signs an agreement form for severance, stating one will not sue, one still has a civil and legal right to talk to the EEOC and file a claim, though the company probably wouldn’t want you to know that. It pays to take a little time to understand the law. The EEOC is highly interested in Retaliation.

See eeoc.gov, and other websites. There is a long statute of limitations. Even violation by a company against a protected ACTION - not just a protected class -is covered by the EEOC. If you're still at the company, the served EEOC complaint will come with some Federal protections. The EEOC investigations take about a year, and Companies love the long process hoping you’ll forget, you’ll move on, and the partner will get to their next role. No rush, as it gives me time to have a book published about the situations. It might prove useful in an MBA case study class.

Anonymous said...

"I owned my career, and did what the "own your own career" people say was an astounding job of trying to steer things, starting from giving my skip a heads-up as soon as the manager was appointed, that he hadn't dealt too reasonably with me before and that I was concerned. I escalated it all the way up to the VP as things worsened. I used up all of my ideas, the ideas of a few current and ex-directors and GM's I know, the ideas of a couple GPM's, the ideas of a couple of principal-level engineers, the ideas of a couple of former managers, and the ideas of my internal mentor. It ain't like I didn't apply myself to the task at hand, buddy. As the months wore on, I looked further and further afield for possible solutions in a widening circle of senior acquaintances."

So you're saying that, basically, with the help and advice of every senior manager in the company you were still unable to beat your incompetent manager at his/her own game?

Hafta break it to you, but you fail at the art of war.

Also, could you say affirmative action manager one more time in your post, just to maybe drive the point home even further that you're an entitled white male sporting a pretty big case of sour grapes?

Your comment was most instructive.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen any IT company is driven by Developers or testers in my entire career.

Hence if the company is not performing well since last 10 years. who is responsible for it?

Microsoft culture is lobby based culture, where everything is fixed and already pre-planned. I haven't seen any Dev Manager or Principle Dev manager underperformed and fired from this company in last 5 years.

The most JUNK profiles are most successful here and they are supporting the Dev Manager/ Principal Dev Manager in their success. I don't know whether this is the only trend in MSIT,India or same all over Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

I was talking to a buddy of mine who works in the US Field who was affected by the most recent RIF. My understanding is that the cuts in the field sales force is deep this time around.

My question to KT is, you expect the company to take share in a down economy, but you cut sales people, exactly how do you expect to take share? Taking share is a fundamental business tactic in any down economy, but most companies ADD sales people and get feet on the street to sell their product. Do you expect the product to sell themselves? If so, that is a delusion. Why do you think Apple put hunters into territories? Why do you think Salesforce hire as many sales people as they can? And why do you think we are losing share to such companies as Salesforce and Apple?

Come on, KT (or the SLT in general), get over the illusion that this is WalMart. Get over the illusion that Windows and Office are the only choices in the market. Either that, or I beg the Board to get over these ineffective management team.

Anonymous said...

This sign explains how we never really accomplish anything much better than I could write it in 5000 words.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/16117146@N03/3640790282/sizes/o/

and I'm leaving.

Mikhail said...

For all those ex-MSFTers out in the job market, you might want to check out my "Tales from the job search trenches" podcasts, where I interview employment professionals offering tips on finding a new role.

Recently I talked with Lynn Rodriquez, who offered a lot of great suggestions on how to stand out from the crowd.

http://bit.ly/29Zgoj

Anonymous said...

I have to say I'm surprised that nobody has thrown Eng. Excellence under the bus yet. Is there anyone in that org that does _anything_ excellent? I'm not even sure exactly what the org does.
Just a bunch of dinosaurs chewing grass around the pond. Just look at the org.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that Mini used to be the guy screaming for cuts, now he is screaming about the cuts. Many poeple have a right to complain about the layoffs, he isn't one of them.

Anonymous said...

Why are there no layoffs in Levels 63 and higher?

Anonymous said...

My job was eliminated: "due to the lack of growth of the groups I supported."

What you will find when you start looking for work is that for each job opening there are 50-60 if not hundreds of resumes for that one job. You need to stand out. You need to be professional in your resume, your phone responses, and in your presentation of yourself in any interview you give. File for unemployment. You paid into it for a time and now you can get some of it back. Network. Go into your address book, and the telephone lists you have from your kid's school, scouts, soccer, church, whatever. Make new friends and reconnect with previous friends you haven't talked with for a while.

Finding a job is hard work. Don't think you will find one in the first week. Be patient. It takes a long time to go through all those resumes and decide who will best fit. Keep at it and try not to get discouraged. I sent out about 300 resumes and got two in person interviews. Finally got a job after five months.

There is life after Microsoft. Your life and it is what you make of it.

Anonymous said...

I'm a user researcher, and I find your comment (sadly) typical among the Microsoft culture. My guess is that you're a PM who loves to disagree with facts until your point of view becomes the truth. Yes, I've worked with many of you.

> when do we layoff some researchers? many of them are full of crap. show total ignorance of our product lines. some are actually good. but they act as if they are doing a favor instead of earning their paychecks.

Anonymous said...

Interesting, I don't hear anyone on this blog talking about CTS (PSS). A integral piece of our products. Bloated? Bleeding money? Internal tools suck?

Comments? Conserns? Anybody?

Anonymous said...

officially unemployed and looking for gainful employment. Thus, I was on campus today for an informational, and saw something completely deflating: one of the Microsoft minibuses driving around filled with people and a temporary sticker on the side that proudly proclaimed “RECRUITS”

As a person hopeful to just get back in and apply my knowledge to a company that I toiled to learn and got kicked to the curb, that sight was highly deflating.



Buddy, don't get discouraged. Have confident in your skills and experience and go after positions that you know you qualify for. So go out there and show people what you are capable off.

New recruits will continues to be hired with crazy sign on bonus. You can't control that but you can control how much confident and drive you have.

Anonymous said...

Are the Roz Ho and entire PMX team still there?
This wave of layoff seems like also affecting the mobile business, there is no more mobile SE/ATM/HDE/AMs in the Taiwan; 100% Smartphone makers here using more than 85% of engineering resource for Android development.
RIP - the Windows Mobile.

Anonymous said...

End result will be that MSFT is destroyed in the cloud by AMZN and GOOG, destroyed in the consumer space by Apple, and massacred in the data center by IBM and HP (who will start pushing Linux HUGELY once they smell the blood in the water b/c it gives them AWESOME and *independent* services tie in) And on the desktop? Bzzzt... trick question. The desktop is ALREADY irrelevant. See some of us actually UNDERSTAND the *meaning* behind the capabilities models and strategies which they try to turn into "webinars" (LOL... as if you can "teach" wisdom, experience and vision) and so RECOGNIZE that the desktop is a commodity that means very little. MSFT can own it, or not. No one will really care. The action wont be happening there and Apple is already an example of how you can be larger, sexier, more profitable and have higher P/E all without DENTING that installed base (and yes, AAPL market cap IS on target to actually pass MSFT - surely something that SHOULD be on SB's "scorecard")

You may be the next true visionary!

Although I disagree a bit about the cloud vs. desktop, you have concisely laid out what's wrong and what the road map should be for MSFT. It will never happen because the SLT seems to be oblivious or in denial but that paragraph could be printed and framed as the epitaph for MSFT.

Anonymous said...

"It's not the number of heads that's the problem: it's the cost of those heads. Perhaps the new folks will be more economical to run."


Guess again! The MACH hires I talk to are coming in at L61-63. Many of these MBA brain trusts have done NOTHING other than graduate from an MBA program. One guy I talked to, his last "job" was working at Best Buy. Not as a store manager or supply chain or marketing or even in corporate. He was one of those guys running around the floor asking if you need help.

These "cheaper" recruits are coming out of school and making $100k+. Help me understand how that is a cheaper labor pool?

Anonymous said...

just see the following samples.
http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/groups/biology/
http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/groups/msratheory/
http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/groups/theory/
http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/groups/arg/

Can anybody from MSR explain how do these groups help the microsoft business.


this is nothing. see an entire center on such exotic topics.

http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/labs/newengland/default.aspx

Anonymous said...

Is there any independent evidence that Microsoft Research is any good at all the academic/intellectual stuff they're supposed to be good at?

Do they enter any contests, like AT&T Labs doing the Netflix prize or Google doing machine translation contests? Do they get DARPA grants like IBM research, etc.?

I'm looking at the MSR wikipedia page and most of these projects look like BS to me. I don't think I'd bet on MSR to win any contest that Google, IBM, etc. are also entering.

Anonymous said...

http://www.microsoft.com/student/en/us/career/life-after-university.aspx

ok

Anonymous said...

These "cheaper" recruits are coming out of school and making $100k+. Help me understand how that is a cheaper labor pool?

If they don't have spouses and/or kids to enroll in the health plan, and aren't yet at an age where they go to the doctor too often themselves, then they are a hell of a lot cheaper than, well, me for example. Even if they matched me dime-for-dime on salary terms, this would still be true.

I'm not saying that makes this a wise personnel strategy, but cost-effective? Oh, hell yes it is.

Anonymous said...

MS has around 10000 vendors. How about letting off 3000 vendors and keep the employees?

Why do they need A- and V- and I Am sure most of the vendors are stealing money from MS with a bunch of duds working for them.

==========================

Hey man, it's a job for us too...you and the rest of MS just enjoy seeing the scarlet letter in front of our aliases. We don't steal. We don't get our teeth cleaned in the middle of the week AND get paid for it. We don't attend secret meetings to discuss free lunch and how we can elude the a- and v- (elude means avoid, you dumbass). Don't worry, if you invite us, we promise to pay for our own lunch. As contractors / vendors, I will crawl to work before I even call in sick.

"Layoff 3k vendors and keep employees." How about layoff 1k vendor, keep the rest of the vendors but give them 15% paycut, and offer new vendors 1/3 less than market value. Oh, it's already being done. However you do the math, it's a lose-lose situation for a- and v-.

Anonymous said...

If you were that much of a rock star, you could have easily picked up and moved to another group.

Providing a reality check.

I was hit by "detention" within weeks of that manager showing up, when a potential internal opportunity showed up in my inbox and looked promising after the informational.

During the months of my time in that detention process I consulted about 15 people, some more than once, on what to do about the conditions I was facing. This scarcely took a couple hours a week, not every week, and generally I bought my resources lunch or breakfast as consideration in return for their time because I understood that in asking for expert advice I was asking for something of value. (Your ideals let me take meals without counting against me in productivity, right?)

If it takes you longer than 15 minutes to explain a professional issue to someone familiar with the company, I suggest Precision Questions and Answers so that you can become more efficient. It was a great class.

My workload required non-stop unthinkable mountains of work hours, not 50 or even 60, for years. Electronic Arts caliber work hours, if you're familiar with that. Investing 2-3 hours every couple of weeks in finding a way out of the over-work was an investment in my ability to maintain productivity and high performance into the future of my career. That ability was being compromised by every additional crazy week worked, so priority was put on stopping it. Months of asking management to address it, attempting to quietly resolve the situation without raising its profile, failed. Placing my head down and quietly fighting the workload did not reduce it; the work was increased until there was enough that I'd fail again at a higher level of output. So, a different strategy was required.

It's naive to think that someone who doesn't change teams to get out of a bad situation doesn't have the skills. Wasn't there just a discussion about this? Teams knocked on my door for dev and PM roles both. Management repeatedly refused to let me leave, because they knew they had a captive worker attached to a keyboard with golden handcuffs to do a non-sexy, rote job.

If you were going to lose $N--,--- of stock awards upon departure from MS, how reluctant might you be to make the decision to leave just because one manager of all you've worked for wants you out of the company? Think that manager doesn't know that, and know exactly how much more incentive a rock star has to tolerate bad conditions than their peers do? A poor manager can take advantage of this.

For many middle class people, to quit and drop a 50% down payment on the ground is a nearly unthinkable action not undertaken until every alternative has been exhausted. I provided the list of resources I did, to show how hard I tried.

For some people, walking away from not-yet-vested earned dollars is an act they can do casually, and I respect that choice, too because I'm not living their lives. I ask that others making a different choice respect mine.

Anonymous said...

"If they don't have spouses and/or kids to enroll in the health plan, and aren't yet at an age where they go to the doctor too often themselves, then they are a hell of a lot cheaper than, well, me for example. Even if they matched me dime-for-dime on salary terms, this would still be true.

I'm not saying that makes this a wise personnel strategy, but cost-effective? Oh, hell yes it is."


Insurance is only one component. Training is another one entirely, not to mention Travel and Expenses.

A new hire will likely not be effective for at least 3 months (3/12 x $100k = $25k). Add to that, a mentor to help them get a leg up, and the time out from the MENTOR's full time job. Then there is the intangibles of how efficient a new hire is as there is no real work experience to fall back on.

Oh, yeah, come July, every MACH hire gets on a plane and goes to MGX and have a party for a week on Microsoft.

Compare that to what Microsoft pays on my insurance for my family, and explain to me again how they are a hell of a lot cheaper.

Anonymous said...

"Why are there no layoffs in Levels 63 and higher?"

There were plenty of layoffs at 63 and above.

Anonymous said...

I've changed jobs two times at MS to get out of bad situations (due to unexpected reorgs).

1) If you are in a group that tolerates bad managers, then there's no hope in fixing things as an IC. Just get out.

2) Never mention you are thinking of changing jobs. The right time to let your management know is after the new team has given you an offer. At that point, they can negotiate the timeline with your new management. Any time they ask you about staying longer, just tell them to talk to your new manager.

3) Moving countries can be a great way to escape. Lots of opportunities abroad for good devs. No way for US Corp to hold you if you leave the country.

4) Say "I'm not doing this, and I'm not quitting." Firing someone is a huge pain. Trust me, they'll let you go rather than go through the hassle.

Anonymous said...

Is there any independent evidence that Microsoft Research is any good at all the academic/intellectual stuff they're supposed to be good at?
----

Yes.

FRIENDS, COLLEAGUES PLAN TRIBUTE TO RENOWNED SCIENTIST JIM GRAY

Gray attended the University of California, Berkeley from 1961-1969 and earned the university’s first PhD in Computer Science. Over the course of his career, Gray worked as a researcher at Bell Labs, IBM, Tandem Computers, Digital Equipment Corporation, and finally Microsoft, where he was hired in 1995. When Gray joined Microsoft, he convinced the company to open a research center in San Francisco so that he and his wife, Donna, wouldn’t have to move to Redmond, Wash.

At Microsoft, he built a website called Terra Server, which brought high-resolution satellite imagery to the masses seven years before Google Earth, and SkyServer, the most widely used astronomical resource in the world.

Jim Gray disappeared without a trace on a sailing trip to the Farallon Islands on January 28, 2007.

Anonymous said...

"Why do they need A- and V- and I Am sure most of the vendors are stealing money from MS with a bunch of duds working for them."

Microsoft pays very well, even with the salary freeze last year. Many of the A- & V- jobs are jobs that don't play well. They are also mostly easy jobs to fill. There are exceptions, but the rule is these folks don't do the critical jobs that make Microsoft money, they do the jobs that allow the blue badges to do the critical work.

Anonymous said...

"I don't hear anyone on this blog talking about CTS (PSS). A integral piece of our products. Bloated? Bleeding money? Internal tools suck?"

Well at least one new major tool sucks, but it is improving. I can't speak for all parts but the support groups have been doing some smart things.

1) Most hires have been vendors and when cost cutting is going they are the cut first.

2) Unlike the horror stories I read about in this blog, managers are open minded in support about helping people find better or different jobs when the want.

3) The work is very hard but management really tries hard to respect the workers.

The MSPoll job satisfaction numbers are over 90%. Pretty good for jobs that aren't normally that nice.

As far as I know, in the customer support areas, only about 10 people have been laid off this last year. However there is a lot of pressure on everyone to produce.

Anonymous said...

Why do we still have ISRC? It's completely a joke. It's shipping garbage like searchvote or bing UX experiments. We can make encourage more garage projects to replace this lab. As mentioned above, this lab has biased attitude towards Chinese.

Anonymous said...

So you're saying that, basically, with the help and advice of every senior manager in the company you were still unable to beat your incompetent manager at his/her own game?

It wasn't every senior manager, only ones I thought were trustable or recommended to me by coworkers I trust. Incompetent at doing a job, and incompetent at protecting one's own self with political gaming are two different things too. Microsoft has the problem of many managers praising managers who do the second more than they praise managers who do the first. Continuing that confusion does not help.

Hafta break it to you, but you fail at the art of war.

Also, could you say affirmative action manager one more time in your post, just to maybe drive the point home even further that you're an entitled white male sporting a pretty big case of sour grapes?


It's Asian not white. A person can be a minority and still identify things that happen differently because of someone's age, gender, ethnicity, race, sexual preference or any other criteria which matters in this day.

Some MS groups supposedly have strong affirmative action and protections for FTE's above certain levels in certain demographic subgroups, maybe to correct past imbalances, that protect them despite other costs like low level IC career ended. This was mentioned in quiet voice by several long experienced high up FTE I consulted, as a major barrier to a successful resolution of my concerns after hearing that I knew this manager had HR problems put under the rug for them before. One former partner who ran into this bias type reported he gave up and left, more of an option for someone with a few years of SPSA in the bank account than for a simple dev. Hear the same kinds of story from 3 unrelated high up FTE and it gains plausibility.

On Mini you hear that some other departments have even less official affirmative action and protections for FTE's in certain demographic subgroups based on manager preference of "like hire like".

Do you think a company cannot have an unwritten guideline or do an action, if there is not a rule for it written somewhere? Sometimes companies do things in their interest that might get them into trouble if they wrote it down and the "wrong" people saw it. Microsoft knows this especially. Do you recall Microsoft problems with phrases like "kill the competition" in email?

Affirmative action was relevant because of that, as wrong an idea as it might be to someone who believes it must be all OK because it helps some people. Some things are not politically correct. You won't like it when you meet up with it, and you probably will, any more than I did. You will live. I will too.

Anonymous said...

>>These "cheaper" recruits are coming out of school and making $100k+. Help me understand how that is a cheaper labor pool?

OP here - wow, on salary. And interesting about the MBAs.

But think of all of that young, energetic, wide-eyed unpaid overtime. Until they burn out. That's the cheaper labor pool.

Folks who've been around a while learn what is truly important and what isn't, and (try to) maintain a schedule that doesn't have long-term health impact.

I've seen something very similar before where Micosoft populated a team with great, truly smart young Ivy League grads - 2 years in, all but one had left the company and in some cases, the industry. Burned out. Not their fault, they were managed by "old-timers" who couldn't give a shit about their well-being.

In the team I'm on, the mainly early-to-mid twenties dev team regulalry work 60 - 80 hrs/week. Apparently this is OK as no complaints have been heard from them.

That's a business model, I suppose. How we have changed.

Anonymous said...

It's naive to think that someone who doesn't change teams to get out of a bad situation doesn't have the skills. Wasn't there just a discussion about this? Teams knocked on my door for dev and PM roles both. Management repeatedly refused to let me leave, because they knew they had a captive worker attached to a keyboard with golden handcuffs to do a non-sexy, rote job.

If you were going to lose $N--,--- of stock awards upon departure from MS, how reluctant might you be to make the decision to leave just because one manager of all you've worked for wants you out of the company? Think that manager doesn't know that, and know exactly how much more incentive a rock star has to tolerate bad conditions than their peers do? A poor manager can take advantage of this.

For many middle class people, to quit and drop a 50% down payment on the ground is a nearly unthinkable action not undertaken until every alternative has been exhausted. I provided the list of resources I did, to show how hard I tried.

For some people, walking away from not-yet-vested earned dollars is an act they can do casually, and I respect that choice, too because I'm not living their lives. I ask that others making a different choice respect mine.

===================================

It sounds really simple to others not in the same situation and for them to give advice that is not very helpful. You really did try to go to all lengths to resolve the issue and even having done all that could not overcome the situation.

I read stories like this and it makes me angry. We seriously need some independent authority at Microsoft to take these issues for resolution. I am currently in one of these situations and what you posted is very helpful to me.

Anonymous said...

>> Google doing machine translation contests

MSR NLP team has actually beaten Google (and everybody else) on Chinese-English language pair last year: http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1526254

Xiaodong He of MSR Redmond kicked everyone's ass with his combination system.

Impressive result for a team less than a dozen people strong. Too bad Microsoft as a whole has no clue what to do with this state of the art technology.

Anonymous said...

And then there is Office Lab. Clumsy combination of PPTs and unusable prototypes. When will this be put under the bus?

Anonymous said...

2) Never mention you are thinking of changing jobs. The right time to let your management know is after the new team has given you an offer. At that point, they can negotiate the timeline with your new management. Any time they ask you about staying longer, just tell them to talk to your new manager.

People on our team tried to do that and ran into a snag in what at least the first person thought was the perfect plan: do many informationals until you are certain the interview participants will be happy with you on the interview, take the job, and let your manager know.

The problem was that between the exhaustive informationals to know you're a good fit for the job and the offer from the new team is this:

Formal interview scheduling

Your manager is notified during this scheduling process that an interview is being set up. That's where they throw the bag of bolts into the machine works. You cannot "opt out" of this notification.

More than one person on the team tried it. People who urgently wanted off the team figured they were better taking the chance the manager would miss one notification than not trying at all. He never missed one.

Why the hope that one would be overlooked? The same manager routinely missed so many requests for job-related managerial support from the same staff that his non-responsiveness was a running joke.

Anonymous said...

Compare that to what Microsoft pays on my insurance for my family, and explain to me again how they are a hell of a lot cheaper.

Wrong comparison. Instead compare the actual cost of treating you or a covered family member having a major illness, to the cost of a party for MACH hires. It's an important distinction because MS is still self-insured. If you go in the hospital, somewhere a check is written against a Microsoft bank account to pay the bill.

Older people are statistically more likely to have expensive illnesses or develop long term health problems requiring expensive ongoing treatment and drugs than young people.

Anonymous said...

MS has around 10000 vendors. How about letting off 3000 vendors and keep the employees?

Why do they need A- and V- and I Am sure most of the vendors are stealing money from MS with a bunch of duds working for them.

==========================

Hey man, it's a job for us too...you and the rest of MS just enjoy seeing the scarlet letter in front of our aliases. We don't steal. We don't get our teeth cleaned in the middle of the week AND get paid for it. We don't attend secret meetings to discuss free lunch and how we can elude the a- and v- (elude means avoid, you dumbass). Don't worry, if you invite us, we promise to pay for our own lunch. As contractors / vendors, I will crawl to work before I even call in sick.

"Layoff 3k vendors and keep employees." How about layoff 1k vendor, keep the rest of the vendors but give them 15% paycut, and offer new vendors 1/3 less than market value. Oh, it's already being done. However you do the math, it's a lose-lose situation for a- and v-.


And furthermore for the OP here, in my group we worked our asses off to provide a massive amount of online content with darn near unreachable deadlines but we did it and did it well.

What we got for our hard when the axe fell in May was to be paid for the rest of that week while the fte's got their 2 months. How about you find me a job or check your attitude at the keyboard because we worked our asses off for the mothership to.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen any IT company is driven by Developers or testers in my entire career.

Hence if the company is not performing well since last 10 years. who is responsible for it?

Microsoft culture is lobby based culture, where everything is fixed and already pre-planned. I haven't seen any Dev Manager or Principle Dev manager underperformed and fired from this company in last 5 years.

The most JUNK profiles are most successful here and they are supporting the Dev Manager/ Principal Dev Manager in their success. I don't know whether this is the only trend in MSIT,India or same all over Microsoft.

Well said. Here is a testimony. The Principal Dev Manager from BI-COE, India could not perform due to lack of technical abilities. One can check with any developer/tester in BI-COE, India about the manager’s capability. In order to protect the Principal Dev Manager he/she is now posted as a Principal Group Manager in another COE. What a Joke! The GM from both COE should be sacked immediately for such actions. It is because of such actions Microsoft is suffering today.
I hope Microsoft SLT is listening and take prompt action.

Anonymous said...

A sobering read in the NY Times on the internal processes of the recently bankrupt GM. Does the passage below resonate with any of you?

Speed has never been G.M.’s forte. In 1988, when G.M. still dominated the United States market, a senior executive named Elmer Johnson wrote a stinging internal memo that summed up the company’s biggest problem.

“We have not achieved the success that we must because of severe limitations on our organization’s ability to execute in a timely manner,” wrote Mr. Johnson.

The memo fell on deaf ears, mostly because G.M.’s top executives prized consensus over debate, and rarely questioned its elaborate planning processes. A former G.M. executive and consultant, Rob Kleinbaum, said the culture emphasized past glories and current market share, rather than focusing on the future.

“Those values were driven from the top on down,” said Mr. Kleinbaum. “And anybody inside who protested that attitude was buried.”


Or this?

“They used to have a budget and a time frame, and when it was exhausted, that was the finished product,” said Joseph Phillippi, a principal in the consulting firm Auto Trends Consulting. “I used to ask them, did you run out of money before you completed the interior?”

I fear greatly that a similar article will be written about us in the not too distant future.

Anonymous said...

The concept of Engineering Excellence at Microsoft is a 1984 newspeak term meaning the opposite of what it says.

At most it means basic engineering practices which are common in almost any software company.
Ah, yes, pushing TFS (which, speaking gently is not the best product out there) is considered "excellence".

Anonymous said...

What Microsoft should do, is to start having internal surveys within each group of who should get fired...

Oh, as for the next rounds of layoffs... it's probably going to be within GFS.

After GFS VP got fired (I believe), GFS is now part of OSD. And they are going to decentralize T2 Ops support, for some used to be such an overhead for product groups.

They got rid of the top most bug (GFS VP), but they are yet to get rid of all those dysfunctional GFS leaders... better go down to director or leads level because most of them are too drunk and used to waste all Microsoft $$$. Just tap into their plannings and you'll see what I mean.

Anonymous said...

"Why do they need A- and V- and I Am sure most of the vendors are stealing money from MS with a bunch of duds working for them."

Microsoft pays very well, even with the salary freeze last year. Many of the A- & V- jobs are jobs that don't play well. They are also mostly easy jobs to fill. There are exceptions, but the rule is these folks don't do the critical jobs that make Microsoft money, they do the jobs that allow the blue badges to do the critical work.

So you mean critical jobs in sense like attending meetings , patching , server reboots and lunch:)

Joe said...

>I read stories like this and it makes me angry. We seriously need some independent authority at Microsoft to take these issues for resolution. I am currently in one of these situations and what you posted is very helpful to me.
-----

Gosh, you mean that the needs of the workers are diametrically opposed to that of management, and that collectively, the workers (those who produce value), need to band together to demand proper and humane treatment?

what's that called. oh yeh, a Union. Not a surprise, KT's last company desperately needs one representing the workers as well. Guess he just brought his Management Techniques that demand a collective action as retaliation.

Remember this: Bad Management causes Unions.

Anonymous said...

The usefullness of this blog is plummetting lately. Can we have a seperate minimsft for employees who aren't underperforming, have decent managers, actually like some of our products, and don't feel entitled to a paycheck?

Anonymous said...

Can someone tell me why they let Don Dodge go? I subscribed to his Blog and it looks like he's now endorsing new technologies from Apple, Google, Twitter, etc....Did he or did he not provide a lot of value fro Microsoft?

Anonymous said...

Apple produced iPhone in 2.5 years, Android is set to conquer OEM market with less than 2 years of Development while WinMo spent last 1.5 years finalizing strategy (product is not available for another 1 year, that too is skeleton, meat will need another 2 years). How much time is needed for finalizing HW strategy? It took almost a year to finalize that. Unbelievable. Strategy team is building empire, hiring clueless GM's , no hope here. By the time SLT realizes it after launch, this mob will launch startup's to overcome deficiency in product with hope of MS acquiring them.

Anonymous said...

"So you're saying that, basically, with the help and advice of every senior manager in the company you were still unable to beat your incompetent manager at his/her own game?

It wasn't every senior manager, only ones I thought were trustable or recommended to me by coworkers I trust. Incompetent at doing a job, and incompetent at protecting one's own self with political gaming are two different things too. Microsoft has the problem of many managers praising managers who do the second more than they praise managers who do the first. Continuing that confusion does not help."

You missed the point.

The point is that, like it or not, protecting yourself from the inevitable shitty/evil/incompetent manager is a core skill at any large company. Stick around any place that has a culture of reorgs or regular management changes and eventually you *will* find yourself up against someone who's trying to tank you.

You mentioned a very large number of very senior people who you have close enough relationships with to seek advice -- what I'm saying is that with a network like that you should be able to quickly and efficiently remove yourself from a bad situation, and if you can't then you don't have the big-company skills necessary to survive here.

It might be a sad statement, but learning how to protect yourself is a core competency in big business.

I'm a 15 year MS veteran, and I've survived two managers (out of 12 total during my time here) -- one GPM and one GM -- who have done their best to tank my career... and I've done it by building a strong and broad base of support throughout the company with other senior managers and execs. You need to make sure you plan for the bad times during the good times, so that when the shit hits the fan you know exactly how to proceed.

And it's the same everywhere: Apple, Google, Amazon, etc. -- search out the stories if you don't believe me, they're all over the web. Business is as dirty as politics, and if you can't learn how to keep your own back covered then you'll likely fail again and again and again.

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